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The case of the Rosenheim Poltergeist is that of a poltergeist haunting in Germany. Equipment in the office of lawyer Sigmund Adam allegedly began operating itself in 1967, a situation which was investigated by local journalists, police, and electric company officials. When parapsychologist Hans Bender was asked to investigate, he tied the activity to the presence of a specific employee, Annemarie Schneider. The phenomenon's media coverage did little to settle allegations that the paranormal activity was faked, as no clear proof was offered either way.

Contents

Phenomena reported during the incidents

The events took place in Rosenheim in southern Bavaria, more specifically in the office of lawyer Sigmund Adam. Starting in 1967 strange phenomena began in the office - the lights would turn themselves off and on again and swing, telephones rang without anybody apparently calling (a silent caller), photocopiers spilled their copier fluid, and desk drawers would open without being touched. The Deutsche Post installed instruments that recorded numerous phone calls which were never made. Within five weeks the instruments recorded roughly 600 calls to the speaking clock (number 0119 in Germany) even though all the phones in the office were disabled and only Adam himself had the key required to enable them. In one 15-minute period the speaking clock had been called 46 times, sometimes at a rate that appeared impossible with the mechanical dialling system of 1967. In October 1967 all light bulbs went out with a huge bang.

Traditional and paranormal investigations

The police, the electric company and others tried to find an explanation for all this for weeks until they gave up with no useful explanation. Thereafter, a team of scientists, including the renowned parapsychologist Hans Bender and two Max Planck Institute physicists began investigating the case. After installing cameras and voice recorders they were able to discover that the events only took place when 19-year-old Annemarie Schneider (a recently employed secretary) was present. Bender was able to document on video how the lights immediately started to flicker once she entered the office. It was claimed that a lampshade would swing violently when Ms Schneider walked beneath it.

After questioning Ms Schneider, it was discovered that she had recently gone through a serious personal relationship trauma. It was also noted that Ms Schneider suffered from non-specific neuroses. Interestingly, once she was sent on vacation the poltergeist activity stopped. Annemarie Schneider was dismissed from the company when the events began anew after she returned. There are no records of any further poltergeist activity since then.

Controversy

The Rosenheim Poltergeist case has become an extremely contentious issue. While some claim that it proves the existence of paranormal phenomena, critics maintain it was set up and faked, or simply an attention-seeking prank developed by the emotionally disturbed Ms Schneider. There is also no evidence on video that matches the more extreme (and, therefore, paranormal) events said to have occurred. However the police officers present and others unconnected with the company, such as Karger and Zicha from the Max Planck Institute, did give official statements claiming to have witnessed unexplained object movements, and Annemarie Schneider was never actually caught faking the phenomena.

Literature

  • Bender, H. 1968: « Der Rosenheimer Spuk – ein Fall spontaner Psychokinese », in: Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie 11 : 104-112.
  • Bender, H. 1969: « New Developments in Poltergeist Research », in: Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association 6 : 81.
  • Bender, H. 1974: « Modern Poltergeist Research - A Plea for an Unprejudiced Approach », in: New Directions in Parapsychology, ed. John Beloff, London.
  • Fairley, John & Welfare Simon 1984: Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers in Noisy Spirits Chapter
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