One of my friends recently went through a break up, and one of the things that we first did to help her move on was to delete all of their old photos, remove the ex from social media, and get rid of any items associated with the relationship. Through this process I couldn’t help but think of how similar these processes were to haunted items. In a way, a break up leaves a residual haunting of sorts or haunted items, as in the items now have negative attachments due to the emotional history behind them.
“In the terminology of ghost hunting, residual hauntings, are repeated playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory and other sensory phenomena that are attributed to a traumatic event, life-altering event, or a routine event of a person or place, like an echo or a replay of a videotape of past events” (Wikipedia). Haunted items tend to be attributed or attached to residual hauntings as an effect of strong emotional events settling into the surroundings around the happenings.
To understand the idea behind a residual haunting, try to think about a smell that you may associate with a memory. A common theory that helps us to understand more about the cause of residual hauntings is called, “The Stone Tape Theory.” “‘The Stone Tape Theory’ follows a particular event, often strong, emotional, or tragic event, may be captured within some physical means or perhaps ‘physically’ etched within or upon the structural framework of a particular location. One possible example of such location might be a stone or wood structure and possibly even certain metal-framed buildings, which may attract and contain various emotions and/or events that contain strong feelings. In short, this concept acts much like a tape or video cassette, whereby visual, audible or even olfactory responses are recorded and replayed at various times and location” (National Paranormal Society).
“Dr. William G. Roll, famed parapsychologist and professor with the State University of West Georgia, Department of Psychology believes that this concept is essentially based on the idea that buildings and materials are able to absorb various forms of energy from living beings, including animals” (National Paranormal Society). With that being said, other researchers “speculate that the recording is laid down during times of high emotional stress, such as murder, suicide or other forms of grief, many feel that any form of energy, such as happy occasions, like a banquet, a birthday party, or even a romance between two lovers can also be stored for a specific amount of time, and then replayed when some aspect of the witnesses’ personality or psychic being is triggered” (National Paranormal Society).
So, how do you know if you are capturing a residual haunting or an intelligent haunting? Try to look out for phrases caught on tape that are not intelligent responses. You may catch a voice or a phrase on a digital recorder that is not related to the questions being asked what so ever. There may also be accounts of repeated footsteps at the same time every night. There may a repeat of the same apparition over and over again. Also pay attention to the history of the environment you are investigating. What kind of events happened in that area that may have left residual emotions? It is also very important to note that a residual haunting isn’t necessarily associated with the presence of a full bodied spirit. The events themselves are haunting the area or item. It is a strange concept to embrace, however, it makes sense for the lack of intelligent response. The haunting is not consciously aware most of the time in a residual haunting.
A residual haunting is probably happening right now and you may not even know it. Like I said at the beginning of this post, with my friend going through a break up. These items she now has from her romantic relationship now have a negative connotation to it due to emotional conflict connected to those items. These items and places are all around us. Smells, buildings, clothes, pictures, or what have you, that all relate to major events in our lives. Hence why I try to avoid airports, nothing but negative energy in there. So, be friendly with your residual hauntings, they may be closer than you think!