Residual hauntings are somewhat hard to describe, but are fairly common. Also known as "psychic impressions," residual hauntings are considered by many as the type of haunting experienced most by people. When a ghost (person or animal) or even an event is witnessed over and over again, or doing the exact same thing, this is known as a residual haunting. It is "residual" because it is believe that energy from emotionally-charged events imprint upon our world. It is the release of this residual energy that creates the ghost person, ghost animal or ghostly scene.
Famed paranormal investigator, Frederic W. H. Myers called this type of haunting a "veridical afterimage." A residual haunting, according to Myers' definition, would be a memory impression left by individuals, animals or events, especially, it would seem, when under duress or from a time when there was the release of strong emotions, left as pictures in the atmosphere of a particular site.
Ghostly Sights and Sounds?
The ghosts of residual haunting can be both seen or heard repeating the same activity. It is believed that most disembodied footsteps and many ghostly noises that are heard in a haunted place might be residual in origin. The residual sounds can be heard over and over and by different people. For example, it is said that in the Queen Mary's Second Class Pool Room, one can still hear splashing, though the pool is now empty!
We may think of a residual haunting as a movie being replayed, day after day; and occasionally, someone is lucky enough to see or hear the encore. It is believed by ghost hunters that some events, due to strong emotional energy attached to it, imprint themselves on the environment where the event took place. Sort of "trapped in time," the event is recorded in the atmosphere of a location. It's the same with spirits of people - if one were to see a ghost doing the same activity over and over, and with no response to the present environment, it is likely a residual haunting. The person's spirit is not there, in this theory, but just a phantasm of them exists, like a photograph in time. Residual hauntings are past events playing in the present but with no interaction or connection to the present.
Residual Energy Within the Physical Environment?
It is a common ghost hunters' theory that most residual hauntings occur in places built over top of limestone, quartz stone and/or water. These seem to act as a transmitter, perhaps creating the perfect environment to allow the residual haunting energy to manifest. Or maybe, certain kinds of stone have the ability to trap energy like in the case of the Brown Mountain Lights where magnetite and quartz produced ghost lights. If certain types of rock can store and release electrical energy, it could be plausible that they may also store other types of energies, yet unknown, too.
How Can Residual Haunting Occur?
We theorize that energy is spirit and spirit is life. All of us are spirit, with or without the physical body, and we live and exist within spirit (energy). Spirit is the life-force of all, whether plant, animal, human being,or inanimate object, and that energy is everywhere. Everything that is, must exist, then, within spirit. Spirit energy is everywhere, we postulate. Thus, if true, it would make sense that it is possible for an event or person to imprint its energy anywhere.
Today, the majority of ghost investigators believe residual energy to be a valid explanation of haunting that is non-reactive to the present and repetitiuos, primarily basing this conclusion upon eye witness testimony and numerous professional investigations of such phenomenon.