Types of Ghosts – The Ultimate Guide

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When it comes to hauntings, paranormal events, and general discussion about spirits and ghosts, they are often talked about as if they are the same thing.

However, there are actually many different types of ghosts with a variety of characteristics that make each and every one of them different. 

At one point or another, we’ve all had a moment where we thought we saw something in the middle of the night or out of the corner of our eye. Maybe you’ve felt a cold spot on a hot day or heard some odd thumping sounds in an empty place. 

While you might not be scared of what’s going on, you might be curious as to what you saw, heard, or felt. 

In this guide, we will go over the different types of ghosts, how to spot them, and all of the additional information we know about them so far.

What Is A Ghost?

Before we dive into the different types of ghosts, we should probably get a decent understanding of what a ghost is and what it isn’t. 

There are a few different types and different paranormal entities that a ghost can be confused with.

According to Hans Holzer, the late professor of Parapsychology, “Ghosts are similar to psychotic human beings, incapable of reasoning for themselves.” 

Contrary to popular belief and the way ghosts are depicted in movies, books, and folklore, ghosts actually aren’t there to cause you any harm. 

If you feel something brush your arm, hear a bump in the night, or see a figure in the corner of your eye, it’s usually the ghost trying to communicate.

Sometimes, moving furniture or standing in your doorway is the only way they can communicate. 

What Can Ghosts Do?

Ghosts have various abilities. In the paranormal community, they believe it depends on their strength.

There’s some discussion that the different ghosts are simply from different stages of development in the afterlife. For this theory, their strengths depend on that stage.

Certain ghosts can speak, make sounds, change the temperature, and even physically move things and touch people. 

Ghosts are typically thought of as being very dark and unable to reason. This is understandable, but not always accurate. 

Usually, a ghost will behave the same way they did when they were alive. If they were kind, they will still be kind. If they were mean, you probably don’t want them in your home. 

Their Death & Unfinished Business 

Ghosts are almost always tied to the place they died. They’re also usually tied to any events or people who were involved.

Typically, ghosts have died tragically or abruptly. Many of them can be in denial that they’ve passed. 

Ghosts almost always have unfinished business that they need to take care of. This unfinished business is usually quite innocent. It can be used as a way to avoid the fact that they died. 

Ghosts are often considered the caretakers of the afterlife. They commonly stick around to make sure their families, friends, homes, and belongings are being taken care of. 

However, there’s always the other end of the spectrum where that unfinished business can become very dark and sinister.

This can mean the person died an extremely violent or unexpected death. That type of ghost is almost always a problem. 

What Are The Different Types Of Ghosts?

In this section, we’re going to go through the 7 most popular different types of ghosts. We’ll explain everything you need to know about them. 


A poltergeist is a type of ghost that the majority of people wouldn’t like to encounter. They’re the most common type of ghost portrayed in movies and books. 

Poltergeist means “noisy ghost” because they present themselves by making a ton of noise. This can be in the form of banging on the walls or moving furniture at night.

Poltergeists love to make their presence known, yet do so in a subtle manner. They sometimes start by banging on walls, which can lead up to pinching, hitting, and tripping. 

Poltergeists have been written off as natural phenomena such as water under the house, psychological issues, and even mass forms of energy that the person being haunted is unknowingly controlling. 

Whatever the case, poltergeists might start off as a harmless ghost, but they can become very problematic over time.

What To Do If You Have A Poltergeist Problem 

If you suspect you might have a poltergeist problem, you should never reach out or try to communicate with them. Please don’t try to catch them on video either. 

The best thing you can do is start implementing preventative methods like cleansing and blessing your home. If all that fails, reach out to a professional to get rid of the ghost completely. 

Fortunately, unlike an Orb, a poltergeist is a fairly rare type of ghost. We don’t hear about them very often.

However, they’re arguably one of the most feared ghosts. This might be because of the movies, books, and television shows made about them. 

While they might be the rarest type of ghost to encounter, poltergeists are certainly the most exploited by media. Often these depictions are inaccurate and over-dramatized.

Don’t get us wrong, a poltergeist definitely isn’t something you want to deal with it. We’re just saying they’re commonly made out to be way worse than they actually are.


Orbs are arguably one of the most common ghosts around. They’re seen in photographs and videos as a white or blue ball of light that’s relatively transparent. 

The orbs are usually suspended or hovering over the ground. However, an orb can be seen with the naked eye. This is an incredible experience. 

Seeing An Orb On Camera

Seeing an orb with the naked eye means that the orb is creating its own light source.

Therefore, it can’t just be a fleck of dust on the lens, a camera malfunction, or a reflection of light—these are all common explanations used to take the paranormal away from orbs. 

