Staus Poltergeist A 19th-century Poltergeist named for the village of Staus on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. The strange, never-explained activities took place from 1860 to 1862, victimizing members of the Joller family. Joller was a distinguished lawyer and member of the Swiss national council.
The Hauntings began with a servant girl hearing knocks on her bedstead, which she took to be a prediction of her death. Joller believed the girl imagined them and forbade her to talk about the incident. But a short time later, Joller’s wife and one of his three daughters heard Rapping. Within a few days a friend died, an event they imagined was linked to the raps foretelling death.
Several months later, one of Joller’s four sons saw an apparition of a white, indistinct figure, causing him to faint. Several of the other children reported strange happenings. The servant girl said that the spirit followed her to her room and also that it could be heard sobbing all night in the lumber-room.
The servant girl was soon replaced in the hope that such reports would stop. But the family’s hopes were shattered when the knocks, louder than ever, frightened the children into fleeing from the house, and even began to haunt Joller himself. Knocks were now accompanied by invisible hands locking doors and throwing open locked windows, as well as strange music and voices, and the humming of spinning wheels.
Joller sought help from the authorities, clergy, and scientists, all of whom were unable to identify the cause of the disturbances. For six days, the Joller family left the house with the police in occupancy for further investigation. The police withdrew, having heard nor seen any sign of the poltergeist, and the family returned only to be victims of renewed poltergeist activity.
Joller was forced to leave his ancestral home and put in a tenant, who heard nothing from the poltergeist. Witnesses and readers of the Joller story believe that it provides strong support for the theory of discarnate intelligence at work in poltergeist cases.
The case was never solved. In light of modern theories about poltergeists, it is possible that a member of the Joller household was the agent for the activities.
- Spence, Lewis. The Encyclopedia of the Occult. London: Bracken Books, 1988. Reprint.