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What Are Ghosts?

Updated on October 22, 2011

Ghosts and spirits are the most fascinating of all phenomena. The words ‘ghost' or ‘spirit' generally convey the idea of something that is dangerous and harmful to physical beings, whereas in reality this is not very true.

‘The problem lies in sensationalism. No one wants to hear about spirits who sit quietly on the couch, making the occasional joke or smart remark.

No, it has been decided that we want to see horror: moaning apparitions of tortured souls taking out their revenge on the world where they once had life. That is generally all we see through the media, and that's, sadly, all some people believe.

And What Are Ghosts Made Up Of?

It is a common belief that ghosts are made up of energy. Yes, the same energy that is a part of our physical bodies, when we are living and breathing. When we die, it is our physical mass that dies. The body is just an outer shell for the energy that is contained within.

According to the first law of thermodynamics (also known as the law of conservation of energy) it is defined that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. However, it can be transformed from one form to another.

All living things contain energy so when the physical body dies, the energy is released into the environment.

It is also believed that this energy still retains the individual's traits and personality. Therefore, after death, the only thing that changes is that the spirit is free.

Another theory suggests that ghosts (and genies too) are made up of infrared rays. As the human eye can only see visible light, which is of a particular wavelength (from 400 to 700 nanometers). Infrared rays have a wavelength of 10 micrometer.

Therefore it is likely that genies and ghosts are made up of infrared waves. Moreover, the audible frequency for the human ear is from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

This might be the cause of our not being able to hear these voices.

Types Of Haunting

The whole ghostly phenomenon (haunting) is categorized into three types. The first type deals with ‘ghosts and spirits' as in the real sense; deceased people who appear in (almost) normal form. The second type is spirit energy that takes up different shapes and forms while the third kind is projections (which are not real ghosts just visual playbacks of what happened years ago.

Ghost and spirits can be divided into two kinds: those, which are harmless and others that are naughty namely, Apparitions and Poltergeists.

  • Apparitions

    These are transparent human forms that normally appear disfigured and faint as in being incomplete and wear the clothing of their period. They are types of interactive spirits that manifest in many ways.

    They are further divided according to their manner of manifestation. Hearing strange voices or footsteps, smelling strange odours (e.g. smelling tobacco when none is smoking around), feeling touches or cold spots are all indications of another being living with you.

    Although it's not always the case and people tend to get panicky over minute happenings and hold them responsible for the existence of ghosts around.
  • Poltergeist

    The Poltergeist (German for ‘noisy spirit') is the most feared by people as it has the greatest ability to affect our physical lives. As the name suggests, they are noisy, often throwing objects around, pinching and prodding residents and generally causing disruption.

Spirit Energy

The spirit energies are very hard to locate as they take up different forms and usually in all cases can be mistaken for ordinary fog (even fog can be mistaken for a ghost sighting).

You might have seen these different forms of spirit energies but by no way can you tell if it was a real one. Even expert ghost researchers have difficulty determining their state of authenticity. Spirit energies can be viewed in the form of orbs, vortices or ectoplasm.


Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. These are the most commonly photographed anomalies captured on film.

They usually are seen as transparent or translucent balls of light hovering over the ground. It is theorized that ghosts prefer the form of an Orb (ball of light) because it takes less energy to form a ball of light to live within.


These are moving orbs that seem to leave a trace of whitish light wherever they go. They are not visible to the naked eye but are usually captured on films. They may be viewed in different colours as well, lsuch as light blue, purple etc.


This is a form of spirit energy that appears either as long white swirls or as a vapour or cloud like apparition usually captured on film in cemeteries and in homes.

Sometimes ectoplasm appears as swirls with thick columns emerging from within, running in various directions. Therefore real ectoplasm are very hard to determine as the same mist can be produced on the photographic film by cigarette smoke or real fog in the air.

But there is always a small distinction (which can be figured by expert ghost hunters) that real ectoplasm has a pattern of light moving inside it in a peculiar manner while fog is just ordinary mist. It is usually said that a spirit takes up the form of mist before appearing as an apparition.


This is a swirling column of white ectoplasm and is no different from the mist that is more commonly spotted by people except that it is different in shape.

It's very hard to determine a true vortex (if you are taking its picture) since even your camera strap, if comes in front of the lens, produces the same image.

Ghost Lights

Scientists have explained the phenomenon of ghost lights by claiming that it is caused by swamp gas or some phosphoric eruptions from the Earth's interior. Although this theory has not been proven, yet some people continue to believe it.

There have been legends about many men trying to follow these lights and then falling into the darkness. Some of them are thought to have died while trying to search for the causes of its formation.


Sometimes people tend to see the projections of their long gone loved ones. Since we know so little about the power and capacity of our own minds, it's possible that it can even produce physical revelation, such as apparitions and noises that even others may be able to see and hear. But they are not "real" in any sense. They are just products of our own powerful imaginations.

Residual Ghosts

Residual ghost sightings are endless loops of the same scene being played over and over to different people, and usually always seen in the same location. This could be anything from a regeneration of some painful event to footsteps up and down a hallway.

A dead child's laughter could be heard in a hallway in which he once played or a soldier could be seen staring out of the window of a building he once guarded. There are even cases of ghost cars and trains that can still be heard and sometimes seen even though they are long gone.

The ghosts that you see in this type are not earthbound spirits; they are just visual playbacks. Since everything is made up of energy, the theory is that some of the energy from an event can be recorded by certain materials and played back when the atmosphere (moisture, availability of light etc) triggers it.

Do Not Fear Them

This world is made up of all kinds of people whether good or bad. In the same manner the spirit world also inhibits spirits belonging to all levels of morality. If there is a spirit living with you, you do not need to fear it, unless it really is set on causing you harm.

