Ghosts, spirits, haunts, spooks, phantoms, yadda yadda. You run into many different types of entities on ghost hunts. The words, ghost and spirit, tend to be used interchangeably. That’s not the case at all. Ghosts and spirits are different.
Ghost Definition and Characteristics
Let’s start with a couple of definitions to help clarify things:
A ghost is an earthbound essence of a deceased human or animal. It can’t – or won’t – move on to the afterlife. In many cases, a ghost doesn’t know it’s dead.
The important thing to note about the definition listed above is: “It can’t or won’t move on to the afterlife…a ghost doesn’t know it’s dead.”
That’s an important element. Ghosts can’t move on because they don’t know they’re dead, so they continue on our plane, trying to figure out what happened. You could ‘shock’ them into moving on by telling them they died.
Spirit Definition and Characteristics
On the other hand, spirits know they’re dead. Here’s a definition for you:
Spirits know they’re dead. They moved on to the afterlife, but returned for a reason. Spirits also manifest more strongly than ghosts. A spirit may – or may not – be human.
Let’s look at key parts of the spirit definition again :
- Spirits are aware of their deaths;
- They intentionally return to our plane of existence;
- They have a greater ability to show concrete ghostly activity (think apparitions, EVP, cold/hot spot generation and moving objects);
- A spirit doesn’t have to be human (more on that later).
Differences between Ghosts and Spirits in Summary
In a nutshell, a ghost is pretty weak and it takes a lot of energy for them to manifest in our world. When they do, it’s usually quick (less than 1 minute) and not well-defined.
That means a ghost may:
- Manifest as an orb or ectomist;
- Generate a Class B or C EVP;
- Create a weak hot or cold spot (+/- 5 degrees);
- Cause a weak EMF spike (less than 3 mG);
- Muster a few knocks, raps or foot step sounds.
Spirits are much stronger and can offer better evidence. A spirit will likely show the following ghostly activities:
- Manifest as a shadow or partial- to full-body apparition;
- Generate a Class A or articulate Class B EVP;
- Create a more intense hot or cold spot (+/- 10 degrees or more);
- Cause a strong EMF spike (between 3mG to 7mG);
- Muster very loud knocks, raps, foot steps and bangs;
- Move things such as chimes, bells, coins and other small objects;
- Touch people without causing harm (no scratches or burning sensations);
- Provide intelligent communication, like knocking once for yes and twice for no, when asked a question.
I think it’s important to point out some differences between human spirits and non-human spirits. A human spirit very, very rarely does anything to harm you. If it touches you, it’s gentle. If you capture EVP, it answers your questions directly in normal language. A non-human entity doesn’t have the same concepts as gentle and they don’t speak our language so, the touch may hurt and the EVP won’t make sense.
More on the differing types of spirits in our next post.
Broome, Fiona. Is Your House Haunted?. Concord, NH: New Forest Books, 2013. Print.
Goodwyn, Melba. Ghost Worlds. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011. Print.
Belanger, Michelle. The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2009. Print.
Chestnut, Debi. Is Your House Haunted? Poltergeists, Ghosts or Bad Wiring. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011. Print.
Allison, Ross et. al. Ghostology 101: Becoming A Ghost Hunter. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2005. Print.
Balzano, Christopher. Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting. Boston: Cengage Technology, 2009, Print.
Images: anniejenningspr.com; artfire.com; monster.wikia.com
Last Updated on April 5, 2018 by Jacob Rice