Tag Archives: Residual Haunts

Paranormally Speaking

Paranormally Speaking

By Tina R. McSwain

Residual Haunts

A residual haunt can be thought of as an energy imprint, or perhaps a loop in time that repeats itself. This is by far the most common type of haunting. These hauntings do not involve an actual spirit. They are basically a memory of the past being replayed in the present. This type of paranormal activity will occur regardless of the presence of the living. Manifestations usually occur on or around specific dates or times of the year; usually around the anniversary of the traumatic event that caused the spiritual imprint. However, the residual haunt is not necessarily caused by tragedy, it can be a happy event as well. For example, a party, wedding or family gathering. If you were to walk up to an old abandoned southern plantation, walk through the front doors and clearly hear laughter and music only to fling open the parlor door to find nothing, you would have just experienced a residual haunting. 


Residual haunts present themselves with everything from noises to full blown apparitions. The key difference between a residual haunt and an intelligent haunting is the presence of an actual spirit. While witnesses may report apparitions, foot steps or even voices, these manifestations do not attempt to communicate or interact in any way. They show no awareness of any living people or the surroundings. For this reason, many residual apparitions appear to be at odds with their physical environment…walking in and out of walls for example. In their time, there was a doorway there. The memory replays as the property existed at that time, with no regard to current modifications. There is a well known case in Rome of a column of Roman soldiers walking down an avenue, but only their upper torsos are visible. In the time of the Roman Gladiators, the road was many feet lower, so they are walking along the road as it existed then. Today, that road has been built up over 2000 years, and is at its present height.

Residual hauntings can be very disturbing to those being haunted. (How would you react to strange footsteps in the middle of the night? Or, every year around spring, you’d see a bride walking down the staircase?) These situations can be frightening to any who experience them. But, it’s important to understand the harmless nature of these manifestations. This type of haunting cannot cause physical harm. There is no entity behind the occurrences. It must also be understood that nothing can be done to get rid of the “ghost” either. There is no presence there to remove.


This type of haunting can also be experienced in the form of an old movie playing out in front of you.  There are many reports of battles being fought again and again, complete with the smells and horrors of war.  Car, airplane or train crashes repeatedly occur.  Sometimes only the sounds of these events are heard.  Other times, they are replayed exactly as they once happened.

Being somewhat a fan of maritime history, I have often wondered if the Titanic sinks over and over again every year on the anniversary of the ship’s disaster? If you’re ever in the north Atlantic at 2:20am on April 15th, keep a look out and scan the dark waters for an ocean liner in peril.

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