There are four basic types of Hauntings or Ghost Activity: Intelligent, Residual, Demonic, and Poltergeist

The following is some information on four basic categories, and some information pertaining to each that can be considered “subcategories”

Not all hauntings can be easily categorized and we must be careful not to jump to conclusions in any case. In some cases, what appears to be the work of a human agent may actually be that of the spirits, and vice versa. There are also a multitude of exterior factors that can affect the circumstances. Solar flares, the earth's magnetic fields, storms, etc. all a play an important role when trying to discern the cause of and effect of paranormal or ghostly occurrences.

Intelligent Haunting
An intelligent ghost or haunting is the rarest type of haunting. (Residual is far more common.)

In this type of haunting, you are dealing with an "intelligent" presence that can communicate with you, and interact with you in a seemingly "intelligent" way. This ghost is best (and most simply) described as the personality of a person who once lived and who has stayed behind in our world. Intelligent ghosts are not "evil" or "dangerous" as some people would have you believe. "Intelligent" ghosts are simply human personalities, and if the spirit was a kind and caring person in life, the spirit will most likely be the same way in death. Likewise, angry and mean people will usually keep those same negative character traits as spirits.

Most time an intelligent haunting is the spirit of a deceased spirit/ghost who seeks to get the attention of living people. To get attention, the ghost may try turning things on and off, hiding objects, moving things, and other type of annoying or nuisance behavior. The ghost/spirit may be looking for assistance to pass over or for assistance to accomplish a certain task. The spirit may also be seeking company with the residents.

Some paranormal experts believe that this kind of spirit does not know that it is dead and is simply continuing with life as unusual. Others believe the ghost has somehow been trapped between two planes of existence and is unable to move on. Still others believe an intelligent spirit has chosen not to pass on to the “other side” because it has strong emotional ties to this world.

The key factor in an intelligent haunting is that the ghost can interact with you (communication—it responds and notices human beings). If the ghost does not notice you or other human beings, and cannot interact or communicate with you, it's not an intelligent haunting.

Residual Hauntings
This type of phenomena is much more common than people think and I would even go as far as to say that it is the most common type of reported phenomena around. We have to remember not to confuse this type of phenomena with an "Intelligent" haunting because, while it is fascinating and unexplained, it may not be specifically related to ghosts.

The easiest way to explain this haunting is to compare it to an old film loop, meaning that it is a scene or image that is played over and over again through the years. Many of these locations, where these haunting take place, experience an event or a series of events, which imprints itself on the atmosphere of a place.

Scientists believe that energy doesn’t cease to exist, but only changes form. The energy may dissipate from one place to appear or exist in another, and/or in another form. It is an accepted theory within the scientific community that this type of energy can suddenly discharge and play itself at various times. The events are not always visual either. They are often replayed as sounds and noises that have no explanation. The famous "phantom footsteps" reported in many haunted places are a perfect example of this.

Often the sounds and images recorded are related to traumatic events which took place at the location and caused some sort of disturbance, which we might call "psychic impression" to happen there. Trauma and emotions notoriously evoke and create higher than normal energy. This is the reason why so many battlefields have become famous for their hauntings over the years.

In other situations, the images have been created by events or actions that were repeated over and over again and cause an energy or psychic impression. Researchers have suggested that there exist so many haunted staircases because of the number of times people go up and down them and the amount of energy that is expended in doing so.

These locations act as giant storage batteries, saving up the impressions of sights and sounds from the past. Then, as the years go by, these impressions appear or are heard as they are emitted. Sometimes, this type of residual activity can make itself known in similar ways to an "Intelligent" haunting, but the most important signs will be different.

A spirit or an image in this case, will not interact with any of the living occupants of the location. The activity, and the sightings, will be random. There will be no missing items. While doors and windows may open and close by themselves, it will be because of energy expending itself and not because of spirit activity.

Commonly reported in these cases are sounds of footsteps, walking and breathing and odd, usually repetitive sounds. Apparitions are commonly reported but they will not notice the living persons around them and will usually repeat the same actions over and over again.

Poltergeist Activity
Poltergeists (noisy ghosts) have commonly been blamed for any violent or destructive activity in a haunting. In the past, researchers believed that all such activity at a haunted location was the work of the spirits or an outside force, but today most investigators don’t think so.

While interactive spirits may be the culprits in some cases, many cases have a force behind them that is much closer to home. In a poltergeist case (and in its counterpart) there can be a variety of phenomena taking place. There are reports of knocking and tapping noises, sounds with no visible cause, disturbance of stationary objects like household items and furniture, doors slamming, lights turning on and off, fires breaking out and much, much more. While in some cases, this activity can be connected to ghosts, in most cases it probably isn’t. It certainly remains paranormal though and because of this, it is also unexplained and very controversial.

The current theory behind this Poltergeist-like phenomenon is that the activity is caused by a person in the household, known as the "human agent". The agent is usually an adolescent or teenage female. It is believed that she unconsciously manipulates physical objects in the house by psych kinesis (PK), the power to move things by energy generated in the brain. This kinetic type of energy remains unexplained, but even some mainstream scientists are starting to explore the idea that it does exist. It is unknown why this energy seems to appear in females around the age of puberty, but documentation of its existence is starting to appear as more and more case studies have become public.