Orbs move quickly, making it almost impossible for them to be caught on video. However, it has happened. In certain videos, you will see a light move quickly and swiftly across the screen. 

The best way to capture an orb is with a regular camera. They’ve been documented countless times on both digital and film cameras.

From what we know, orbs appear to be the soul of a human or animal that has died. After their death, they travel around or move from place to place. 

Orbs don’t appear to be evil. They’ve never been associated with hauntings. From what we know so far, they can’t touch you, speak to you, move things, change temperature, or reach out in any way. 

If you do get lucky enough to see an orb, don’t panic! It could easily just be the old neighborhood dog taking himself for an evening walk!

Funnel Ghosts

Funnel ghosts are associated with cold spots. If you’ve ever entered a home or an old building and you start to feel a chill, you might have encountered a funnel ghost. This could even happen if you walk into a cold spot on a really warm day. 

Just like an orb, there’s really no reason to worry if you think you’re in a cold spot. They aren’t considered evil ghosts at all.

Funnel ghosts are said to be loved ones or previous homeowners coming back to visit their old stomping grounds.

They’re always found in homes or older buildings, rarely outside. These ghosts can sometimes take the shape of a swirling funnel of light, hence their name. 

Funnel ghosts have the most similarities to an Orb or Ecto-mist. This makes experts wonder if these types of ghosts are just stages of the afterlife. 

Using Cold To Find Ghosts 

A funnel ghost is a little harder to spot. A cold spot is the only true way to identify one unless you are lucky enough to spot the funnel. 

Cold spots have quickly become one of the surefire ways to find a ghost. In every single movie, book, and television show about ghost and hauntings, the first thing people say when they enter a room is how cold it is. 

Additionally, outside of EMF readers, one of the most common ghost hunting tools around is a thermal imager to detect cold spots.

Even though cold spots have become a common way to find ghosts, there’s actually very little information about funnel ghosts in general. 

This lack of information plays well into the theory that it’s a stage of development. If an orb is the first stage and a funnel ghost is the second, it makes sense that there isn’t much information about them.

Interactive Personality 

Outside of an Orb, the Interactive Personality is one of the most commonly spotted type of ghost. An Interactive Personality is a person who has passed away, sometimes you might even know them. 

Usually, this ghost will come around to comfort or warn a loved one. It’s actually quite easy for this type of ghost to do because they’re the most easily spotted.

Interactive personalities can speak, make noises, touch you, and even show themselves completely. 

According to the paranormal community, they will look and speak exactly how you remember them. These abilities alone make the Interactive Personality the most interesting type of ghost by far! 

Poltergeists can touch you and make noise, but there isn’t another type of ghost that can speak to you. Unless, of course, we consider demonic possession, but who wants to have a conversation with a demon?

Interactive Personality As The Final Development Stage 

There’s speculation in the paranormal community about whether or not an Interactive Personality is the final stage of ghost’s development. This theory could make sense because they’re the most similar to their human form in this stage.

They retain the same personality they had when they were alive and they even smell the same. If they smoked cigarettes, chewed minty gum, or wore a pungent perfume, chances are you’ll be able to smell them out.

Interactive Personalities might be one of the most inspiring types of ghosts. While they can be mean and grumpy just like any human being can be, they aren’t that dangerous. That is of course unless they really don’t like you. 

Thankfully, even if they don’t like you, they can’t haunt you, possess you, or truly hurt you, which is really comforting. 

Interactive Ghosts might be one of the greatest signs that the afterlife does exist, and that there is life after death. This makes them inspiring to many. 

Ectoplasm or Ecto-mist

Ectoplasm, which is also known as Ecto-mist, is another type of ghost. They’re seen as a really thick substance such as slime. 

These ghosts are seen when a medium is trying to manifest a ghost and then expels the substance from their body. 

The substance is described in various ways. Some claim that it is thick like slime, others say it looks like a bundle of thread. However, it is always described as being white, black, or grey. 

Once the medium expels this Ectoplasm from their body, the ghost will then place the gauze, slime, or cheesecloth over themselves to be seen by whoever is summoning them.

An interesting aspect of the Ectoplasm type of ghost is that they supposedly can move very fast, yet stay in one spot when the substance is put over them. 

Another interesting aspect of the Ectoplasm is that it should be clear or white when expelled from the medium’s body. Once it’s put on, the ghost will become dark and more visible to the naked eye.

If you witnessed something like that, there’d be no way to explain it. There are claims that the Ectoplasm can smell so bad you can barely stand to sit in the same room with it. 

