Here, you will find information on the various types of activity that are classified as paranormal.
From electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), to apparitions and shadow figures, it is important to empower yourself with this knowledge.
The term “paranormal” has roots dating back to around the early 1920’s. It is comprised of two parts: “para” and “normal”, of which the coined term’s definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is ‘normal’. Anything that is above, beyond, or contrary to that is considered paranormal. Popular beliefs researched, and subsequently classified as paranormal, include ghosts, extraterrestrial life (E.T.’s), unidentified flying objects (U.F.O.’s), psychic abilities or extrasensory perception, and cryptids.
A ghost, or spirit, is the spectral and ethereal manifestation of a soul from a deceased person. There are two main types of sub-classifications of ghost/spirit activity: residual and intelligent. (See more information below)
Originally referred to as the “Stone Tape” theory, residual hauntings are essentially spiritual recordings of emotional or traumatic events in time that are, by means unknown, “stored” in rock and other items and “replayed” under certain conditions. There are many reported accounts of residual haunts, with one of the most notable being that of ghostly Civil War figures re-enacting the infamous Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
An intelligent haunting differs vastly from a residual haunt in that it deals with a spiritual entity (or group of entities in some cases) that is aware of the living world and will interact or respond to it. Ghosts/spirits in this classification will communicate with the living through speech, visual manifestations relevant to the subject matter of investigation, and/or the physical manipulation, or movement of objects.
Taking root in many urban legends, these types of haunts interact with the living by asking for a ride (hitchhiking). Before arriving at the destination, they mysteriously disappear. This type of haunt generally occurs on the anniversary of their death and can be classified as both a residual and an intelligent form of paranormal activity. This is due to the fact that the residual event itself is generally always the same thing repeated over and over, but intelligent as well in that it is an interaction between the entity and a person (or persons).
A ghost/spirit found along a certain route/trail/highway. This type of paranormal activity differs from the hitchhiker legends in that there is no interaction with the living. This haunt is always classified as residual where ghostly figures can be seen riding horses, cars, or prepared to board a train or plane in the process of conducting actual travel (although the moment of travel departure is generally where the sighting of such activity is all that is seen). These types of manifestations often occur on the anniversary of their death.
A form of spirit manifestation wherein a spirit/ghost takes the form of an energetic ball of light. A vast majority of orb sightings can be debunked as dust particles in the air, or insects reflecting light from camera lights. True orbs emit their own light without a light source, and do not have a uniform path of movement. Orbs will move of their own volition in multiple directions. They are generally opaque in appearance and can also be seen with the naked eye.
The manifestation of spirit energy in the form of a cold, and thick, mist or smoke.
A manifestation of psychic spiritual energy, usually giving off the appearance of a self-illuminated ooze-like substance. The ectoplasmic substance is purported to be draped over the non-physical body of a spirit to enable it to interact with the physical world. Although the term is widespread in paranormal culture, the physical existence of ectoplasm is not accepted by science. Some tested samples purported to be ectoplasm have been found to be various non-paranormal substances. Other researchers have duplicated, with non-supernatural materials, the photographic effects sometimes said to prove the existence of ectoplasm.
The communication of ghosts/spirits through an electronic device such as a voice recorder, video recorder, or Frank’s box (Spirit Box). EVP’s tend to be short in phrase, and generally only span a few words, or a short sentence. This form of spirit communication is, by far, the most common and popular method of interacting with a haunt.
A type of paranormal activity that is centralized to objects, rather than locations, in which paranormal activity emanates from a physical object. A spirit, for reasons unknown, will attach itself to an object(s) such as toys, antiques, books, etc. The haunted object will be manipulated by the entity to move or project sound.
Spectral manifestations of ghostly objects. These types of hauntings are generally classified as residual type haunts as there is little, to no interaction with the living. These span from small objects to much more massive objects such as cars, planes, trains, ships, etc.
Visual paranormal activity that remains unseen until after a photo is taken and examined. These generally include orbs, mists, ectoplasm, shadow figures, and other unusual light or optical effects. Photographic evidence of paranormal activity is widely debated for determining its validity as true paranormal activity, or debunked by practical/logical means.
OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE
The spectral manifestation of a living person (not classified as a ghost as the apparition is not that of a deceased individual). Claimants of out of body experiences can give verifiable details about the location they were seen. This type of activity is similar to astral projection, but differs from astral projection in that it is an uncontrollable event.
ASTRAL PROJECTION (ETHERIC TRAVEL)
A form of out-of-body experience that manipulates the astral projection of a spectral body leaving the physical body to travel in an astral plane. Individuals that practice this form of spiritual displacement are able to essentially leave their physical body in spirit form and travel to various locations that are earth-bound, and in some rare instances to other worlds or dimensions.
This extremely rare type of paranormal activity derives from the accidental, and in some cases purposeful, action of traversing an inter-dimensional portal that may lead to another world, or a moment in time (past or future). Most of these encounters are very brief and only allow a minimal glimpse into the parallel world/dimension the individual is traveling to. This form of paranormal activity is widely considered as simple hallucinations. However, according to the scientific fields of physics in string theory, the probability of other dimensions existing parallel to our own is very possible.
This form of activity is benign in nature. There are claims all over the world of seeing angels, or angelic figures. These sightings are usually near a moment of death where an individual sees a white light followed by an ethereal figure bringing he/she a sense of safety and calm. The individual is generally revived and reports such sightings following the traumatic event. The validity of these claims as true paranormal activity is widely debated, as skeptics lend these reports to hallucinations caused by traumatic events, while believers see it as an affirmation of faith in their religious beliefs, respectively. These sightings are not only associated with near death experiences and have had reports dating back centuries with multiple sightings of angelic entities, usually related to religious historical events.
Widely regarded as a negative type of haunting, the name “poltergeist” is taken from the German language, translated to mean “noisy ghost”. This rare type of paranormal activity can be associated to one ghost/spirit, multiple supernatural entities, or a living person (or group of people). Most poltergeist claims describe movements or levitations of objects, or audible knocks/bangs/thumps, and voices. Other, and more dramatic, activity includes touching, pinching, biting, scratching, hitting, tripping, and generally causing physical harm to people.
This form of paranormal activity is difficult to classify due to its unusual circumstances. Poltergeist cases are never really the same and have varying levels of activity as previously described above. Usually, the activity is centralized to a specific person and may only occur when that individual is in a state of extreme stress, depression, or duress. In some cases, the activity will stop when the person leaves the home. However, there are documented cases of poltergeist attachments which can follow an individual wherever they may travel. As stated before, some cases may not be caused by a living person and can permeate from an entity, or group of entities. A majority of the time, poltergeist activity is witnessed and documented by several people. In much rarer cases, this form of paranormal activity can be caused by the negative energy of multiple persons in a group.
This type of entity is one of the most unusual and unexplained forms of paranormal activity. The existence of shadow figures is widely debated. Their form is ever-changing and only share one similarity in that they appear as dark masses akin to a shadow. Some can appear as clear outlines of humanoid or animalistic figures, while others have no form and shape-shift to varying figures that appear as what can best be described as “blobs”. Shadow figures are not generally associated to being human apparitions and are most commonly classified as either elementals, or a culmination and manifestation of displaced positive or negative spiritual energy. Alternatively, there is a scientific theory that states that shadow figures are not paranormal in nature, but rather inter-dimensional glimpses of another universe parallel to our own.
An elemental entity is derived from the 16th century occultist and alchemical works of Paracelsus around the time of the European Renaissance. There are four elemental categories corresponding to different elements: earth (gnomes), water (undines), air (sylphs), and fire (salamanders). Elementals are not regarded as spirits, but rather as beings between creatures and spirits, generally being invisible to mankind, but having physical humanoid bodies. In contemporary times, there are those who study and practice rituals to invoke elementals. These include Wiccans, and followers of nature-based religions.
A female spirit in Irish mythology that is usually seen as an omen of death, and a messenger from the underworld. In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. There are Irish families who are believed to have banshees attached to them, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that family.
