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Ghosts--What Type of Haunting Do You Have?

Updated on August 16, 2013

Ghosts and Hauntings

Right now, paranormal investigation is a hot subject. There are many shows on television that supposedly follow real life investigators as they prove or disprove the existence of ghosts.

Usually, I like to have a reasonably objective opinion on popular topics, but when it comes to ghosts, I have to be one-sided. If you are a non-believer or a skeptic, then this hub is probably not for you.

I am a firm believer in the existence of the ghosts, and my mind will not be changed on the subject. After all, I know what I have seen.

I'm not alone, either. Millions of people report seeing, hearing or feeling the presence of other-worldy spirits. Depending on who you are talking to, these ghosts might be simple apparitions or super-evil, un-named forces from the Dark Side. Since I do NOT believe in super-evil, un-named forces from the Dark Side, I am going to stick to plain, old-fashioned ghosts.

The definition of a plain, old-fashioned ghosts is; " the spirit of a deceased person". Do you think you live in a haunted house? Do you feel personally haunted?

Or do you own a haunted object? Well, if you BELIEVE you do, then read on as I try to organize and categorize the different types and levels of ghosts and hauntings.

Types of Hauntings vs. Classification of Ghosts

Depending on which expert you read, ghosts and hauntings all have different terms attached to them. There are those people who believe that every bump in the night is a ghost. There are those that think every cold spot is something evil.

However, I have managed to pin together a basic way of understanding the different ways a house can be haunted, as well as how "strong" the ghost is. Ghost hunting has changed a lot thanks to reality television and horror movies. Ghosts however, are pretty much the same as they have been since the beginning of time.


Almost all the paranormal sites agree that there are six basic types of haunting activities

  • Residual--This is not technically a haunting. The people that left the 'residue', such as footsteps, laughter, crying, apparitions, etc. may not even be dead. Whenever they were in the particular place where they continue to haunt, they left a strong impression of themselves. Usually this was from one single event, and could have been something tragic, something happy, or something stressful. It could even be a routine that was repeated so often it left a sort of invisible groove.
  • Interactive--This is a ghost that doesn't just live in its own world. It can see us, hear us, and communicate with us. This is considered an intelligent haunting.
  • Poltergeist--We have all seen the movie, but in truth, Poltergeist activity is not cause by ghosts at all. Or indeed, any type of supernatural creature. Poltergeist activity is cause by the human brain. Usually, this activity is linked to homes with children entering puberty.The human body is already full of energy and if you add the stress of approaching adulthood, and the hormones, the body becomes a powerhouse.In most cases, the person causing the incidents is unaware that they are in charge. They are usually the ones attacked by the "spirit" the most. The more they are pinched, pulled, harassed, and frightened, the more scared they become and the more powerful the poltergeist can become.
  • Demons--I won't go into detail, as I said, because I do not believe in them, and they are not ghosts.
  • Shadow People--No one can really define these apparitions. They are not ghosts, but are commonly seen.
  • Portal Hauntings--A fascinating concept that explains some of the strange things people see. A portal is opened up between time or dimensions and we see glimpses of things from other worlds, the past, or future. Even though this sounds fun to explore, these too, are not real ghosts.

Basically there are six types of hauntings, but only two are linked to human spirits: Residuals (which are either strong psychic impressions or weaker ghosts) and Interactive hauntings. Now, lets go classify those ghosts.

Types of Ghosts

When I had the idea for this article, I remembered a chart I used to have a few years ago when I liked to ghost-hunt. It listed types of ghosts and their levels of strength.

