Word Origin: The English word ghost continues Old English gást, from a hypothetical Common Germanic gaistaz. It is common to West Germanic, but lacking in North Germanic and East Germanic [the equivalent word in Gothic is ahma, Old Norse has andi (m.), önd (f.)]. The pre-Germanic form was ghoisdo-s, apparently from a root denoting "fury, anger" reflected in Old Norse geisa "to rage".
Synonyms: spirit, apparition, wraith, spook, specter, spectre, soul, phantom, phantasm, shadow, shade, visitant, semblance, trace, suggestion, fantasma .
What Are Ghosts?...
Ghosts are prominent in the popular cultures of various and numerous nations. The ghost story is ubiquitous across all cultures from oral folktales to works of literature and across nearly the entire span of human experience. While ghost stories are often explicitly meant to be scary, they have been written to serve all sorts of purposes, from comedy to morality tales. Ghosts often appear in the narrative as sentinels or prophets of things to come. Belief in ghosts is found in all cultures and in literature around the world, and thus ghost stories may be passed down orally or in written form throughout history. It is a concept that has been planted in our consciousness for many thousands of years.
Ghosts are at times many things to people, depending on their outlook and mind set. They are always mysterious --- as are all things that are unknown. They have been many things in different cultures and in different times throughout history; always portrayed, treated, and explained from particular points of view & perspectives.
According to noted parapsychologist, Peter Underwood, there are 8 classifications of ghosts:
1. Ghosts of the Living - seeing phantoms of living people, who have not died (aka a 'doppelganger'), that seems to suggest that some ghosts might be mental projections.
2. Time Slips - an experience where the witness seemingly steps back into a foregone time, interacting with people and the environment.
3. Haunted Inanimate Objects - unexplained, supernatural behavior, such as movement, of objects that are not alive.
4. Crisis Apparitions - seeing recently departed loved ones, often hallucinations and a common part of the grieving process.
5. Mental Imprint Manifestations - energy imprinted on an environment from past events.
6. Historical Ghosts - traditional ghosts; people (or animals) who have died whose souls interact with those of us who are alive.
7. Poltergeists - noisy ghosts whose origin still remains a mystery in many cases.
8. Elementals - thought to be primitive entities, ghosts that are often connected to places of burial.
So what exactly is a ghost?
Ghosts are phenomena which have several possible definitions:
A. The spirit or soul of a person who has died, which haunts a specific place or venue which was of emotional significance to that person when they were living. [Intelligent]
B. The spirit or soul of a person who has died, which has manifests itself to contact a person but is not tied to a specific place. [Intelligent]
C. The personality of a person after his or her own death which is not directly tied to the soul or spirit. A type of psychic memory imprint.[Residual]
D. The character or memory of some being or thing which has died or, if it was never alive, has been somehow destroyed or dissembled, which nevertheless remains existent (and sometimes detectable) in a semi-corporeal form. [Residual]
E. An overlapping of parallel worlds into our own in which we can see, hear, feel, or occasionally interact with a person or thing that lives or exists in that parallel. [Intelligent, but may be unaware]
While some individuals accept ghosts as a reality, many others are skeptical of the existence of such. Much of the scientific community believes that ghosts, as well as other supernatural and paranormal entities, do not exist. Skeptics often explain ghost sightings with the Principle of Occam’s Razor; which basically states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. In short, when given two equally valid explanations for a phenomenon, one should embrace the less complicated formulation.
Some examples of such would be:
> Ghosts are often associated with a chilling sensation, but a natural response to fear is hair raising, which can be mistaken for a chill.
> Peripheral vision is very sensitive to motion, but does not contain much color or the ability to sharply distinguish shapes. Any random motion outside the focused view can create a strong illusion of an eerie figure.
> Sound waves with frequencies lower than 20 hertz are called infrasound and are normally inaudible, but British scientists Richard Lord and Richard Wiseman have concluded that infrasound can cause humans to feel a “presence” in the room, or unexplained feelings of anxiety or dread.
> Psychological factors may also relate to ghost sightings. Many people exaggerate their own perceptions, either when visiting a place they believe to be haunted, or when visiting a site which they know unpleasant historical events have occurred.
> Certain images such as paintings and movies might “program” a person to automatically associate a certain structure or area with ghosts.
