Tag Archives: shadow people

Why do we assume?

As a teacher, occasionally I will have those days where nothing seems to go right. Some days I set out to inspire and end up coming home feeling like I spent the day pulling entire classes to the park in a wagon… all of them packed in like sardines, excited for the fun to come, but too apathetic to pitch in to help get the group there. (I apparently use this metaphor frequently because my last group of eighth grade students left me at the end of the year with a little red wagon, autographed by every one of them. Those days make it all worth it.) There have been a few times where on those wagon-pulling days I’ve decided to relieve my frustration while breaking the tension of the class at the same time… with a sudden drawn out scream. If you want the full effect, imagine Pee Wee Herman when someone said the secret word. Yes. I’m classy. But it usually works. We all laugh and move on in a much lighter (hopefully) atmosphere. 

The wagon story has nothing to do with this post, but remember that scream and get ready to picture it. 

 

I recently got caught up on what seemed like an endless amount of paranormal shows on the DVR. Episode after episode, I continued to see and hear investigators determine a location was haunted by the ghost of a “little girl”, because they captured an EVP with a higher pitched voice. Of course, it couldn’t be the voice of a little boy, even though little boys and girls voices often share the same higher pitch until puberty. With your eyes closed you might not always know. I hope that little boy wasn’t insulted. I guess they’ve also never heard my voice. I’m mistaken for a “ma’am” in the drive thru frequently and spend my days singing soprano and alto with middle schoolers. And what makes investigators believe that the timbre of the voice they’re picking up is what that spirit’s voice sounded like in life, anyway? What if vibrations come through an octave higher (or lower) as it pushes through the veil? Clearly, spirit voices lose a significant amount of clarity, consonants, and sometimes syllables when attempting communication, so what makes us so sure the pitch determines gender or age? Why do we assume?

In another episode they visit a building that holds centuries worth of memories and emotional stories, but because a rather famous person visited there twice, of course that must be the ghost that resides there. “Elvis! Is that you? Will you autograph my EMF meter?” Wouldn’t they be embarrassed to know that the voice they captured was actually of a fan who died just that week and simply followed them into the building, hoping to have their big moment. After all, no one can see them anymore and they’re pretty frustrated with being ignored. They just KNOW that Zak will hear them.

Okay my last gripe. I’m almost afraid to bring this one up again. “Look! There went a shadow! Go grab Father Dowling. We’re doing an exorcism.” Because a spirit or entity presents itself today as a shadow (on a night where you no doubt begged for some sort of manifestation or communication), it doesn’t make it an evil or demonic entity. Even if it’s quick to get away from you. Even if it’s an unusually short shadow. What makes you think you know? There’s probably a good chance that the shadow was not even paranormal at all, so leave the crucifix in the car. Anyway, it’s just Uncle Charlie, and a shadow is all he could muster today, thank you.  

 

AHHHHHHHHH! These things make me scream and jump up and down on the couch with my hands on my head. Were they edited to look this way? Surely they wouldn’t assume… would they?

Why do we assume? AHHHHHHH!

Ah well. At least I feel better now.

 

Related Posts: 

 

How to Evaluate the Authenticity of an Observer’s Supernatural Encounter (Big Séance)

 

 

 

I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So What? (Big Séance)

 

 


Categorizing Hauntings…

Recently, a conversation brought me to the topic of categorizing paranormal events, more specifically… hauntings. Many paranormal groups list these categories or “types of ghosts” on their webpages. Often they have their own slant to them, depending on their experience or beliefs. And I don’t pretend to be the wisest or most experienced investigator, but in my opinion, many of these definitions or explanations are sometimes just clearly wrong. I have to be honest though, I’ve considered adding such a glossary to my own group’s page several times before. 

Here are a few examples of these categories…

A Residual Haunting (a phrase that I believe was coined, or at least made popular, by Jason and Grant of T.A.P.S./Ghost Hunters), also sometimes referred to as an “imprint” haunting, is usually considered to be the energy of a spirit or even an event that plays over and over like a recording. It is usually predictable and there’s little chance of getting any kind of communication back from this type of phenomena. Some even believe that the makeup of certain environments or physical surroundings involved in one of these hauntings (such as water or limestone) could play an important role in the imprint. Actually, many old-school investigators consider the word “haunting” itself to be “residual”. 

