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What is the difference between a Ghost and Spirit?

Updated: Jan 17

Atmospheric differences

The term Ghosts and Spirits are used interchangeably humans can be described as the physical manifestations of spiritual energy while Ghosts, are described as impressions in space and time (cited by Brandi Fleck February 2023). Ghosts are non-interactive images, whereas Spirits are the souls of deceased people and other sentient beings.

Spirits can interact with you in the world of the living if they want to. Ghosts are usually associated with negative connotations when described as the soul of a deceased person who has experienced difficulty in crossing over between the physical world and the non-physical world (known as realms or dimensions).

When you are in the presence of a Spirit, you may often experience them as a sound in your ears or cold air on the back of your neck, therefore they may act mischievously but cause you no real harm. Spirits in both worlds are often in the guise of our Guardian Angel meaning this Angel could be a deceased parent or grandparent who will visit you in mourning.

Ghosts on the other hand are believed to be fixed to the location of their death, which is often a death associated by tragic events or an abrupt death in which they don't realise that they are actually deceased. In the majority of cases, they have 'unfinished business' which is perfectly illustrated by the film, Ghost (A 1990 Romance/Fantasy starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg) in which the deceased person doesn't realise or accept the way in which they had died. Ghosts usually want to be noticed and some may act mischievous, hence they want to scare people by slamming doors, moving objects or exaggerating their footsteps.

This again is supported by Hans Holzer (Professor of parapsychology) who states that 'Ghosts are similar to psychotic human being's incapable of reasoning for themselves, in short these stuck souls are waiting to cross over to the next realm and continue with their spiritual learning process'.

Spirits and Ghost apparitions appear similarly, both having a transparent human shape that faintly resembles a living person, due to them being transparent you will naturally assume that you are imagining things. Some people witnessing a ghost may see brightly coloured floating orbs that can twinkle illustriously.

Spirits however are the surviving personalities of all who have managed to make this transition successfully in a relatively normal fashion (Cited October 24, 2015). This is illustrated as well in the 2001, horror/thriller film titled 'The Others' starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston and Fionnula Flanagan, in which the deceased occupants or ghosts want to ensure that their family home is being taken care of properly by future owners, hence will often be referred as 'caretakers'.

On the rare occasion this energy may be more negative or dark if the person has experienced a violent and unexpected death. The majority of ghostly sightings are 'residual energy' in which an emotional event is replayed repeatedly in the same area, at the same time constantly.

Beings not emotionally attached to one place and discarnate entities are most commonly referred to as 'spirits' meaning that their soul has survived after a person has died and no longer remains within their physical body. Spirits are able to roam freely from alternative dimensions creating a type of emotional link is more authentic, where they want their living family members to know that they (the deceased family member) are alright, hence them visiting specific family members. Spirits will still retain their personality which is often picked up through psychic spiritual readings. The main difference between the living and a spirit, is simply the world that the two reside in.

The living, exist in the physical plane and Spirit in the spiritual one. These two planes of existence are only separated by a thin veil in a parallel world. Spirits can communicate with the living in diverse manner. This can be done through dreams which are referred to as visitations.

The Five most Common Types of Spirits and Ghosts

  1. The Interactive Personality Spirits (IPS) that have been mentioned throughout this blog is the most common type to be spotted, the deceased person is usually someone you know such as a family member or probably a famous historical personality. Though this type of Spirit will appear in many different ways: they may talk, became visible, touch you or perhaps make noises. Some may produce a scent like perfume or smoke from a cigar to inform you of their presence.

  2. The ectoplasm appears as a swirling fog or mist in which paranormal activity that appears several feet off the ground and may be still or move quickly. This type of apparition is often able to be captured on film or still photos and appear black, white or even grey in colour. They often appear to be floating mid-air and sometimes these ectoplasms will appear before transforming in a full-bodied apparition, often seen outdoors near graveyards or historical sites and old battlefields.

  3. Poltergeist meaning 'Noisy Ghost'' is an apparition that has the ability to knock or move objects, manipulating the physical environment and create noises. Poltergeist hauntings are rare but can also be the scariest, they include knocking sounds, lights flickering, doors slamming and fires mysteriously starting. This type of activity by the Poltergeist is often mild and harmless and will finish as quickly as it started. It becomes dangerous when this form of massive energy is being controlled by a living person unknowingly.

  4. Orbs are the most captured image of paranormal activity photographed. They are transparent balls of light that appears to float in mid-air. These orbs are said to be the souls of a sentient being such as a human or animal that has died and is now travelling from one location to another, being a circle shape makes it easier for them to travel around and if you are fortunate to witness this phenomenon before they turn into a full-bodied apparition, they often will appear white or blue in colour.

  5. Funnel Spirits or vortex are usually associated with a cold spot and often seen in homes or buildings with historical significance. They appear like a swirling funnel, and it is believed that this is a loved one or a former resident of the home. Which is perceived as a swirling spiral of light, when captured on video or in photos.

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