Residual hauntings: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide

If you heard about residual hauntings from famous TV shows and would love to know more about the phenomena, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will go through everything you need to know about residual hauntings in the light of ghost hunting.

Residual hauntings are non-intelligent hauntings that act like a video of former events. It loops and replays the same event over and over again. It is the most common haunting you will encounter during ghost hunts. It can be visual or manifest through smells, sounds, or noises.

Residual hauntings are the most common types of haunting. They are not interactive and will never respond to your questions on EVPs or other ghost-hunting equipment. The ghostly activity manifests at the same spot and acts like a tape recording on a loop.

What a residual haunting is

It can be tricky to know what type of haunting you have discovered—knowing what kind of paranormal activity you are experiencing lets you know what to expect.

A residual hauntingOpens in a new tab. is a paranormal phenomenon where you experience the same events repeatedly unfolding, like a broken record. It reflects the past and plays like a film on a loop.

The same event unfolds when certain criteria are met. This can be a specific date, during certain weather conditions, and so forth. This is unique to the residual haunting and will differ from site to site.

The haunting is not intelligent, meaning it will not interact with you.

In most cases, it is thought that different kinds of energy create residual hauntings. It can be collective fear on a battlefield or horrible events at a crime scene. It can also be joy (and grief) in the maternity war. It boils down to elevated emotions creating an imprint on the energy field of the site.

It is thought that premature and sudden death, executions, suicides, and violent deaths top the causes of residual hauntings. The immense resistance to death might be the cause of the residual haunting.

In the video below, you find a great example of a residual haunting. I love this video, as it shows exactly what a residal is.

If you want to learn more about intelligent hauntings, I invite you to read the article below.

Related article: 6 Spooky Signs of an Intelligent HauntingOpens in a new tab.

Move through walls and bricked-up doors

A typical characteristic of a residual haunting is that the manifestation might walk through bricked-up doors, going up or down staircases that are no longer there. If the height of a room has been changed, you can notice cut-off legs in the ceiling.

It is not uncommon to notice horses running through a room if the house was built on an old road, and so forth.

The manifestation is unaware that the site has been remodeled, redesigned, or even built.

Continuous energy can also create residual imprints

It is also believed that a continuous energy flow can make residual hauntings over time. For example, the energy from music at a dancing hall, chatter at a restaurant, feet running up and down staircases, and slamming sounds of the train tracks can all leave residual imprints.

It is good to remember that we don’t know how this occurs scientifically. No natural laws explain how a site can store energy and replay it. We have much more to learn in this field.

It fades away with time

Most residual hauntings seem to fade with time. The site’s energy is slowly draining every time it is replayed. Many paranormal investigators talk about this phenomenon, but we have no idea why this occurs. Maybe the point is like a battery that needs an injection of new energy to keep going.

Stone tape theory

One theory that might explain how specific sites can store energy and replay events is the stone tape theory.Opens in a new tab.

The theory is based on the belief that some materials, like a tape recorder, can store energy created by traumatic emotions, sounds, or happenings. It is thought that limestone, quartz, soil, and woodwork can store emotional energy. When specific parameters are met, the site can playback this event. The recording is the manifestation of the residual haunting.

People that are sensitive to this energy can see the replay. The playback can also be initiated under certain conditions, such as temperatures, specific dates, barometric pressure, static electricity, weather conditions, etc.

Science challenges the Stone tape theory

If residual hauntings were mere energy, they could not create sounds or manifestations. We could not see or hear them.

To be seen, the haunting must contain some earthly material. If there is no tangible “body” of the ghost, the light can’t reflect from it. Because of this, the stored energy must produce “particles.” This is why researchers challenge the stone tape theory. We have no answer to how this happens.

Other challenges are that many questions are unanswered. For example, there are no indications of what will be recorded and what will not. We have no idea about the mechanics of how the replay is recorded and replayed.

The theory is also based on the concept that hauntings are real. We have no falsified scientific proof of the paranormal, hence the name, paranormal.

In the video below, you will find further information on why the stone tape theory is challenged by the science community.

Triggers for residual hauntings

Residual hauntings tend to replay when specific parameters are met. It can be a significant date or time, or year. Sometimes you only experience the manifestation in certain weather conditions, such as thunderstorms or heavy rain.

We have no clue as to why this is. The answer might be found in the stone tape theory, or it can be found in the existence of electric charge and water conductivity. It is thought that paranormal activity might use static and electromagnetic currents to manifest.

Common triggers of residual hauntings

  • Dates
  • Seasons
  • Barometric conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • Emotional input
  • Sounds

Common triggers are dates, such as death dates or other significant dates. It is good to remember that we don’t always know why a date is important. So the manifestation can be due to other factors as well. It is always a good idea to refer to history and do thorough research.

In some cases, seasons seem to impact the occurrence of residual hauntings. It is not unusual for the winter months to be the most active season for residual hauntings. It is believed that it is due to the dry and static air.

Specific barometric conditions are also known to steer manifestations. Always check the parameters using a weather station when conducting your investigation or ghost hunt. It can give valuable insights into the haunting.

It is not uncommon for the weather to play a big part in manifestations. During thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, it is more common to capture residual hauntings. It is believed that the static charge of the air onset the playback. Rainfall is considered a conductor of electrons and, therefore, optimal for replays of stored energy (referring to the stone tape theoryOpens in a new tab.).

Anger, fear, grief, love, or other powerful emotional states seem to trigger residuals. Emotions are thought to create thought formsOpens in a new tab., so beware of this. A thought form is a paranormal activity created by a collective wish, need, or fear of a supernatural being – not a replay of former events.