An Intelligent Haunting is thought to be the actual spirit of a person who remains (maybe by choice, maybe not) on our side of the veil. You are more likely to strike up communication with one of these hauntings, since they are likely to be aware of your presence. I could be wrong, but I think most paranormal investigators get way more excited about this kind of haunting. One of the main reasons I am involved in the paranormal is to learn whatever I can from the other side, or from paranormal events in general. And who really wants to talk to someone who doesn’t talk back?

The categories I just mentioned are the two main categories that I’m likely to use in my investigations. I can really get behind these. But I think we in the paranormal field sometimes recklessly jump to categorizing things too far… either because it makes us sound educated on the topic, or because we’re just not sure.

This next one bugs me, mainly due to the stigma and history that comes with the name…

…which is Poltergeist. By simply using or saying this term you are likely to bring negative or concerning thoughts to someone looking for help or answers. As an entity, a poltergeist has traditionally been described as a noisy, sometimes disruptive, and sometimes destructive ghost.  But I think now days we use this term in reference to a “phenomenon” that isn’t really an entity or “ghost” at all.

Poltergeist activity is often reported to be caused by or have a connection with young adolescents, many times female. It’s also often reported in homes where tension and/or struggle is constantly present. So if we’re using the term “poltergeist” to refer to a ghost, then I don’t understand why. In my opinion, couldn’t any intelligent haunting make noise or move an object if they really wanted to? Maybe they all can’t, but some certainly have. And investigators have been capturing evidence of spirits making noise or moving things for years, such as communication via EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and even disembodied voices (voices that are heard live on site, without the aid of equipment).

If we’re using the term “poltergeist” to refer to the phenomenon that isn’t an entity at all, then in my opinion, we need to come up with a new term. Let’s call it something else. It’s not a ghost, so let’s stop confusing people.

Now to a few categories that just flat out get on my nerves…

Shadow People. Different groups or investigators describe these “ghosts” differently. Rather than being a full-blown apparition, or a see through vaporous apparition, these are usually described as solid and dark shadows. Sometimes they’re described as always short. Some people say that “shadow people” are “inhuman” entities (we’ll get to those later) or even “trickster” entities. My question is, how do we know so many details about a spirit or entity just by seeing the shadow? What if what you saw was just an average spirit and they were working really hard to present themselves physically to you and this was all he could muster today? Maybe yesterday he was a full-blown apparition? What makes us automatically know that an apparition that presents itself today as a shadow is “inhuman” or “trickster”? In my opinion, it’s just a spirit that happened to present itself to you as a shadow at the moment. And maybe you’ll learn more later… but until then, let’s not insult the spirit of Great Uncle Frank with calling him a “shadow person”. What’s that? Oh, the shadow was running from you and darting in and out of rooms? Oh… that’s probably because you were hunting him down with a laser grid.   

How about when an investigator tells a client that they’ve got an Inhuman Spirit in their home? Really? Explain, please. Is it E.T.? Is it a demon? And how did you come to this conclusion so quickly? Was it a dark shadow? Did it growl? Did it smell? Maybe it’s just the spirit of an old family pet? 

This list for me could go on and on. Negative Entities or sometimes even Demonic Entities, Gnomes, Fairies, Djinn (this one is really popular now), and one of my least favorite…. ORBS! (Don’t get me started.)

So anyway, here I am conflicted with categorizing the paranormal this week when I was asked a question by a friend. She asked “If a house is haunted and then you relocate said house, does the ghost move with the house or stay with the property?” And actually, it’s something I’ve pondered more than a few times. I immediately jumped into my explanation with… “Well… it depends on if it was a residual ghost or an intelligent ghost.” 🙂 

I guess categorizing is important… sometimes. But let’s be careful and think it through. 


Shadow People…

Having a side category of ghosts called “shadow people” has always bugged me a bit.

I’ve had clients experience them, but I have to be honest and say I’ve never had a “shadow person” type of experience. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in shadow people, but there are so many different types of paranormal phenomena and so many ways spirits/entities manifest themselves. And how do we know that what we’re seeing is the same as how someone else sees it? Some people see ghosts all the time… and some of us don’t. Some authors or investigators put shadow people into their own category of ghost and assume they’re all negative… or try to deal with them differently than they would any other typical ghost, just because they manifested themselves to you as a shadow on this particular day. Considering how very little we know about ghosts, I feel this is a little irresponsible.

Shephen Wagner is the author of the paranormal page on About.com. His latest conversation is on shadow people encounters. Click on the page below and check out some of the shadow people experiences that people have reported. Are shadow people really any different from any other ghost? Have you witnessed a “shadow person”?

paranormal.about.com


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