Are ghosts real? Are there different types of hauntings? Here we look at the different types of paranormal figures and how they appear.

Fifty two percent of people believe in ghosts!

Are you intrigued by the paranormal? Perhaps you've made contact with the spirit world through a psychic medium, or even seen a ghost yourself? Well, you're not alone, because a survey by opinion pollsters YouGov found that 52 per cent of the UK population believes in the existence of ghosts, while one in five people said they'd had a paranormal experience. This is a big increase from previous years, showing a growing interest in the supernatural. But do you know your ghosts from your ghouls? We take a look at the different types of reported ghostly phenomena.

Apparitions

A transparent full-length human figure is what most people think of when talking about ghosts. Wispy white ladies or hooded spectral monks are the usual characters in ghostly tales. In fact, these kinds of hauntings are the rarest - although they are the ones that always hit the headlines because of their shock-factor. The apparition can be a deceased human, an animal or even an inanimate object, such as a ship or a train. Famous phantom ships include the Flying Dutchman.

Intelligent hauntings

This is when a spirit of a deceased person seeks to make contact with the living. These ghosts are said to be the spirits of a dead person who has a message to pass on, who is unable or unwilling to cross over, or, perhaps, who does not realise that s/he is dead! The spirit retains the character it had during its lifetime. In this type of haunting, the spirit tries to get the attention of the living to pass on its message by moving household objects around, or by making noises, such as tapping sounds. Mediums say they can communicate with spirits in this type of haunting.

Crisis apparitions

Nicer than the name suggests, these apparitions occur when deceased loved ones appear to say a final farewell or to pass on a personal message. People who report this phenomenon usually say the spirit of their loved one appears just after death, often as a full-length figure, and usually for just a few seconds. People who say they've experienced this kind of apparition talk about it being very comforting and pleasant.

 

 

Residual Hauntings

This is the most frequently reported haunting. It is like the impression of an event that has taken place in the past being replayed as if on a loop of film. So, ghostly soldiers may appear on a battlefield at the same time every year, the scene of a violent argument may be replayed, or a centuries-old duel to the death may be re-enacted as if the protagonists were still here. In fact, many researchers think that residual hauntings are not 'ghosts', as we commonly imagine them, at all. Instead, it is thought they could be the leftover imprints of strong emotion that is still so charged that it replays itself instead of dissipating. Some researchers call this leftover energy a 'psychic impression'.

Poltergeists

This literally means 'noisy ghosts' because of the destructive activity surrounding these cases. Dinner plates hurled across the room, sofas overturned by an unseen force and objects being levitated are the phenomena commonly associated with these ghosts. But while some poltergeist hauntings may be controlled by a wayward spirit, others are said to have a more human - but nonetheless paranormal - source. Many poltergeist hauntings seem to centre on a young adult in the household. Some may be explained by teenage pranks but others are thought to be linked to a paranormal phenomenon called telekinesis. This is uncontrolled psychic energy emanating from a person, which causes the moving objects and other disturbances. The person responsible is not consciously causing the poltergeist activity, but the cause is some yet unexplained psychic energy this person possesses.

Orbs

A very commonly reported ghostly phenomena, orbs are the balls of light that sometimes appear in your digital pictures. While some orbs are specks of dust, insects or sunlight, others cannot be explained away so easily. Believers say that orbs could be the souls of deceased people, who now exist on another plane or dimension. Another theory is that orbs could be nature spirits or elementals, such as fairies, elves or pixies.

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