Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Kind of Ghost is That? Part 1.

Not all ghosts are the same!  In fact, there are several different types of haunting activity that are recognized by the paranormal community.  As an investigator, it's important to be able to identify these various types of activity.

I'll be writing several posts detailing the various types of hauntings.   First up, the Residual Haunting!

Residual Haunting:  A residual haunting is a playback of a specific time or event. One theory on how residual hauntings come about postulates that when a particular location experiences an event or a series of events, the emotional energy generated can imprint itself on the atmosphere of that location.

In some cases, it's thought that the very building materials used, particularly at older locations, aid in the imprinting process. This is called the Stone Tape theory. Video and audio tapes capture sounds and images on a film of special material that has been oxidized or rusted.  Certain building materials, such as slate used in older castles and stone structures and iron nails used in many older buildings, have properties similar to that of the tapes.  When a traumatic event or a time of heightened emotions occurs , these materials are thought to be able to "record" the event.

The apparitions seen are not actual spirits, but recordings of whatever events took place at the location. Most often residual hauntings are associated with traumatic, highly emotional events such as war, or murder, but in some cases can be associated with simple repetition of an event. Apparitions will not interact with witnesses, and can seem oblivious to the fact that anyone is there at all.  They will perform the same actions every time they are seen. A Figure moving through a wall where once a door stood, or climbing a long removed staircase are classic examples of such encounters.  EVP recordings have also been made of residual haunting activity. In some cases, activity will only be seen at particular times, such as the anniversary of whatever event caused the haunting in the first place.

Residual hauntings can be brought about by either positive or negative events, though there seem to be more examples of negative ones.  Likely due to the fact that negative emotions are much stronger than positive ones.

An excellent example of residual haunting is the ghost of Anne Boleyn.  Anne was the second wife of King Henry VIII.  Henry desperately needed a male heir to secure the family line, but Anne bore him only a daughter.  In a remarkable twist of fate and irony, that daughter went on to become Queen Elizabeth I. But still, Anne bore him no son.

 On May 19, 1536, Anne was beheaded on patently false charges of witchcraft, incest and adultery.  Numerous sightings of Anne's ghost have been reported at several locations throughout England, including the Tower of London.  Typical of a residual haunting, the apparition never interacts with witnesses, and she does the same things each time she is seen, depending on the given location.  In a unique twist, sightings of Anne's apparition have been reported at several different locations, at different times of the year.

There is a very informative article about Anne's ghost at On the Tudor Trail.

Other examples of residual hauntings include The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, and the battlefield at Gettysburg.

While witnessing residual haunting activity can be startling, they are by nature, completely harmless. If given the opportunity to visit or investigate the site of a residual haunting, do so and enjoy the show!

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