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(from German Polter, "noise" or "racket"; Geist, "spirit"), in occultism, a disembodied spirit or supernatural force credited with certain malicious or disturbing phenomena, such as inexplicable noises, sudden wild movements, or breakage of household items. Poltergeists are also blamed for violent actions-throwing stones or setting fire to clothing and furniture. Such events are said to be sporadic, unpredictable, and often repetitive.