Know Your Ghosts
The supernatural is a common theme in horror movies. From ghosts to demons to hauntings and poltergeists. Do you know the difference between them? What are the difference kind of ghosts? What about demons? And, what they hell is a banshee anyways? While I can’t list them all I thought maybe a basic guide could help us all.
Keep in mind, various religions are going to say different things on this. Most religions claim to be the real deal and thus their versions of ghosts or spirits may differ. This isn’t an exact science, it’s not really a science at all. I am just using the basic definitions of these ghosts, demons, hauntings and so on. Basically what I am saying is, if you feel that I didn’t explain your imaginary entity properly, I don’t care.
:the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people.
:a disembodied soul; especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness -Websters Dictionary.
Different Names for Ghosts, Hauntings & Other Things
Ghost come in all shapes and sizes. Below is a list of the most common types of ghosts and things.
Angels – a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence; especially : one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy.
Ankou – is a personification of death in Breton mythology as well as in Cornish and Norman French folklore.
Apparition – a ghost or spirit of a dead person.
Atmospheric or Residual – typically a type of haunting or ghost that repeats itself. Usually in the case of a traumatic event, the events are played out over and over. Kinda like Groundhog Day but scary.
Banshee – a female spirit in Irish and Scottish stories who cries loudly to warn people that someone is going to die soon. Or, as I prefer, the members of Siouxsie’s band.
Battlefield – similar to residual hauntings where a battle is re-enacted. Usually above the aground and sometimes as high as hundreds of meters in the sky.
Collective Apparition – A ghost or demon activity as seen by more than one person at the same time.
Crisis Apparition – Usually the recently departed appearing to a loved one to say goodbye before moving on. Normally this happens within hours up to a few days after the person’s death.
Daemon – are benevolent or benign nature spirits, beings of the same nature as both mortals and deities, similar to ghosts, chthonic heroes, spirit guides, forces of nature or the deities themselves.
Demon – An evil spirit not of human origin.
Discarnates – having no physical body. Usually the recently deceased. Similar to ghosts and often times attach themselves to a specific person. :incorporeal – having no physical body or form.
Doppelganger – an apparition or double of a living person.
Ectoplasm – a supernatural viscous substance that is supposed to exude from the body of a medium during a spiritualistic trance and form the material for the manifestation of spirits. I like to call it, ghost goo. (Photographs taken at the séances with Marshall were taken from 1928-1933 by the surgeon, and parapsychologist Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (1873-1935). As a spiritualist, Hamilton believed that the photos were genuine evidence for spirits. However the photographs reveal that the ectoplasm of Marshall in her séances were made of smoke, cloth, tissue, and or magazine cut outs of people.)
Etheric Revenant – are very rare and very dangerous. These non-human spirits are reported as an undead spirit that feeds on the livings energy. Most often appear as a dark black shadow. They are also considered to be original form of Vampires.
Familiar spirit – a spirit, demon or daemon that serves a human. Also called a “familiar”.
Family Ghost/s – A ghost that has attached itself to a family. Often times they warn of upcoming death, tragedy or disasters.
Graveyard Specters – Also known as shells or shades, these are believed to be the etheric remnants of a person after death. Commonly found in graveyards days or weeks after a burial, they are scary but not dangerous. Typically seen as dark, shadowy forms they usually do not communicate or talk. Legend has it that people were buried alive in new graveyards to create a guardian, known as an Ankou.
Grey Ladies – The spirits of women who died in deep sorrow over love or various forms of betrayal.
Guardians – Ghosts that warn the living of impending danger or death and sometimes will offer guidance. These types of ghosts are normally family or friends of the ones they are trying to help. Also known as spirit guides.
Haunted Objects – These are usually ghosts that are attached to a specific object.
Incubus – is a demon in male form who, according to mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to engage in sexual activity with them. An incubus may pursue sexual relations with a woman in order to father a child. Religious tradition holds that repeated sexual activity with an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, or even death.
Kobold – The kobold (occasionally cobold) is a sprite stemming from Germanic mythology and surviving into modern times in German folklore. Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialize in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a candle. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as human-like figures the size of small children. Most commonly, the creatures are house spirits of ambivalent nature; while they sometimes perform domestic chores, they play malicious tricks if insulted or neglected.
Lares – were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. Their origin is uncertain; they may have been hero-ancestors, guardians of the hearth, fields, boundaries or fruitfulness, or an amalgam of these. Lares were believed to observe, protect and influence all that happened within the boundaries of their location or function.
Lemures – the ghosts of a dead family member, considered as troublesome unless exorcised or propitiated. Other believe that they are the ghosts of those dying without a family. Originally from Roman mythology. Lemures may represent the wandering and vengeful spirits of those not afforded proper burial, funeral rites or affectionate cult by the living: they are not attested by tomb or votive inscriptions.