Remember that these ghosts were once human beings like you. In some cases, they are as confused about the whole situation as you are. All they are trying to do is get people's attention and maybe pass on a message.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Don't try to tell him he doesn't know what he's talking about if anything you don't know what your talking about alpha. How else are you going to explain why so many people see ghosts?

    • profile image

      Alpha Luna 

      7 years ago

      You are correct in saying that when the physical body dies, our energy is released. But our energy is not used to become some sort of magical spirit that roams around the planet or whatever you people think they do. The energy within our bodies is instead released back into the environment through decomposition. This energy takes the form of many simple compounds which is absorbed by the soil or by other organisms. This is a simple explanation on how energy is transferred.

      You obviously don't understand this complicated process so please don't try and use it to explain a superstition that the rest of the world knows to be false.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm just really curious and a bit scared. It's nothing serious but, I'm 14, and my family and I moved into this apartment building about 5 or 6 years ago, this building is really old, about a year after we moved in I didn't feel right, like something was always watching me or guarding me I don't know exactly what but it creeped me out, no one believes me or listens to me when I mention the term "ghosts". A couple of months later I tell my best friend about this, and maybe the next week I was with my cousin and my younger sister watching t.v in the living room and we hear banging on the windows, but no one was there, and the noise continued, so we ignored it, and the more we ignored it the louder it got so we opened the window, and it stopped, but then, about a year later I was in the kitchen with one of my friends, and we were getting a bag of chips and then all of a sudden my chips fell on the floor so I bent down really quicly to pick it up and as I bent down the iron quickly flew into the stove that was right in front of me, and my friend was freaked out and I got up and I go what was that noise, and she goes the toaster just flew at your head, and I ran downstairs to tell my parents and my mom tells me maybe i pulled on it, but I was nowhere near it and it wouldn't have flew that fast if I pulled on it. But once again I left it alone and I ignored it, and then a couple of months later on Christmas Day, it was about 4 a.m , and I was soo excited to open my gifts, I got up to get a drink of water, and I was soo scared to sleep in my own room because I was scared that "IT" might try to hurt me, so I went back into my parents bed where I had been sleeping ever since, and something once again just didnt't feel right, and I recognized the feeling , so I thought if I ignored it, it would go away again. I started watching t.v and I reached over to get my drink, and something popped up from under my parents bed and tips my water over, and I flipped out I got so scare and I woke my parents up and I told them, and they told me maybe it was Santa Clause, and all I could do was ignore it. So just recently aybe a couple of months agao this girl to be specific, she was teenager, maybe 17, 18, she was young and she looked like she was Chinese and I'm getting ready to watch a movie with my family, and I see her just standing by the hallway, and I was sitting on my couch, and I couldn't help but tear up, she looked sooo dirty, and depressed and she looked like she was wearing pjamas, she looked as if she was strangled, and just stared at me and she had such a blank stare, I just put my head down and I whispered go away, just away, and she continued to stare, and she just left, disapearad, vanished, and my dad said to me are you okay, and I said yeah you didn't see her did you, and he said no I didn't, she hasn't come back ever since but I feel bad as if it's my fault, like she needed me but I ignored her, like I disappointed her and I was just scared, I'm still scared, but I want to help, and I still feel like someone's watching me like she never left even when I didn't physically see her, she was still there watching me, and I had a dream about a copuple of weeks ago and it really spookd me, it was about one of the cry baby bridges, I've never heard of them in my entire life, and all of a sudden I had a dream, and, no matter where I was in the dream she was there, just watching. I recently found out that a couple of people in my family on ,my dad's side has a "sixth sense", ad it started at my age, this is including my grandmother and my uncle, but I don't know exactly what to call it, I'm just a little freaked do you know if she or "IT" would harm me or if "IT" wants my help and why?

    • profile image

      Jackie Chin 

      8 years ago

      Wonderfully written article on the topic of ghosts. You really do have an excellent understanding of the subject. I am looking to see more from you.

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pakistan

      Yes, these ghostly accounts are never ending, I would love to read them a as a hub of yours. Its always fun to share these stories with friends late night and that too at a creepy place.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      8 years ago

      A friend of mine who used to live in Garden Town area of Lahore has almost the same situation. The ghost there seems a bit too strong. And house of grandparents of another friend in Mochi. There are a lot of stories I can share about them. Maybe I'll write a hub about it.

      Recently I saw a documentary on Discovery channel. The house apparently had the same problems.

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pakistan

      Yes, I and my family have experienced a lot about ghosts. Such things are very common in Pakistani society, specially in the past. However these ghostly accounts are not always true, most of the time they are nothing more than superstition.

      My old house was situated in a pretty old locality near a railway line. It was said that the house had ghosts or Jinns (according to our belief). Almost every one who came to out house and have lived their, including me have seen and felt strange presence.

      These presence are like knocking of doors, seeing shadows of things other than us, on the walls etc.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      8 years ago

      Mate, that is quite a research. Do you have any personal experience with ghosts? Would you like to share your experiences of your old house you mentioned above?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Are ghosts usually real looking or seen in broad daylight?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      well this the best answare that i get in my life so this will encouraged me in search of ghost

      you said in your article that you need not to afaired then but why because it can hurt you

      thanks for nice information

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      what is this is it real.;

    • MarkHall profile image

      Mark Halliday 

      9 years ago from Australia

      This is one of the best explanations I have read on the subject. Well done Hassam.

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Pakistan

      Well I have seen one in my childhood to be really honest......even have seen some strange things happening in the old house I lived in my childhood

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      That's a great hub Hassam. What made you write it - do you have any personal experiences with such phenomena?

    • trakker14 profile image


      11 years ago from franklin

      Your main picture doesn't come thru, this is my favorite topic, I really feel sorry for the spirits that have not moved on.


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