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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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