On the Track of the Poltergeist
by D. Scott Rogo
Trade Paperback, 224 Pages
$14.00, ISBN: 193366505X
There is no mystery greater than that posed by the poltergeist. The “noisy ghosts” of legend and folklore represent some of the most complex phenomena known to-but generally ignored by-science. Psychological research indicates that poltergeists focus on unhappy families who tend to repress and sublimate massive amounts of inner aggression and anger. This anger tends to build within the mind of one of the family members until it explodes outward in the form of the poltergeist. But is that the whole answer?
On the Track of the Poltergeist is D. Scott Rogo's autobiographical account of his search to witness and document these rare phenomena. Backed by this experience and research, he is able to present a critical reevaluation of what we think we know about the poltergeist. Rogo also explains how to respond when confronted with a poltergeist outbreak and how to carry out field investigations of the phenomenon.
About the Author:
D. Scott Rogo (1950-1990) was one of the most widely respected writer-journalists covering the field of parapsychology, as well as an active scientific investigator. Educated at the University of Cincinnati and San Fernando Valley State College, Rogo held a unique position in parapsychology and made many contributions to the field that deserve recognition. He served as a visiting researcher at the Psychical Research Foundation, then in Durham, North Carolina, and at the Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics of the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He published papers on ESP in refereed parapsychological journals and was active in field investigations of hauntings and poltergeists. Rogo was also a leading authority on the history of psychical research; the breadth of his historical knowledge of the field was unsurpassed. Over the course of more than two-dozen published books, Rogo sought to broaden the range of topics worthy of paranormal research.
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EXCERPT FROM Chapter 5:
"I can't even come home and enjoy a beer anymore," lamented forty-five-year-old Richard Berkbigler. He was looking at the cement floor of his half finished home as he spoke, trying momentarily to ignore the twenty or so reporters, friends, and selfappointed vigilantes who were invading his house. They were all there to help his family hunt down the phantom "prankster" that had been throwing rocks at his home for ten weeks.
Rock throwing poltergeists represent a specific type of spookery. These noisy and rackety ghosts don't engage in your typical poltergeist behavior. They don't rap on walls, throw household furniture about, or cause knickknacks to disappear and reappear. Instead they delight in pelting the houses they attack with rocks. They can make the stones shower from the sky in a nefarious rainfall, or they will simply pelt the building. The rocks will even fall inside the home on rare occasions. Sometimes these displays will be accompanied by more traditional poltergeist activity as the case escalates, but usually the phantom rockthrowings will represent the only strategy of attack. This was the type of case I confronted in December 1983 when I heard about a possible stone throwing poltergeist holding forth in a desert home outside Tucson, Arizona. When I arrived on December 6, the poltergeist was still active, kicking up as big a fuss as ever.
This case did not turn out to be as dramatic as many others of this genre. Rock throwing poltergeists have a habit of becoming quite bizarre. It is not odd for the rocks to fly abnormally slow, zigzag in flight, or even make ninety degree turns in the air. This poltergeist turned out to be somewhat less eccentric, although this came as little comfort to the family living in the besieged house.
For Mr. and Mrs. Richard Berkbigler and their family, the nightmare had all begun three months earlier in September. They and three of their five children had been living in a trailer for over a year on five acres of desert property they owned. Despite the fact that their large 4400 square foot house was only partially completed by then, the Berkbiglers had decided to move in anyway. They were relieved to get out of the cramped trailer even though their new home had only concrete floors instead of carpeting and no doors on any of the rooms. But the move into their dream house turned sour when the rocks started hitting. Only a few days after setting up housekeeping, Richard and Mary Berkbigler and their children Rick (aged twenty), Anita (aged nineteen) and David (aged fifteen) were annoyed when rocks started hitting the front of the house one evening. The stones were large, about fist size, and a number of them struck the house directly while others dented the family van parked on a large dirt clearing in front of the house. Richard and his sons ran out to find the culprit responsible, but they couldn't see anyone nearby. This didn't strike them as odd, because their house is bordered by hundreds of square yards of bush, cactus, and underbrush. Nor are there any other houses on their property.
The Berkbiglers tried to put the night's episode behind them, but the rock throwings got worse over the next several weeks until it was a daily occurrence. The attacks usually began in the evening between 5:30 and 7:00, generally just before or after Mr. Berkbigler arrived home from his work as a truck driver. His children and his wife who owns her own cleaning establishment in Tucson were usually already home by that time. At first the rocks would plop down on top of the roof, but as the incidents escalated the rock throwings became more vicious. The missiles would start striking the house in brief flurries; five or so rocks would strike the front of the house or their van at two or three second intervals. There would then be a brief hiatus of about five to fifteen minutes, and then another flurry would begin. Sometimes these rocky barrages would be somewhat sporadic and brief, but on other occasions the attacks would go on for two or three hours. The Berkbiglers usually scurried outside in hopes of catching sight of their prowler when the first stone hit, but they never could find anyone. They sometimes were even struck by the rocks as they searched. The attacks would only stop when the family turned off all the lights in the house and simply went to bed. . .
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by W.G. Roll
Notice to the Reader
CHAPTER 1. Confronting the Poltergeist Mystery
Part 1 FOUR MAJOR INVESTIGATIONS
CHAPTER 2. A Poltergeist in Los Angeles
CHAPTER 3. A Fiery Poltergeist in Simi Valley
CHAPTER 4. Gremlins in a Hollywood Factory
CHAPTER 5. Tucson's Rock Throwing Phantom
Part 2 POLTERGEISTS, HAUNTINGS, AND THE MIND
CHAPTER 6. Three Poltergeist Hauntings
CHAPTER 7. Diagnosing a Family Poltergeist
CHAPTER 8. An "Out of Body" Poltergeist Strikes Home
CHAPTER 9. New Light on the Poltergeist
CHAPTER 10. Final Notes: Some Guidelines for Investigating the Poltergeist
Part 3 APPENDIXES
APPENDIX I. Epilepsy and the Poltergeist a historical note
APPENDIX II. Some Further Out of Body Poltergeists