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In so many of our routine daily lives, we mention ghosts as the excuse for missing objects, strange noises or sudden chills. But how many of us really believe this?

When someone dies, or passes over to the spirit world, it is said that their soul leaves the body and goes to Heaven or Hell, depending on the kind of life that the person lead before their demise. If that soul does not leave the plane of existence that the living are on, they are said to become ghosts. Forever bound to the Earth, never to be released to the spirit world, these ghosts "haunt" and scare anyone who sees them. This is usually because the living see them as a threat and not as what they truly are - Departed souls who have not yet crossed over to the spirit world.

There are generally 2 kinds of ghosts. There are those who scare the hell out of people, and the ones who just seem to show up every now and then and don't seem to bother anyone.

Poltergeist n: A ghost that manifests itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder.

A poltergeist is regarded as a household spirit renowned for throwing things, making noises and generally causing a disturbance. These can be very frightening and have been recorded throughout the ages for causing alarm and even sheer panic. However, there are no known recorded cases of these spirits actually killing anyone. In alot of cases which have been reported, the conclusion is more likely to be the manifestations of mental upset, usually in children or teenagers. Repressed psychic energy may express itself by projecting from the person who is troubled, and paranormally move objects or make noises. The person who is at the centre of this activity is more likely to be frightened to the point that more fear feeds the escaping psychic energy and therefore more manifestations occur. Once the fear of the poltergeist is actually passed, the activity usually fades away.

Ghost n: The spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats.

With ghosts, the experience can be as frightening as with a poltergeist, generally not so. The word ghost, conjures up a shadowy, vaporous figure and calls to mind any number of places such a phantom may choose to haunt: graveyards, misty moors, old castles surrounded by fog high on mountain peaks.

There are a few different kinds of ghosts as well..

Crisis Apparitions:
These are the ghostly encounters with the deceased who return at a time of crisis to try to intervene. We have all heard of tales of the much-loved husband or wife returning from beyond to inform their spouse of the location of a previously unknown insurance policy, just when the family is bordering on financial ruin.

Simple Apparitions:
Seeing a former inhabitant of a building, a ghostly employee still doing their job, or any discarnate being still roaming the physical world. Many times these ghosts appear as a replaying movie, always caught up in the same act. The phantom that always wanders the hall at a precise hour or season. The replay of a murder over and over, much to the horror of the viewer.

Collective Apparitions:
These sightings are apparitions of the dead that occur simultaneously to multiple witnesses in different places. A woman in Indianapolis might see the ghost of her father, while at the same instant, her mother in South Bend sees her beloved husband.

Reciprocal Apparitions:
Go beyond ghosts and into the realm of quantum physics. In these cases , two people see each other simultaneously through some anomaly in time. Each person appears as a ghost to the other, and both are equally surprised by the event. In a reciprocal apparition, you, as the viewer, might perceive a gentleman, dressed in antique garb, going about his business, who then glances up, and with an astonished look on his face, sees you as well. Both you and he are puzzled, as you both are "out of place" to the eyes of the other. These apparitions usually are short-lived and if you but glance away, the vision vanishes.

Veridical Apparitions:
These are the sightings that can be corroborated through scientific or physical documentation, such as photographs, sound recordings, video tapes, or other scientific methods. EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, while not exactly a ghost, falls into this category.

EVP has gained much recognition in the past few years as one of the newest, and most strange paranormal occurrences. In an EVP occurrence, sensitive listening and recording devices are placed in appropriate places, such as mausoleums or greatly disturbed sites. A constant recording is made during an entire night, and many times, as the tape is analysed, strange, fragmented voices can be heard very faintly on the tape, as if from speaking from a far-off place. Every precaution is taken to ensure that there is no chance of interference from any outside source. Yet the voices are there. Science still has no explanation.

Deathbed Apparitions:
The type we all hope to experience during our last moments on this earth, when a loved one appears to comfort us and lead us on into the light of the next existence. These types of encounters are most often reported by people who have gone through near-death experiences.

Reincarnate Apparitions:
Most common to Native American groups and practitioners of their Native American religions. In these cases, a recently deceased loved one reappears to a family member in the guise of its next reincarnation, to identify themselves both to the family they have left, and to the family they will soon join as a reincarnate being.