Sound is another common trigger when it comes to residual hauntings. A gunshot, music, a particular song, or laughter creates a residual loop. I have experienced sounds that resemble the event replayed at the site seem to be the most common. If you, for example, start to play music the residual might be triggered.

As you notice, it can be hard to know what triggers a residual playback. Keeping notes and records of everything that happens during a ghost hunt is always crucial. You might start seeing patterns if you research thoroughly and return to the same site several times. When you do, you know when it is time to head over there to try to catch evidence.

Water and residual hauntings

It is believed that water can hold memories and play a part in the mystery of residual hauntings. It is common knowledge amongst paranormal investigators that water seems to be a conductor of paranormal activity.

It is known by paranormal investigators that sites close to water often have more active hauntings. It can be a sea, stream, pools, the ocean, or sewage – you name it!

Water memory

There is interesting research done in the field of water memory. This research might give us clues on why water play such an important role when it comes to residuals.

Dr. Masaru Emoto concluded in the 1990s that water could change its crystalline structure when exposed to, for example, prayers or cursing. Photographs of the water showed that water subjected to cursing and negative emotions froze with a jagged structure.

The water subjected to soft music, positive emotions, and prayers showed a soft crystalline structure when turning into ice. It seems like water can store memory and understand good and bad vibes.

In the video below, you can learn more about this fascinating memory of water.

The same research was found regarding homeopathic medicine. As the agents in homeopathic treatment can be very toxic, they must be diluted to almost a state of clean water to be safe for humans to consume. Regardless of this, some people stated they responded to the medicine.

Scientists looked at the water solution and found that the water structure was changed even if the agent was “removed” through dilution. It mimicked water when it contained the medicine.

This might be how emotional energy is impacting the energy grid of a space.

Renovations and remodels

It is not uncommon that renovations and remodels of homes and gardens trigger an onset of paranormal activity.

Not all paranormal activities that surface during renovations are residuals, but many are. It is thought that by disturbing the site memory, the replays of the imprints start to loop.

If intelligent ghosts haunted the site, the activity might spike and take an unpleasant turn. Most spirits don’t like when things are moved around or changed. We have to remember that they are there for a reason. They have some connection to the site, and we must respect that.

If you want to learn more about intelligent hauntings, I invite you to read them in the article below.

Related article: 6 Spooky Signs of an Intelligent HauntingOpens in a new tab.

Signs of a residual haunting

There are common signs that indicate that you are dealing with a residual. If the manifestation doesn’t seem to interact with you, you are likely to be dealing with a residual haunting.

Another sign is that the manifestation loops and the same scene is projected over and over again. Many refer to this as an old film on repeat. If the manifestation occurs on the same spot and looks the same every time – it is a residual haunting.

Most residual hauntings are very subtile. When you measure them with EMF meters, they don’t spike as drastically as in the case of intelligent hauntings. EVP:s say the same word over and over again.

If you don’t get any intelligent answers on your Spirit box or EVP the chances are that you are dealing with a residual haunting.

Are residual hauntings dangerous?

Residual hauntings are not dangerous as they can’t interact with us. They are merely imprints in the energy mesh of the site.

They are not evil, even if they sometimes can feel scary. They are as dangerous as a TV program. Even if the program might be challenging, it can’t attack you.

Even if the haunting is not dangerous, you can hurt yourself if you get scared running away in the dark. You can also get very stressed and suffer from emotional impacts from residuals. You are seeing a ghost can turn your world upside down. But the ghost itself will never hurt you.

How to capture residual hauntings

The best way to get great captures of residual hauntings is to know what triggers them. It often takes a lot of research into the haunting to get stunning captures.

A great way to cut corners is to ask fellow ghost hunters or investigators that has researched the site for help. They might have records and notes of their investigations and experiences. You can then leave your report to them, and you slowly build a deep knowledge of the site.

If you are going to a well-researched place, look for forums online (I love researching and asking questions on Reddit). It is not uncommon for fellow ghost hunters to share their findings and experiences.

At times, you might find information about the haunting in public archives and libraries. Ask the owner for guidance if the haunting occurs in a private home or estate. They often know the haunting better than any investigator as they live alongside the activity daily.

If the residual manifest visually is sure to have several cameras pointing at the hot spotOpens in a new tab.. Add EMF meters and IR thermometers if you have them at hand. You have solid evidence of paranormal activity if you get one EVP simultaneously as the EMF meter spikes and the temperature shifts. One by one the proof can easily be challenged and debunked by sceptics.

A great tip is also to remember to point cameras in different directions. You can investigate the manifestation from several angles if you capture video evidence. Make sure to record times very thoroughly. I do this by watermarking my recordings with the time and date.

Never get lazy when you want to capture evidence of a residual. It is better to have too much equipment running than too few. It is not uncommon for batteries to go wonky during activity, so its always better to be safe than sorry.

If you want to learn more about what equipment to bring on your ghost hunt, I invite you to read the article below.

Related article: Ghost hunting equipment: A beginner’s guide

Final thoughts and tips

Regarding residuals, there are a few things to keep in mind. Even if residual hauntings have distinct characteristics, it might also be an intelligent haunting caught in a loop. You can’t be 100% sure. Always investigate the site several times before jumping to conclusions.

Residual hauntings are not intelligent, and they cannot interact with you. Residual hauntings are often mistaken for intelligent hauntings. Many investigators at the beginning stages try to contact or interact with residuals instead of trying to capture great captures.

There is no need to bring the Ouija board or Spirit box to the site to get answers from the beyond. EVPs are great because you might capture a word or sound that could give more insights into the “film” on replay.

Many get very scared by residuals and want their house exorcised or cleansed. But there is no need to do any of this. The ghost will never contact you or try to intervene in your life. With time the haunting will get fainter. Just give it time. If you cleanse a space, you might banish your beloved grandma watching over you.

Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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