A Witch's Guide to the Paranormal
Whether you’re a fan of horror movies or Ghost Adventures, haunted houses or playing with a spirit board, everyone knows that you’re more likely to see spirits in the month of October because of the thin veil between our realm and the spirit realm. It’s the best month for ghost hunters, and you might be tempted to venture into a local haunt or reach out to someone who has passed on.
The best weapon when hunting ghosts is knowledge. Below is a list that helps clarify the different types of spirits and hauntings you may encounter when trying to communicate with the other side of the veil.
Many different kinds of spirits can make an appearance when the veil is thin. Some are safe to communicate with than others, but a witch should still use their best judgement.
- Interactive Personality: “Interactive personality” is a recent name coined for the most common type of ghost. This is just a ghost of a deceased person that tends to look, act, and move like a normal person. How they act often depends on how they died and what they were like in life. They may interact with living people and try to communicate.
- Poltergeists: Poltergeists are characterized by their habit of making noise and throwing things. They tend to be more violent spirits and make their presence known by knocking on walls and furniture, throwing physical objects, and occasionally touching people.
- Orbs: Almost every paranormal investigator has an orb photograph or orb story. Orbs are small, floating balls of light and often show up in photographs. Some investigators believe that they are a form of spirits moving from one spot to another, while others think they are a manifestation of energy.
- Demons: A demon may not be the first thing a person thinks of when they think of ghosts, but numerous ghost stories show that demons are more common in a haunted location than you would think. Demons are evil spirits in every religion and are connected to hardship and suffering. It is believed that demons can cause unexplainable pain, anxiety, physical wounds, or even possession in those that step into their haunted locations. Stories like the Sally House in Kansas show that demons often take the guise of young children to try and earn a person’s trust and sympathy.
Hauntings: Residual vs. Intelligent
Like spirits, a haunting can come in many different forms. Not all hauntings are dramatic displays of ghostly power. Sometimes, a haunting is simply a ghost repeating an action they did in life, while in other hauntings, a ghost may actively engage with the living people around it. The two main types of hauntings are residual and intelligent.
- Residual: A residual haunting is when an event from the past plays over and over again, as if the spirit is trapped in a cycle. The spirit may not know they’re dead or be aware of what they’re doing. They’re simply reliving a moment that occurred in that spot. Sometimes, it’s a traumatic moment, such as their death or a violent moment they experienced while they were alive. Other times, they may simply be repeating a common action, such as walking the same hallway or dancing in a ball.
One famous example of a residual haunting is Gettysburg, where both Union and Confederate soldiers have been spotted preparing for battle, not realizing that the Civil War has been over for over a hundred years.
- Intelligent: An intelligent haunting is exactly what it sounds like. This is when a spirit is conscious and actively engages with the world around them. Also known as a classic haunting, it is believed that these types of hauntings are more likely to be picked up by ghost hunting equipment. While many classic hauntings can be caused by an angry spirit with unfinished business, not all of them are dangerous, and many are believed to be the result of a lonely spirit looking to make contact.
Most of the “scariest” haunted locations are the result of intelligent hauntings, whether it be spirits whispering in a visitor’s ears, tugging at clothes, or pushing someone out of their way. One of the most famous historical examples of an intelligent haunting is the Bell Witch ghost, who was believed to be a spirit that actively tormented the Bell family in the 19th century.
Even if you aren’t an active ghost hunter, there is always the chance of running into a spirit during the Samhain season. Witches are more in touch with the supernatural aspects of the world, and many of us find ghosts are naturally drawn to us. Understanding the paranormal can lead to less fear and anxiety when dealing with supernatural entities.
And one last reminder – if you’re going to engage with ghosts, remember to always protect yourself! Cleanse your space, guard your energy, and never communicate with a demon!