Real Paranormal Activity: Types of Hauntings

Updated on August 21, 2017
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.


Ghosts Don't Discriminate

Ghosts do not discriminate between houses, buildings, property, or people. Ghosts haunt whatever they feel a connection to whenever they feel like it. Sometimes a haunting is quiet and barely noticeable, while other times a haunting is loud and disruptive to its environment and the people experiencing it. Hauntings are something of an enigma. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to a haunting, and yet there is always a pattern. While some may not believe there is a pattern to hauntings, if we were to look hard enough at these hauntings we would see that there is indeed a method to the madness.

There is a wide variety of hauntings occurring in the world today. Here are some of the types of hauntings producing real paranormal activity.

Classic and Historical Hauntings

The first type of haunting is the classic haunting. The classic type is a simple, run-of-the-mill haunting producing predictable, relatively harmless paranormal activity in a home, building, or piece of land. With a classic haunting, the soul of a dead person has decided to stay behind for various reasons. Mostly these types of ghosts just do not realize they are dead or are perhaps scared to go into the light. They are stuck between life and death, thereby leaving their soul to wander in the place of their death or perhaps in the place in which they felt most connected to in life. A classic haunting can sometimes be loud and noticeable, but it is usually on the quiet side of hauntings. Things you may experience with a classic haunting include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • soft footsteps heard on steps or floors
  • doors opening and closing
  • lights flickering
  • a gentle touch or tap on the shoulder
  • electronic interference
  • pleasant but indistinguishable scents (floral perfumes, foods, cigars, etc.)

Another haunting that is fairly common and similar to a classic haunting (or one that could be considered a sub-type of a classic haunting) is the historical haunting. A historical haunting is just as its name suggests - a haunting that is historical. This means a haunting that has gained historical fame and/or a haunting that is based in a historical place or is haunted by a historical figure.

An example of a historical haunting is the ghosts of the White House in Washington, DC. There is more than one ghost haunting the White House, but some of the more well-known ghosts are Abraham Lincoln and Abigail Adams among other Presidents and First Ladies. Even a black cat has been said to haunt the grounds of the White House, as well as the area around Southeast Washington DC. Another famous historical haunting is the haunting of the Gettysburg battlefield. The ghosts of soldiers are said to haunt the entire area of Gettysburg and beyond.

If you live in a house that is older than a hundred years, and especially if it is near a historical landmark, you may have a historical haunting in your home...though these are more rare than the typical classic haunting. Here are some signs that you are experiencing a historical haunting:

  • your house or property has significant historical proof/value
  • sightings of ghosts in historical dress (Victorian, colonial, Native American etc.)
  • your home or property is close to or on burial ground or a graveyard


Poltergeist Hauntings

Probably one of the more frightening hauntings is the poltergeist haunting. While there are many theories on the cause for a poltergeist haunting, I tend to lean more towards the theory that a poltergeist is indeed an angry spirit in a home or piece of property. The difference between a poltergeist haunting and a classic haunting is that when a poltergeist is present, you will know it immediately. They are loud, disruptive, and many times violent entities that haunt a home but usually connect themselves to one particular person in a family.

Usually a poltergeist haunting is centered around a child or adolescent in a home. I believe poltergeists attach themselves to the younger souls because they are more pure and trusting, and because children have more of an ability to see the spiritual plane. They are more believing of spiritual things, as well.

If you believe your haunting is of a poltergeist nature, you may be experiencing things like:

  • furniture or housewares moved, rearranged, shaken, or even thrown
  • doors and drawers slammed open and shut
  • frighteningly loud noises such as screaming, scratching, and banging on walls and furniture
  • feelings of being pushed, pulled, or slapped, etc.
  • feelings of being watched or general feelings of unease/discomfort

While poltergeist activity is very similar to demonic hauntings, they are not quite the same. Poltergeists are not usually demons in nature, they are usually human souls that are angry for one reason or another...usually the reason is because someone living has intruded upon their haunting place.

If you believe you have a poltergeist and you want to end the haunting, check out this article: How to Exorcise a Pesky Poltergeist From Your House.

While poltergeist activity is very similar to demonic hauntings, they are not quite the same. Poltergeists are not usually demons in nature, they are human souls that are angry for one reason or another...often the reason is because someone living has intruded upon their haunting place.

