Residual VS Intelligent Haunting

Investigators often like to label a potential 'haunting' as either residual or intelligent. What do these mean and how do you tell the difference?
Sarah Chumacero
17th April 2019.
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General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know.
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There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to investigating the paranormal. There are a lot of confusing terms like EVP and singapore theory and stonetape etc. Sometimes people just expect you to know what they mean. Sometimes people have completely different views on what they mean. It can also get a bit complicated when you add into the argument 'What is a ghost?'. It is something I cover quite a lot here in this blog, but for the sake of this particular article, I will be using the general mainstream consensus that a ghost is the spirit of a person who was once living. In fact people think of ghosts and spirits as two different things. A Ghost is referred to as a residual haunting. A spirit, refers to an intelligent haunting. What is residual and what is intelligent hauntings? How do you tell the difference?

Intelligent Hauntings

Intelligent hauntings are the kind that most investigators want to be dealing with. When we say intelligent, it is not referring to the IQ of the spirit you are communicating with. I am sure that they were smart in their life but this is a different kind of intelligent haunting. When we say intelligent haunting, it means you are dealing with a spirit who is aware and able to interact and communicate with the living. Perfect example is you ask a question. “Can you please knock once for yes twice for no?” You have a conversation and receive one or two knocks after you ask your question and the knocks are not something that you are able to debunk as a natural occurrence. It is generally thought that an intelligent haunting is of a spirit who has either been unable to ‘cross over’ which we refer to as an ‘Earthbound’ spirit as maybe they have some unfinished business, maybe there is a family member they couldn’t bear to leave or maybe they did something horrible and they are ‘stuck’ or not wanting to cross over because they don’t want to face what is potentially waiting for them on the other side. This is also where a person's belief systems come in as religion can play a major part here. There are also instances where the spirit remains 'earthbound' because they are simply unaware that they have passed away. I personally have dealt with this on more than one occasion where the spirit I believe I am communicating with was not aware that they had died. In these cases they tend to be very frustrated and wondering why when a person enters a room they are not acknowledged . I will cover ‘frustrated spirits’ in a bit more detail below but in a nutshell, an intelligent spirit is one that is able to actively communicate with you. A lot of people like to use the Singapore Theory in order to try and communicate with what they believe to be an intelligent spirit. This is things like using trigger objects or dressing up. If you would like to read more about the Singapore theory, you can check out my article here.

The Singapore Theory

Residual Hauntings

Residual hauntings are not as obvious at first. This is because it takes a bit of investigating to realise that a haunting is residual. You hear noises, you start asking questions and again start asking once for yes twice for no but there is no response. Just a pattern of knocks. You feel there is maybe something there but it doesn’t seem to be communicating with you. This is because a residual haunting is some sort of memory captured in time. It is thought that energy is stored in our surroundings. After all the world is all made up of energy. This memory is somehow imprinted into it’s surroundings. In a lot of cases the memory is some kind of traumatic event. For example there may be a location where at night a woman dressed in white (they are always dressed in white according to stories) is always seen walking down the grand staircase. It may be that the lady of the house would always walk the stairs at the same time every night and that this memory has been imprinted in time. When people spot this apparition (fancy term for ghost) and they try to communicate, she ignores them as if she doesn’t see them. That is because she doesn’t see them, she does not know they are there. It replays like a record over and over and over again. It could be a visual image like a woman in white or it could be a sound. Maybe in house where there was a crime you can hear a gunshot at a certain time at night. Again it is this memory in time replaying. Investigators are not massive fans of residual hauntings because you cannot communicate with them. You can attempt to document it, but that is where it ends. A lot of people link residual hauntings with the stonetape theory and things like infrasound to 'unlock' it. If you would like to read more about these, you can check out these articles:

Stone Tape Theory

What is Infrasound?

Ghost = Residual

Spirit = Intelligent

So that is a very general explanation just to give you a little bit of an understanding to what people are talking about. Years ago when I started investigating the paranormal, it was generally split into these two categories. Since then it seems more versions of 'hauntings' are explained by investigators. From demons to poltergeists there is a never ending library of information to keep up with. Do your research and remember to ask questions. It is likely when you hear information from someone they are basing it on their experience and knowledge. If they learnt the information from someone who maybe didn't really fully know what they were talking about, that information is passed down. I always find it is better to get a basic understanding of things and then carry on with YOUR OWN research. Question everything!!!!

Do you prefer intelligent or residual hauntings? What advice do you have for your fellow investigators when it comes to determining what type of haunting you are dealing with?

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