"a noisy spirit, a ghost which makes its presence known by noises," 1838, from German Poltergeist, literally "noisy ghost," from poltern "make noise, rattle" (from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, ring, roar;" source of bellow, bell) + Geist "ghost" (see ghost (n.)). In the native idiom of Northern England, such phenomena likely would be credited to a boggart.
Thus it shares ancestry with many dialect words for "ghost, specter," such as bog/bogge (attested 16c.-17c.), bogeyman (16c.), boggart "specter that haunts a gloomy spot" (c. 1570, in Westmoreland, Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire). The earliest modern form appears to be Scottish bogle "ghost," attested from c. 1500 and popularized c. 1800 in English literature by Scott, Burns, etc.