It is common for people when they encounter any sort of energetic presence to think that it is a spirit. By this they typically mean that it is the spirit of former human being. Many people who contact me believe that they are encountering malevolent spirits, demonic or dark entities. Others feel like they are possessed by something or someone outside of themselves and assume as well that it is dark or that they did something wrong or evil to attract a presence to them. I will get to this scenario in a future blog (the subject of possession, why it occurs, and the basic signs and symptoms) but today I will be going over the different types of spirits and ghosts that people encounter.

There is a lot of confusion about spirits. We are overrun with television shows where the most basic, garden variety spirits cause frat boys with cameras to run screaming from houses (yes, I watch some of these shows too… I always suggest the Dead Files to people if they are curious how a real death medium works). These shows and popular media make spirits seem as if they are scary and evil. In most cases, this simply is not true. In most cases, what people are dealing with is actually not a spirit. In reality, most people either encounter spirits that they wouldn’t mind sharing a house with or energies that are not spirits at all.

I will go over the most common to the least common scenarios. If you think that you are dealing with a spirit, I would suggest going down the list as a sort of checklist. We tend to think everything spiritual around us is really dramatic, and in most cases it is rather mundane. We also tend to leap to wanting to banish spirits, or assume that the spirits around us are demonic with very little information and without crossing off the more obvious choices first. While I am not discounting that there are in fact evil or dark energies out there that can create a huge amount of chaos, most of the time the energies we encounter and are surrounded by are actually somewhat boring. We have all sorts of energies- grids, thoughtforms (our own thoughts and others thoughts), emotions, spirits and other energies around us all of the time. We simply don’t notice them most of the time. Instead of automatically leaping to clearing, banishing, or being afraid of spiritual matters, with a little knowledge you can approach them with understanding. This will help you discern what the proper action is to take (and if you actually do need help with something dark or dangerous).

The Types of Ghosts and Spirits people encounter
1. Imprints
The most common “ghost” that people encounter is an imprint. Picture this… a woman lives in a house for thirty years. Each morning she gets up, puts on her bathrobe, goes to make coffee, and sits on her front porch. When she passes her spirit is no longer present in the house. But the imprint- the residual energy of her going through her morning routine is. It is ingrained into the house.

Imprints are very, very common. Beyond this scenario, sites where there was something of importance that happened (wars, fighting, break-ups of relationships, shootings, fires, an event of great joy or heightened emotion, etc) are common to imprint as well. Even mundane events, if they were of importance energetically or to the people involved can form an imprint. Imprints do not interact with people- they have no consciousness. They are either present at a place already or come up because the place is being changed- plenty of people report spirits during construction. These are mostly imprints- energies that are actually likely being cleared by the change in structure.

Imprints are usually fairly easy to clear. Any of the basic clearing methods- sage, copal, even lemon water and a good scrub down of your house, imagining white light going through your house can clear most imprints.

When most spiritual practitioners say they move spirits on or work with spirits, they are working with this category. Sage, copal, and basic cleansing methods rarely work on any of the following categories, that of conscious energies. If you have imprints you can learn how to clear them online or call up your basic spiritual practitioner or Reiki Master to clear your house for you.

Actual Spirits/Ghosts

There is a great deal of confusion about the further categories. Since most “ghosts” are actually imprints, many spiritual practitioners think that they work with ghosts because they can clear imprints with sage. Conscious spirits and energies require someone who is specialized and experienced in working with actual spirits. If we think about this logically- when we clear our house with Pledge this will get the dirt away. Spiritually this “dirt” would be thoughts, emotions, and imprints that are there. If we have a person standing there who wants attention or is angry squirting them with lemon Pledge will not get them to go anywhere. The difficulty is that while there are many talented spiritual practitioners out there who can work with conscious spirits there are many more who have no idea what they are doing either out of ignorance or because they lack the proper training and spiritual abilities to work with spirits.

Garden Variety Spirits
Most spirits are “garden variety”. This means that we are surrounded by spirits. Most of them mean no harm. Most of them are former humans. They simply didn’t go anywhere when they died- either out of confusion (like a drug overdose, dementia, they are unaware that they are dead), because they have a lot of emotion or trauma concerning their life or death, or they are simply scared to move on because of what they may have done in life. Many of these spirits do not have much power- they cannot move anything or interact much. Some of these spirits want help to move on but many are content here. If you can handle having a roommate of sorts, they will generally respect boundaries when you place them and can make for interesting dinner conversation. Basically, you can ask them if they want to move on but if they don’t want to they don’t cause many problems and are nothing to be afraid of. Getting a spiritual practitioner who is experienced and talented as a medium can help these spirits move on if they choose to do so.

