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What Are Ghosts? Some Fun Facts about This Type of Spirits

Find out what ghosts are and how they can manifest themselves

A ghost in a house
What Are Ghosts? Some Fun Facts about This Type of Spirits | iSTOCK

Since childhood, we have been scared by ghost stories.  Then, they were described as wandering spirits, lost souls that roamed the world terrifying the living. They were usually depicted wearing white sheets and sometimes dragging a ball and chain, symbol of everything that still binds them to the earth.

However, according to parapsychology, ghosts do not wear sheets or chains, nor do they have to scare human beings. 

What Is a Ghost?

There is no universal definition of what is called a ghost. If we combine all the ideas and what is understood as a ghost around the world, it could be described as an incorporeal spirit.  A ghost could also be defined as an energy that physically manifests itself quickly, usually in the same place.

From the point of view of Spiritism, a ghost is basically the appearance of a spirit, it evokes a person whose death was quick and had no time to react and become aware of the situation.

Sometimes, a ghost can also be tied to a place where it was very happy, like its home, or where it suffered a lot, for example a hospital, and that turns it into a lost soul. 

Types of Ghosts: Are Ghosts and Poltergeists the Same?

Sometimes, the word “ghost” is used as a synonym for “poltergeist”, but it does not always mean the same. A poltergeist is a “noisy spirit”, which manifests itself by making strange noises (steps, for example), movements (levitation of objects, doors that open) or even attacks (scratches to a person). However, a poltergeist is also used to refer to any paranormal phenomenon, such as doors that open and close, not necessarily the spirit that does it.

Sometimes, ghosts can appear to humans after being contacted by means such as an Ouija board, which is one of the most common ways of talking to spirits.

Some Examples of Real Ghosts

How many of these real cases of ghosts and spirits do you know?

The Ghosts of the White House

In the United States, the residence of the President is said to be home to ghosts. Among others, it is said that you can feel or see Anne Surratt (Mary Surratt’s daughter, the first woman to be executed by the government of the United States), President Abraham Lincoln and his son William Wallace (who died at the age of eleven) or Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, the first president who lived in the house. 

The Ghost of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid

In the capital of Spain, the Reina Sofia Museum was once a hospital which was said to be haunted.  A ghost appeared during the night in the rooms of some patients with the tragic message of their death. It is also claimed that there was felt the presence of Pablo Ruiz Picasso’s ghost, the great Cubist painter from Malaga.


The Ghost of the Teresa Carreño Theatre

In Caracas, Venezuela, the Teresa Carreño Theatre gives shelter to the ghost of the artist after whom the theatre was named. Many watchmen claim to have seen her, dressed in black, late at night, on some of the upper floors, when no one should be in the building. 

The Ghost of Eva Perón

Eva Perón, Evita, died in 1952 in Buenos Aires, but her ghost can still be seen. It is said that many workers of the National Library of Argentina have felt her presence, wandering some of the building’s halls,  with her blond hair loose and dressed in a white suit. 

Some Fun Facts about Ghosts 

Do you know everything about poltergeists? Not suitable for those who are afraid of spirits or ghosts!

Differences between Ghosts and Spirits

Although many times the two words are used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between spirits and ghosts. On the one hand, a spirit would be the energy of a person who has died in the physical sense, without being tied to a particular place. On the other hand, a ghost would be a spirit that is bound to a building: a house, a monastery, a theatre, etc. Moreover, ghosts would have exactly the same appearance to what they had during their lives, they would behave like a living being, while spirits do not necessarily materialise themselves.

What does a Ghost Look Like?

There is nothing clear about this, since every account of ghost sighting provides its own characteristics. Sometimes, they have the same appearance of when they were alive and other times, they are translucent or misty. On some occasions, they come in through a door and go on their way to another room where they disappear, or fade away like fog. Sometimes, they walk, others, they levitate in the air, and they can wear the same clothes as when they died or those they felt more comfortable in life.

Why Are Ghosts Supposed to Wear White Sheets?

The white colour is commonly associated with ghostly apparitions. As it was mentioned at the beginning, they are often depicted wearing white sheets. Besides, you may have heard about the famous ghost of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) or that of the White Lady, who always wear clothes of this colour.

There is a connection between the white colour and ghosts, since they would return to our world wrapped in the shroud in which they were buried.

Who Can Become a Ghost after Dying? 

It is said that the ones who are more likely to become a ghost after their death are those who have unfulfilled desires or unresolved issues.  Therefore, an unfulfilled desire makes a person’s mind linger on Earth after dying. It is also said that a person who had a flawed personality while being alive (selfishness, violence, lust, etc.) will be more likely to become a ghost, a lost soul who cannot rest in peace.

However, not all ghosts are evil.  Not at all! Many help the living, giving them a hand to solve their problems or to get justice.

Can an Object Be a Ghost?

Ghosts are not always spirits. A ghost can also be defined as a constant source of energy, the manifestation of a person, animal or even an object that has disappeared in a tragic and mysterious way. For example, a ghost ship is a ship that disappeared centuries ago and there are people who have claimed to see it sailing having the same appearance as in the past.