Types of Ghosts

Types of Ghosts

Different types of ghosts and spirits.

For many people new to the realm of paranormal, it comes to them as a surprise that there are different kinds of ghosts, each classified by the types of hauntings, how they appear, what they are, how they haunt, and so on.

Pets & Wild Animals

Animal Ghosts

Horses in the fog

An animal ghost, as the name suggests, are the spirits of non-human animals. They are most often pets, wild dogs, or horses. Since these animals were unable to speak to humans during their time alive, they cannot talk to humans in death, either.

Visual Spirits


A foggy cemetery

An apparition is a visual representation of a spirit. While there are several different types, the transparent or semi-transparent apparition are the most widely known/witnessed varieties. Apparitions may also include animals, cars, ships, carriages, buildings, and trains, or anything else that could appear before us.


Unlike other types of ghosts, apparitions look as real as a living people. Some have been known to hold conversations and interact with the living before disappearing. Witnesses say that certain odors can be smelled before, during, and/or after a sighting.


When multiple people witness the same apparition at the same time, it is called a collective apparition.

Location-Bound Spirits

Atmospheric Ghosts

A ghostly woman sitting at her own grave.

Atmospheric ghosts are only ever seen in one specific location. They will repeat a certain action over and over and over again. They are believed to be projected images from psychic energy stored in the area.

Atmospheric ghosts are all known as replaying, haunting, and residual ghosts.

Screaming Specters


A twisted forest.

Banshees have been a part of Irish lore for hundreds of years. They are believed to be the spirits of women whose voices bear messages to warn of death. The legend says that her screams are heard by everyone, except the person who is to die.

Attention-Grabbing Apparitions

Calling Ghosts

A blurred ghost.

Calling ghosts are ghosts who alert the living by calling out their names. They can be of any category, as long as the category includes ghosts who can interact.

Spirits with Messages

Crisis Ghosts

A mysterious figure roaming an abandoned building.

Crisis ghosts bear important messages for the living. They are also known as message-bringers.

Not-So-Paranormal Ghosts

Cyber Ghosts

A laptop on a table.

An abandoned website that lures in visitors and allows them to send emails that will never receive replies is known as a cyber ghost. They are not actually ghosts.

Anniversary Apparitions

Cyclic Ghosts

A foggy forest.

Cyclic ghosts are spirits that appear on the anniversary to a significant event, often times their death.

Malicious Entities


A drawing of a demonic creature.

Demons are evil spirits capable of harming the living, often by means of scratches and/or possession. They are believed to be spirits from Hell.

Psychic Energy

Family Ghosts

An apparition wearing a top hat in the woods.

Family ghosts are connected by the ties of relation. While not actually dead in all cases, they are believed to appear to warn the living of death or disaster. Most often appearing in visions, a man’s sister could appear to him in a dream warning that their cousin has died of cancer, for example, even despite the sister is still alive. It is believed to be some kind of psychic energy. In other cases, it could be the uncle of a woman letting her know he has died in a car accident.

Inhabited Items

Haunted Objects

A gramophone.

Objects that ghosts had a strong emotional tie to. Such objects may include wedding rings, a favorite chair, a doll, a surgical instrument, etc.

Other-Worldly Reenactments

Historical Ghosts

Old photographs and letters.

Similar to atmospheric ghosts, historical ghosts have been seen replaying historic events, though they may be seen in multiple locations. They, too, are non-interactive, and fall under the category of location based. In general, they appear to be solid and wearing period clothing. Battlefield ghosts are also considered historical ghosts.

Sexual Spirits

Incubus / Succubus

A frightening, seductive woman.

Incubuses and succubuses are demonic entities who invade the dreams of men and women and provide sexual images, lust, and sometimes assault. Incubuses affect women while succubuses affect men.

The Virgin Mary

Marian Ghosts

A statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.

Many believe that this is the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Marian ghosts also cover cameos of religious figures and saints.

Recent Spirits

Modern Ghosts

A mysterious figure in a hoodie.

Modern ghosts are similar to the historical ghosts, but they are of the modern era.

Personified Paranormal


A foggy, empty street at night.

Phantoms closely resemble the living, and they are often not suspected of being paranormal until they do something like vanish or walk through a wall.

Hitching a Ride from the Other Side

Phantom Hitchhikers

A hitchhiker with her thumb out.

Phantom hitchhikers are the base of many urban legends and pop culture, including episodes of The Twilight Zone. In most cases, they appear on the anniversary of their death. They interact with the living by asking for a ride, but they disappear before they arrive at their destination.

Accident Apparitions

Phantom Travelers

A vintage car abandoned in the desert.

These ghosts are normally found along a particular stretch of road. They appear near the place of a deadly accident. Phantom travelers have been found riding in or waiting to board a train, plane, boat, car, or horse, depending on how they died. In most cases, they appear on the anniversary of their death.

Pictoral Phantoms

Photographic Ghosts

Old photographs with camera lenses.

Photographic ghosts can be any kind of ghost, but they are normally not seen with the naked eye and are only seen in the photos taken. Some appear as orbs, vortexes, ectoplasmic mist, or other unusual light/optical abnormalities.

Noisy Spirits


An apparition floating in the doorway.

German for “noisy spirit,” poltergeists are nothing short of their names. They are known to throw things, move things, and wreak havoc in a near playful manner.

Recurring & Replay Ghosts

Two young ghosts wandering the woods.

Recurring ghosts appear at a certain time, often times the anniversary of their death. There are several stories of ghosts appear on Halloween night; these are recurring ghosts.

Vanishing Vehicles

Transportation Ghosts

A train coming through the fog.

While not a living thing, transportation ghosts are ghosts of a vehicle of transportation (train, car, plane, etc.) that no longer exist. They are often associated with a tragic event, often a crash, that the transportation met its end. Sometimes, phantom passengers have been seen on these transportation ghosts, depending on the deaths.

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