On The Various Types Of Supernatural Entities & Manifestations

Posted by on September 13, 2011
Last Updated: July 15, 2017

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.

Human-based Entities

Supernatural Entities: Ghosts & ApparitionsGhosts. 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.

Non-Human Entities

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. See The Philip Experiment for more information, or perhaps On Egregores.

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.


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About the Author Post by Rob Schwarz 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.
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  • kelsey

    after I read what shadow people are my heart sunk to my stomach because I have seen one. it was not one of those things you see out of the corner of your eye I know what I saw and it was a shadow of a person and it looked like a man. later that night I found out my neighbor passed away and I believed that it was his spirit leaving but I know what it really was now.. if shadow people can be a “bad omen” then it makes perfect sense to me because there was death nearby and I saw a shadow before his body was found. 🙁

    • Rob Schwarz

      You’re quite right; shadow people can be seen directly, not only out of the corner of your eye. Something like the Hat Man, perhaps.

      Very interesting story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Josh Byrom

      Shadow people have remained a mystery. I’ve come into contact with numerous spirits, but all of them are puzzled by shadow people. One theory is that they are actually inter-dimensional beings whose appearance is that of a shadow. But seeing one is not an automatic omen. Some stories people have told say that shadow people can also be good in nature, but won’t allow us to see their true form.

    • Cooper

      I shadow person exists similar to a leech, at least that what my research shows. They feed on negative energies very similar to a Dementor if you read Harry Potter. But direct contact is nearly impossible because what you think you see in the corner of you eye might really exist. I had an encounter when I was a young lad I was asleep and woke up to this blackness above me I couldnt move breath and thankfully my brother threw a light on and it vanished. There was nothing just blackness staring into an eternal abyss.

  • Josh Byrom

    I like this article! We actually had an encounter with a Succubus not too long ago. You definitely have to be careful about what you let in, especially if you live in a place with a lot of hauntings in our neighborhood. Just last night we heard footsteps right on our porch, opened the door and nobody was there. Then the screen door just shut on us suddenly. Weird.

  • Chelsea

    These things are real. There’s more than meets the eye.ive been a medium since I was thirteen.theres real bad stuff out there.

    • lee

      I’m learning to become medium believe it or not, I believe you about that, demonic entities are by far the worst but I definitely believe in God too.

  • Dawn Ramsden

    I have seen shadows and manifestations of a man with a black and red robe with children, and another guy that looked like some sort of leader with one child eitherside of him. I was told he was a silibus or something.

  • D. Antony

    After reading through some of your explanations, I was slightly disheartened and yet a little hopeful that you might allow me to understand just what I’m seeing throughout each day and night. Sometimes there are what look to be apparitions, but they are rarely ever human looking, and range from almost tangible to barely there. My husband has seen two with me (One massive almost like an elephant but only in size and four legs another like a person standing as if waiting for something), while some people I have been with happen to get a glimpse of them, though most of the time I just see them here and there so much so that I’ve become accustomed to them. I can only describe them as ‘negative space’ or see-through strange creatures. Sometimes they also see me, it seems, which has me in a panic; and most of the time they seem to wander away or slowly disappear after making the connection that I’ve been looking at them, but others almost rush at me. Other times they don’t even seem to have a face so I’m not quite sure. And on off occasions I feel, smell, or hear them before I even see anything. Do you have any information on this?

    • Rob

      I’ll look into this and reply here again if I find anything.

  • Ben

    I had a dream involving some kind of entity last night, and part of what made it feel like it was more than a dream was that I knew I was dreaming(which I’ve never really been aware of in the past) and I was able to ask the entity questions such as “Will I remember you after I wake up?” as if the entity gave me the ability to consciously communicate with it while I was in a calmer state of mind🤔