Difficult Spirits
Former human spirits that had a difficult life, have a lot of emotion about their death, or did a great deal of harm in their life can turn into spirits that can be bothersome. These spirits often have power and presence- you can see them in full human form or outline, they can move objects, interfere with your health (basically, you will feel sick around them), they can harm or push you, interfere with your house, and basically create chaos by being around them. With any severe symptoms of health issues that you can attribute to a spirit (after ruling out carbon monoxide, your own health issues, imprints, etc) and objects moving with a feeling of a dark energy it is likely a difficult spirit. About 80 percent (yes, I made up that percentage) of spirits are imprints or garden variety. This category would be about 10 percent of the remaining former human spirits. These can be difficult to deal with, and to find an experienced spiritual practitioner who can actually either via distance or in person clear your house who actually knows what they are doing enough to move on a difficult spirit can be hard to find. But it is well worth it- there is no need to deal with being bullied, becoming sick, or dealing with a dark or violent presence of a former human in your house. There are people who can deal with difficult spirits- you just need to find one.

Non-Human Spirits
As I mentioned earlier, there are all sorts of energies surrounding us. Thoughts, emotions, grids, and the above categories surround us all the time. If we add up the above categories, we find that we are at 90 percent of what “ghosts” typically are. So what is the remaining 10 percent? They are typically non-human origin spirits. They can be put into the following categories- land, elemental, and demonic.

This is most times similar to an imprint. A war or other happening was significant on a piece of land. This land is then marked. This is not a typical “spirit” per-se, as in you will not see a single spirit or entity hanging around. You will feel a dark presence or something about the house where the land is, though. This is the old “my house was built on an Indian Burial ground” scenario. Land can be cursed by events and people, land can have portals and energetic places where it is “thin” meaning that spirits and other energies can easily come through. Basically, have your land checked out if you feel something off about it. Working with cursed land and other land issues is a specialty of some spiritual practitioners. Find out who was originally on your land and try to find a representative of that group to work with if you can. Otherwise a spiritual practitioner who works with land curses, portals, or land energetic phenomena can be difficult but very useful to find.
We have all sorts of energies and beings that surround us. Some of these are creature rather than former humans. We understand and know of these from our popular fairy and folk tales from when we are kids. Most of us disregard these stories as being stupid or not real when we grow older. However, many of us who are sensitive or have worked with the spiritual realms for long enough know that there are all sorts of elementals- energetic beings of non-human origin that surround us. This can be fae, the winds, a mountain spirit…the variations are endless. In some cases when people report “spirits” they actually are dealing with elementals.

These actually appear much differently that human spirits, and will make up about 9.5 percent of our remaining “spirits” (I discount the land category from our percentage calculating). Many would say that elementals make up a great more of the percentage, but it really can vary as to where you are located what the elemental population is like and how much they bother humans. This will be strange activity- mischief, scurrying, small shadows, and child-like presences are common experiences. This can vary though- if you are dealing with a fae invasion this will be much different than dealing with a mountain spirit. To work with elementals requires finding someone trained in working with them, establishing boundaries with them, and many times bribing them (like giving them a house or area outside where they can hang out). Finding out what they want is often the key in this scenario and bribing them or establishing boundaries with them so they will leave you alone is often how to best work with them.

Most people assume that spirits are in this category if they are having any movement or strange issues in their house. In most cases it is the difficult spirit category instead. However, there are presences on earth that are non-human in origin. They would be referred to as shadows, evil, or demonic. These presences cause serious chaos, destruction, health issues (disturbing imagery I realize, but one woman I recently helped was being flayed alive by a presence) and the complete change in personality by the human presences. These appear as either pitch-black shadows that cannot be seen through or they can change or shift themselves into all sorts of different forms- even human children in order to trick you. This category is only about .5 percent of occurrences, but is very real. Full demonic presences do not come into our realm very often because it is difficult for them to stay here- their energy is not congruent. It is difficult for them to stay here- so if they are it is for a very specific purpose and reasoning. Basically, it is not good… they are not just randomly here. If you are having difficulty with a presence you believe to be demonic/evil/shadow (and does not fit in the other categories) finding someone who truly does this sort of dangerous work can be difficult. Most spiritual practitioners either are ignorant of true evil non-human presences, do not wish to believe in them because they are still in the beginning stages of spiritual development, or are rightfully scared. Even practitioners who do work in this category are often hesitant to do so because it requires a great deal of power and spiritual support to do so. It is dangerous for you to do so and for them to do so. Find a serious dark practitioner who deals with these energies or someone in your religious organization that does.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers Spiritual Healing services, readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.