When looking at the field of the paranormal, there are two basic types of hauntings that are most often discussed and investigated. These two groups can then be broken down further into subgroups, and really, the whole thing can get very confusing for those new to and first learning about the paranormal. As we have seen so often in this world, confusion often breeds fear and misunderstanding, so in writing this article it is my desire to eliminate at least a bit of that confusion.
The most common type of haunting comes from the group of “Human Hauntings”. These are all caused from something that is, or once was, human. Within this group, there are three commonly discussed subgroups: intelligent haunts, residual haunts, and poltergeist activity. Intelligent hauntings are what most people think of when they hear the word ‘ghost’. They are basically people who have died and just not moved on yet. They are perfectly aware of what’s going on around them (although they may be confused as to the time, date, or their own state of…deadness) and are often eager to communicate. Sometimes they are attached to object, places, or people. Sometimes they’re sticking around, wandering. They may move objects, manifest themselves, make noises, or even speak in response to questions posed to them (most often these voices are caught on tape – it’s called EVP, which I will explain more fully in another article). They are not evil, or satanic, and the general population of intelligent hauntings honestly don’t stick around for the single purpose of being cruel to you. Erase everything that Hollywood has taught you about ghosts – they’re just people without a body who have their own personalities, want their space, want to communicate, or maybe even pass on a message.
Residual haunts have no consciousness to them at all – they cannot interact or communicate with you as intelligent haunts can. Sometimes, for reasons that are – as of yet – unexplainable, something in the earth, or a building, or an object will ‘record’ a moment of history. This is usually visual or audio, and it acts kind of like a video recorder – playing this captured scene over and over and over again. If you are confused as to whether a haunting is intelligent or residual, think about whether you are have seen or heard the haunting doing the same thing, or following the same path multiple times. If you have, it is most likely residual. Residual hauntings cannot (as before mentioned) interact with you, so you will not have to worry about doors being slammed in your face, or things touching you or hurting you or your family, or anything like that. But, because of the fact that there is no intelligence to them, they cannot be reasoned with. You can’t make them go away, or make them stay, or ensure that they happen at only certain times. Something happened once, in the past, and its echo got caught in time.
The final group of human hauntings is poltergeist activity. This is, in my opinion, by far the most controversial of the group, as it is the one that we understand the least about. It is known that poltergeists tend to center around teenagers (usually girls, but boys on occasion) with a lot of angst, or pent up emotion. It is also known that the most poltergeist activity occurs around or in areas in which a lot of limestone can be found. It is believed that these angsty teens are unintentionally and subconsciously channeling energy. Whether the results are because the teens are ‘making things happen’ with their minds, or because certain kinds of ghosts seem to be attracted to this kind of emotion is not necessarily agreed upon. The most common claims that come from poltergeist type haunts are: objects flipped upside down, object stacked in the middle of a room, shattering glasses/mirrors/windows, sturdy objects collapsing/falling down, and objects moved to obscure places. If you are experiencing these things, and have a teenager in the home, consider the possibility of a poltergeist rather than an intelligent haunting. And remember, this is UNINTENTIONAL – no one is meaning for it to happen, so don’t pass the blame. If you feel you need help, email The Atlantic Paranormal Society (or another experienced team) and ask about preventative measures that can be taken.
Now that the three subgroups of human hauntings have been discussed, it comes time to mention the one that most people dread talking about. Demonic haunts. Again, there isn’t a ton known about these (demons seem a bit…less prone to discussion), but there’s enough to know one when you see one. These are hauntings caused by something that has never walked this world in a human form, and has never ‘lived’ by our definition of the word. These are (in all the cases that I have noted) what one would call ‘malevolent’. They want control, and seem to enjoy fear. These are the ‘ghosts’ that will most often enjoy hurting you, or causing you pain. They may cause scratches, burns, choke marks, slapping, and bruising. A demon needs to exert far less energy to do these things than a human haunting would. In most cases the DO NOT need to battery drain anything to give you a good scratch, so if all the power seems to go out before things happen, it’s probably just an intelligent haunting wanting to seem more tough than it really is. Demons can cause all kinds of nasty problems, and don’t tend to be very nice, so if you are faced with one (and especially if children are involved) I would suggest getting help ASAP. The problem can be taken care of with blessings (or yes, sometimes even exorcisms, but again, delete all the Hollywood brainwashing – it’s not that big of a deal), but you’ll want to make sure it’s done professional – if something goes wrong, the demon might be back with a vengeance.
It is true that some aspects of the paranormal can be pretty darn scary – I’m not going to lie to you about that. However, by adding to your knowledge about the field, you can empower yourself, clear confusion, and start to separate the blurred lines of what is fact, and what is fiction.