Poltergeists can bring a lot of misery to their victims, but they are very rarely actually dangerous. One of the few cases where it was alleged they committed acts of physical violence was detailed in this story from the "Edmonton Journal," August 15, 1960:
White River, South Africa (Reuters) A police officer reported attacks by an "unseen agency" on 20-year-old Jimmy de Bruin of nearby Farm Datoen.I found no further news reports about the case. I presume that either the phantom attacks were exposed as a hoax, or, as is usually the case with poltergeist accounts, the phenomena soon stopped as inexplicably as it had started.
Police Chief John Vessels described the attack in these words: "He would suddenly scream, 'They're cutting me' and then show gashes, some so deep that blood flowed freely on his body under his clothing."
Police, church ministers and doctors were baffled by the attacks on de Bruin, which started Wednesday.
Wessels said he went with one white and two African constables to the farm to investigate reports of mysterious attacks on the youth. They had been told of glassware and other objects being smashed without apparent cause.
"I walked through the house and as I left the lounge an ornamental sealed glass bowl containing a flower smashed to the floor four feet from the shelf on which it had been standing," he said.
While Wessels was there, de Bruin was wearing shorts and gashes appeared on his legs. The following day a cut appeared on the youth's chest in the presence of two detective sergeants from White River police station, where Wessels is in charge.
Wessels said the cuts crisscrossed up to six inches long and deep enough to draw blood in some cases. "We are completely mystified," he said. A priest of the local church who has seen the attacks prayed for de Bruin throughout Saturday. Local doctors have also been present during the attacks.