Ghost Attacks: How Do We Explain These Mysterious Spectral Scratches?

By on May 6, 2015 // Paranormal // 6 Comments

Image: Ell Christman via CC by 2.0
Image: Ell Christman via CC by 2.0

Picture this scene: a group of ghost hunters are standing quietly in the abandoned cellar of an old haunted mansion. It’s night. One of them is talking to the air, another takes readings with an EMF meter she bought on eBay. Things are getting downright spooky, and everyone is having a good time. Mostly everyone.

But something happens. One of them feels a pressure against his back, something that burns and seems to push him forward. He cries out, and the startled team gathers to investigate. They lift up his shirt, and what they find shocks them all: three red marks sliding down his back.

The Anatomy of a Spiritual Attack

If the above story sounds familiar, that’s because it happens all the time. Or, at least, that would appear to be the case. Look and you shall find – tales of ghostly assaults, scratches, bite marks, welts, and bruises that spontaneously manifest on an individual’s skin, often during a paranormal investigation.

But are these truly paranormal, or could there be rational explanations for what, at first glance, would appear to be legitimate proof of something beyond our comprehension?

While I’m sure most of us have experienced the odd “unexplained” scratch – maybe on our hands or arms, usually after a night’s sleep or perhaps due to our tendency to run into things (or is that just me?) – these alleged scratches, or so it’s said, are far more sinister in nature.

Three scratches in particular may be interpreted as “demonic art,” a mockery of the Holy Trinity, as claimed by at least one investigator. In fact, different marks have different meanings, according to Team Wiseman on HubPages.

As I said, you can find many, many examples of these spectral scratch marks on the Internet. But here’s an interesting one that happened in 2014. A news team were reporting on an alleged haunting at a property in Hanover, Pennsylvania when the cameraman – while filming – suffered a scratch and burn on his wrist.

“Because you’re telling the story. Because you’re putting it out there … right now that is their way of a warning,’ Deanna Simpson said while putting holy water on Petrillo’s arm.” – Cameraman is ‘scratched and burned’ while filming story about US home’s demons

The homeowner, in that case, claimed to experience “terrifying apparitions” and strange dreams, as well as doors opening and closing on their own. She also captured what she described as a “seven-foot-tall shadowy figure” – a demon – on film, which you can see in the above video.

Poltergeists, Demons, and Hives

How do we explain any of this? There’s, of course, your stock explanation, the one we all keep handy: it’s a hoax. For the above story, that may very well be true. These things can also be accidents or normal occurrences, only thought to be paranormal after the “priming” that investigators tend to experience before entering those haunted locations. But that’s not very exciting, is it?

On the ordinary side, we have a few possibilities. The presence of raised red marks on the skin – welts, for example – could indicate something like hives. An allergic reaction, perhaps to mold or dust or any number of potential allergens. Another possibility is something called dermographism, a peculiar skin disorder in which the skin may become raised and inflamed at the slightest touch.

On the supernatural side — the one we’re all here for — we could be dealing with poltergeists. This would be the physical manifestation of some kind of psychic energy by the individuals being haunted. A poltergeist, as we’ve talked about before, can arise from any kind of emotional or psychological turmoil and cause all sorts of bizarre activity. If it occurs during a ghost hunt, perhaps it’s a manifestation of the fear or stress of one of the “hunters.”

Finally, there is the most common paranormal explanation: that these scratches are caused by negative spirits or, worse, demonic entities.

A Word On Demons

This final explanation raises a question for me, though. If these are, indeed, malicious demonic attacks, why do they stop at the surface? Scratches or welts that appear mysteriously on the skin are terrifying, I imagine, but these entities presumably exist unbounded by spatial dimensions. And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t a demon scratch an eye or part of the brain or the heart?

More importantly, if a demonic entity could scratch, why couldn’t it do more? Well, maybe they do…

Questions, questions.

Paranormal Investigation Is Hard

I’m not a paranormal investigator. I wouldn’t even call myself a paranormal researcher, to be honest. But I’ve read enough and seen enough to say that, even after all the research I have done, I’m still as in the dark as ever.

Nothing about the paranormal confounds me more than all the so-called evidence that seems to lead us nowhere. The pictures, the videos. These unexplained scratches and weird marks. The anecdotes. I suppose it wouldn’t be paranormal if we had the answer — then, it’d just be normal. But I often feel like we’re walking in circles.

Anyway, what do you think? Are most of these scratches hoaxes? Inadvertently self-inflicted wounds? Allergies? Or the marks of demons wishing to do harm to us mere mortals? Let me know your thoughts.

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About the Author

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.

  • luke

    man the video freaked me out

  • luke

    the video of the news crew i meant. I don’t ever believe any of the so called ghost hunter videos

    • Rob

      I don’t blame you, Luke! I included that video just as an example of your typical ghost hunter allegedly getting hit with the three marks. I don’t really buy into that stuff, either.

    • dblbass128

      Rob, I was doing ok with sleep and my faith in Christ has shot through the roof after a couple of experiences of my own (and yes I believe these events to be 100% factual. December 2014 i woke from a sleep paralyzed unable to move and just full of fear. This has happened before and many times awaking from terrible nightmares. Usually during a difficult time in my life. But this time I heard the worst growl I’ve ever heard I couldn’t even explain it. When i came to i remembered my old man telling me years ago how he awoke paralyzed in his sleep in the jouse we grew up in, heard footsteps running up the stairs and then an awful growl. Last week at my old mans house I opened the sliding door to go smoke a but and I heard s growl. I was wide awake mind yiu and couldn’t see anything where the growl was coming from. I thought an animal was pissed or about to fight another. To not make too much noise i left the door cracked ran into the laundry room the an open door to grab my pistol. Then i heard a loud smash or bang on the laundry room door that was closed. I jumped ten feet and drew my pistol and walked out the door i came in the confront whateber it was. My father woke form it and he was coming downstairs as I realized nothing was in the house. So odd. Two nights later i get this awful feeling – the hairs on my neck see standing. I start to pray thsts when I walk away firm the living room of my girls olace and before I got to the couch again my left leg stopped workinf

  • Kym Crowley

    I cannot shake the suspicion that it may be our own minds at work here. Creating a physical reality based on what one’s involved in at the time, Especially where heightened emotions are involved…

    • dblbass128

      That would be great. But unfortunately, once you experience it especially if other witness something you witness, and 2 or more obvious signs of it manifest so close together, logic would have to say that is isn’t coincidence or “tricks of the mind” unless of curse you’re all tripping ok acid or shrooms. The worst thing to do is consult with mediums or necromancers of any kind. Justbstay away from any occult oractices like burning sage and havig mediums enter the house to channel or communicate with anything at all. You cannot communicate with rhe dead, just the evil that roams the earth.