How Do Ghosts Manifest?

Any time we experience something that we do not understand, we want to dissect it to see how it works. That is the human mind at work – above all other species, we have the capacity to seek out how things are the way they are, and why. At this time in our history, we understand our world pretty well, but there has always been a part of man that wonders about things unseen, and about the veil that separates the living from the dead.

We do not fully understand or comprehend the paranormal, we are only just scratching the surface. All we can do is dissect our experiences, and marvel one bit at a time. That is what we will do here: take one small part of the paranormal, in this case ghosts, and run through some theories on how things work. If you want to know some ideas of how ghosts manifest in the physical world, it helps to differentiate between the two main types of haunting: residual and intelligent.

Residual Hauntings

If the ghost or apparition is appearing in the same place and performing the same task every time, chances are that you have a residual haunting. The theory behind this type of haunting is that certain minerals (usually limestone and quartz) can act as a type of recording mechanism that takes an imprint of highly emotionally charged events, and can play them back is the atmospheric conditions are right. In many ways, it is a direct window into the past, in that you are witnessing an event happen before your eyes, even if it actually happened years ago.

With these types of manifestations, the apparitions interact with the environment as it was in their time, not necessarily ours. For example, if you live in an old place that has been renovated over the years, you might see a ghost walk up an invisible set of stairs, or pass through a solid wall. According to residual haunting theory, this could be because there might have been stairs or might not have been a wall present when the spirit was living. You are just a spectator, and the entity doesn’t even know that you are there.

Intelligent Hauntings

If the entity that you encounter interacts with you, or otherwise seems aware of your presence, you have what is called an intelligent haunting. These ghosts manifest by pulling energy out of the environment and using it to interact. For example, the locations where an apparition or entity has been spotted will usually be 10 to 20 degrees colder than the surrounding environment. This seems to be because the entity pulls the heat energy out of the atmosphere to facilitate manifestation, creating a so-called cold spot.

Since energy can neither be created nor destroyed according to the first law of thermodynamics, there must be some reason that batteries and other electronic equipment sometimes go dead when a ghost is manifesting. Like heat energy, it seems that paranormal entities pull electric energy out of their environment. This also seems to be the case with electromagnetic fields. Our brains (and by proxy, our whole bodies) are run with electromagnetism. It is believed, due in part to the fact that the Earth itself is covered by an electromagnetic field, that paranormal manifestations are accompanied by a flux in that field. A lot of experienced paranormal investigators make an electromagnetic field detector a part of their toolbox, taking base readings in an environment so that any spikes in the field can be noted.

It must be noted here that high levels of electromagnetism has been shown to induce feelings of paranoia, sickness, or even hallucinations in controlled lab experiments. It is for this reason that testing the electromagnetic field is important to verify a haunting. If EM spikes can be proven to exist outside of mechanical means (like copper wiring or older electric machinery), and be shown to appear independently, the paranormal explanation gains much more credence. If strange things happen and there is a definable source for a high EM field, the paranormal explanation is much harder to prove.

As stated before, when it comes to understanding the ‘how’s and ‘why’s of ghosts, we are just scratching the surface. All we can do is quantify our experiences and describe them in terms we already know. That is why these are still theories, and paranormal studies aren’t quite yet considered a science. Of course, that means that the paranormal enthusiast and amateur ghost hunter is on the edge of the effort to explore a new frontier. By keeping informed on paranormal theory, taking investigations seriously, and doing thorough work, paranormal investigators are paving the way to an understanding of the world we cannot see.


  • Leslie Katherine Myers

    Love this sight! I have always experienced spirits and, even no physical entities may be present, I am never alone. I love the fact that they have chosen me to visit and am so amazingly grateful that God has allowed me to see those others cannot.

  • Dwight Lane

    I found this information quite interesting and i have several questions for you. 1) With Residual hauntings (shadows) and intelligent hauntings (doors slaming) can both reside in one house hold?
    2) How much energy does a spirit have to gain in order to do anything that will let them tell us, that they are here?
    3) Is it common for them to show them selves as a manifestation( body outline)?

  • Ghost Writer

    Yes, residual and intelligent hauntings can reside in the same place. Shadows can be something totally different altogether however. No one knows for sure how much energy it takes for spirits to do anything. It could be a lot and therefore a lot of recharge needed or it could be simple and they just don’t want to communicate all the time. I have found that it is not common for them to manifest if full form. Myself, I have never seen a full body apparition.

    Thanks for the kind words and hope I have answered your questions.

  • Dwight Lane

    Thank you for your timely response!
    I’m worried about my friends children. She has a 2 yr old and he wakes up screaming at night and sometimes she tells whatever is in the room to go away and then he will fall back asleep. I feel that she may have been pushed as well and i have also been getting an anxious feeling like someone is watching me and i feel my happiness drifting away. My friends phone has also started losing battery and shuts down randomly. As well as things have been knocked off the wall and others moved from the counter to the floor. The tv has also been shut off and the channel changed(no one near the remote). I believe there may be 3-4 spirits in this house and I’m not quite sure of their intentions. I think the spirit(s) keeping the 2 yr old awake may be children themselves and the outline I saw appeared to be female but the shadows looked more like a broad male. Do you have any suggestions on how to find out their intentions and how can we get the activity to lessen?

  • Ghost Writer


    My suggestion is to find a team to come in and help you. I am not saying you are incapable of handling it or that a team has some magic tricks to help but a good team does have experience and that is something you will have to rely on to figure out what is going on.

    If you need some suggestions on a team, I may be able to help you. Reply back with the area you live in (<- I will not post it) and I will try to find someone.If that is something you want to do I will use your email from now on to contact you.

  • vicki sly

    My son and his wife live in Salina Ks. They have 3 small girls,ages 5 and 2 year old twins. My son works night 6pm-6am. When he is gone my daughter-in-law has been experiencing strange things. Only once while my son was home, they were outside and she saw the apparition of a man sitting on the couch next to the 5 year old. One night the 5 year old came crying into thier room saying she saw a man standing at the foot of the stairs. My daugher-in-law heard a loud thump and found the laundry soap jug(full) sitting across the laundry room sitting up-right in the corner. The other night she was whistling for the dog and a whistle started mocking her. she and the kids are really scared. There have been other things happen but I’m running out of space. I live in Texas and this really bothers me.
    can you give me some advise. I have wrote to a branch of the TAPS team in Wichita Ks. They said it would be at 2 weeks before I hear anything. I don’t know how long the kids can this, They are all scared to death. Its really scaring the 5 year old.

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