That information seems to have vanished, to replaced by the more scientific terminology favored by popular professional ghost hunters. Therefore, the following is mostly from memory:

  • Level One--A level one haunting was by a very weak ghost. Examples of activity might include some sounds such as footsteps and sensations such as cold spots or faint odors. These ghosts are typically "anniversary" ghosts, meaning they are repeating an action at the same time of the day, week or year, or in a continual loop. Not to be confused with the residual haunting, which was just an impression, not an actual ghost.
  • Level Two--A level two ghost produced all of the above activity, perhaps a bit stronger. Might also include laughter, talking, and occasional "brushing by" feeling. These are also non-interactive ghosts, usually. They don't communicate or respond to humans, and are mostly just creepy.
  • Level Three--This ghost is a bit stronger, and can open doors, and move objects, as well as the above activity. May or may not have some interaction.
  • Level Four--Now we get into some visual aspects. This ghost can make appearances, usually in the form of mist, plasma, or a vague shadow or shape. It appears to be more sentient, meaning it interacts with humans, and is aware of their presence. Here you might have moved objects, noises, laughter, touches,
  • Level Five--This ghost can and will fully manifest itself, and may be either an anniversary ghost (or other type of ghost simply stuck, and unaware it has passed on), or it may be fully interactive. This type may want to communicate may want help, may want to warn you or something, may want you out of his or her house, or may just be content to do as it pleases. There will be all the sights, sounds, and movements of the other four types, plus the bonus of actually seeing this one fully formed at times.

I noticed that now a similar categorization list exists for poltergeists, and ghosts are merely defined as residual or sentient, and are further organized by the method they haunt. Lets take a peek at that:

Is Your Ghost Just An Imprint?

  • Imprint or Impression--You hear laughter in one room, with no other signs or activities. later you learn that the lady who owned your house threw parties in that room. Even though she moved away and died years later, you still hear her laughter. She isn't haunting you, she just left an imprint on her home. Another example of this might be the numerous legends of haunted schools. Of course children's voices are heard there...hundreds of children have been there over the years. Unless one of them died there somehow, chances are, they just left impressions of themselves on the building.
  • Historical (or more modern)--a type of ghost that does not interact, but can be seen. Is in period clothing, or always seen in the same clothing. May repeat actions regularly, and can be seen in several places. For instance, you see a woman in a prairie dress every so often. She is doing different things. After awhile, you begin to notice a routine to her actions as she enacts various scenes from her life.
  • Crisis ghosts--usually appear to family or friends within the first week after death, then disappear.
  • Anniversary Ghost--A ghost that appears at a certain time of day, week, month or year, and repeats the same action. It may happen once, or may repeat several times before vanishing. Example: You see a ghostly figure visit a grave or a landmark every week on the same day. They present flowers, then fade away.
  • Personal or family ghost--a ghost that is attached to a family or a certain member. No matter where you move, the ghost follows. An example would be if Aunt Lulu always appeared to people in the family before a specific occasion. Or perhaps you smell her cologne right before something bad is going to happen.
  • Haunted object--you never had a ghost until you bought that jewelry box at the garage sale. Now you notice that it is sometimes open, and the drawers have been rummaged. You move it, but it continues to be disturbed, and you might notice certain activity around the house that wasn't there before.

What To Do?

Chances are, if you feel you are haunted, you might wish to do something about the ghost. However, keep in mind that Hollywood aside, the majority of ghosts are simply living in the house as well. They make some bothersome noises, and they may not agree with your choice in curtains, but they probably aren't bent on destroying you.

Houses can be cleansed, of course, but if the ghost isn't doing more than raising the hairs on your neck, then you might not want to spend the money to have someone come and evict your spectral tenant.

There are times however when you should take action:

Bad Ghosts

If you acknowledge the presence of a ghost, or if you are highly sensitive, then you may notice that they haunting goes from just footsteps to more annoying activity as it is fed by your thoughts and energies. This doesn't mean your ghost has gone "bad". There are some occasions however, when a ghost may need to be dealt with:

  • Physical Harm-if any of those moving objects are hurled at you repeatedly.
  • If the haunting takes the form of poltergeist activity.
  • If they level of activity is interfering with your daily life.

The trick is to keep a level head. It is too easy to let imagination run freely. Did you really feel a suffocating presence? Or did you just wake up uneasy?

Signs and Symptoms Of A Haunting

I am basing this on personal experience, as I have said. I think that is only fair. I wouldn't explain the taste of a food I had never eaten, and I won't explain someone else's experiences with a ghost.

These are things best described by the actual witnesses. However, most of these are pretty general, and you will find many of them listed on any paranormal site. Ready? Here are a few of the signs that you may have a ghost in your home.