— Nicole Canfield
The scariest hauntings are demonic. Hands down.
The scariest hauntings are demonic. Hands down. | Source

Demonic Hauntings

Hands down the most terrifying and taxing haunting in existence is the demonic haunting. This is a haunting in which an evil or dark spirit haunts a family or person. Sometimes these entities can be waiting in the shadows of a home or building, waiting for the right person to attach themselves to. While other times these entities are already attached to a person when they move into a home that they believe is haunted (when in fact the person was haunted before the move).

A demonic haunting can further be classified into two sub-types: demonic attachment and demonic possession. I have never known anyone who was possessed, though I have met quite a few people whom I believe had a demonic attachment haunting. The difference between a demonic haunting and a poltergeist haunting is that the demonic entity literally haunts a person's body and soul, whereas the poltergeist usually haunts a building first and then targets a person within that building. Demons are characterized by Christian faiths as being the helpers of Satan, while in other belief systems they are simply some of the most ancient entities on Earth. Whatever they may be, they can present themselves as very violent and possessive entities that seek to devour the person to whom they attach or possess.

The difference between a demonic attachment and a demonic possession is that the attachment is usually the first phase of demonic possession. The demon hasn't fully taken over or inhabited the body of the person being haunted, though they plan to. After the demon has gained full control of the person's body, this is then known as a demonic possession. They have moved from being attached to a person to literally owning the person's body and mind.

There are theories as to how an individual experiences a demonic attachment or possession haunting, though no one knows for sure. Many times the person who is haunted has opened him or herself up to the entity in various ways. One way is to play with divination such as spirit boards or seances without knowing how to protect or guard oneself against invasive entities. Another cause of attachment/possession is if the person literally calls upon the entity...just associating with these entities opens a person up to attachment/possession.

Here are some signs of a demonic haunting (be it attachment or possession):

  • the person becomes withdrawn from his/her life (socially, mentally, spiritually, etc.)
  • the person becomes angry, hateful, vengeful, and violent towards people whom they used to be close to for unknown reasons
  • the person becomes seemingly mentally ill when they've yet to have mental illness before (they may act schizophrenic or paranoid). They may show signs of hallucinations or delusions.
  • the person becomes seemingly bipolar of sorts, going through extreme highs and lows within days to even hours or minutes.
  • the person doesn't want to hear about getting help or anything about God or the Divine.
  • the person may develop an extreme addiction that they never had before, and usually the person will have had no bouts of addiction before this time.
  • the person may show signs of unnatural physical abuse on their body: scratches, bruises, bite marks, etc.
  • the person has no regard for their own body, soul, or mind (they may express suicidal or homicidal tendencies/thoughts)

The Tampa Theater is haunted by residual energy.
The Tampa Theater is haunted by residual energy.

Residual Energy Hauntings

Residual energy hauntings show a definite pattern. The majority of residual energy hauntings occur in places that have seen great tragedy of some kind. Residual hauntings are often confused with classic and historical hauntings and sometimes these types of hauntings may overlap.

So what exactly is a residual energy haunting? It is a haunting in which a collection of energy from a tragedy or event is still lingering in a building or on a piece of property. Residual energy hauntings make you feel uneasy or emotional immediately upon coming in contact with them. To explain it in more basic terms, residual energy hauntings are like blobs of energy stuck in a place. Sometimes this energy is so strong that it exerts itself into the form of a memory of an event or tragedy.

For instance, there is a residual energy haunting in Ybor City that is thought to have been caused by a shooting that took place at least a hundred years ago. A woman was shot due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her "ghost" is thought to haunt the building. While this may be a classic haunting, this type of haunting could also very well be a residual energy haunting as it could be the left-over energy from this tragedy that is still lingering in the building.

Here are some signs that you are in the midst of a residual energy haunting:

  • a sense of unease or discomfort without explanation
  • cold spots that cannot be explained
  • sightings of a ghost that appears in the same place and does the same thing every time it is seen
  • supernatural sounds or scenes are experienced at the same time on the same day whenever they are experienced

Residual energy hauntings produce a sort of movie-like haunting. The people who experience a residual energy haunting state that when they see, hear, or feel the "ghost" it is almost like watching a movie over and over again. This is because an imprint of a certain event or tragedy is literally pressed upon this place in time and continues to re-live itself over and over again.

