There are five types of paranormal entities that are most commonly reported from clients before and found by investigators during a paranormal investigation. This post will not include entities that come from the Christian faith such as demons and angels due to those being religious constructs and not originating from paranormal science.
You may find that there are variations on how one paranormal investigator recognizes an entity versus how another investigator recognizes an entity. Some of this is a result of in person training, religious beliefs, personal opinions, experiences, television shows, and internet research. There is not a set black and white definition that all investigators use. There are generalizations that most of us share however. The following is how members of Mount Washington Valley SPIRIT classify entities.
Ghost: An apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear to the living, typically as a nebulous image. A ghost isn’t aware of your presence and is not cognizant of the current arrangement of the location that they are in. They may act as if they were in the same place, but during a different time when the location was arranged differently. Analogously they are a video set on repeat, as if in a time loop, repeating the same actions over and over again. There isn’t any variation to what they do. You could say they are a gathering of energy in a human form that doesn’t have awareness. These entities are recognized as a non-intelligent haunting. (residual)
Poltergeist: This is a German word that means “noisy spirit” or “loud ghost”. A poltergeist is a spirit responsible for significant physical disturbances such as noises and objects being thrown. They may be able to physically touch you including simple touching, rubbing, pushing, scratching, biting, and hitting. While often seen as a negative entity they may just be frustrated not being recognized by you and are doing what they feel is necessary to get your attention, which is what you would do in the same situation. A poltergeist is basically a spirit with the ability to physically interact with the world around them, but does so in a manner as if it were in a heightened emotional state. While the name has a negative connotation to it, the entity is not usually malevolent. They can be caused by someone or a group of someones at a location with very strong emotions, typically a younger person in their teenage years or in their early twenties. A poltergeist can interact with a person and is an intelligent version of a thoughtform. These entities are recognized as an intelligent haunting.
Spirit: The nonphysical essence of a person which is the seat of emotions and character. A spirit is an intelligent form of a ghost. They are aware of themselves and the world around them. At times they can physically interact with their surroundings. They may be able to interact with you audibly whether by voice or acquiesce requests to physically interact with something. These entities are recognized as an intelligent haunting.
Thoughtform: A simple ethereal object emanating from people, generating from their thoughts and feelings. Thoughtforms are not ghosts or spirits of the deceased. They are created by the living, but take on the behavior of a ghost. The same definition associated with a ghost applies, however as stated the origination is different. These paranormal entities are a non-intelligent haunting. (residual)
Wraith: A modified classification of a ghost or spirit of someone seen shortly before or after their death.
There are other secondary classifications of entities (or perceived entities) such as doppelgängers, shadow people, parasitic, guides, and others which we will discuss in a near future blog entry.