Classifications of Hauntings – The Who’s Who of the Paranormal

In the paranormal field you will deal with many different forms of hauntings and many different claims of hauntings. It is important in the interest of appearing professional that you are knowledgeable in the different types of hauntings. Firstly lets define what a haunting is.A haunting is the act of a person or thing that haunts; visitation. Now that definition is a bit vague so to further refine our definition lets look at the definition of the term Haunt.Haunt: To inhabit, visit, or appear to in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.Now we could clearly see that in the definitions listed above a “Haunting” is a ghost or supernatural being that visits, appears or inhabits a location. These of course are the paranormal definitions of a haunting and a haunt, as we all know a song can haunt you as well as a thought or even an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend so remember that this definition is only for the paranormal field.With the definition of a haunting fresh in our minds lets take a look at some of the theoretical causes of an alleged haunting. There are many “causes” to hauntings believed by many investigators worldwide. While these theories seem to have basis and plausibility the truth is that it is simply unknown what truly causes a haunting. It is important to remember that the following few statements are theories only.One theory is, and is the most widely believed, that the “ghost” has unfinished business with this world and that it has anchored the spirit to this semi conscious life. This theory while commendable in its assumptions cannot be proved. This is why it is still considered theory. Though this is probably the more accurate of the theories.Theory Two:The spirit of a dearly departed will return to earth as a guardian spirit sent by God. A truly comforting theory to say the least but it doesn’t answer the fact that these spirits sometimes will play pranks or interact with you or even cry for help themselves.The third and final theory that will be covered today is:These are demons and angels that pose as our loved ones to corrupt us or inspire us. Interesting to say the least but yet not completely perfect. Perhaps all three may combine into an ultimate answer or maybe it is just left to the unknown. The answer to What causes a Haunting may never be truly answered.What we do know is that natural causes explain over eighty percent of all claims.

Old Paint


High EMF

Mind Altering Narcotics

Gas Leaks

Mental Illness


These are all natural causes that could explain our sudden claims of ghosts. Though this list is not exhaustive and again this is theoretically some natural causes. However these things listed above have been clinically proved to be harmful to your health.Lets look at the different classifications of hauntings now. There are several different types of classifications of hauntings. These classifications help identify the extent of the activity and even could determine the validity of a claim. It is important to remember that these are the guidelines that paranormal investigators use while interviewing clients to determine the type of activity that could be anticipated during an investigation. These classifications are the most commonly used by paranormal investigators and are but one way of thinking about hauntings. However these classifications are proving to be pretty definitive when corresponding to collected evidence.Intelligent Haunting:An intelligent haunting is a haunting in which the afflicting spirit can and will interact and often communicate with the client and or investigators. This type of haunting occurs sometimes, this is not the most common form of haunting but will be encountered more than most other forms.Signs of an intelligent haunting:

Responsive and interactive activity

Objects being moved or influenced

Random acts of paranormal activity Residual Haunting:This type of haunting is by far the most common form of haunting. However the definition of a residual haunting is noticeably different than an intelligent class haunting.In this classification there isn’t any form of interaction at all. It is believed to be a series of past events played over and over in an endless loop. These events can have a set day and time known as an ” Anniversary Imprint”. They may be just as random as the previous form but cant respond or interact. It is believed that the spirit might also have no idea that it is dead and a ghost.Signs of a Residual Haunting:

Activity only noticed on certain days or times

Spirit is unable to communicate or unresponsive/unable to interact Now to look at the less common classifications of hauntings. These forms though may occur and may be encountered it is important to realize that less than one percent of all actual hauntings consist of the next two classes. These are the classifications that Hollywood likes to prey upon and distort and make popular. The next two classifications we will look at are:


Non-Human Poltergeist:German for noisy ghost; an entity or energy that displays sensational interaction with the physical environment, and manifests only when a specific individual or individuals are presentOr a ghost that manifests itself by noises, trappings or creating disorder. This particular haunting can be “life disrupting”. This means that it will cause such a disturbance that normal everyday life will become impossible. It is necessary to remember that this form of haunting is extremely rare.Stated before this haunting will more than often be associated with a specific individual and in most cases this individual is a CHILD!Lets look at some theoretical causes of a poltergeist:Theoretical CauseA poltergeist is initiated by pent-up stress on a subconscious level, often explained as uncontrolled psycho kinetic activity or ‘Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis’ (RSPK). This RSPK can theoretically be channeled and focused by high deposits of Lime stone and quartz. This theory supports all skeptics everywhere, it suggests that pent up stress on your mind may cause delirium resulting in hallucinations that are precieved as a less than welcome Ghost.This is probably the more accurate theory and is a valid psychoanalysis of a alleged poltergeist haunting.NOTE: Jumping to this conclusion prematurely can bring question to ones professionalism.A Second Theory:A spirit of a human or doppelganger that is exhibiting malicious and violent tendencies. This spirit is often believed to be a person who once lived at the location that is unhappy with the current inhabitants or died at the location in a horrible and or violent way. Interestingly enough this theory has some basis to it. Though it can possibly be plausible this theory in itself is flawed. A spirit that has had a violent death more often than not will cry out for help rather than lash out in a violent way.With this said it can be concluded that a violent or malicious “Poltergeist” could be classified as our next designation “Non-Human”.Characteristics of a Poltergeist:

Movement and hurling around of inanimate, often extremely heavy, objects.

The opening and closing of doors and windows by no visible means.

Unexplained noises such as voices, moans, screams, explosions, crashes, raps, thumps, scratches and knocks on floors, doors and walls, heavy footsteps, bed-shaking.

The breaking of household objects such as crockery.

The destruction of garments, the throwing of stones, rocks and dirt, bad smells, mysterious fires.

the appearance of pools of water on floors, the malfunctioning of electrical equipment, telephone ringing, the unexplained appearance of objects (‘apports’), apparitions and even physical assault.

The next and final classification of haunting we will look at is “Non-Human”. This classification is normally known as Demonic… For purposes of fairness and length this term has combined all Non-Human spirits together. Angels, Demons and Deities are covered briefly in this section. It is noted that this section is concurrent to peoples personal religious beliefs, it should also be noted that as a paranormal investigator one should be impartial and open minded to the clients beliefs even if they don’t reflect their own. This section will be briefly touched on as there is really no way that any of the following could be proved scientifically.Non-Human classification can be broken down into three separate categories




Angels are probably not a class we would consider a haunting and are definitely the most welcome of the spiritual visitors. Think of your guardian angel if you believe in such a being.Deities or gods are again not a class we would consider a haunting and again are probably welcome spirits. Ancient Greeks were often visited by what they believed were their “Gods”, such as the many infidelities of Zeus.These classes however do need characteristics to be mentioned as the next class can impersonate these classes to obtain what they desire.Demons are the final classification of haunting that we may encounter in the “Non-Human” category. Even if you do not believe in some form of religion most people believe in some form of evil creatures that plague our world. Though these creatures are extremely rare we may encounter demonic hauntings. These hauntings are never easy to deal with. These are malicious and violent and pose just as much danger to the client as they do us.Characteristics of Demonic hauntings:

Violent and harmful spiritual attacks.

Spirits doppelganging as other human spirits to gain the trust of the living.

Sudden changes in the attitude of the residents and or children.

Markings and scratches on the body of residents.
It is important to note that these hauntings may require the help of religious leaders and other trained demonologists. Do not provoke or invoke demons and certainly never invite.Finally lets look at some ways you may be able determine the classification of a haunting for yourself or for your own investigations, as these articles are to foremost educate others in the paranormal field as well as help those who need clarification to better understand what they may be experiencingHere are some of the methods used by paranormal investigation groups worldwide:
Ask the client questionsBased on the client’s answers we could determine the characteristics and classify the alleged haunting.
Use personal experiences at the location (If Any)Personal experiences can allude to the type of haunting we are dealing with and help determine “hot spots” to investigate.
Use the evidence collected at a location.Some hauntings aren’t clear or can be multiple types at once and could be confusing in this case we use the collected evidence to determine the type and or classification.
Research the characteristics/ claims prior to the investigation. This runs hand in hand with asking the client questions.All of these methods are common to Paranormal Investigators and again are not the “only” method of determination. As you become more experienced your own instincts will determine the proper method for you to use. Only time and patience will decide your niche within this field. Understanding takes a while and while you may be experiencing these phenomena it is important to realize that though many of what was mentioned in this article is widely believed and used by the pros, these are still only theories and as such are not one hundred percent conclusive. Only further research may shed a little more light on the unknown world of the paranormal.

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