Shadow Men Hauntings

Shadow men (also known as shadow people) are seen frequently by very spiritual and sensitive people. The majority of shadow men hauntings are said to be scary and not at all pleasant, while some claim that they find shadow people fascinating and harmless. My experience with shadow men has been the former...frightening and intruding.

A shadow man haunting is a haunting that never seems to last very long, hours to days at the most. Then, like a thief in the night, the hauntings will end as quickly as they came on. Shadow men are what their name suggests, men or people that are made only of a dark aura or energy...and they look just like shadows. Some present themselves with what seems to be a cape with a hood over their heads, some present with a bolero hat on their heads, and others show up with red, glowing eyes. Other witnesses only ever see these shadow people darting and disappearing out of their peripheral vision.

There are dozens of theories on who these shadow people are and why they are here. One theory is that they are other-dimensional beings, here only to observe us. While this description doesn't always fit, there are other theories that shadow people are actually demons or even aliens.

Here are the signs of a shadow man haunting:

  • shadows moving around in the corners of your eyes
  • feeling as though someone is watching you
  • dreams of shadow beings with or without red eyes
  • sleep paralysis with dreams
  • seeing shadow people dead-on (obviously)
  • hearing a high-pitched squealing or screaming

Hauntings by Other Entities

The question has been posed on occasion if all of these hauntings are just a figment of our imaginations. They very well could be...and is it possible that hauntings are simply thought-forms made into energy that we have produced ourselves?

But if we do believe in various spirits and energies on this earth, there could also very well be more entities than described above that cause hauntings in the world today. What other entities, you might be wondering.

I believe that fairies and elemental spirits can cause occurrences that might be confused with ghost hauntings...specifically even poltergeist hauntings. Fairies have been known to throw quite a fuss if humans cut down a certain tree or intrude upon a place that the fay find sacred. In Ireland in the 1800s, a man was literally driven out of his house by a band of invisible fairies because he had built on land where a sacred hawthorn tree once grew. They had warned him not to chop it down and he did, much to his misfortune. The fairies that lived in that tree were so angry that they invaded the man's house, throwing dishes and other objects at him. They scared him so bad that he left his house and all of his belongings behind. If interested in fairy trickery, here is a useful article: Fairy Tricks the Fay Might Play on You!

Other than fairies, there are other spirits that could also cause hauntings including the djinn (from the Muslim faith and Arabic lore), the Loa (spirits in the Vodoun tradition), even gods or deities from ancient times. The possibilities are endless, if we really begin to think about them. Even guardians of certain rivers, mountains, and caves could also cause hauntings if their territories are interrupted by humans.


© 2013 Kitty Fields


Submit a Comment
  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 months ago from Summerland

    John - Salt has been used as a purification tool for centuries. It's supposed to keep out negative energies.

  • Garciajohn4 profile image

    John Cameron Garcia 

    6 months ago from Andrews Texas

    Whats with salt and sprits

  • profile image

    Deeve Guillergan 

    11 months ago

    Thanks Nicole for sharing it. It really helps me to broaden my knowledge about the otherworldly, as it is really required for me to become a paranormal investigator one day. This article really helps a lot for an amateur paranormal researcher like me.

  • Tara Jean Cochran profile image

    Lippy Witch 

    18 months ago from Washington

    I knew about different types cause this stuff is interesting to me but with all the shows, I am always surprised that so many people DONT know. ♥

  • moonlake profile image


    4 years ago from America

    I don't like to say I hear voices but I do. I keep thinking my tv is on because I can hear two people carrying on a conversation. I get up out of bed go check the tv thinking I left it on and it's not on. This has happened 3 times in all the years we have lived here. The people that once owned the house died here so I figure it must be them.

    Enjoyed your hub voted up.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    4 years ago from Summerland

    Oak and Mystic - I agree with the drugs and bringing certain attachments. I just believe that there are some things in this world that will weaken one's energy and sometimes negative spirits will follow those things around...preying on whomever's energy is lowered because of those things.