  • Noises--If you start to notice unusual noises, and cannot locate there source, you may be suspicious. Make sure you turn of any appliances such as air conditioners or fans that may be making a rattling noise or hum. Remember that houses make creaking noises, especially with weather changes. If you are alone in your home, and hear footsteps, doors banging, music, laughter, or the sound of conversation from another room, and no electronics or appliances are on, it is probably safe to investigate further. Remember though, if all you ever hear is one particular noise, such as only footsteps, it may simply be an impression.

  • Missing or Relocated Objects--Sure, we all forget where we put the scissors or an ink pen. And we all know that anything that was in your way last week vanishes when you need it. But sometimes you start to notice that bigger items have been moved, or appear in places that are a bit too unusual. For instance, perhaps your favorite shoes are in a bureau drawer one morning. Or you find car keys in the houseplant. Surely you didn't do that. Also, what about objects that appear overnight in a clean room? Ever walked into the kitchen one morning to find an ink pen you have never seen before lying on the stove?

  • Doors and Windows--You know you closed and locked the door. You double check it the next night. Yet you wake to find it ajar. You start paying very close attention to locking it. It still opens in the night. Maybe you hear an upstairs closet door squeak open, or the bathroom door slam shut. It might be the windows that slam closed when there is no wind.

  • Electronics and electricity--Technical gadgets can definitely tell us when something is wrong. Alarm clocks might go off for no reason, certain things may be unplugged in the night, lights can flicker, the television can "fuzz over" for a few seconds. Radio controlled cars or other devices might roll without batteries, and phones, flashlights and watches may quit. If this happens occasionally, it might be nothing. However if you have made sure that all the batteries are new, the weather is great, and your home's wiring is faultless, an excessive amount of gadget disturbance can be indicative of something strange going on.

  • Animals--One of the things I used to hear when growing up was that dogs are ghost-haters, and cats are ghost-lovers. I think this is because cats are more unpredictable than dogs. A cat needs no excuse to puff up and get go schizophrenic. In a home that is haunted, you may notice that a cat is attracted however to a certain room, whereas a dog may not go in there unless forced. Perhaps they bark at a room or area of a room frequently, or urinate in fear for no reason. If this is abnormal behavior for your dog, then chances are it could be a sign that he something you can't.

  • Sensation--This is harder to prove and to explain than the more physical actions of a ghost. As humans, we tend to get "creeped out" easily, and then our imaginations go wild. Try to use logic when it comes to "sensing" a presence. If you have moved into your new home, it may just be that the house is unfamiliar to you. If you have lived in a house for a longer time and never noticed anything until you were home alone one night, then it could just be the dark, emptiness of the house getting to you. Pay close attention to when you feel the sensations, which might include: rush of air, cold or war, spots, uncharacteristic emotional changes, and strange touches.

Of course there are more things you might notice. You may notice a tendency to quarrel at certain times or feelings of unease.

You might see something from the corner of your eye, or even see a full apparition. You might even notice some interactions such as your name being called or certain things being moved to please or tease you.

Are You A Paranormal Skeptic?

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

See results

Some Final Thoughts On Ghosts

Even if you are 100% sure you have a ghost, very few people might believe you. Avoid doing what the characters in books and movies do...don't start raving about your ghost.

Don't assume it is a malignant force out to consume your soul. Do a little research into the history of your home, and try to piece together a logical explanation.

Some things to remember before you get really excited. The ghost from three doors down probably didn't move to your house. Ghosts rarely follow you home from another location.

Secondly, unless several people have died in your house, odds are that you have just one lonely ghost. No need to give a separate personality to each different noise. Older homes might possibly have had two or more deaths, but not everyone who died there will remain to haunt.

Hopefully this will help you have a better relationship with your haunted house.Don't forget to journal your experiences so that you don't lose important details over time. A ghost journal would be an excellent gift for the budding paranormal investigator, as well as a way to chronicle your one of a kind experiences. Even if you and your ghost can never reconcile, and one of you has to move on, remember that you will always have some great stories to tell your grandchildren.


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