Home Page

API Blog

About Us


Electronic Voice Phenomena

Ghost Hunting Equipment

Request Investigation

API Code of Ethics

API Ghost Post

Training Investigations

Ghost Stories

Ghost Theories

Paranormal Links

Sun and Moon Activity

Contact Us

PI Guest book

Theories on Ghosts and Hauntings

What is a Haunting?

By definition, it is the repeated manifestation of strange and inexplicable sensory phenomena at a certain location. Smells- sounds- sensations-hallucinations are all said to be caused by ghosts or spirits attached to a certain location.

The term haunt or haunting, comes from the same root as home. Most likely, a haunted location is the former home of the deceased, or the place where the deceased died. Haunted locations also include places that apparently were frequented or well liked by the deceased, or are places of violent deaths. Other haunts seem to be aimless, occurring without explanation.

There does not seem to be any general pattern to a haunting. Some phenomena occur periodically for just a matter of days-or for long periods of time-even for centuries. Some hauntings only take place on anniversary dates, such as the day they died.

It is commonly believed that most hauntings mean visual sightings of apparitions or ghosts of the dead. Actually, apparitions are only associated with a small number of reported cases. Nearly all hauntings include noises, such as footsteps, whisperings, thumps, tapping, smells, especially smells or flowers and perfumes, burned wood or rotting flesh. Also tactile sensations such as a cold prickling of the skin, cold breezes, feelings of being touched or watched.

Some hauntings will feature Poltergeist Activity, such as rearranged furniture, smashing of glassware and mirrors, stopped clocks, and the paranormal movement of objects.

Those experiencing a haunting will often be subjected to negative feelings such as; hatred, anger, or fear. Some will often believe they feel an evil presence. Other hauntings seem to involve friendly ghost, and some feature phantom animals, such as pet dogs, cats and horses, which are seen, felt or heard in their familiar places.

Objects as well as sites can be haunted. In Britain, for example, numerous tales exist of haunted skulls that seem to cause unearthly screaming whenever they are moved from their places in a home.

An explanation for at least some hauntings favored by many ghost investigators is that of the portal, an opening to other dimensions that allows spirits to enter the psychical world. Belief in portals is ancient and universal. Certain places that are sacred serve as natural portals. Wells have often been recognized as natural entryways for spirits. Other portals can open at places associated with death, such as cemeteries, battlefields, and natural disaster sites; places associated with trauma and intense emotions, such as hospitals, schools, churches and theaters; and lonely places such as lighthouses.

Numerous remedies to end hauntings exist around the world. Some are simple, such as sweeping out the offending spirits with a broom. Others are more elaborate, such as formal rites of Exorcism. Such measures do not always succeed.

The Different Classifications of Hauntings:

1. Traditional / Intelligent Haunting
2. The Residual Haunting
3. Poltergeist Activity
4. Portal Haunting

The Traditional / Intelligent Haunting:

We are only giving you a small amount of information on the various types of hauntingsYou are to research these different types of Hauntings on the Internet or in books, such as Ghost Hunters Guide by Troy Taylor

The Traditional, or Intelligent, haunting is perhaps the most widely accepted kind of ghost activity, although its really not as common as you might think. In this kind of case, the spirit or entity involved is an intelligent or interactive presence in a haunted location. It is there because of a connection to the site or to the people at the location. The ghost is be (and most simply) described as the personality of the person who once lived and which stayed behind in our world instead of passing on at the time of death. This may happen in the case of murder, a traumatic event, suicide, or even because of some unfinished business in the persons life. At the time of death, the spirit refused to pass on because of these events. They may also linger because of emotions that tie them to the earth, from anger to love. It may not have been that the person did not pass on because they couldnt, but because they didnt want to. In other cases, there is the chance that the spirit didnt even realize that he had died. This may occur when a death is sudden or unexpected, like with an accident or a murder.

Crisis Apparitions and Message Spirits

The crisis apparition or the message spirit is an apparition that has been seen by people who are far away from the scene of the death of a person or a loved one. It is said that it is the departing soul of the friend or loved one that wishes to relay a message or say goodbye to the friend or family member….who is totally unaware of the death. It usually appears only once…so therefore is not considered a true haunting. Once they have concluded whatever it was they needed to get done, they leave and are never seen again.

Signs of an Intelligent Haunting

Most intelligent Spirits will manifest in physical ways in an attempt to interact with those present at the location. This will include: Slamming Doors, Windows opening and closing, cold chills and a strong presence. On rare occasions, the spirits will be seen and when it is, it will most likely look as it did when it was alive. The Witness should be sure that the visible spirit interacts however and is not an imprinted image.

Return to Classifications

Return to Top of Page


Of all the types of hauntings discussed here, the residual haunting is likely the most common. Certainly, it is much more common than most people think, and possibly a large percentage of ghostly activity falls into this category. When investigating strange phenomena, we have to be careful not to confuse this type of activity with that of the Intelligent spirit. The main reason for this is that its possible that Residual hauntings may have little or nothing to do with actual ghosts.