  • Oak and Mystic profile image

    Oak and Mystic 

    4 years ago

    ☆☆☆☆☆ Very well written and researched, thank you! My mentor told me certain drugs brought with them attachments, that those addicted to radical drugs, and alcohol, could have a murky colored aura, and she could sometimes see or sense an attachment. With the ever growing trend of paranormal researchers, I think many of them are unaware of the potential dangers involved. What starts out as fun can end up quite serious! Thanks Kitty, you rock!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    5 years ago from Summerland

    nArchuleta - I'd love to see the picture, are you putting it in a hub soon? I'm anxious to see it now! LOL. Yes, my bed just shook last night believe it or not. Thanks for sharing!

  • nArchuleta profile image

    Nadia Archuleta 

    5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

    I just took a picture in a park nee graveyard for a Hub I'm writing on Denver ghosts, and there was an inexplicable shape in the center. I took the photo twice, and it was there both times. I looked all around, but I could not discover the source. Clocks also don't function in my apartment (100 year+ building). And sometimes I feel my bed shake -- we are NOT earthquake prone. Guess I'm a believer... Thanks for sharing -- I feel a little better knowing the different types!

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 

    5 years ago from North Carolina

    Kitty I should have said the Carolinian's Archives instead of Magic of Ledgering which is at this time an announcement of a joint book project. You can write on anything you like under 1500 words give it a title of your choosing and I'll give it an appropriate heading on the site. Although the site is new the daily views are impressive and gaining. It'd be an honor to have you guest blog and you will certainly have many readers and gain some new fans. Wordpress or just e-mail me your article, either one will be fine. Take your time if needed my friend, what ever works best for you.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    5 years ago from Summerland

    AP - I'll have to check out Colin Wilson...never heard of him. Ohhh, can you tell me more about the little girl ghost? I love a good ghost story, if you couldn't tell. And yes, I'll check out your blog and what is the Magic of Ledgering? I'd love to do a guest blog...thanks AP!

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 

    5 years ago from North Carolina

    This is a superlative write and breakdown on the different kinds of haunting's, Kitty. While perusing it occurred your writing style reminds me of the great Colin Wilson's ( he's a long time writer on the para, if your not familiar with him). I'm trying to investigate a little girls ghost around here right now for a book I'm co-writing with Angelia Phillips. Check out my blog when you get a chance, would love for you to guest blog on the Magic of Ledgering sometime my friend- plenty of exposure for you and I'd be honored.

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 

    5 years ago from Texas

    This was very interesting! I had no idea there were so many different kids of hauntings. Thank you for sharing :)

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 

    5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    As always Kitty this is an awesome article about my favourite subject!! I have to agree with you that by far the 'demonics' are the most frightening. I don't bother about ordinary spirits but I have to say I find demons very creepy! The most fascinating ones I think are the historical hauntings, probably because I love history so much and for me these hauntings are like having a real link to the past, although sad that the spirit is still roaming around perhaps scared or sad!

    As always, voted up across the board - this was a thoroughl enjoyable article!

  • epigramman profile image


    5 years ago

    Well Miss Kitty my love life is a haunting in itself and won't go away. lol

    Congratulations on your big beautiful 100 score - you certainly deserve it with all of the wonderfu hub presentations you have offered to us.

    I always love your 'ghost stuff' and my mum who died back in 2004 has paid a visit to me in our family summer cottage here where I have lived for the past 8 years. Only 3 people have ever lived here since it was built back in 1956 - my mum and dad and myself.

    My mum has come back at least 6 times to move things around.

    (Well I certainly didn't do it and neither did my cats)

    Sending you warm wishes while listening to a Schubert piano/violin sonata and 2nd cup of coffee on sunny lake erie time ontario canada 10:05am

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    5 years ago from Summerland

    bac2basics - Yes, I remember your stories of hauntings in the pub, etc. I am sorry if it was too scary, you're not the first person to say that. My intentions weren't to scare anyone, but just to educate and entertain. :) Thanks for reading and linking, always appreciated!

  • bac2basics profile image


    5 years ago from Spain

    Hi Kitty.

