Does Anyone Really Know What Ghosts Are Made Of?

What are ghosts made of... really?

What are ghosts made of, and if only some of them are real… what are the rest of them?

That’s the topic of a June 2018 article at Higgypop, What Are Ghosts Made Of?

It’s an unusually good article, though I heartily disagree with some claims in it.

But, certain parts of the Higgypop article are worth repeating for ghost hunters.

The first is how the Higgypop writer distinguishes intelligent (active, sentient) hauntings from residual energy hauntings:

There’s a belief within the paranormal world that some ghosts are intelligent and capable of interacting with their surroundings, and then there’s residual hauntings which are said to be merely events from the past being replayed.

Residual hauntings are thought to be an imprint of energy that has been left behind by someone who suffered a tragic, traumatic, premature death, usually a murder, suicide or execution.

I agree with most of that, but I don’t believe all residual energy hauntings connect directly with someone’s death. (Update: See Higgypop’s clarification in the comments below.)

Residual Energy Triggers

In the past, I’ve recommended singing “Happy birthday to you” in dining rooms and kitchens, to see whether anything happens. You could try “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” in front hallways, dining rooms, and immediately outside the front entry to an estate, too.

Neither of those have anything to do with death or even trauma. Both songs have triggered ghostly results at a surprising number of haunted sites.

The Higgypop article also shares an interesting insight related to residual energy hauntings:

The phenomenon is known as “stone tape theory” due to the belief that energy is captured and stored like a video recording in the surrounding bricks, woodwork, stone and possibly even the soil. When the conditions are right, these materials release this energy and you sense or see the event occur in exactly the same position as it did years ago.

But then, I disagree with the next part of that article:

As residual hauntings represent nothing more than a reflection of the past, you can’t communicate with them. The visions seen are not aware of their surroundings. They cannot interact with you and are not aware of your presence.

Can You Affect Residual Energy Hauntings?

What are ghosts made of?For me, “communication” means anything my team or I do, which results in a cause-and-effect reaction at the haunted site.

While residual energy hauntings don’t seem to interact with us as a sentient, “intelligent” ghost would, I believe that changes in the surroundings – an anniversary, a time of day, etc., as well as triggers used by  researchers – can create a cause-and-effect result.

Yes, maybe I’m delving too deeply into semantics.

Mostly, I don’t want new researchers to write off residual energy hauntings as something that are entirely hit-or-miss. Some of them are far more predictable than that. Triggers can work with residual energy hauntings.

Defining Intelligent Hauntings

Most of the next part of the article is good:

When it comes to intelligent hauntings it’s a little different. These types of hauntings are the classic “ghost”, they can reportedly move objects, push or touch people, slam doors and even throw objects across a room. So clearly when they manifest there is some kind of physical force behind them.

However, since some people seem to be able to move matter with their minds (psychokinesis), I balk at the idea that ghosts “clearly” have a physical force behind them.

Despite my ambivalence about some claims in this article, I agree with the conclusion:

Perhaps the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. While some ghost sightings can be written off as hoaxes, the majority of ghost sightings come from people who genuinely believe they have seen something supernatural. So whether ghosts are electromagnetic energy, a reflection of the past, or a trick of the mind, you can’t take the experience away from someone who has witnessed a ghost.

humorous ghost divider

You can read the full higgypop article at:

Also, I’m interested in your thoughts about these topics, especially as they relate to ghost hunting.

8 thoughts on “Does Anyone Really Know What Ghosts Are Made Of?”

  1. What Hamlet told Horatio is too obvious, the enigma of existentialism haunts the human mind more than any ghost ever did.Let alone ghostly existence we don’t know the ‘why’ of our fleshy life.One stopgap answer that i’ve known is the Jack London’s alter ego,Wolf Larsen,who says,’My only doctrine is the doctrine of expediency’.Hedonism being the final purpose of Wolf Larsen’s philosophy.

    1. Interesting philosophy, Vivek, and – as always – insights I’m certain to explore.

      You’re right about Hamlet. For many (most?) ghost hunters, the basic question is: What happens next? (I’m not sure anyone should expect proof, or even the elusive comfort of an answer that seems to work, at least for now.)

      Jack London’s writing has always seemed daunting to me, but your comment prompts me to revisit his work. Thanks!

  2. Hey, Fiona, this is kinda tangential, but I think that it has relevance to your ghost hunting research. It might help you to formulate new ways of contacting ghosts, if psi is the way that ghosts communicate. Anyway, The American Psychological Association has published a positive paper on psi phenomena in their well-respected journal called: “American Psychologist.” Here’s a link to an article about it:

    1. Fascinating, Mark, thank you! I’ll be sharing that with readers, because it’s a startling shift for the American Psychological Association, and suggests many possibilities for further research.

      It’s a relief to see in the abstract, “Throughout history, people have reported events that seem to violate the common sense view of space and time.” I feel as if paranormal researchers have been arguing against that “common sense” for too long.

      Also, I’m very pleased to see “The evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which cannot be readily explained away by the quality of the studies, fraud, selective reporting, experimental or analytical incompetence, or other frequent criticisms.”

      That’s refreshing change, and additional evidence that old barriers to intelligent research are falling away. That’s the only way we can make progress, understanding what’s going on at “haunted” sites, and it may help us understand other paranormal phenomena (including the Mandela Effect) by integrating psi-related theories.

      Thank you so very much for sharing that link. It’s very important, and I appreciate that you took the time to post this here.

  3. By reductionist approach it is speculated that plasma the 4th state of matter could exist at room temperature and constitute ghosts ,same as super conductors are found to be.

  4. Just stumbled across your response to my article, glad it created some discussion. You picked me up on my point that all residual hauntings are the result of murder… I agree, I think I intended to say that it’s also the result of strong positive or negative emotions. That’s my usual stance on it.

    1. That’s good to know, Higgypop, thanks for clarifying it. (Also, I know how often I write one thing but thought I’d said something else. It happens to all of us, especially when we’re enthusiastic about a particular topic.)

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