The Plasmatic Writer

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Author . Poet . Horror Writer . Authorpreneur 

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The Difference Between A Residual and Intelligent Haunting

Posted on April 10, 2019 at 7:35 PM

Ghosts. Some of us find them scary and some of us long to talk to them because they are our loved ones trying to reach out. Ghosts are beings that are still around after death. Some are good and some are bad, some interact and some are just images reliving their past experiences and cannot interact. So what exactly is the difference between a residual haunting and an intelligent haunting? Well my guest, the operator of the My Haunted Salem site on tumblr is here to explain the difference between the two. 



What is a Residual Haunting?


Residual hauntings are somewhat hard to describe, but are fairly common. Also known as “psychic impressions,” residual hauntings are considered by many as the type of haunting experienced most by people. When a ghost (person or animal) or even an event is witnessed over and over again, or doing the exact same thing, this is known as a residual haunting. It is “residual” because it is believe that energy from emotionally-charged events imprint upon our world. It is the release of this residual energy that creates the ghost person, ghost animal or ghostly scene.


Famed paranormal investigator, Frederic W. H. Myers called this type of haunting a “vertical afterimage.” A residual haunting, according to Myers’ definition, would be a memory impression left by individuals, animals or events, especially, it would seem, when under duress or from a time when there was the release of strong emotions, left as pictures in the atmosphere of a particular site.


The ghosts of residual haunting can be both seen or heard repeating the same activity. It is believed that most disembodied footsteps and many ghostly noises that are heard in a haunted place might be residual in origin. The residual sounds can be heard over and over and by different people. For example, it is said that in the Queen Mary’s Second Class Pool Room, one can still hear splashing, though the pool is now empty!


We may think of a residual haunting as a movie being replayed, day after day; and occasionally, someone is lucky enough to see or hear the encore. It is believed by ghost hunters that some events, due to strong emotional energy attached to it, imprint themselves on the environment where the event took place. Sort of “trapped in time,” the event is recorded in the atmosphere of a location. It’s the same with spirits of people – if one were to see a ghost doing the same activity over and over, and with no response to the present environment, it is likely a residual haunting. The person’s spirit is not there, in this theory, but just a phantasm of them exists, like a photograph in time. Residual hauntings are past events playing in the present but with no interaction or connection to the present.


What is a Intelligent Haunting?


Intelligent haunting are those in which the ghost interacts with the present. It is intelligent, in that the ghost may communicate, or interfere in some fashion, with those of us living on the earthly plane. The disembodied person has elected, for some reason, to stay here due to a connection with a person, place or thing. Intelligent haunting sometimes happens due to a spirit’s compelling need to deliver a message from the other side of the grave or to watch over loved ones. In addition, it is also plausible that an intelligent haunting can occur due to attachments the ghostly person feels to memories, trauma, tragedy or any other emotional tie, effectively binding the mind to:


not realizing the deceased person’s body has indeed expired

completing unfinished earthly business


re-living traumatic events, as the mind consistently replays the event in an attempt to comprehend


perhaps remaining with loved ones or persons the ghost finds like company with


not letting go due to some form of fear after death, such as fear of punishment or moving on unto the unknown


Intelligent haunting manifests typically in what some may consider to be “ghost signs.” Hiding or moving objects, doors opening and closing, hearing strange sounds, noticing a spiritual presence (e.g. goosebumps), and the disturbance of electrical devices are all examples of ghosts attempting to gain someone’s attention and communicate from the spirit realm.


One may also experience dreams and visions of loved ones, especially, right before or after sleep when most of us are more open to contact (and the left brain is quieted down). It is also not uncommon to physically see a ghostly loved one, as well, as either an apparition or shadowed form. The best thing one can do is remain open to the contact and listen to what is heard deep within as that is how ghosts primarily communicate. If you encounter a haunting, seek to speak to the spirit, using in words of peace, compassion and love.


A big thank you to my guest for this great thorough explanation on residual and intelligent hauntings. Check out her tumblr page https://myhauntedsalem.tumblr.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">@myhauntedsalem for more on ghosts.

If you liked this than feel free to check out the rest of my blog for more creepy horror posts as well as other topics. Feel free to subscribe to my e-mail list

And check out the novel that inspired this very question, The Wax Factory, a modern gothic horror novel with a dap of paranormal and ghosts.

Categories: Horror, Guest Posts

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