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An apparition is defined as the supernatural manifestation of the soul of a deceased person or animal, typically referred to as a ghost. Apparitions are visual experiences. Throughout history human beings have seen ghosts. Despite research efforts there is still very little known about apparitions. They are the most compelling part of the supernatural field. The one thing that is known about apparitions is that no two are exactly alike. They are as complex and diverse as each living person. Every apparition will have its own cause, origin, and meaning. To help the investigator to acquire a better feel for the kind of apparition they are dealing with, apparition categories have been created. You will find that most will fit into at least one of these categories, or share characteristics with a couple different categories.


Atmospheric Apparition

This type of ghost sighting is not actually believed to be a real ghost, but instead a visual “imprint” that got left behind in the environment from a past event. These events typically include, but are not limited to, violent and tragic events. What witnesses report seeing is the continuous replaying of past events exactly as they happened. The ghostly scenes are played and replayed with both picture & sound. A particularly strange aspect of atmospheric apparitions is that the visual picture fades down over time. As the years pass the ghosts are reported to become more and more transparent until there is no picture left at all. Over time, the sound eventually fades away as well.


The most popular theory for atmospheric apparitions is represented in the field of quantum physics. Light particles become suspended in the atmosphere where they remain dormant in the environment until an outside variable stimulates them. Once stimulated, the light particles vibrate in the atmosphere. Witnesses then see the frozen light particles vibrating, creating a holographic vision of the past event. There are certain conditions needed for this phenomenon to occur that supports the particle imprint theory. The area must be indoors or where weather conditions cannot interfere. These apparitions can only be seen from a particular angle, and at the proper distance. This means that ten people may be in the same room, yet only a few will be able to see the apparition.


Historical Apparition

Historical Apparitions are apparitions are one step up from the atmospheric apparition. They typically haunt older homes, and appear in solid forms acting natural. They are always dressed in period clothing, and do not speak, communicate or acknowledge the presence of the living. They are seen in more than one location of the residence.


Recurring Apparitions

 Recurring apparitions are ghosts that occur in regular cycles over a period of time, usually once annually. This type of ghost sighting is one of the most popular. The date of manifestation usually occurs on an anniversary date or a day of special importance to the deceased. These apparitions can include both ghosts of people, and animals. Reports of recurring ghosts include individuals who have committed suicide, murder victims,  and entire phantom armies marching across battlefields.


Modern Apparitions

Modern Apparitions are the spirits of present-day ghosts. Not all ghosts are from ancient haunted places or of two hundred-year-old dead people. These ghosts are relatively new, looking & sounding like modern people. They still have all the same characteristics as the older haunts, such as strange noises, odd odors, cold spots, etc.  As decades pass, the haunting will become more traditional, and the apparitions will look dated. The times and styles will continue to change, but the apparitions will not.


Crisis or Death Bed Apparitions

These apparitions appear to loved ones or close friends just before or soon after their death. They are very common ghost sightings that almost never occur after more than four days after death. The crisis ghost appears one last time to fulfill a promise, say a final goodbye, or express eternal love to help ease the sadness of death for the living left behind.


Haunted Objects and Object Apparitions

Haunted objects can also be referred to as cursed. This supernatural phenomenon is one of the strangest most puzzling enigmas of all the haunting styles. Most haunts have a ghost at the center. When dealing with haunted objects the question most asked is, “How are these objects haunted when they were never alive, and are void of any soul?”


Some haunted objects are spirit associated, meaning that the ghost of a past owner who had a powerful emotional tie to the object now haunts the objects. Still, other objects leave no clue to their curse and appear to have a life of their own. In the presence of haunted objects witnesses have reported all types of strange occurrences, such as bizarre sounds and lights coming from the rooms where the objects are stored. In other cases, objects move when no one is touching them. Sometimes, dark apparitions are seen near the objects. These haunted objects can include almost any possession; jewelry, collectibles, wall clocks, and furniture are some of the more common haunted objects.


There are also object apparitions. Reports of the ghost like sightings of objects such as swords, books, lanterns, etc. Ghosts or spirits cannot possess objects, but they can haunt them. There is a difference.


Modes of Transportation

These are the manifestations of non-living vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, carriages, trains, airplanes, and ships. These manifestations are almost always associated in some way with a violently tragic demise where hundreds of people may have died as a direct result. The emotional imprints left behind in these kinds of horrible events are so strong that even pieces of the wreckage can become haunted or cursed. These vehicles are seen traveling back over their last routes in the reenactments of their final seconds. They can be dangerous apparitions because of the fact that most people who see them are themselves traveling in a vehicle. Witnesses sometime panic & sometimes wreck as a result.


Photographic Apparitions

Photographic apparitions are ghosts that are not seen visually, but can be photographed. Most people are unaware that they have taken a picture of a ghost until they develop the film. The ghosts appearing in photographs may appear in slightly transparent grayish forms wearing period clothing, or more commonly as bright white patches of concentrated energy. Blurred areas and unexplained smears on a photograph are believed by some to be caused by a nearby spirit. This phenomenon has taken a new twist over the past fifteen years with the revolution of the personal video camcorder. Ghosts or phantom like images have been recorded by experienced ghost hunters, or accidentally by regular everyday people.


Out of Body Apparitions

 The strange occurrences of out-of-body apparitions are when people report seeing the ghost of someone whom is still alive, and could not have possibly been nearby at the time of the sighting. These apparitions appear in very much the same form as a regular ghost. They can be solid or transparent, acting similar to the real person. This person who appears to be a ghost is not dead, or for that matter, is not even sick. They are perfectly healthy individuals who say they remember everything about their out-of-body experience, and are capable of remembering details that can be verified. Some people claim to be able to induce the experience at will, a kind of spirit jumping. Because these apparitions can appear to people that may not know the individual in real life the apparition may be mistaken for a more traditional ghost. It is said that if the living soul stays out-of-body too long, then the body will die and the soul will be left a wandering ghost.


Natural and Fraudulent Apparitions

A majority of all ghost reports will end up being false. This simply means that there is a logical and natural explanation for the occurrences being mistaken for something supernatural. It's the paranormal investigator's job to find and eliminate all rational explanations. Once the normal possibilities have been ruled out the investigator can then begin to investigate for more supernatural answers.


On the other side of the mistaken ghost sightings are the fraudulent reports. Individuals may fake a ghost sighting for any number of reasons. Maybe they are just trying to have fun in seeing if they can trick someone. Or this may be their way of getting attention. 


Other Supernatural Explanations

There is always a huge list of natural explanations for producing apparitions and haunting conditions. However, after all natural explanations have been ruled out there are still some other paranormal theories that have to be looked at. While these explanations may be as hard to believe as the existence of ghosts for some people, they do have their basis from actual science. Creditable scientist trying to explain some supernatural occurrences have put forth theories such as time-slips and psychic echoes. Time-slips are moments where the past and present collide at one point. Anyone near the time-slip will be able to see into the past. Psychic echoes  are sounds from the past that have somehow recorded themselves onto the stones of buildings, and randomly play back like an old record. While these explanations are just as unproven as the existence of ghosts, they are theories that still need to be examined. 

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Contact: Terrie McClay

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