Residual Hauntings Explained – Ghosts in an Old Farmhouse
One of my subscribers, Brian, is dealing with a ghost in a farmhouse that he and his wife recently bought. Brian writes:
I've been seeing a male ghost (dressed in old fashioned clothes) coming down the stairs repeatedly. He is in a hurry and does not seem to notice me or my wife. We just purchased an older farmhouse (built in 1932) and although the ghost seems harmless, I'm wondering if I should do something to make him leave. Is he harmless? Could we try to make him leave?
It appears that Brian and his wife are witnessing a residual haunting. A residual haunting is the most common type of haunting, and can be described as a playback of a past event (sometimes at a designated time). The apparitions are not intelligent spirits, but rather "recordings" of a past event. Residual hauntings are simply expressions of stored energy. These types of hauntings are not always visual – instead they can be "replayed" as sounds or noises that have no explanation. Usually the sounds and images are related to traumatic events which took place at the location. These traumatic events created a "psychic impression" or "psychic disturbance" on the atmosphere of a particular place. This may explain why so many battlefields and prisons are famous for their residual hauntings.
In other residual ghost hauntings, the images have been created by actions/events that were repeated over and over again. This may explain why there are so many haunted staircases–the huge number of times that people travel up and down staircases, and the amount of energy expended in doing so creates a psychic impression and energy fingerprint.
In a residual haunting, ghosts will not notice the living people around them, and they will usually repeat the same actions over and over again. This is consistent with the scenario that Brian describes. Residual hauntings are harmless and sometimes stop naturally on their own. Once the stored energy dissipates, the playback (and hence the ghost) is no longer there. The ghost that Brian describes seems to be harmless residual energy. Brian does NOT need to worry about trying to make the ghost leave. In fact, if it is a residual haunting, Brian would be unable to communicate with the ghost, since the ghost is merely stored energy, and not an intelligent entity.
Situations where you can communicate with ghosts are referred to as "intelligent hauntings." These ghosts will unlock doors and open windows, run the faucets and can interact with you directly because they are an "intelligent" presence—the personality of a person who was once alive but who has stayed behind, rather than passing over.