> Also, the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia (seeing recognizable shapes and patterns in everyday objects ie: face of Mars, Rorschach inkblots) may cause people to perceive human-like faces or figures in the otherwise mundane surroundings of their environments, particularly in conditions where vision is partly obscured, as in a dark corridor or at night. Skeptics also apply this theory to EVP’s (when anomalous voices, often purported to be of supernatural origin, are reportedly heard on audio recordings.)
Types of Ghosts
If you are truly interested in ghost hunting then you need to know what you are hunting. Unfortunately, even though we now have years of experience and modern equipment there is no set definition of what a ghost is or what kind of haunting you will be up against. Most, if not all do agree that a ghost is a form of energy but anything past that and each person seems to have their own idea.
I like the definition that Ghost Research Society Dale Kaczmarek uses, “A ghost is a disembodied spirit of a once living person that hasn’t quite made the transition from this world to the next often due to an untimely, sudden or violent death."
There could be paranormal investigations that go beyond the definition of a ghost though and depending on what you believe, you could be up against something that was never human to start with. Here are 5 types of ghosts that we will try to define for you. Some argue there is much more, some argue there are not as many, in reality only you can decide in what you believe.
Though this may not be the most common type of ghost haunting it is usually what the majority of people imagine when they think of types of ghosts. These types of hauntings are of ghosts that where at one time human beings. They are intelligent and can interact with their surroundings. It is believed that these ghosts will try to manifest themselves and be seen by the living whenever possible.
You may have an intelligent haunt if you get footsteps, moving items, voices, slamming doors etc.
This is the most common types of ghosts. Some refer to these as psychic recordings. Mostly related to tragic events, this in when enough energy is produced it is literally burnt into an area or object. When this happens this event will replay itself, as if in an infinite loop when the right conditions presents itself to trigger it. No one even has to be present for this to happen.
You may have a residual haunt if there is a repeating event and there is no interaction from the spirit. For example a ghost walking into the room and out the wall that used to be a door.
The poltergeist types of ghosts are known for making load noises or banging. Typically this is one of the scariest types of haunting. This would be real similar to an intelligent haunting but with a poltergeist it is usually centered on one person. This could be especially true if teenage girls are around. There has been a possible connection between the heightened emotional state of these females and telekinesis or psychokinetic abilities. The ghosts in these haunting seem very angry and it is possible that there is more than one intelligent ghost pulling their energy together to try and get your attention because of that anger.
You may have a poltergeist haunt if you see the same signs as an intelligent haunt but only when a certain person is present. Counseling with that person or finding out what is upsetting the spirits usually will bring an end to the haunting.
These type of haunting is very rare, though the most dangerous of all types of ghosts. Demons are not and never where human. Unlike a human spirit demons are very strong and can cause physical harm to people. Reports have said that people have been kicked, scratched, hit, choked and even thrown to the ground. A demon haunting should be dealt with quickly and through trained people. It is important to recognize the signs as soon as possible. Demons are masters at trickery and can manifest themselves in whatever form necessary to reach their goal.
You may have a demon haunting if there is serious poltergeist activity, sudden smells of sulphur or rotten meat and/or growling sounds seemingly coming from all around.
Generally, most paranormal entities that seem like ghosts… they’re okay.
However, three categories are worrisome:
1. Demons -- (or really dark and malicious entities) that pretend to be ghosts, so you let your guard down.
2. Faeries -- possibly from other realms, which seem pretty much dedicated to destroying humans that get in their way. Some faerie experts use the word “malignant” to describe them. Whether those kinds of faeries truly dangerous or not, they can seem more like ghosts than like Tinkerbell, and they should be avoided. Some might refer to these as Elementals, and not from other realms.
3. Shadow People -- that are appearing more often at investigation sites, and, at this point, we’re not entirely certain what they are.
This is the rarest of all the types of ghosts and probably the most controversial. A doppelganger is a vision of yourself and is usually a sign of your own death. Seeing a doppelganger doesn’t necessarily mean that your death is imminent, it could be more of a sign that your end will come at that location.
When you are ghost hunting it is not only important to concentrate on gathering concrete evidence that there are ghosts among us. It is also important to know what kind of ghost you are dealing with to better prepare yourself for what may lay ahead. Contact Us.