Ghosts and Spirits: Is There A Difference?


Ghost captured at Bachelor Grove Cemetery, Chicago, IL


Throughout history humankind has feared the unknown.  Long before the written word stories were told of unseen forces, both good and evil, that lurked in the darkness. Humans have long tried to understand the other side, to understand the nature of death, what we become and where we go when we pass over. Fear of dying has long haunted us and for some a belief in some sort of survival after a physical death helps alleviate those fears. But what do we become? A ghost? A spirit? Are they one and the same thing? Let’s see.

Ghosts seem to have more of a negative connotation in the paranormal world that is not always deserved. Remember, we tell ghost stories to scare each other, not spirit stories. A ghost’s reputation tends to “haunt” where a spirit tends to “help.” In reality the true definition of a ghost is rather sad and tragic. Typically a ghost is the surviving energy of a person who has died suddenly and/or traumatically and in most cases they are unaware of their own tragic passing. A few may realize they have died but are confused about where they are and what they are supposed to do.

To put it simply ghosts can linger because they feel they have unfinished business or they are letting emotions such as guilt, love or revenge push them away from crossing over. These emotions keep them tied to the spot where they died and in some cases reliving the tragedy over and over again. It seems ghosts cannot reason that they are dead and that the replaying of their demise over and over has become an obsession.  Not everyone who dies tragically or violently becomes a ghost. It depends a lot on the person and whether or not they accept their passing.

A spirit is someone who usually passes peacefully and accepts what is happening. They cross over fully and are aware and capable of a level of reasoning that the ghost is not. These are typically the so-called “intelligent hauntings” as they are fully capable of intelligent interaction with the physical world. Spirits tend to be associated with beings who are helpers and guides. Spirits are capable of going back and forth between the physical world and the spiritual plane and are not tied to one side or the other.

Ghosts who are aware they are dead can be frustrated and act out in ways that are intentionally meant to get our attention. That’s when you hear activity such as the slamming of door, footsteps, and some kinds of EVP’s. We must remember that these might be people who are just as frightened as we are. Possibly unaware of their own death, they may be only looking for answers.

When many people hear the word “ghost,” they get nervous. In reality they deserve pity for the situation they may find themselves in having to relive the same tragic event over and over like a looped tape recorder. In most cases they can’t do much else and therefore can do little to harm the living.

Now let me end this article by saying when I use the word “spirit” I mean it in reference to humans who have passed on fully to the other side. There are many who use the word to reference angels, demons, etc. and that is something for another article.

There are no absolute definitions when it comes to the paranormal. What we know we know through experience, observance and deduction. Many have had both positive and negative experiences with ghosts and spirits. Once, they were all people, and like people, you get all kinds…even on the other side. ~ Contributed by Roy Branson


Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 10:11 p07  Leave a Comment  
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