Haunting Categories
Written by Staci J. Berube

So you think you’ve seen a ghost?

No doubt, there are many things going through your mind right now, mainly “what was it” and “should I be afraid of it”?  In order to answer those questions, let’s first dissect the meaning of the word “ghost”.  The dictionaries general consensus deems it the spirit or soul of a deceased person that manifests itself as a shadowy or evanescent image.  Quite a mouthful.  More simply, the scientific definitions maintain that a “ghost” is an earth bound entity, not to be confused with a “spirit” which is able to travel between separate dimensions, or “discarnate” which encompasses both terms, or “haunts” which basically covers anything paranormal.  So you can already see there is far more to the word “ghost” then you may have previously thought. 

This starts the first in a series that will help describe the four main categoriesof haunts, as well as sub haunts and interesting theories regarding them. 

Residual or Imprinted is the most common type of haunt.  In this style, the haunt manifests itself in many ways, including visually as an apparition or shadowy image; audibly, typically in the form of footsteps; or oddly enough, through the sense of smell, such as perfumes. 

This form is often mistaken for an intelligent style haunt, however residuals cannot…or choose not…to interact with outside stimuli.  They are considered trapped psychokinetic energy. Much like tape or video recordings, they replay themselves over and over again on a certain day, or a particular time, or if other precursors present themselves, like foggy evenings for example.  Whatever the reason behind its manifestation, the end result is always the same; the same pathway walked, the same series of sounds.

The most popular theory behind residual haunts is that the energy created from a repetitive or traumatic event that occurred when the person was living, is absorbed into its surroundings, such as the structure of a building or the very soil beneath your feet.  Much like recording sounds on a tape player, the energy of the actions are stored in the magnetic field of the area in which it occurred.  Oddly enough, there has been some indication that tearing down a building in which residual haunts occurred, does not in fact get rid of the haunt.  In some cases when new buildings are erected where old ones once stood, the residual haunts transfer to the new dwelling.  The thought is that since they have no consciousness, they cannot be encouraged to go.

Another less popular theory suggests that residuals may not be ghosts at all, but instead a memory stored in time that replays itself.  Like a reflection so to speak of a time past.

And even, less popular goes the theory eluded to earlier, that residual haunts do not interact because of their placement in an alternate universe.  Just as we do not maintain the ability to see the dead at whim, perhaps they do not posses the ability to perceive the living.  Or maybe it is that we can but catch a glimpse now and again of their dimension, but they are altogether incapable of seeing into ours.

So should you be afraid of residual haunts?  Since they are not even considered ghosts but images, I think it is safe to say that no one has ever been fatally wounded by an image.  Traumatized maybe, but then the current gas prices traumatize me too.    
***Most of the typical ghost hunting tools could help capture evidence of a residual haunt including, but not limited to, EMF detectors, EVP devices, video, and barometric devices.

Credits given to Society of Paranormal Investigations, www.proofparanormal.com, www.kyghosts.com, www.associatedcontent.com, www.triangleparanormal.com, and www.ourcuriousworld.com

©2006 The Greater Pittsburgh Parnormal Society™