The Ectoplasm is one of the most controversial types of ghosts because they’ve been seen, they’ve been photographed, and they appear to be very real. 

However, they’re still not an accepted form of a ghost in the world of science. This is because many have been proven to be hoaxed, made of gauze and other similar substances.


Demons are, without a doubt, the most sinister and evil type of ghost that we know of so far. 

Demons have been around for centuries. They are discussed in religion, literature, movies, video games, mythology, and folklore. 

The demon is the only type of ghost that is closely tied with religion. In any religion from any part of the world, the demon is discussed and feared. 

The Power Of Demons

This type of ghost is incredibly powerful, unpredictable, manipulative, and can destroy a person’s life in a matter of seconds. 

They not only cause you immense emotional and psychological harm, but they can also physically harm you.

Their ability to cause physical harm is the scariest part about them and makes them the most feared type of ghost. Unlike a poltergeist, demons don’t just flick, trip, and slap.

They are often seen as a dense black figure, but they do have the ability to shapeshift and turn into whatever shape they would like to be in. 

Differences In Demons Due To Religion  

Different religions and regions of folklore will have different ways of describing a demon. This could just be how they believe them to look, but it could also be the way they’ve been seen. 

After all, they can shapeshift or possess human beings. Therefore, it’s impossible to truly pinpoint what a demon looks like. 

Ironically, a demon has never actually been documented in photographs or video. This could also explain the lack of descriptions. 

Still, there’ve been enough exorcisms performed and enough videos of possessed human beings to convince us that we never want to be in the presence of one!

Demons aren’t here to protect you, warn you, or comfort you. They exist purely to torment and taunt. Demons love to haunt your house, your most prized possessions, and even you. 

If you suspect you have a demon, you must never try to contact it. Once you invite them in, they’re almost impossible to get rid of.

Never try to catch them on film, and definitely don’t go out and buy an Ouija board.

The worst-case scenario is demonic possession. From what we know, a demon is the only type of ghost that can possess a human being. They always require an exorcist to get rid of them. 

The demon and Poltergeists are the only truly evil forms of a ghost. They’re also the only ones that haven’t been considered a stage of development in the afterlife.

Shadow People

Shadow People, in our opinions, are one of the most interesting types of ghost. They’re the most seen, yet the most shrugged off. 

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night to see a shadow somewhere in the room? We usually don’t let it bother us and go back to bed, thinking it was probably just a dream. 

What if you weren’t dreaming? It’s possible you might have actually seen what you thought you saw. This shadow figure would be called a Shadow Person. 

A Shadow Person is a type of ghost that is described as a shadow in the shape of a figure, person, or a mass. They’re often shaped like a human, but don’t have any human-like features such as hair or a nose. 

Ironically, those who encounter a Shadow Person always claim that it was looking at them. This can’t be true, because Shadow People don’t have eyes. 

Most people describe Shadow People as being menacing because they do scare people most of the time. There’s no way of knowing whether they’re trying to be menacing on purpose, or if they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

The biggest argument about Shadow People (outside of whether they are truly real or not), is if they are an evil ghost, a kind ghost, or just a neutral ghost.

They can’t touch you or cause you physical harm, they don’t appear to be able to move furniture, and they definitely don’t look like anyone we used to know. 

They are fascinating purely because there isn’t much information about them. There’s no way to contact them, talk to them, or even really examine them. For all we know, they might just be shadows. 

Related Questions

Why isn’t a Spirit Considered a Type of Ghost?

Spirits and ghosts are often discussed interchangeably when they’re actually quite different. A spirit isn’t considered a type of ghost because of how they entered the afterlife. 

A spirit is a normal person who has died in a relatively normal way, so they go to the afterlife without any issues.

They’re able to reason, they aren’t in denial that they’ve died, and they probably didn’t die abruptly or in a tragic way. 

Ghosts, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. You don’t hear much about spirits haunting people, and there’s a reason for that.

They know they’ve died and they’re at peace with it. They don’t stick around to deal with unfinished business like ghosts do. 

What Type of Ghost is Most Documented?

The most commonly documented type of ghost is the Orb. While there is speculation that Ectoplasm and Poltergeists have been seen in photographs, nothing has been documented as much as an Orb. 

If you were to go through your photo book or watch an old home video right now, you’d likely see at least one orb. 

Can a Ghost Follow You From Place to Place?

In most cases, the answer is no. Ghosts are often tied to a specific place, usually where they died or the place that they lived before they died. 

Additionally, unless a ghost is trying to haunt you, there’s really no reason for them to follow you around. However, if you were to be followed, it would be by a Poltergeist or Demon. 

To learn more, play this video by Matthew Santoro.

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