What Exactly is A Ghost?



  A ghost is an alleged non-corporeal manifestation of a dead person (or, sometimes, an animal or a vehicle). It is often claimed to be a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person which has remained on Earth after death. According to some beliefs, a ghost may be the personality of a person after his or her death, and not directly tied to the soul or spirit.

  Many cultures throughout the world carry stories about ghosts, though they often disagree as to what ghosts are and whether they are just figments of imagination or a part of reality. There is much debate on whether ghosts are spirits of deceased people or a naturally occurring phenomenon. Some people believe that ghostly images and sounds occur as a result of the natural environment "playing back" past events in a manner similar to that of a tape recorder.


  Ghosts, or phantoms, are often depicted of a human size and shape (although some accounts also mention animal ghosts), but they are often described as not visually striking. Usually these depictions suggest that the ghost does not consist of solid matter. The "typical" ghost in the West is semi-transparent, and does not directly interact with physical objects. They walk through walls, float above the ground, and so forth.

  Ghosts are often said to behave as if they were mindlessly following a particular routine or itinerary (See Residual Haunting). Other ghosts are described as being solid, interacting with their environment, and generally behaving much like other people. In some ghost stories, especially in the Caribbean and Africa, the figure is only identified as a ghost because an acquaintance knows that the person is already dead.

    Residual hauntings:

  A Residual Haunting is thought by some to be a replayed haunting in which no intelligent ghost, spirit, or other entity is directly involved. Much like a video tape, residual hauntings are playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory, and other sensory phenomenon which are attributed to a traumatic event, life-altering event, or a common event of a person or place, like an echo of past events.

  Residual hauntings often center on moments of intense emotion: someone's beheading, a great battle, a murder, or even a celebration. Paranormal researchers theorize that residual hauntings are the result of discharged personal energy of a person or group of people being imprinted on the surrounding environment, most commonly at or just after death.



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