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What Spirits Look Like By Tom Cooney

When you think of the word, spirit, you do not imagine it as something that can be seen. However, spirits … good and evil …do occasionally appear to people. They take different shapes and forms depending on what they are and why they are appearing. A ghost or a human spirit may be seen as a person, albeit a transparent one. A demon on the other hand may appear as anything it chooses. Obviously, if it wants to scare you, it will appear in such a manner as to do that.

Throughout history, spirits have been portrayed in different ways. Everyone knows what Casper looks like, right? There is the infamous white sheet over the head routine. Devils have appeared as horned creatures and in many cases, demons took on a reptilian quality. You sometimes come across an old movie or two where the spirit looked very much like a person, albeit a misty one. I have seen ghosts portrayed as humans complete with rotting flesh. We can go on and on this way but the question is, just what do spirits look like? Well, some of the above mentioned descriptions are not all that far off. In fact, in some cases, they are right on the money. Let us take a look at the various types of spirits and how each one may be seen.

Human Spirits:

In many cases, a human spirit may appear in much the same form as it did in life. It is usually not in solid form although that does sometimes happen. Many people have reported seeing spirits with defined features. In a large number of these instances, the spirit seemed to be transparent. In other words, while the spirit certainly resembled a person, you could see clear through it. These spirits have been widely reported to have no legs that can be seen. They usually appear as from the waistline up, although that is certainly not always so. It is common for the spirits hair to move around, as if there is a light breeze in the air. The same is true with the clothing they are wearing. I have seen this myself. On several occasions, back in my haunted house, I and many others saw the spirit of a lady. She was wearing a flowing white gown, which appeared to be moving in response to a breeze. When she moved, the gown flowed some more. As is common with this type of spirit she did not walk … she seemed to float. Although she did react to those of us who witnessed her, she never attempted to come towards us or otherwise threaten us. Let me use an example. If she was appearing to me when someone walked into the room, she would turn around and look at that person. When she decided she no longer wanted to be seen, she simply faded away, growing lighter and lighter until she was no longer there. At that point, I shook my head and began questioning whether I really saw her or was it all my imagination? Despite numerous appearances over the years, I always found myself asking that same question. I want to point out something about that particular spirit. Aside from being frightened the first few times I saw her, I came to believe she was a benign spirit, possibly even a benevolent one. I felt she was watching over me since she most often manifested when I was either sick or injured. We had a spirit in that house that would cry and sob from time to time. At least I believe that was the spirit.

There are times when a spirit will appear exactly as it did during life. It will be as solid as you and me. There are scores of stories of people seeing deceased loved ones appear as alive as they had before death. They are there one minute and when they finish their business, they suddenly just disappear. Poof! A common experience, according to many stories I have read about, heard, and even experienced, has to do with seeing someone you know on the street. Sometimes, you just wave at them and they return your greeting. Later, you arrive home and receive a telephone call telling you that so and so died two days before. You profess amazement to the person you are talking to and you tell them all about the encounter you just had with that person. A little while later, after the shock wears off, you begin to question yourself again. I have even heard of people talking to someone who had just passed away. It is a startling but common occurrence. There have also been many instances where people have seen very solid spirits who they did not know. This is not limited to haunting alone. These apparitions will sometimes appear for other reasons.

Once I awoke to find someone standing next to my bed. This apparition was as solid as I am. I stared at this entity for several seconds. He was wearing a black pinstriped, three-piece suit with a gold pocket watch in his vest. The suit was of a style from long ago. He appeared to be in his late sixties, with neatly cut white hair and he wore a well-trimmed mustache. Although he was staring at me, his eyes appeared lifeless. I watched him for several seconds, frozen at the sight. Suddenly, he pitched forward, stiff as a board and came crashing down on me. I braced for the impact, which I felt. It hurt and actually left a bruise on my ribs. He seemed to lay on me for a few seconds as I struggled to push him off. His body was very stiff and cold. Then, just like that, he was gone. I jumped out of that bed and charged out of the room. I woke my mother up and started to explain to her what I had just seen. I was talking a mile a minute and she was doing her best to calm me down so I could tell her what had just happened. As I was talking to her, the telephone rang. It was from one of my uncles, informing us that my Grandfather had just died. After the wake and funeral, I spent a considerable amount of time looking at old pictures, trying to identify my visitor. I never did. Was this spirit a messenger sent to herald the passing of my Grandfather? It would seem so.

Most of the time though, human spirits do not appear that solidly. They are often transparent. From sight alone, it is hard to tell whether the human spirit you encounter is benign or evil. During my haunting, I saw another spirit from time to time. This spirit was also a woman and she too wore a white dress. She appeared to be considerably younger than the other spirit I mentioned. The astonishing thing about her was she was always engulfed in flames. Although she never appeared blackened or burned, the flames engulfing her did move. She and the flames were both transparent. When she appeared, we could see most of her body. She too reacted to us and she floated around as opposed to walking. I always felt very uncomfortable when she appeared. I found her to be very frightening. Unlike the other spirit, I sensed this one meant trouble. I am not saying she was definitely evil, but I never sensed benevolence from her. Perhaps the flames bothered me. Was she a human spirit or an inhuman one? There is no way to be sure.

