Typical Paranormal Experiences

Written by Mark Stinson - Ghost Vigil Investigations 

What follows is a compilation of typical paranormal experiences reported to ghost investigators. Have any of them happened to you?

Percussive phenomena. These include persistent knocking and bumping noises, cabinets and doors opening and slamming shut, doorknobs turning and deadbolts sliding.

Peripheral visions. Figures are glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. Some disappear, others persist, when looked at straight on.

Footfalls. Stepping sounds are heard on stairs or on the floor above the listener or in the attic. The gait can be normal or dragging.

Shadowy shapes. These are discernible but indistinct forms, taking the forms of misty clouds or shifting shadows.


Olfactory echoes. Sourceless odors waft through a structure, from pungent tobacco to sweet lavender. They may be vintage, in that they have a connection to the building's former use or occupants.

Feeling a presence. Nothing specific is seen or heard, but people have a "sixth sense" feeling that someone else is nearby.

Name calling. A person's name is called when he or she is alone. The voice can be faint or quite distinct.

Cold spots. Part of a room feels several degrees colder than the surrounding area. The spot is said to be where the ghost is living or perhaps from where it is drawing energy. Hot spots also are reported.

Death bed visitations. A person knows or has the strong sense that a loved one has just died, even though they are separated physically. Often referred to as a Crisis Apparition, because the apparition that appears can be of a person that is alive...and remains alive after the visitation.

Message visitations. This is when a dead loved one and/or family member appears at a time removed from their time of death. It can be weeks or years later. Often the purpose appears to be offering a message of comfort or information.

Time-of-need visitations. Sometimes a dead loved one and/or family members will appear to someone who is in crisis. At time of great need, the dead may appear to lend support or strength.

Apparitions of the Living.  Many report seeing a living loved one far from where that person is actually located.  Comparing notes later, they discover the living person was under great stress at the time an apparition of them appeared.

Party sounds. A boisterous gathering seems to take place somewhere in the house and may include animated conversation, laughing and the clatter of cups and dishes. There may be music playing. Upon investigation, the sounds abruptly halt.

Amplified arguing. Stern voices are engaged in an argument. There may be screaming.

Apparitions. Ghostly forms resemble a person or some part of a person, such as a detached head or an arm.


Pulsing electronics. Televisions, radios, appliances and lights turn on and off randomly.

Spook lights. Often reported in rural areas, such as on a country road or in a cemetery, these are glowing balls of light. They often cast a blue tint.

Energy drain. Batteries suddenly lose their power. New light bulbs quickly grow dim and burn out.

Touch encounters. The physical but unseen presence of another is felt in various ways, from light brushes on the arm to hot breath on the neck. More aggressive encounters, pin pricks, a shoulder tap or having a foot grabbed, also are reported.

Rearranged objects. Items such as keys and glasses are moved from one spot to another, or disappear altogether.

Photographic orbs. White globes are seen on photographs. These often can be explained by camera lighting and airborne dust.  Ghost Vigil strongly believes that photographic orbs are not a paranormal phenomenon.

Audible animals. Hoof beats, barking, meowing and other animal noises are heard when no animals are known to be around.

Pet disturbance. A nervous dog or cat refuses to enter a room or will seem to interact with someone who's not there.

A version of this list was initially compiled by features writer Edward M. Eveld for the Kansas City Star newspaper after discussions with Mark Stinson of ghostvigil.com and Becky Ray of ghost-investigators.com. Contact Edward at (816) 234-4442 or send e-mail to eeveld@kcstar.com.

The list has since been expanded per suggestions made by Ghost Vigil Investigators.


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