The simplest way to explain this kind of activity is to compare it to an old film loop. By that we mean it can be a scene or image that plays over and over through the years. Many of the locations where these hauntings take place experience an event (or a series of events) that imprints itself in the atmosphere of the place. This event can suddenly discharge and play itself at various times, just as a recording would. The events are not always visual either, they are often replayed as smells, sounds, and noises that have no apparent explanation. The famed phantom footsteps are a perfect example of this. Often, the mysterious sounds or images that are recorded relate to traumatic events that have taken place and that have caused some sort of disturbance (or impression) to occur there. This is the reason why so many battlefields, crime scenes and areas related to violence have become famous for their hauntings.

Signs of a Residual Haunting

This type of case is your best chance to see a ghost. It is more common to visibly spot an apparition when investigating this type of case and they have afforded the best opportunity to do so. The ghosts reported will be like moving pictures and will be unaware of the people around them. Such cases do not have any interaction between the witnesses and the ghosts. Strange sounds are common like footsteps, voices, and rappings. These cases do not involve missing or vanishing items, as there is no consciousness present. While windows or doors may open and close, it is because of energy expending itself.

Return to Classifications

Return to Top of Page


As we have already talked Traditional Hauntings, poltergeist (German for noisy ghost) have commonly been blamed for any violent or destructive activity in a haunting. In the past, researchers believed that all such activity at a haunted location was the work of spirits, or an outside force, but today, most investigators dont think so. While interactive spirits may be the culprits in some cases, many of cases have a force behind them that is much closer to home.

In a poltergeist case (and in its counterpart) there can be a variety of phenomena taking place. There are reports of knocking and tapping noises, sounds with no visible cause, disturbances of stationary objects like household items and furniture, door slamming, lights turning on and off, fires breaking out and much more. While in some cases, this activity can be connected to ghosts, in other cases it probably isnt. It certainly remains paranormal though and because of this, it is also unexplained and very controversial.

The current theory behind poltergeist-like phenomena is that the activity is caused by a person in the household, known as the human agent. The agent is usually an adolescent girl and normally one that is troubled emotionally. It is believed that she unconsciously manipulates physical objects in the house by psychokinesis (PK). The power to move things by energy generated in the brain. This kinetic type of energy remains unexplained, but even some mainstream scientists are starting to explore the idea that it does exist.

Poltergeist Activity and Signs of A Human Agent

In cases like this, the movement Of physical objects occur more violent and occur more frequently than in cases involving spirits. Reports will often escalate as time goes by but will peak early and then fade away. Keep an eye out for a young female or an adolescent to be present in the household. Usually, the activity will be centered around this person in particular. This person can be isolated or removed from the house to rule out other activity. Always try to rule out human involvement (including fraud) before assuming the phenomena is related to ghosts.

Return to Classifications

Return to Top of Page


Without a doubt, Portal Hauntings will be the most controversial of the hauntings that we will discuss in these lessons. The idea that this type of activity could be genuine is still mostly theory and conjecture, although evidence is being collected to show that Portals just might exist. The problem id that this type of haunting is the least understood and least traditional of the forms of activity that we know of. Troy Taylor-Author of The ghost Hunters Guide Book and Nationally known paranormal Investigator, once stated in one of his early books called the idea that portals might exist silly and stated that such things were simply not possible and that serious researchers have abandoned such an idea. How can we so easily dismiss or discount a theory as intriguing as Portals, when we still know so little about them (or whether they truly exist at all). The main reason that the idea of a portal is rejected is because of fear. Like the mainstream scientists, some ghost researchers discount the theory because it does not fit into their accepted idea of a haunted place. They do not understand it, so they choose to either ignore or attack it. Paranormal Investigators do not think that we can afford to do this though. Strange and untraditional or not, the idea is out there and the evidence must be examined. The idea of a portal or doorway to another dimension is not a new one. It has been suggested that there exists places all over the world that serve as doorways from our world to another. These doorways (some believe) provide access for entities to come into our world. They may be the spirits of people who have lived before, or they may be something else altogether. Some researchers even believe that they could be otherworldly beings from some dimension that we cannot even comprehend.

Signs of a Portal Haunting

The majority of reports that might fit into a portal haunting category seem to come from cemeteries. The best way to watch for them is to be on the lookout for graveyards that are rumored to be haunted. Be aware if stories (from cemeteries and other spots) that involve glowing balls Of light, odd creatures, strange shapes or unexplained images, its possible that a doorway of some sort might be present at this location.

In Conclusion:

When we are dealing with ghosts and haunting phenomena, its hard to say for sure whether or not any of these things actually pertain to ghosts, but all of them have been perceived as hauntings at various times over the years.

Return to Classifications

Return to Top of Page

Copyright 1994-2010 Arizona Paranormal Investigations. All content of this page, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Arizona Paranormal Investigations. Unauthorized reproduction or use without express written permission is prohibited and violators will be prosecuted.

Arizona Paranormal Investigations is registered with the State of Arizona.