Buffyverse Wiki
Buffyverse Wiki

A poltergeist was a spirit, such as a ghost or apparition, that could manifest visually and audibly, possess individuals, and alter reality.[1][2] They had ghost-like powers and abilities like invisibility, intangibility, and telekinesis.[3]


Sunnydale High[]

Oh, no, no. No. No cool. This was no wimpy chain rattler. This was 'I'm dead as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore.'

The ghosts of James Stanley and Grace Newman manifested at the time of the Sadie Hawkins dance at Sunnydale High School in 1998. The two previously had a student-teacher affair over forty years before, when Grace attempted to break it off, James shot her dead then killed himself. James' spirit, seeking forgiveness, began possessing students and faculty along with Grace to relive their last moments.[1]

However, the spirits were trapped in a loop; those possessed repeated the couples' last moments with James's host ended up shooting Grace's. These reenactments resulted in the death of one teacher and the near death of two students and janitor, which where saved when Buffy and Giles intervened, cutting off the possession and making the mystically created gun disappear. Aside from that, James also began wrecking havoc, forcing the school to be temporarily shut down.[1]

The Scooby Gang attempted to bind James' spirit by creating a Magnus Tripod at the school, however, James summoned a swarm of hornets, forcing them to evacuate and preventing them from returning. James, having related to Buffy, drew her to the school safely and, whilst Angel came by chance, they reenacted the event once more with Grace. Being a vampire, Angel survived the bullet wound and allowed Grace to reunite with James, and their spirits moved on.[1]

Pearson Arms[]

The original owner of Pearson Arms Apartments, Maude Pearson, trapped her son Dennis inside a wall so he could not leave with his girlfriend. Maude quickly died of heart attack, and they went on to haunt the Pearson Arms apartment 212 decades after their deaths. In that time, Maude's ghost killed three female occupants because she was under the impression they were involved with Dennis.[3]

When Cordelia Chase bought the apartment in 1999, Maude continued her streak, constantly and violently attacking the new occupant. Angel and Doyle attempted to exorcise Maude, but the ritual was interrupted when a loan shark came after them. Cordelia, having had enough of Maude's torment, eventually stood up up to her by reliving her days as "the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history." With that, Dennis was able to possess Cordelia and reveal his body to his mother, sending her away.[3] Even with Maude gone, Dennis still resided at her apartment as Cordelia's benevolent roommate for years.[3][4]

Lowell House[]

I think we're dealing with a kind of Poltergeist, a cluster of them in fact, born out of intense adolescent emotion and sexual energy.
―Rupert Giles[src]

In 2000, a poltergeist manifested at Lowell House as a result of the severe abuse and repression a group of traumatized teenage orphans suffered at the hands of Genevieve Holt. These were not the disembodied spirits of deceased people, but rather spiritual manifestations of intense, raw emotions and energy of living people.[2]

The teens' intense emotions and sexual energy remained within the house and manifested because of the sexual relationship of Buffy and Riley, whose constant sexual activity acted as an energy source for the "poltergasm." The poltergeist not only drew energy from Buffy and Riley but also influenced them to continue engaging in sexual activity, forcing them to give them a constant source of energy until it runs out, which would result in their deaths. It was the efforts of Xander and Anya that permanently stopped the poltergeists when they simply walked into Riley's room and interrupting his being intimate with Buffy.[2]

Powers and abilities[]

Poltergeists displayed an array of powers.

  • Telekinesis — The most prominent power was the ability to move objects and people. For example, the Lowell House poltergeist made a bottle spun until it exploded; strips attached Spike to a chair; books fell at Xander, Anya, Willow, and Tara; a violent ejection on Xander when he tried to return inside, and throwing a table across the room during a seance-like exorcism ritual.[2]
  • Reality alteration — James was able to create an arm that attacked Xander from his locker, turn the kraut dogs and spaghetti into snakes in the school cafeteria, make half of Cordelia's face to rot while she tried to powder her snake bite, cause the floor under Willow to sink like quick sand, and summon wasps in the hallway.[1]
  • Mind manipulation — The Lowell House poltergeist was able to affect the behavior of the partygoers into reflecting their sexual repression, such as making Willow and Tara separate in disgust of each other when sitting close, and making a spin the bottle game participant cut her hair in guilt.[2]
  • Possession — The Lowell House poltergeist possessed humans like Julie and Graham Miller.[2] Dennis, James, and Grace also showed the ability to possess the corporal bodies of both humans as well as a vampire, in Grace's case. Though it appeared that this ability was limited in some way, as James and Grace only could possess people according to their past experience, which they could not properly resolve until they possessed Buffy and Angel,[2] and Dennis did not possess Cordelia until she stood up to his mother.[3]
  • Intangibility — Poltergeists also used intangibility, like most ghosts did, such as when one of the orphans ran through Anya.[2]

The Lowell House poltergeist caused other strange occurrences like the room became suddenly cold; the fire of the fireplace reached a student; a wall impregnated with energy capable of making whoever touched it orgasm; a massive growth of vines; a localized earthquake at the house; and drowning Xander into a filled bathtub like how the orphans had been "baptized".[2]