Full text of “Melchior Joller And The Stans Poltergeist”!

Before discussing Volker Anding’s fascinating documentary, it is worth sketching in the
details of this sorry tale. Melchior Joller (1818 – 1865) was at the epicentre of one of the
most fascinating poltergeist cases in history. He lived in Stans, provincial capital of the half-
canton of Nidwalden, near Lake Lucerne in German-speaking Switzerland. There he
occupied a substantial house with his wife Karoline (nee Wenz, 1820-1904), whom he
married in November 1842, and their seven children: sons Robert (b. December 1843),
Eduard (b. October 1851), Oskar (b.February 1853) and Alfred (b. November 1858); and
daughters, Emaline (b. October 1845), Melanie (b. May 1848) and Henrika or Henricke (b.
March 1850), plus a servant.

Joller, who had been born and raised in the house, and had owned it since his father’s death in
1845, was a prominent local citizen. He was a lawyer and an ambitious liberal politician,
though not a particularly successful one: he had served a single three- year term as a
backbencher in the National Suisse (the Swiss National Council), from 1857, and although he
stood for offices in Nidwalden, he was never elected. He had co-founded a liberal
newspaper, Nidwaldner Wochenblatt (Nidwaldner Weekly), which ran into problems with the
Catholic clergy, and he was opposed to the death penalty. He had farming and forestry
interests in the area through his family estate.

He was a solid bourgeois, seemingly well-regarded by his fellow citizens, even though his
views would have been likely to make him political enemies. On the whole, life for the
family appeared to be very comfortable, but disaster was to befall them. Fortunately (for us),
Joller kept a diary which thoroughly documented their experiences, and he published a
version in September 1863, entitled Darstellung selbsterlebter mystischer Erscheinungen
{Narrative of Personally Experienced Strange Phenomena). This is our primary source for
the case, but like all primary sources, while it appears objective on the surface, it needs to be
treated with caution.

Mysterious events began in a low-key way in the autumn of 1860, with the servant reporting
that she could hear strange knocking sounds on her bedstead at night. Superstitiously she
thought that this presaged the death of someone in the house, but Joller rebuked her and the
incident was forgotten. Some time later, Karoline and Melanie, who had been sharing his
bedroom while he was away from home, had a similar experience with the bedside table.
Joller was sceptical but puzzled, not being able to work out a natural cause for the event.
They now wondered, like the servant, whether this heralded a death, and a letter came a few
days later telling them of the death of a friend. Joller thought that this was the end of it.

Read the full transcript here: https://archive.org/stream/MelchiorJollerAndTheStansPoltergeist/Melchior%20Joller%20and%20the%20Stans%20Poltergeist_djvu.txt

About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I’ve experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).