Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Difference Between a Spirit and a Ghost

Many people use the terms ghost and spirit interchangeably. I often do this myself—it is widely accepted usage. But if you focus upon the definition for a ghost and the definition for a spirit you will find significant differences.

Most dictionaries define ghosts as: an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or manifest to the living.
Notice the wording, “believed to” even writers of dictionaries do not want to commit to whether ghosts exist or not.   

Ghosts are most often connected to hauntings of buildings or objects. They are the mischief-makers, the scary ones, or the unhappy Poltergeists, which like to move objects and bang things around. They are the lost souls who need to be told to move on. They can be residual or intelligent. I will discuss the difference between residual, intelligent, and Poltergeist ghosts in a future post.

Ghosts don’t have much to do with the living except to make us jump or make us take note that they are there. Some can be forceful and angry. When they are around you feel tingling sensations and cold or warm spots.
Ghosts are stuck.

Spirits have a much kinder or gentler reputation.

Most dictionaries define spirits as: the part of the person, emotions, character, and soul etc., which survives after death.
Notice there is no skepticism here on the part of the dictionary writer.

Why is our society so willing to believe in one and not the other?

Spirits are considered our guides. They are often associated with a loved one who has died and then have come back to help their living relative. They never frighten us or do us harm. They often will move an item belonging to the living and then replace it several days later. They sometimes touch the living on the arm, hair etc. for brief moments. Spirits are the masters of subtlety.

Spirits have moved on but they come back to provide comfort.

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