    As you know I have lived in a haunted pub and also feel the presence of loved ones dropping in from time to time. This is a fantastic hub, but I have to confess I didn´t read all of it as found parts too scary, I may believe in ghosts and hauntings but it doesn´t mean I need to know too much about them, scaredy cat me. I´m going to link this to some of my ghostly hubs, it´s brilliant ;)

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    5 years ago from Summerland

    ubaidh86 - Thanks so much.

    ButterflyWings - Actually no research had to be done, this was written on my sheer experience and knowledge of hauntings...believe it or not. The words just sort of flowed out like water. I've had a lot of experiences with the supernatural and so writing about the paranormal comes naturally. As far as your guardian spirit, why do you think Edward is not human? He may not think he is now, but I would venture to say that he lived at least one human incarnation. I'd love to hear more about Edward. Thanks for sharing!

  • ButterflyWings profile image


    5 years ago

    I like how real this subject is to you, and the careful research involved. Excellent overview. I have experienced most of these types of hauntings at one time or another, and they all make sense to me. In the old farmhouse where I have lived for about three years, I met what I at first took to be an evil haunting. Upon getting to know him, however, I found that "Edward" (what he calls himself), is in fact some type of guardian, who has a tendency to reflect the emotional state of his region of haunting. He appears, unfortunately, like a tall corpse dresses in brown, but is harmless and generally friendly, though wary. He is the only one of his type that I've encountered. He is not human. I just thought you might find this interesting, or might have an insight. My children see him the same way I do.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    5 years ago from Summerland

    Cathy - That's why I had to write it during the day when a bunch of people were around me! LOL. Thanks for reading.

    Phoenix - Sounds to me like you were feeling residual energy over the water. Perhaps someone had drowned in that area or a ship sunk years ago? Did you ever do any research on the area? Whenever I get feelings like that I tend to get obsessive with my research until I find an explanation. Just a thought. As for residual energy in an item, yes that is most definitely a possibility and a probability. I also believe that classic hauntings can occur with objects, as sounds like the lady's soul was actually attached to that my opinion. It also sounds to me like you are sensitive to spirits, which is something that I have experienced in my life too.

    david - It could be a you have any other signs of a haunting other than the light going on and off? Usually there are other signs along with the light disturbances.

  • davidlivermore profile image

    David Livermore 

    5 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

    Very interesting. I'm an amateur when it comes to hauntings, but it's always fascinated me.

    In my house I have a light that turns on randomly. I am sure it's an electrical short, but it does it at such random times I partially feel like it's a haunting. The previous owner did pass away in the house, but under natural circumstances.

    Very neat hub, voted up!

  • phoenix2327 profile image

    Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

    5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Fascinating hub. I remember a couple of occasions that could be classed as residual hauntings.

    I was on holiday with my family in Wales. We were on a pier and I was gazing at the water below us lost in my own thoughts. Some orangey-peach coloured jellyfish began to appear. They were such a striking contrast against the blue-green water that I wanted a picture. I got my camera ready and was about to shoot when suddenly I didn't feel so good. Not physically but emotionally. I felt overwhelmed by sadness and my hand shook so badly I couldn't take the picture. My husband noticed I was a bit off and took the picture for me. He led me away from the edge of the pier and sat me down on a bench. As soon as I was away from the edge, I was much better. I still had a lingering sensation of sorrow and made a note to avoid that area. I was fine for the rest of the day.

    Is it possible for residual energy to reside in an object? My next encounter happened when I was visiting Peterborough Museum. In the lobby there was a display of a what looked like a stone coffin. It was alleged to be at least 1,000 years old. There was a sign above it requesting that visitors not touch it. I never touch museum artifacts so I have no explanation for what happened next. I stared at the coffin for a bit and then I purposely reached out and touched it.

    How I wish I hadn't. As soon as I made contact, I felt, not sadness exactly, but a complete, utter lack of happiness with an edge of anger. I remember thinking that whoever had been buried in that coffin had been betrayed by someone she (I feel it was a woman) had trusted and was still angry by it. They feeling stayed with me the rest of the day. This was a few years ago but when I think about it, I can still feel emotions and keenly now as I did then.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on these incidents as I don't know what to make of it all.

  • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

    Ms. Immortal 

    5 years ago from NJ

    I started reading this and got too scared to continue, I will finish when the sun is up. Good stuff!


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