It seems that when the activity begins to manifest, the girl is usually in the midst of some emotional or sexual turmoil. The presence of the energy is almost always an unconscious one and it is rare when any of the agents actually realize that they are the source of the destruction around them. They do not realize that they are the reason that objects in the home have become displaced and are usually of the impression that a ghost (or some sort of other supernatural entity) is present instead. The bursts of PK come and go and most poltergeist-like cases will peak early and then slowly fade away.

It should be noted that while most cases such as this manifest around young women, it is possible for puberty age boys (and even older adults) to show this same unknowing ability. As with the young women, the vast majority will have no idea that they are causing the activity and will be surprised to find there is even a possibility that strange things are happening because of them.

Demonic Haunting
Demon hauntings usually start in a subtle way. Behaviors are typically the same behaviors displayed by a poltergeist, but more extreme. It's common for one or several entities to exist in one location with a strong evil presence seemingly controlling the others and not allowing them to cross over. It is believed that demons hate humans and think them very lowly and stupid. Demons should never be challenged. Most demonic entities like a challenge and are master of trickery and incredibly conniving; they may have you believing they are good spirits or may appear to have gone away, only to confront you again at the least expected and most vulnerable moment. A demon is considered to be a powerful, supernatural being that is generally malevolent (wishing or appearing to wish evil to others) in character. The word demon comes from the Greek word daimon, which means a divine or semi-divine power that determined a person's fate.

Demons are evil, supernatural beings of intelligence, wit, and immense power. They have the power to invade our homes, attach themselves to objects, and inflict torture both mentally and emotionally by attacking or even possessing the human body. Demons have the ability to morph into any shape they want. They can change from a human form to an inhuman form before your very eyes. They are neither male nor female, but will change to whatever meets their need at the time. Demons are commonly seen as black masses standing in doorways or in the corner of the room.

Sub Categories

Shadow People or Shadow Creature Activity
This is a type of haunting activity that has no real explanation. They are different from Ghost/Spirit energy. They are shapeless dark masses mostly seen with the peripheral vision (out of the corner of your eye). They are also known to do things differently from ghosts. They can move between walls, they have no human features, they wear no clothes (the only exception is Hats, Top Hats, Fedora's or a Hood) People who encounter them usually experience a feeling of "Dread" and they are considered to be Non-Human.

Shadow People have no discernible mouth, nose, or facial expressions. Some are seen as child-sized dark humanoids. Some people say that they seem to be made up of dark steam or smoke, mist-like. At times when they move they appear to be moving on an invisible track, from one place to another. They have been seen to "hop" of what appears to be a strange kind of dance. They are also known for staring at the ground.

Two common types of Shadow People are the "Hat Man" or "Hat Woman" which are seen wearing Fedora's, Top Hats or Hood-like coverings but otherwise no other clothing is seen.

The other type is Shadow Animals in forms of cats, dogs, birds or alien forms. Shadow People and Shadow Creatures have often materialized during an Intelligent, Residual, Poltergeist or Demonic Haunting.

Unfinished Business Haunting
This type of haunting occurs when a Person has passed away suddenly by an unexpected life event such as murder or suicide, or tragic accident. The Spirit Energy is reaching out, usually to loved ones, (although strangers have also encountered this phenomenon). The Spirit Energy is trying to make sense out of what has happened or doesn't realize that his human form has passed. In many situations, it is almost like the physical body has expired so suddenly, that the soul didn't have time to prepare, hence is left on this world seeking Help. This type of Spirit needs to complete what it started in this life and will not rest, until satisfaction is met.

Negative Haunting
This type of haunting can be Very frightening to a homeowner and persons involved. If in life the Spirit Energy was a good person than usually that will be continued in the After Life, if however, the person was not the best of characters the scenario will often apply as well.

A haunting of this kind from a negative Spirit Energy can be nasty. Objects can be thrown, people can be pushed, slapped, scratched, beds can shake and banging on walls. It can force a homeowner to possibly vacate a location.

Clinging Spirits or Attachments
A clinging spirit is an energy that can attach itself to a person or an object, and it will follow them through a lifetime. No matter how many times one moves, this type of Entity will follow. It’s very hard to get rid of and is best resolved with "Boundaries" put into place.

Jumper Haunting
A Jumper Spirit is one that is associated with cemeteries. This type of haunting usually occurs when an Entity, "jumps" from the cemetery to a home that is located near the location and begins to haunt it. This is a rare type of Haunting but does exist.

Portal Haunting
Portal Hauntings are thought to be doorways to another world or dimension in which entities can travel through at any given time. They are usually limited to a certain location, region or sacred ground. Typically these places (which are usually outdoors) experience a wide variety of activity which could include: moving, glowing lights of various colors, odd looking creatures, strange screams or moaning and unexplained mists or fogs. Portals are also known to be located in homes that have been built on Sacred Ground.

