A poltergeist is a noisy spirit, often invisible and known for hurling objects across rooms or creating banging noises to disturb residents of their domain. Poltergeists may also be violent, pulling people's hair, clawing at them and even (in some stories) killing them: the difference between a poltergeist and a ghost is a controversial one with some viewing them as the same while some view poltergeists as a byproduct of psychic energy, akin to a thought-form (what Buddhists referred to as Tulpas).

Extremely violent and/or disturbing poltergeists can be considered demons or undead spirits by many and although it is not often performed in the modern world there are various exorcism rites in most religions dealing with ways to get rid of dangerous or unwanted spirits - many of which manifest poltergeist activity.

In the books of Harry Potter, Peeves the Poltergeist have made poltergeists more known to the public at large, as he is the typical poltergeist character: sadistic, annoying, troublemaking and violent. The author J.K Rowling has described Peeves as "an indestructible spirit of chaos":

See also