Intelligent vs. Residual

One of the first things I try to do when listening to client accounts of paranormal phenomena they’ve witnessed, is to determine whether or not we’re dealing with an intelligent haunting.  The determination is important because intelligent hauntings have the possibility to be ‘moved on’, reasoned with, and fed new information about their (the spirit’s) current situation.  The truth is, there are spirits ‘caught in time’ who genuinely have no real concept of their own death, or that they’re functioning in an environment that doesn’t exist in the time they were alive.  And, let’s face it, if they’re spiritually active in a building – their home, a workplace, or a place they visited very often – the chances of that location having changed structurally over the years isn’t all that great. Walls will be, now, where walls were when they were alive.  Windows will be where windows were, doors will likely be where doors were, and most buildings keep the same amount of levels/floors throughout their existence. Given those circumstances it’s not that hard to consider why someone may not realize they’ve passed, nor would it be that difficult to figure on why they’re confused and possibly acting out their frustrations.  From a human standpoint it makes sense.  After all, to the spirit, things don’t seem quite right in “their” house. A good example; if the spirit never kept a decorative table in the upstairs hallway in the house when they were alive, and a client has one outside a bedroom door with a vase of flowers on it, this may be a place we’d find unusual activity.  It may be a great place for the spirit to express their confusion and frustration, understandably so.

Facets of a paranormally charged area which have me thinking a location may be ‘haunted’ by a residual presence are usually observances which don’t seem quite right.  People who see spirits walking through walls, for instance.  A lot of times we’ll find out “there used to be a door” where the spirit was seeing walking through a wall.  If the spirit was present in the here and now they’d know there’s no door there anymore.  Other accounts have spirits “flying” or “floating”.  When I hear things like this I immediately think “was there another floor here at one point?”  Chances are, the answer is ‘yes’.  Sounds that play repeatedly, or which don’t fit a certain environment are suspect, to me.  For instance, a home in the middle of the city with sounds of a horse and buggy being driven outside the house.   This can go either way, but if it happens during similar times of the year, or during similar situations (rainy days, at night, during the full moon) I tend to lean more heavily toward the residual side of things.

It’s really important for a paranormal investigation team to determine if a location’s spirit activity is a present-day interaction with a person who doesn’t understand they’ve passed, or if it’s a replay of history caught in time.  By delineating this information for the client a team is arming the client with the tools they need to determine the best ways to deal with the disturbances being experienced.  If it’s intellectual, it can be communicated with – generally speaking.  And if it’s residual, they will be better prepared the next time spirit activity is encountered.

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