Why Do Only Some People See Ghosts?

Why Do Only Some People See Ghosts?

For anyone who’s into the paranormal, this is the million dollar question. Why is it that all of us don’t see ghosts walking around every day? Why isn’t every house haunted? Why don’t we all see shadow figures and white mist and hear spirit voices?

I believe it’s all about perception. I heard it described once as being like a radio. Either you have a great radio, a mediocre one, or one that might as well be broken, and based upon what you have you’ll either be able to tune into the frequencies of spirits or not. For those that possess a really good internal “radio,” spirits are visible all the time. These people can even go as far as to communicate and gather information from the dead, or allow spirits to channel through them and speak to the living.

These people are, of course, mediums. But we’ll get back to that in a bit.


For others, their radios may need some fine tuning, but they still work. They may occasionally see a shadow out of the corner of their eye or hear unexplained noises in a quiet house. They may also physically feel the presence of spirits by getting chills, goosebumps, hair standing on the back of their necks, sudden mental or physical exhaustion, etc. But they don’t witness spirits the way a medium can, sometimes plain as day and as real as any live person standing before them.

Then you have those whose radios might as well not work at all. They see nothing, feel nothing, hear nothing, experience nothing of the spirit world. These are people who are mentally closed off to the idea of ghosts, either because they don’t believe it’s real or because they are too afraid of what they might see if they open themselves up to it. Many people won’t even touch a Ouija board for fear of what they may expose themselves or their home to. Personally, I don’t blame them. You never know what you invite into your home when you seek out spiritual contact. It could wind up being incredibly dangerous.

What Kinds of Spirits Do People See?

For those that do have paranormal experiences, there are five types of spirit energy they come in contact with. The first is intelligent spirits, ghosts who are able to communicate intelligently with the living and who may purposely seek out contact. It is believed by some that these spirits are not aware that they are dead, but instead they continue on as though alive, attempting to interact with people just as they did before death. Others believe that intelligent spirits remain bound to a location because they have unfinished business to fulfill, perhaps to find or protect a loved one or to seek revenge. Either way, intelligent spirits have been known to move objects, shut doors, speak into digital recorders to produce EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena), materialize as an apparition, etc. Intelligent spirits can gather energy to show themselves to the living, either as dark shadows, white mist, glowing orbs of light, or even full-bodied apparitions.

The second type of spirit encounter people have is with residual energy. This is in fact not a spirit at all, but more a “recording” or “imprint” of a person or sound in a moment of time. For example, many people claim to hear unexplained gunfire and yelling at Civil War battlegrounds, or disembodied laughter and footsteps in their home. They may also see this recording of energy, and witness people from times long past doing something they often did in life, such as a child playing on a swing. Residual ghosts replay over and over again, maybe every Friday night or once a year on a specific date. They are harmless as there is no intelligent ghost behind the energy, but this also means that they cannot be removed from a home the way other spirits can be. Check out the video below to see an awesome example of residual energy.

The third type of spirit people come into contact with is one that is not a person at all, but rather an inhuman spirit. Many people refer to them as demons or evil spirits. They are not human and never were, and their goal usually is to break the will of a living person in order to possess them. In many cases, inhuman spirits (or demons) create such chaos in a person’s life that they must be exorcised by a priest. You run the risk of welcoming a demon into your home by performing rituals such as seances or by using a Ouija board.

The fourth type is what is known as a poltergeist. Poltergeists are mischievous and loud (hence the meaning behind the word poltergeist, “noisy ghost”), going to great lengths to get your attention and cause trouble. They move objects, slam doors, cause loud footsteps, yell and scream, etc. They usually leave as quickly and suddenly as they arrived, maybe only remaining in a location for a few days. Some believe that people themselves cause this activity to occur instead of an actual poltergeist “ghost,” usually by being in a state of heightened emotional activity or repressed anger.

Lastly, the fifth type of spirit is a shadow person. Not much is known about shadow people, but they are seen often. Generally, a person will see a shadow person out of the corner of their eye, mistaking them for a real person for a quick second before they turn to look and then the shadow is gone. Shadow people have no defining features, but only resemble the silhouette of a person. Sometimes they are even taller or shorter than a normal person, and they tend to watch people from around walls or in corners. Some believe shadow people are manifestations of intelligent spirits, others think they are demonic in nature. Still others believe shadow people to not be human at all, but of a different dimension. Either way, they often bring with them dark feelings of dread and sadness and are one of the most popular sightings people have.


