On The Various Types Of Supernatural Entities & Manifestations

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.


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.


  1. 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. :(

    1. 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.

      1. Amy allan from the dead files says one of her first encounters with spirits were shadow people. When she was a little girl she had two shadow people she would play with, a male and female. They were like friends to her, until one day they told her to join them and to biy into an electrical cord, wich she did and shocked herself. After that she realized they were bad. And they would terrorize her. Peel off the wall and stare at her or scream at her. Freaky stuff. You can read about it in one of her interviews.

    2. 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.

      1. I have a picture with entities and a giant orb with like a laughing joker face in it and would like someone to help identify what these entities are. You have to look but you can see a head face eyes fingers and theybare like in a white gown.

    3. 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.

    4. Yes..indeed I be seen full forms of shadow people…but I’ve also been seeing daily occurrence of shadows from the corner of my eyes…many times it’s like seeing a black cat jumping through the air gay quickly.
      Thir is no explanation for it…when this happens is usually in a door frame and higher up…so you know it not natural

    5. The shadow i saw came from a Ouija Board !!!!! I captured it with my camcorder. It is a large black shadow and it came up from the ground !!!!! It has Amazing and Very Dangerous Powers !!!!! I uploaded videos as Proof. It is the REAL DEAL !!!!! Paranormal Investigators won’t come to my apartment. Here is the link

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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🤔

  7. I’m 19 now…but since my childhood there has been this thing. I don’t know what “he” is but he mainly shows up in my dreams. His body is in the shape of a man but is constantly shifting due to the black vapor that surrounds his body. At first I thought I was going crazy for all these years and just a paranoid child, but he’s appeared in my mother’s dreams too. He was there when she was a child and throughout her adulthood as well…..we’re the only ones that know about him but it’s valid that he exist. She says her fear of the dark probably manifested the idea of him existing since she’s no longer afraid and doesn’t see him anymore, but I still do. It never speaks but tends to get closer to me over time, sometimes in a threatening manner. I feel it’s malicious intent and I know when he’s there due to the aura it gives me. The last visit I had from it was probably the worst. I was having a hard week and my body was shutting down due to mental exhaustion. I fell asleep and in the dream he was in my hallway. I was in the bathroom. At one point I was him, looking at me coming from one end of the hallway towards me, and at another point I was me looking into the mirror…yet I couldn’t see him….only feel him there. He got closer and I couldn’t wake up, sleep paralysis kicked in that day and I was trapped for awhile in the dream so he got closer (this happened in September 2017). Eventually I managed to wake up (thank goodness) but it scared me to the point I didn’t want to go back to sleep. Shadow People and Unconscious Manifestations are the closest representations of wha
    t me and my mother have experienced. There aren’t many reasons to why it happens…he’s just there. That’s just one of the many experiences I’ve had with him.

    1. Try using crystals for protection and don’t have a dirty home because bad entities like clutter

  8. i want to know if anyone knows anything about white ones…they look like a smoke and dissapear everytime you see them, who are they???

  9. apparitions isnt even real. its consciousness and what you create with your imagination in what we know of, ” reality”. Your brain functions this way, perceives and receives every cell via each of our physical sense and interprets the space around us that just is. then theres our mind which is truly its own character. whatever you make of it, is what it is

  10. every once in a while when i go to bed, i get woken up by this vibrating feeling, like my body is vibrating…

    it starts at my feet and quickly rushes up until i hear it in my ears. then something grabs me by my ankles and i get pulled out of bed, i realize i cant move. I know its real because when i opened my eyes i actually saw that i wasn’t in my bed anymore. i struggle internally until i finally move, i twitch my head or something, and suddenly i’m back in my bed. Twice i actually glanced at what had a hold of my ankles, but all i could see was some sort of darker than dark thing. It didn’t have a human shape, it was like a large creature, idk. Now sometimes, i’m afraid to go to sleep..

    I hate that it grabs me by my ankles, because when i was twelve, my step dad dragged my out of our car by my ankles, and beat me. Don’t worry about that though, i ran away and got police involved the next day..

  11. I started out as a skeptic. I have however been lucky enough to witness the following ridiculous list that I would not expect anyone to believe unless they were there.
    I got punched in the face while on guard duty. It was 2 in the morning in the centre of a swept parade square, with only me about. I looked for a missile that would explain the blow and there was none.
    I saw a shadow arm reaching up next to me while I was operating machinery at night. All the energy was drained out of me and I phoned for help, eventually ending up in casualty. It was only when explaining what happened to the doctor that a supernatural possibility occurred to me.
    My son and his wife came to us disturbed that there was something in their house. My wife and I went with them to investigate. Not expecting any response I said if there is anything here shake that pot plant. At that, the pot plant trembled in a way that could not be replicated. this lasted for well over a minute and was witnessed by all present. I thoroughly investigated thinking my son was hoaxing me but no it was genuine.
    A friend of my sons died in a motorbike accident. His spirit stuck around for a week or two getting a lift to work as he had done in life. We could smell him in the car going to work but never coming home.
    My son and I saw a huge orb or fireball about 4 feet wide, fly down the lane towards us then lift up to miss our car. This was at about 10 at night.
    I m not a sceptic anymore. Ridiculous, things happen that you have to see to believe.

  12. Hi!
    I have seen a shadow person twice. The first one was at the corner of my eye and was seen by myself and a friend. The second time I was recording in my living room, I saw a dark shadow fly by very quickly. I reviewed the video and slowed down the speed and sure enough, I had caught a shadow person.
    Your site is very informative! Thank you


  13. I had a spirit in my basement when I was a teenager. I could usually feel ‘someone’ there ‘watching’ me, but not always. Then one night I was in bed, sitting up and the neighbor’s flood light was shining in the room so I could see everything. Then I was *itch-slapped across the face, and there was nothing visible in the room, except the hand print on my cheek.

  14. My mom is staying with us while she’s ill & has been seeing a dark gray shadow thing shaped like an oak tree hover above her at night. When she looks at it or when it realizes she sees it, then it starts to float away to the north end of the room while gradually disappearing. She’s been seeing this almost every night now for the past week.
    Several years ago on a paranormal show a guy described this exact entity & I remembered it because it was so distinctly different than what you normally come across in the paranormal community. However I don’t remember much else from the episode & cant find any information anywhere in this type of entity.
    Has anyone heard of this before? I’m worried about it’s intent or purpose especially with my mom essentially being on her deathbed now.