Haunting Ghosts : are considered by psychical researchers to
be different in kind to apparitions. Generally apparitions only tend to
appear once, sometimes in a place unknown to the agent and usually to
someone with whom the apparition has some relationship.
Often the apparition will seem to communicate with the percipient
in some way, by means of a look, touch or even speech.
A haunting ghost however almost always appears to be unaware of the
people around it and also it appears to be more connected with a place as
opposed to a human. Although there are exceptions to the rule the majority
of haunting ghosts haunt alone. Occasionally
groups of phantoms are seen, for example processions of chanting monks or
spectral armies, but these do tend to be the exception. There have been
many theories put forward to explain haunting ghosts.
Some evidence suggests that 'one's ability to see a phantom or
sense a presence depends partly on some lingering aspect of the person
seen or sensed'.
In one study a dog, cat and rattlesnake were used to investigate allegedly
haunted rooms in a house in Kentucky where a tragedy had occurred.
The animals were brought into one of the haunted one at a time and
the following was reported:
"The dog upon being taken about two or three feet into the room
immediately snarled at its owner and backed out the door.
No amount of cajoling could prevent the dog from struggling to get
out and it refused to re-enter. The
cat was brought into the room carried in the owner's arms.
When the cat got a similar distance into the room, it immediately
leaped upon the owner's shoulders, dug in, then leaped to the ground,
orienting itself towards a chair. It
spent several minutes hissing and spitting and staring at the unoccupied
chair in a corner of the room until it was finally removed."
The rat showed no reaction to whatever had disturbed the dog and cat, but
the rattlesnake "immediately assumed an attack posture focusing on the
same chair that had been of interest to the cat. After a couple of minutes it slowly moved its head toward a
window, then moved back and receded into its alert posture about five
The four animals were tested separately in a control room in which no
tragedy had occurred. In this
room they behaved normally. Apparently
they were reacting to some invisible presence in the first room.
To what the animals were reacting remains unknown.
The lingering aspect of a person that is capable of being perceived
by some humans and animals also remains a mystery.
However according to Reverend Neil-Smith, it represents the soul of
"For the most part," he says, "I believe that the soul of a person
who dies a natural death leaves the body for another place.
The soul, or spirit of one who dies violently may not do so; it is
bewildered by the sudden transition, and remains earthbound.
If you examine cases of haunting which are well authenticated, you
generally find that a sudden or unnatural death lies behind the events."
He went to say ".you get the distinct impression that the
apparitions are pointless, rather stupid.
They wander around, don't say anything in particular, and for the
most part don't really frighten anyone.
In these cases, I believe, the ghosts are merely trying to call
attention to their trapped plight." See also the section on ghosts.