Marian Apparitions – is a supernatural appearance by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The figure is often named after the town where it is reported, or on the sobriquet given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition. They have been interpreted in religious terms as theophanies. Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time. In the majority of Marian apparitions only one person or a few people report having witnessed the apparition. Exceptions to this include Zeitoun, Fatima and Assiut where thousands claimed to have seen her over a period of time.
Object Apparitions – a ghostly manifestations of things. These objects can be man made like a TV or a book. They can be natural, like a flower, a tree, a cloud and so on.
Orbs – The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artifacts that occur in flash photography—sometimes with trails indicating motion—especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras. Orbs are also sometimes called backscatter, orb backscatter, or near-camera reflection.
Out of Body – An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside one’s body and, in some cases, perceiving one’s physical body from a place outside one’s body (autoscopy).
Phantom Monks / Phantom Nuns – Spirits usually of religious origin that can be heard singing. They tend haunt the places they loved and felt safe in while alive. Some of them suffered violent deaths due to their religious beliefs. There have been a lot of “documented” cases in England.
Phantom Vehicles – Ghost cars, ya gotta love that! They tend to suddenly appear on the road, usually driverless.
Phantom Travelers – The ghosts of people and animals that haunt specific travel routs. Usually they are the spirits of those that died along those routs.
Photographic – Ghosts that tend to only appear in photographs. For whatever reason, it’s their preferred method of haunting. They can appear as orbs, mists, shadows and so on. Basically any smudge or flash of light in a photo. Because really, why go with the logical explanation when you can just say it’s a ghost.
Plasmoids – orbs that appear with tails because they are moving so fast.
Poltergeist – in folklore and parapsychology, a poltergeist (German for “noisy ghost”) is a type of ghost or other supernatural being supposedly responsible for physical disturbances such as loud noises and objects moved around or destroyed. Most accounts of poltergeists describe movement or levitation of objects, such as furniture and cutlery, or noises such as knocking on doors. Poltergeists have also been claimed to be capable of pinching, biting, hitting and tripping people.
Psychic Imprints – A psychic imprint is not a spirit but a form of energy. Usually, it’s the imprint of memories onto an object or place of an event that previously occurred. These events are usually very emotional stresses or violent situations a person experienced before their death. Their is no ghost behind the impressions. It’s more like a visual repeat of an event.
Psychopomp – (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός – psuchopompos, literally meaning the “guide of souls”) are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply provide safe passage. Frequently depicted on funerary art, psychopomps have been associated at different times and in different cultures with horses, whip-poor-wills, ravens, dogs, crows, owls, sparrows, cuckoos, and harts.
Rakshasa – is a demonic being from Hindu mythology. As mythology made its way into other religions, the rakshasa was later incorporated into Buddhism. Rakshasas are also called maneaters (Nri-chakshas, Kravyads). A female rakshasa is known as a Rakshasi. A female Rakshasa in human form is a Manushya-Rakshasi. The terms Asura and Rakshasa are sometimes used interchangeably. Rakshasa were most often depicted as ugly, fierce-looking and enormous creatures and with two fangs protruding down from the top of the mouth as well as sharp, claw-like fingernails. They are shown as being mean, growling like beasts and as insatiable cannibals who could smell the scent of flesh. Some of the more ferocious ones were shown with flaming red eyes and hair, drinking blood with their palms or from a human skull (similar to vampires in later Western mythology). Generally they could fly, vanish, and had Maya (magical powers of illusion), which enabled them to change size at will and assume the form of any creature.
Recurrent Apparition – This is a type of haunting. Usually it’s ghost that haunts a specific location. Often times it’s a family member haunting its living family or home. But, can be seen by different people at different times.
Residual – This type of ghost or haunting most often can effect your senses by allowing to you to touch, taste, smell and even see moments of the spirits human life.
Shadow Ghosts – is the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, particularly as interpreted by believers in the supernatural as the presence of a malevolent entity. They are also known as shadow people, dark shadows, shades, dark entities, phantoms, black mists, or black ectoplasm. Some even call them djinn (genies), as their descriptions seem similar to the spirits found in Islam and ancient Arabic theology.
Spirit Rapping – is a form of communication between the living and dead. Usually, it’s the spirit tapping out a message on a table, board or wall.
Streamers – are just another form of orbs that instead of just appearing as balls of light they are not visible to the naked eye but appear on film as bright sparks in dark spots of photos and they can appear in a variety of colors.
Succubus – is the female version of an incubus. A spirit that wants your sex! How cool is that!
Transportation – also known as Phantom Craft. More of an energy imprint on to the wreckage or an area of a tragic accident. These can be seen anywhere the craft or vessel would normally appear but usually appears at the scene of the accident.
Vortex – also known as Funnel’s or Funnel Ghosts. They normally appear in a tornado shape of light. The can appear in various colors and effect the area around them. Some have said to have sensed smells, change in temperature, sounds. They might also be a form of transportation for spirits.
Wraith – a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen shortly before or after their death. Sometimes appearing as a hooded or cloaked entity. Their have been reports that their eyes glow, usually red in color.