What Makes a Medium Different?

Those who have excellent spirit “radios” are referred to by many names and vary widely in their abilities, but one common name for them is “Medium.” A medium is someone who is able to communicate with spirits and relay messages back to the living. Some mediums practice “channeling” where they allow a spirit to inhabit their body and speak through them. Many mediums claim to be clairvoyant, which means that they can perceive things visually that a normal person cannot, such as spirit energy.

There’s this fantastic show I like a lot that airs on the Travel channel called The Dead FilesIt’s about a medium and a homicide detective who go into homes to investigate paranormal activity. The best part of the show is when the medium, Amy Allen, walks through the house at night and simply observes the location. She calls out what she witnesses, and oftentimes it’s really frightening. I was inspired by the way Amy Allen describes what she sees, and as such the medium in my book So Fell the Sparrow experiences ghosts in a similar way. Check out a recap clip of one of my favorite episodes here.

What Can I Do to See Spirits?

On last week’s episode of Ghost Adventures, I learned about something that I had never heard of before. It’s called a psychomanteum. It is basically a small, windowless room, usually a closet, with a chair, a mirror, and candles to provide flickering, dim light. The user sits in the chair and stares into the mirror (which I’ve read should be offset so the user doesn’t stare directly at their own reflection but rather into the depths of the mirror). As they relax and focus on the mirror, it is said that the user may see ghostly apparitions or shadows. The danger, of course, is that by creating such a room and using it invites spirits (and possibly other entities) to communicate and interact with you. In the episode of Ghost Adventures, the woman used this room and as such the spirit activity spiked in the house to a violent level. She invited the spirits, almost like through a portal, into her home. So any creation and use of such a room should be done with great caution.

* * *

Well, that’s it for this week! I hope you’ve enjoyed part two of my ghostly blog series as I ramp up to the release of Gypsy of Spirits on September 21st and So Fell the Sparrow on November 21st! Be sure to stop by next week for more ghostly fun!

Over and out!



8 thoughts on “Why Do Only Some People See Ghosts?

  1. Everyone can see spirits, but because of society’s view on the subject, most people aren’t taught about such things. It’s mostly awareness, and a belief that you can see and communicate with them. Great article 🙂

  2. Katie, I have spirits with me most of the time. I don’t hear them talk. Most are angels watching over me. Sometimes I can identify them. Sometimes I actually see them. I have learned to live with it.

  3. Dear Katie,
    Thank you so much for clearing up this subject for me, I am 15 and my family is full of Witches, Vamps(As I am one myself, no not storybook vamp either! I am a hybrid, I CAN live off blood, but I am more into energy. Being a mix of Sang. and Psy. is frustrating) and other creatures I’d not like to even imagine.I am a medium, and see energies and apparitions of spirits constantly… I am known as the most intelligent girl in a lot of my classes. If only they knew how far my intelligence reaches. I live in a house where you hear footsteps on the floor much like cowboy boots (according to my mother) and I needed some know how on some of this and you provided me well with amazing information. (I am so sorry I am rambling!) I have opened up my shower curtain before and saw a little girl holding a corn husk doll. I have seen her plenty of times, but it never ceases to amaze me that she won’t speak to e….she opens her arms as if wanting a hug….this child can’t be more that five or six….But What gets me is, I will be sitting in my moms room to recharge my tablet and will hear a bang at her doorway (no door) and I have gotten so used to it that I tend to ignore it…..Well, then the strange happened….I was sitting there, ignoring as usual, and I heard a yell like “DO NOT IGNORE ME YOU TWERP!” (I literally wet my pants). I originally thought it was just a poltergeist playing with me….but then the girl, when I saw her, looked beat up, one eye swollen shut and tears streaming down her face. I can’t explain t quite….because It seems too….too…real. Every time i lay down to rest in MY room, i hear crying and beating sounds coming from the basement…..Its starting to nerve me a bit….. Mom said not to worry about it….but I am not sure…All I can say is, Thank you for the information, I had been looking around since I was ten for gratification on the subject….And you have given i to me. THANK YOU SO MUCH

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s