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WEEK 2 Ghost

“Ghosts? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Ghosts!”


Written by Kevin Woodrow

DATE: 02-19-07



In popular culture the word “ghost” is generally used to describe any type of haunting that might take place, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. It’s just a word used universally, and when you say it most everyone knows what you’re talking about; “I think I have a ghost“. It’s just like telling someone your “sick”. If you tell someone you’re sick, they understand you. However, there are many different ways you can be sick, and in that same thought, there are believed to be many ways you can be haunted. In this installment of “This Week In OPS” I’m going to attempt to explain the basic characteristics of each of the four major “ghost” categories as recognized by most paranormal investigators. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.



We will talk about the residual haunting first, as it is by far the most common form of haunting reported. I guess the best way to explain this type of haunting is by comparing it to one of your home movies that you recorded with a video camera. The images you watch on your home movies look like you and your family, but they aren’t actually you, they are only imprints of you on a piece of film.

A residual haunting is believed to be just like a home video. It is an energy imprint into time, if you will, and it plays back on occasion. These usually occur in the same place every time with very little (if any) variation in the action that occurs. The haunting could occur anywhere from everyday to maybe once a year in that location, but each time it’s the same event played out.

You may wonder why this occurs, and that’s a very good question. It is believed that a high emotional state by individuals in the past can be the cause of these energy imprints. Some residual hauntings are apparently due to a violent event, which in turn exuded an incredibly intense amount of energy and created the imprint. However, many are not deemed to be caused by violence. Instead they are caused by repetition - someone during their lifetime doing something very important to them in the same place often, therefore creating the energy imprint. These imprints also are known to sometimes be accompanied by corresponding sounds.

The best example of this type of haunting would be of reported sightings of Civil War battles being played out by ghostly apparitions in the areas where these battles actual took place, complete with shouting soldiers and gunfire . As you can imagine, a great deal of energy had to be displaced during those engagements.

It should also be noted that during these types of hauntings, the apparitions do not normally interact with you. Again, it’s like watching a video tape, there is no interaction. These are not believed to be actual spirits.



An intelligent haunting is exactly what the name implies: “intelligent“. These ghosts appear to be very aware of their surroundings, and move around at will. They often seem to be highly aware of a human presence, and sometimes even attempt to communicate.

Can these entities interact with our world? Absolutely. However, according to research it is apparent that only smaller objects can be effected by them. It is obvious, in most cases, that they want to be seen, heard, or even felt.

An intelligent haunting can occur for various reasons. These entities seem to possibly stay around because of a love for their former home or favorite place, because of some item they want to look after, to watch over a loved one, or simply because they want to be noticed. The reasons an intelligent spirit would decide to stay are many, and the answer isn’t always easy to find.

Keep in mind as well, that these ghosts can indeed be mischievous, but not always with bad intentions. It all depends on their reason for remaining.



As the word’s German meaning implies, a poltergeist is what one would call a “noisy ghost”. However, noisy isn’t all a poltergeist is, it can also be downright creepy. This type of haunting can cause knocks and bangs on walls, doors may close on their on, chairs can slide across the room all by themselves, and even beds can shake. The situation may even heighten to the point where a full body manifestation is seen and heard.

A key part of a poltergeist haunting is that it usually revolves around one person. Even though a situation like this can be experienced by more than one person in a room, as soon as a certain person leaves, the haunting will usually stop. It is believed by some that these hauntings may be caused by the person whom the activity is revolving around. Due to extreme stress and unknown energies exuding from him or her, the person may actually be causing the objects to move, not a spirit.

Another theory is that this activity may be caused by entities “feeding” off of the energy being produced by the overly stressed individual.

An even stranger observation has been that most of these incidents have taken place around teenage girls. I’m absolutely serious. Studies have shown that it may be due to the changes a girl goes through at this time her life (like the stress I noted earlier) exuding a great deal of energy. And, either the girl is unknowingly moving objects with that force, or the entities feeding off of the energy are moving them for her.

None-the-less, poltergeists are definitely one of the rarest and most intriguing types of hauntings that occur and need to be studied more closely when possible. And, this is exactly why this form of ghost has been used in Hollywood so often. Intrigue and mystery make for great movies.



This is not the type of ghost that you want to be inviting over to your house for dinner with the family. Nope. In fact, this really isn’t even a ghost. Being a ghost implies that the entity either was once a person or is the imprint of a person. A demon, on the other hand, is something inhuman.

These creatures are usually easy to recognize as they can be accompanied by a smell of rotting flesh and/or sulfur, and at times will even growl. When one is present the air can feel very heavy and the temperature may rise. And, their physical impact is one that can truly be felt: pushing, hitting, and sometimes even scratching.

I mentioned that they are easy to recognize, that is, unless they are hiding. Demons apparently can take any form they wish. They are neither male nor female, but can become either so as to suit their needs. They may do whatever is necessary, including taking human form to trick people, in order to shield the home from religious provocation. However, demons are seen by most people as shadow figures or black masses. These entities are also known as shadow devils or shadow men.

Luckily, however, they are a very rare occurrence.


Now you know the four distinct categories of hauntings that you might encounter, and while the differences between the four groups seem to be pretty clear, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to determine exactly which one you are dealing with. There are even several sub-categories within each of the four mentioned, and probably even more that have yet to be documented, but that discussion will be left for another day.

So, as you can see, with residual hauntings, intelligent hauntings, poltergeists, and demons… I mean, seriously… we don’t need no stinkin’ ghosts! We’ve got enough to worry about as it is.


Until next time,