Paranormal activity is not just limited to a ghost going bump in the night. The truth is there are many different types of hauntings that the average person does not understand. I decided to put this basic blog together as an introduction to paranormal phenomena in hopes of clearing up the misconceptions out there for everyone. Knowledge is power and the more you understand about the unseen world, the less likely you are to fear it.
The words people use to describe a haunting have become varied and numerous over the years, including ghosts, spirits, entities, spooks, souls, apparitions, and manifestations. These terms are not as interchangeable as people tend to think, however. What leaves the body when we die is the soul, sometimes called the consciousness as well. The soul is who we are. It’s our personality, our essence, everything we are within the body, and the body is simply the vehicle used to move through this particular lifetime. You are your soul and your soul is you. The body is just a shell. When your body dies and your soul leaves it, the living may still sense your presence. At that point, the word to describe you becomes either ghost, entity, spook or spirit. Those words are interchangeable, although I personally prefer spirit or entity because they don’t quite have the cartoonish connotation that comes with ghost or spook. Spirit is the most universal word to describe the consciousness that exists outside of the body in a haunting situation, while entity is a word that covers any type of paranormal consciousness, especially if you’re not sure about the cause.
An apparition is defined as “an unusual or unexpected sight” and “a ghostly figure”, meaning it’s only appropriate to use that word when you physically see a spirit. Example: “I saw a full-bodied apparition.” That means you physically saw a fully formed figure of a spirit. It’s not correct to say, “I felt the apparition,” or, “I sensed the apparition,” because you would be saying you felt or sensed a visual experience. You either saw an apparition or you felt or sensed a spirit but not both. Along those lines, manifestation is derived from the verb to manifest, meaning “to make evident by showing or displaying”. This word can be used with any of the six (yes, six) senses when a spirit is present. Example: “I saw/felt/smelled/heard/tasted/sensed the manifestation of a spirit.”
As you can see, getting the basic vocabulary correct will be very helpful in describing spirit activity. It’s important to develop continuity in the field so that we are all on the same page and there are no misunderstandings or miscommunications.
In general, spirits can really be divided into two main groups: human and inhuman. A human spirit is a spirit of someone who has previously lived within a human body, while an inhuman spirit is a spirit of something that has never been human and never will be human. Inhuman spirits include demons, angels, sprites, faeries, elementals, etc.
Most people mistake demons for angry human spirits when there are distinct things to consider. Demons are much, much stronger than any human spirit could be, and they are capable of diabolical confusion, oppression and possession. Diabolical confusion is when a person is made confused, foggy and emotionally drained by a demon at a location. Demonic oppression is when a demon literally oppresses people in a location, making them feel depression, influence in doing bad things, etc., which is not unlike diabolical confusion but much worse. Demonic possession is when a demon will literally take over a human body and the human no longer has control over their actions, which will turn violent with knowledge they should not have and languages they have never spoken. It should be made perfectly clear that true demon activity is very, very rare. Angry human spirits can mimic some of the behavior but are not as dangerous and they are easier to cleanse. The demon idea should only be considered after every other possible explanation has been explored.
Most people often call human spirits angels as well, which is not correct. Angels, like demons, are their own species of spiritual entity and they have never been nor will ever be human. People often say, “So-and-so has gone on to be a guardian angel,” but that’s not entirely correct. Yes, spirits of our loved ones do watch over us from time to time but they are not guardian angels. They’re just spirits. There are many, many different types of angels in a hierarchy in the afterlife (or heaven if you prefer that word) and they all have different functions. So remember there is a distinct difference between a human spirit and an angel.
Human and inhuman spirits can then be divided into two categories each: residual or intelligent. To say that someone is experiencing a residual haunting means it’s an imprint of energy on the atmosphere replaying itself over and over again. There is no actual spirit present with residual hauntings – the phenomena is simply caused by repeating cycles of energy left there from a traumatic or important event in the location’s history. Think of a video loop playing over and over again. The people in the video aren’t actually there repeating their actions but the imprint of their images or sounds are still there. It’s an energy problem, not a spirit problem, and residual energy can be imprinted from both human events and inhuman events of good or bad nature. On the flip side, an intelligent haunting is what people typically think of when they think of the paranormal – a human or inhuman spirit that cannot or will not leave a location. Intelligent spirits will interact with other spirits or living people around them. Many of them will respond to provocation.
Being classified as earthbound or visitation will determine whether the intelligent spirit can come and go at will. Earthbound spirits are those who have not moved into the afterlife. They are stuck, for lack of a better word, here in the physical world by choice or because they don’t know they’re dead. When a spirit chooses to stay, it’s usually because they’re afraid of what they’ll find in the afterlife (if they’ve done wrong, for example), they don’t want to leave loved ones behind, or they feel they have unfinished business that needs to be completed before they can go. When a spirit does not choose to stay, it’s usually because they don’t know they’ve died. This most often occurs when death occurs suddenly (in war, for example), or when the body dies in an extreme state of confusion (drug overdoses, for example). There are a lot of reasons why spirits become earthbound and there are a lot of unique exceptions to rules that mean it should be examined on a case by case basis. A spirit making a visitation, however, is a spirit that has moved on to the afterlife but occasionally returns to look in on loved ones or visit places that held meaning in their lives. Visitations to loved ones most often happen in the dream state when our minds are most able to receive such information.
I hope all of this helps you get started in your understanding of the unseen world.