Mystery Topic – Ghost Types: This week I thought about going into a lengthy philosophical discussion about ghosts (their potential for existence, what their existence might mean for religion and the afterlife, my personal experiences), but I decided to save you—you, dear reader and friend—the trouble and time. If you are interested in the idea of ghosts like I am, you may find this post of interest. If you yearn for the full length discussion, you’ll have to wait for the book, or catch me around sometime. This week I’ll simply relate the types of ghostly beings and leave the decision of truth to your discretion.
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places (2012) by Brad Steiger identifies the following types:
Spirit residue – Essentially these are structural hauntings. The walls, wallpaper, halls of a building might have absorbed the energy of its former residents, like a sponge, and now hold certain events/feelings for all eternity. This type of ghost often repeats its actions (yelling, walking down a hall, hitting things) and is capable of little else. They cannot be interacted with, nor are they deemed an intelligent haunting.
Spirits of the dead – Simply that. These are spirits of the once living now trapped between this world and the next, often deemed intelligent, and they frequently desire to communicate messages to loved ones or complete some unfinished work. Aiding these spirits in their goals is imperative to their transcendence to the next world. Yet aid is often best served by psychic medium professionals.
Poltergeists – The typical violent or disruptive entity. These particular spirits enjoy throwing things, pushing and/or scratching people. Some say these spirits are either violent spirits of the dead or violent energetic manifestations of the living (ex. someone going through a hard time may create a negatively charged energetic atmosphere and inadvertently bring about a form of poltergeist).
Spirit parasites – Near synonymous with demonic possession. Evil spirits can attach themselves to an individual, drain their energy, and alter their behavior for the worse. Seek religious or shamanic figure to rid one’s self of spirit.
Spirit masqueraders – Beings that exist in a realm between third and fourth dimensions and beyond. Sometimes called fairies, elves, natural spirits or, to some, aliens. These are beings that have great sway in our world, may choose to be visible or invisible, and are not easily classified as good or evil. Not essentially ghosts, but something else entirely.
There are many exciting haunted spots in and around Salt Lake, spots where any one of these spirit types can be found, but I’m afraid that will have to wait for another post. If you have had an encounter with any of the above entity types and would like to share your story, please comment below, write to CATALYST Magazine on Facebook, or mail a letter to the office (address found in any issue or online) care of Z. Smith; I’d be very interested to hear your experiences and your favorite haunted spots. Next week we’ll leave the hauntings behind and cover the herb valerian root. See you next time!
Z. Smith is a cookie connoisseur, moonlight meanderer, and aesthete at large. His work has previously appeared in 13 Experiments, Folio, Stone Soup Review, SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, and CATALYST Magazine. He earned his BA in English from The University of Utah and currently writes from a room with many plants.
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger
Photograph – Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, a claimed ghost photograph by Captain Hubert C. Provand. First published in Country Life magazine, 1936