The universe is a strange place. Here’s a list of the many supernatural manifestations and entities said to exist. Whether you believe these are cosmic anomalies, hallucinations, or tricks of light…well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Types Of Manifestations
Apparitions. The typical appearance of a ghost or other supernatural entity. Apparitions occur while an individual is awake, and tend to be translucent representations of how a person looked in life (although they can also appear fully formed and seemingly tangible). Apparitions can also be of animals or inanimate objects, such as houses, or of non-human entities. It is very rare to see a full apparition.
Ectoplasm. Originally reported to manifest from the bodies of mediums while channeling supernatural entities. In pictures, ectoplasm often has the appearance of white cloth or netting. More commonly, ectoplasm is associated with ghosts, and described as any number of substances, including mist, which physically manifest in the presence of supernatural entities.
Orbs. Often captured in photographs, orbs are said to be ghosts manifesting in the form of glowing balls of light. However, orbs in photographs often appear to be nothing more than camera flashes hitting dust or other particulates in the air. Actual orb sightings or photographs are very rare.
Vortexes & Rods. These are similar to orbs, in that they typically present themselves in photographs and are seldom witnessed with the naked eye. Vortexes are spiraling, mist-like apparitions, also known as funnels. Rods, on the other hand, are often said to be alien in nature (perhaps even UFOs), and are not necessarily spiritual.
It should be noted that the appearance of Orbs, Vortexes, or Rods in photographs should be met with a good amount of skepticism, as there are a number of reasons why they may show up, not the least of which is simple optical illusion.
In the case of Ectoplasm, many old photographs of purported mediums do tend to look like nothing more than white bedsheets, and there’s very little reason to assume they are real.
Ghosts. The most “common” variety of spiritual entities, ghosts are simply humans who have passed away and have either moved on and returned for a particular reason (sometimes referred to as Spirits), or who have chosen not to move on at all.
Doppelgangers. The appearance of a “double,” or an apparition of a living person. Doppelgangers may act as ominous warnings of impending tragedy. Often associated with bad luck. Abraham Lincoln is famously said to have witnessed his own doppelganger, perhaps a sordid message from the other side that he would meet an untimely end.
Out-Of-Body Manifestations. These may occur when someone has an out-of-body experience (OBE), or experiences astral projection. Others may see this person in a spirit-form.
Both Doppelgangers and Out-Of-Body Manifestations are a form of bilocation, in which an individual is seemingly occupying two places at once.
Guides. Said to be spirits that “remain behind” or otherwise mingle near our world to act as guides to the living. Often claimed to be in contact with psychics and mediums.
Angels. Messengers or guardians from the other side. Angels primarily have a religious connotation.
Demons. Also primarily a religious entity. Inhuman, evil spirits which act in direct opposition of “God” and humanity. May be fallen angels. When a person is “possessed,” they are most often believed to be inhabited by a demon.
Poltergeists (Demonic). Chaotic, malevolent entities that cause havoc and terror in their victims. May be related to demons, or perhaps evil “ghosts.” Poltergeists are known to throw objects, violently open and close doors, pound on walls, or physically assault the living.
Shadow People. Shadows or dark figures that can be seen through the corner of your eye. Fast moving. May be ill-intentioned, and their appearance may be a bad omen. Not much is known about shadow people.
Parasitic Entities. Supernatural entities that “leech” the energy of their “hosts.” Victims will feel weak or fatigued, suffer insomnia, and may become irritable. Unknown whether or not these entities are their own type, or if they belong to other categories (such as demons).
Other Supernatural Phenomena
Mental Projections (Tulpas). Apparitions created through the sheer will of human thought. Are not actually “ghosts,” but may acquire a “mind of their own” once formed. May also be referred to as “thoughtforms.”
Poltergeists (Psychic Activity). Poltergeists may not be supernatural entities at all, but rather the psychokinetic manifestation of emotional turmoil or stress. Often occur in households with children or teenagers.
Temporal Distortions. Anomalies in the space-time continuum in which witnesses either temporarily find themselves in another time period, or see manifestations of people or places from another time. These are not supernatural entities, as the distortion involves the “living,” albeit under extraordinary circumstances.
Residual Hauntings. Environmental “recordings” of events. Typically involve traumatic experiences, such as murder or suicide, but may also involve inanimate objects. These events replay like a broken record, often with some regularity.
Unconscious Manifestations. Dreams of spirits or other supernatural entities. Many claim to have been visited by ghosts in their dreams, or terrorized by evil entities to the point of being shocked awake. May or may not be supernatural in nature (they could, of course, just be dreams). However, a dream involving a supernatural entity will likely feel more “real” than a standard dream.
Image courtesy Jordi Carrasco.