When we hear that a house, abandoned asylum, or even a painting is haunted, it instantly brings to mind creepy things moving in shadows, doors slamming, and all manner of misbehaving, otherworldly rascals. The truth is, there is an established categorization of dynamics that fall under the blanket term, “haunting.”
Keep in mind that classification of such ethereal and elusive subject matter is anything but precise. Ghosts are not submissive dead frogs lying submissively awaiting dissection. The phenomena of hauntings itself are Trickster-like in nature, and ultimately, there is no pinning-down, no absolute taxonomy. It’s a very wiggly business.
It is also common that hauntings will have characteristics from more than one classification. Having said that, below in no particular order, are five of the most commonly reported and identified types of hauntings.
The residual haunting can be likened to a VCR playing out a scene over and over. In residual hauntings, the ghostly action being played out actually took place in the location at some point in time. Often, there is no sense of “intelligence” in these types of hauntings-the apparitions or entities do not seem aware of their modern observers. There’s an overall sense of watching a taped scenario.
It is has been proposed that stone, wood, and objects may literally be some kind of recording and projecting medium. Although this sounds absurd, the more we learn about the nature of quantum physics, and holographic-universe theories, it certainly does not seem impossible.
But this doesn’t explain why everything isn’t haunted. It is thought that intense human emotion may be the dynamic that causes a scene to be imprinted. This may be why many “lost love,” suicide and murder-oriented, and otherwise tragic dynamics are associated with residual type hauntings.
This seems to fit in that although observers usually aren’t able to interact with apparitions, they sometimes do experience intense emotions associated with the scene. If the mystical cry of the ages, “thoughts are things” is true, then perhaps residual hauntings is one of the physical evidences that could be used in support.
Residual hauntings are also referred to as, and may include and overlap with: ghosts, phantoms, appartitions, replay, atmospheric, location, battlefield, historical, and recurring hauntings.
Entity hauntings are probably the most stereotypical type. Basically, an entity haunting consists of the presence of an intelligent, interactive, deceased person who inhabits a particular area in the living world. Entity hauntings can be benign, benevolent, or malevolent-much like living human beings. Entity hauntings can also include animals, and are thought to be the afterlife counterparts of individual animals that have lived on earth.
Entities can be attached to particular people, or places like buildings, battlefields, prisons, highways-anywhere, actually. The main thing that separates entity hauntings from residual hauntings is the sense of an interactive presence. Entity hauntings are “live.”
There are plenty of theories and narratives that have developed around entity hauntings. It is said that they are unable to let go of earthly attachments, have unresolved business, do not understand they are deceased, or are even actively defying death; hence, the “Go toward the light!” admonishments from TV psychic ghost hunters.
Also, they may be thought to be guardians of the living, or helpers.
Entity hauntings are also referred to as and often overlap with: recurring and attachment hauntings, poltergeist, phantoms, apparitions, and ghosts.
Poltergeist phenomena differ from other types of hauntings in that most of the manifestations have to do with movement of objects, or other tangible dynamics. It has come a cliché that poltergeist activity centers around troubled adolescents. Although that has been the case, it is certainly not always so.
Poltergeist hauntings are widely thought to be the result of a “focus person”-a (living) human unconsciously manifesting psychokinetic activity. Another theory is that unusual atmospheric conditions, such as electromagnetic energies, strange air currents are at work.
Poltergeist haunting phenomena includes: knocking or tapping noises, moving, changing, or levitating objects, the appearing of substances in unlikely places (i.e., blood from a wall,) physical assault (scratching, touching, etc.) among many others.
One of the things that separates poltergeist hauntings from other types is there is usually a lack of apparitions, that is, human-style ghosts are not usually observed. This is not always the case, however, and voices are often heard.
Poltergeist haunting is often overlapped with: entity, object and attachment hauntings, and demonic possession and hauntings.
Object haunting can include any of the various types of phenomena associated with any type of hauntings; it differs in that the focus of the activity is either seen to be contained in, and/or restricted to and manifested through a particular object, rather than a place or a person.
Objects involved in this type of haunting have included: paintings, jewelry, cameras, clothing, vehicles, photographs, furniture, and many other things. Phenomena may involved perceived “curses,” movement or changing of the object, emanating noises, weird productions (i.e., strange photographs from a haunted camera) or the evoking of inappropriate emotions or actions due to its presence.
Object hauntings may overlap and be associated with: residual, poltergeist, and entity hauntings.
Attachment haunting occurs when haunting phenomena focuses on an individual. The blockbuster film Paranormal Activity, is a demonstration of this type of haunting. The type of phenomena that occur can include any from other types of hauntings.
The thing sets attachment haunting apart is its centralization on one person, despite moving to other locations, or changing behaviors or conditions that may have pointed to poltergeist phenomena, or other types. Attachment haunting can last for any length of time, but is often long-term, starting in childhood.
This type of haunting seems to be highly personal and confrontational, and is likely the most “dangerous” type because of this. It is easy for one’s identity to become wrapped up in it, along with powerful ideas of victimhood, fear, and “chosen one” dynamics.
Attachment haunting is overlapped and associated with, and sometimes referred to as: guardian angels, demonic posessions, poltergeist hauntings, entity hauntings, and exorcism.
A final note: because of these dynamics within attachment hauntings, anyone experiencing this should without a doubt seek secular, professional counseling.