Doppelganger Activity
Extremely Rare. This type of haunting is like a "Clone" made of your identical person. The victim actually see's themselves in another location, and many times there is eye-to-eye contact. Other people known to the victim may also see them and feel an "icy-coldness”. The victim of this kind of haunting is in "Danger" of their immediate surroundings. The victim and the victim’s family may also be in grave danger of illness or death.

There are 4 known Basic Types of Hauntings; at any given time during an investigation one of the Sub Category Hauntings can accompany an ongoing Investigation. It could Very Well be a combination of a few variables.
Spirit Guides:

Benevolent Guides:
Many people believe they have Spirit Guides. Some refer to theirs as Angels or Guardians. Regardless, if you believe you have one, a Spirit Guide is there simply to guide and not as an entity that you need to give yourself over too. ​​​If a Spirit Guide has a negative influence on your behavior, then chances are good that it's not a Spirit Guide at all, but something else entirely. These are some of the more commonly found types of Spirit Guides:

Ascended Masters:
These are guides often found by people who do energy work such as Reiki. An Ascended Master who appears as a Spirit Guide is often a being that led a physical life and has moved on to a higher spiritual plane. -- For example, Buddha, Krishna, even Jesus. Ascended Masters usually work with collective groups of souls. In other words, if you've got an Ascended Master hanging around you, you're not the only one he or she is helping. Their primary focus is that of helping humanity. It's not uncommon for an Ascended Master to have access to Akashic records. Also refered to as Master Teacher Guides.​​​

​​Ancestral Guides:
An Ancestral Guide is one who can claim some sort of kinship with you such as your dear Aunt Tillie who died when you were 10. It may also appear in the form of a long dead ancestor. In some schools of thought, these entities are seen as reincarnated guides, because they are the spirits of someone who loved us during their physical lifetime, or who had some sore of blood connection to our family. ​Some people, depending on their religious upbringing, may see these types of guides as Guardian Angels.

Common Spirit Guide, or Teacher Guide:
A typical Spirit Guide is archetypical, symbolic or representative of something else. For example, you may find your guide appears in the form of a warrior, a story teller, or a wise woman, and they have appeared to you for a purpose. Typically, that purpose id o teach you and guide you along a particular path. They may lso introduce you to other archetypes along your journey, and help out with problem solving based on your needs. They are known to provide insight by way of dreams or meditation, and may only hang around as long as you need them then move on.

Animal Guides:
Although many people claim to have animals as Spirit Guides, often these entities are more companions than anything else. It's not uncommon for a deceased pet to linger around, keeping you company through the grieving process. In some spiritual traditions, such as various Native American or Shamanic paths, a person may have an animal totem, which provides teaching and/or protection. ​​​​​​
Article on "De-Bunking"

De-Bunking has 3 categories:

1. Physical
2. Psychological
3. Mental

When we go to de-bunk a case of a supposed haunting, these three areas of explanation must be addressed.

In the category of "Physical" we confront the potential mechanisms in the environment that could explain activity. This can be anything from street sounds filtering through the duct work, plumbing, loose hinges and more.

Th only way an investigator can understand what is going on in a location is to go around and test out the sounds that witnesses described to find out what the ice maker sounds like, the dor opening and closing, the floorboards being stepped upon, the window being opened. I can't tell you how many times someone has contacted me who was experiencing a tree limb on a window, a cat hiding under the bed or a door that closed when one walked down the hall and applied pressure on the floorboards. The same goes for visuals. There are many conditions in a home involving car lights, reflective prisims and shadows being cast that help to recreate the scenerio.

In the category of "Psychological" we bring into the mix such things as religious background, belief in ghosts and demon, hauntings and possession. ​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​We needto know the ongoing conflicts and emotions in the home and with each accupant to see the dynamics. I have seen people who have lost a loved one often believe when tey hear sounds or see things in their home and that their relative s visiting. I also run into a lot of people who need their home to be huanted simply to explain why things at home are uncomfortable.

A ghost is the greatest scapegoat because you don't need to blame a bad marriage or troubled child for ongoing tension and anxiety, you can turn to the unseen, bringing a family that was fractured and not addressing problems to coming together to deal with what they see as the real issue.

Some people, either because of attention-seeking or other issues in their lives like anger, grief and sadness, need to be in a haunted place. It provides them with something they are missing and perhaps makes them feel special.

In the category of "Mental" we have a person's explanatory style. One time, I was walking into a very creepy old abandoned dome-shaped building. It looked like a good hangout for squatters. My mind was filled with fear of "what if I run into a squatter?" I had run into one there the prior time I had gone to the location. I was ready for something scary to happen. I was talking with a friend and entered the dome and heard a loud racquet that scared me so much, I turned and rushed out. It ended up being that my voice echoed in the hard building so loudly that it sounded like gunfire. If I hadn't gone back to see who might be in there, I wouldn't have realized the soundissue and explained the situation.

If we don't go a step further in figuring something out and jump to conclusions based on our belief system, or the setting, or a scary movie we just watched, then we have arrested our mental de-bunking skills. It happens to the best of us from time to time. The persistent though, go back and try not to assume anything.

Ultimately, an effective de-bunking is to try and yield explanations. If there are none, then an investigation is going to expose possibly true haunting ​​ ​​features..... ​​​​​​