What are ghosts? Whether seeking one during a New Orleans ghost tour or merely wondering what goes bump in the night, this is a common question among paranormal enthusiasts. There are many theories about these mysterious apparitions and spirits that are witnessed on a regular basis. Some people believe that these visions are the ghosts of the dead, while others think that they are snippets of the past repeating themselves like an echo. Today, scientists and researchers are still continually trying to determine what these illusive beings are.

If you ask most people around the world what they believe ghosts are, they’ll say that they’re the spirits of the dead. This is typically the theory people lean towards and is also a theory that is impossible to debunk because nobody knows what happens after we die. It would also make sense because many people that have experienced gruesome and horrible deaths have been seen many years later in the same location they met their demise. Many religions speak of an afterlife, but could this afterlife also include the ability to mingle with the living?

A second theory and another favorite of supernatural hobbyists states that ghosts are purely the past repeating itself. These spirits would be called residual spirits. They’re not able to interact with people and do not even know we exist because they are just an echo of time. This possibility seems legitimate and possible, but it becomes a bit hard to cope with because so many eyewitness accounts of spirits have listed detailed occurrences of physical attacks and direct communication with the living. However, it would be more believable that these are just one of many types of different spirits existing in the world.

Lastly, another common theory declares that these spectral beings we are witnessing are angels and demons. Because they exist in a spiritual dimension, angels and demons only have one way to contact human beings: manifesting as human apparitions within various locations. Whether this is a demon disguised as a child to gain the trust of the unwary, or an angel taking the form of a dead relative to give advice or warning to someone, this theory has many people throughout the world backing it up. However, this theory becomes slightly more troubling than the last two listed due to its implication that higher beings are intercepting into human lives freely.

Perhaps one of these ghost theories is correct, or maybe there’s a different explanation entirely. With hundreds of television shows, books, and more about these spirits, it’s no surprise that ghosts are one of the most fascinating mysteries known to man in the present day. Many tourists and visitors take ghost tours in hopes of witnessing one of these phenomenal apparitions, and others perform full-on investigations in some of the most haunted locations worldwide. With time, perhaps one day we will know the truth about the existence of these paranormal beings.