A visible ghost, or reanimated body, that is said to manifest from its grave to terrorize the living. What is now considered to be one of the rarest and most ancient forms of paranormal activity, stories of revenants were more prevalent to the middle ages in where the body or spirit of a murdered individual was revived (by means unknown) to exact revenge on his killer. Modern accounts of this form of haunt are extremely rare.
This form of activity is malignant in nature. Multiple claims span the world with reports of evil entities committing horrendous and heretical acts toward a person, multiple people (usually a family unit), or a location. These claims have been recognized and documented since ancient times with claims of severe paranormal activity including mental and physical harm, destruction of property, oppression, and possession (some of which have led to deteriorating health and in rare cases, death). A demonic attachment/haunting is theorized to be vulnerable to religious artifacts and those with the esoteric knowledge in exorcism.
Occurs when a malevolent entity invades, and possesses a human body. This dangerous form of paranormal activity is regarded as the most extreme form of negative haunting in the paranormal field.
Possession begins through early stages of oppression in which the victim is subject to all, or some, of the following symptoms: drastic behavioral change, sleep deprivation, sleep-walking, night terrors, temper tantrums, paranoia, loss of appetite, and random fevers (not associated to sickness). As the demonic entity breaks down the individual mentally, it builds a stronger hold over the victim, and the oppressive symptoms increase in severity.
The victim is ultimately overtaken by the demonic entity with full on possession which results in physical harm and mental torment that includes all of the aforementioned symptoms of oppression, but to an escalated degree. With extreme cases (mostly rare), physical harm is caused to the individual in the form of scratches, lacerations, lesions, blisters, burns, muscle cramping and contortion, loss of hair, nausea and vomiting, and violent convulsions or seizures. The most extreme and dangerous cases of possession have even led to death.
Many cultures and religions contain some concept of demonic possession, but the details vary considerably. A victim has no control over the possessing entity, and so it will persist until forced to leave the victim, usually through a form of exorcism. Those who profess a belief in demonic possession have sometimes ascribed to possession the symptoms associated with physical or mental illnesses, such as hysteria, mania, psychosis, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia, conversion disorder or dissociative identity disorder.
However, with true demonic possession, these symptoms permeate from the supernatural. An exorcist, or the party dealing with the victim, must make the distinction between a mental illness and a true possession. The following additional symptoms are attributed to true demonic possessions: access to hidden knowledge unbeknownst to the victim, knowledge and use of foreign language(s) not known to the victim, drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, super human strength, and weakness or resistance to religious artifacts or scriptures.
The process of the exorcism of demonic possession is arduous and may take different levels of time to full exorcise the entity out of the victim’s body. Possession and exorcism cases can span a short-term time frame of days to weeks, or in much more severe cases months to years. The afflicted individual undergoes many traumatic events of which the overall damage is taxing to the victim’s physical and mental state.
Outside of the metaphysics of paranormal investigative techniques is the realm of spiritual connectivity. This faction of the paranormal field deals with the connection from a living person(s), through psychic means, with a spirit(s). The aspects of spiritualism branch out into multiple forms of communication that include people that may possess extrasensory perception (ESP) such as psychic mediums, those with empathic abilities, clairvoyance, and channeling among other subsets. Below is a list of some other forms of psychic abilities:
Aura reading – Perception of energy fields surrounding people, places and things.
Automatic writing – Writing produced without conscious thought.
Astral projection – An out-of-body experience in which an astral body becomes separate from the physical body.
Clairvoyance or Second Sight – Perception outside the known human senses.
Death-Warning – A vision of a living person prior to his or her death.
Divination – Gaining insight into a situation, most commonly through a ritual
Energy Medicine – Healing by channeling a form of energy.
Faith Healing – Diagnosing or curing diseases using religious devotion.
Levitation – Bodily levitation and flying.
Mediumship or Channeling- Communicating with spirits.
Precognition – Perception of events before they happen.
Psychokinesis or Telekinesis – The ability to manipulate matter by the power of thought.
Psychometry or Psychoscopy – Obtaining information about a person or object, usually by touching or concentrating on the object or a related object.
Pyrokinesis – Manipulation of fire.