Monday, October 5, 2009


This is pretty basic stuff. Ghosts tend to be defined by

A.) what they are up to now

and by B.) how they died.

I would add by C.) how they are experienced or encountered by the living.

I have very detailed stories (collected from the people who experienced them) of each.

Let’s go with A.) for now. Ghost Types by What They Are Up To.

1. Stuck Ghosts. Going about their normal routine as if alive. These ghosts seem to get stuck in the real world somehow.

Some are stuck in their favorite earth places. I hear story after story of kitchen ghosts. They just like being there. I also hear of ghosts attached to a particular piece of furniture (watch out for rocking chairs, Lay-Z Boy recliners, and beds!) and small objects, including jewelry.

2. Dying-Again Ghosts. Over and over and over again. Popular, as an idea anyway, on ghost tours.

3. Searching Ghosts. They're looking for something and aren't going away until they find it.

4. Comfort Ghosts. Relatives and loved ones who drop by to let you know that everything is okay and it is time for you to quit grieving.

5. Protecting-You or Warning-You Ghosts. A ghost who appears to keep a wandering child safe from the cliff's edge is an example.

6. Mean Ghosts. They just want attention and don't care how they get it.

7. Sad Ghosts. These ghosts are stuck in re-living their most sorrowful moments in life. You hear them weeping. Oh, and weeping... and weeping some more.

8. Message Ghosts. They have a message for you, specifically for you. Often a relative. They tell you where money is hidden, for example.

9. Messenger Ghosts. They have a message for you. But the message is from someone else, usually dead. Really rare, these courier ghosts are absolutely scream-scary when the messenger is a stranger ghost.

10. Explaining Ghost. This ghost wants someone, anyone, to know what really happened.

Even from this general list, you can see that there are two very basic types of ghosts that people experience:

1. Ghosts who are stuck where they are.

2. Ghosts who go away.

As I hear people tell me of their own ghost encounters, my first division as to type is between ghosts of people you know and ghosts of strangers.

11. Ghost Animals. They fit almost all of the above and include beloved family-member dogs and cats, but also horses and, yes, even cows. I have heard of two first-person encounters with bovine boo-critters.

12. Animal Ghosts. These are people ghosts using the form of an animal to visit you. Common as a comfort ghost, as well. You run across a talking dog, it may not be the dog who is doing the talking.

13. Finally, experiences of God, angels, faeries, cognition of living people in dire straights far away, etc. seem to share some phenomena with ghost experiences. They are different and I don't include them in my own catalog of first-person ghost encounters.

Some people like to say spirits are not tied to earth, ghosts are. I personally think there's a little more overlap than that. I accept that ghosts might make a visit in your dreams (what others would call spirit encounters).


Gordon Jerome said...

Excellent post!

I have often debated in my own thoughts exactly what is a ghost. Some think a ghost is a spiritual being. I tend to think it is a psychic impression.

In other words, if you go to a ruined castle and see a ghost of someone who lived there, it's not really them, but a psychic impression you are getting of what used to be there, or what happened there in the past.

What do you think? said...

Yes! That could easily be. And would explain why some people are much more sensitive to whatever impression remains.

I have, though, collected numerous encounters of ghosts experienced by people who are not normally sensitive to ghostly matters. In many of these there is a one-ob-one interaction between the living and the dead.

Gordon, I'll confess that I am often confused by historical ghosts. They don't usually seem real to me. It never made sense to me than a ghost would hang around for 100 years. Your idea that impressions are left makes so much sense in these cases that I tend to think you may be on to something.

I really should post something about fake ghosts, too. So many of those!

Ron Smith said...

What an interesting site! I will be sure to poke around and read all these interesting posts!

Jovanka said...

I think sometimes historical ghosts or ghosts reliving a traumatic event aren't so much the full soul of that person left behind as they are sort of "recordings" of what happened - kind of like when you walk into a room where an argument just happened and you can feel it even though there isn't any actual concrete "evidence" - but on a larger scale. ......Actually I think I'm just re-wording what the first commenter said ; )

astrologybites said...

I can tell I'm going to love your blog! I'm bookmarking and coming back asap. I have a few things I have to catch up on right now because of an email & internet problem, but I'm really looking forward to getting back here and combing the archives.

Ghost Girl said...

I love this! It really connects with my current WIP. Thanks for stopping by my blog and introducing yourself. Big congrats on your new book with HarperTeen!

I look forward to swapping stories and experiences!

Anonymous said...

i think this site is nice but i don't think you put every type of ghost in this

there is one more i can think of

that is......

if a ghost died in a house,apartment,etc. then they want revenge and they will try killing the new owner of the house so that they think that they will have accomplished something even as the dead, or if they think that now, the house is safe of harm. said...

Hi, Anon! Yes, you're right! In general, the type of ghost you describe might fall into the category of "Righting a Wrong" Ghost. At least, from the point of view of the ghost, it would be correcting an injustice.

I'm sorry I left this one off... it appears often in the folklore of many cultures, including ours.

There are also ghosts that do the opposite and who reward living people for what they perceive as helpful or proper behavior. This ghost type is sometimes referred to as The Grateful Dead.

An actual list of ALL types of ghosts would likely be limited only by the possible motives any human being has for their own behavior... on this side, or the other, of the grave.

Thanks for adding to the list!