Inhuman Spirits:

When it comes to the inhuman spirits, things are a little different. Demons can take on any appearance they choose. You name it they can do it. However, they do seem to have some preferences. One of the most common sightings has to do with a half-man, half-animal creature. It may have the head of an animal, the torso of a man and an animal’s hairy legs. Very often through history, they have cloven hooves. They will sometimes appear with a goat’s head. There are many depictions of creatures with bright, red eyes wearing ram’s horns. Although hearing pig squealing is associated with the demonic, they rarely appear as pigs. They do have the capability of appearing as a human, either the see through kind or the solid kind. When you are doing an investigation, this can confuse things a bit. You may see what appears to be a human spirit but in actuality, it could well be a demon. That is why I said earlier that it can be difficult to determine what you are dealing with by sight only. Obviously, if the spirit appears as a half-man, half-animal creature, you know you are dealing with a demon. Human spirits cannot take on the form of an animal. However, seeing the human figure does not tell you much. Could my flaming lady have been a demon? … Possibly. To determine what type of spirit you are dealing with, you have to go more by action and intent than by looks.

Demons are androgynous, in other words, they have no sex. Although they are usually depicted as males, they can and do appear as females, if that suits their needs. An incubus, as you know, is a demon that will have sex with a woman. A succubus is a demon that will have sex with a male. However, it could be the same demon doing both. Demons will sometimes change appearances right in front of you. If you see an old hag one-minute and a small child the next, you are looking at a demon. This is beyond the realm of the human spirit. A common form of appearance for a demon is a black, mist like figure. This is a shadow ghost. It is often amorphous, without definite shape. This shape can be translucent, it can also be solid looking. When I refer to the solid form of this spirit, I use the phrase, absence of light, as opposed to being black. We are probably just talking semantics here but to me, an absence of light is like looking at a void. This is my idea of a demon. Again, it probably makes no difference how you describe it. You know what I mean, six of one and a half a dozen of the other. There have been many reported instances of headless animals running around. This is another form demons like to take. Their aim is to horrify and disgust you and I would say this is an excellent way to accomplish it.

Angel Spirits:

Having looked at the dark side of the inhuman spirit, it is only fair to look at the good, human spirit. We know them as Angels. For the record, demons are angels. Like the good angels, God created them. They chose to try to take over heaven and we all know the rest. Anyway, if the bad angels or demons can appear as anything they want to be, so too can the good angels. Therefore, they can be rock solid. However, they do not appear as mists like the bad guys do. They tend to prefer the human look. They too, are androgynous. Women often picture their angels as males … men do the reverse. Angels are always with us, walking the earth and performing great deeds. We all know about our Guardian Angels but it appears that angels serve many purposes. The name, angel, means messenger. Therefore, they sometimes deliver messages from God, most of which probably go unheeded. There are recorded instances, where in times of great trouble, someone will appear out of nowhere and save the day, whether it is in the form of protection or rescue.

It is quite likely that we see angels often but do not realize it. If you stop and think about it long enough, you wonder how many times you pass a person who seemed to radiate goodness and kindness. That person may give you a quick smile and move on. Could that person be an angel? It could well be. It is believed by many that have studied these loving creatures that we can all see angels. These experts all believe that our own beliefs are essential to our being able to see them. However, there are enough cases recorded throughout history where even the biggest nonbelievers met an angel while they were in a time of great need. Do angels always appear human? The consensus is no. Angels often appear in the form of animals. They sometimes appear as the lovely, winged creatures depicted in so many books. Much of it has to do with your own concept of what an angel should look like. They appear to a person exactly as that person thinks they should look so that person can believe what they are seeing is, in fact, an angel. Whatever form they take, angels are always described as beautiful creatures that radiate love, kindness, and warmth. Do spirits take on other forms?

Yes they do. They sometimes appear as circles known as globules or orbs. They may be perfect circles or they may be less than perfect circles. They may be perfectly clear or they may be white. Sometimes they are a solid white, other time they appear less dense. They will sometimes appear to be streaking upward with what resembles a comet tale. These globules are usually seen in photographs, they are rarely seen by the naked eye. Digital cameras are great because you can see these spirits in the viewing mechanism immediately after the photograph is taken. I once did a shoot with someone who had a digital camera. He found some spirits while walking through the woods. I rode his coat tails, so to speak and took some pictures where he had seen the globules. I got a couple of good pictures that day.

What exactly are these globules? These globules are actually balls of electromagnetic energy. Where the energy is coming together, you get the globules. Their density depends on whether they are forming or vanishing. They sometimes appear as an amorphous mist. Although not visible to the naked eye, these mists often come out in pictures. These mists or psychic fog as they are often referred to, is electromagnetic energy fields. It is my belief that these mists are the results of the globule forming or vanishing. In other words, when the mist condenses itself, you get the globule. Sometimes you will see a face or some other shape in these mists. I have a picture that strongly resembles what to me appears to be a demonic face. I have also seen one that strongly resembles a winged angel. However, with most of them, it is like staring at a cloud or a Rorschach test. You see whatever you want or expect to see. These electromagnetic energy fields will register on specialized equipment such as a EMF detector, also known as a Gauss meter.

Nature Spirits:

There are other types of spirits as well. The nature spirits, or elementals as they are called, photograph as squares or rectangular shapes of light. They can also be cylindrical in appearance. These nature spirits are said to be cousins to the angels. They represent each of the natural elements, air, earth, fire, and water. These spirits are friendly but a bit mischievous. You are very lucky when you capture one of them on film. It is believed that wherever you have a plant, you have an elemental spirit who watches over it. These spirits do sometimes appear to people in their homes. They may take on different shapes, squares, triangles, or other shapes. They may be quite colorful too. They will sometimes float lazily around, just out of your reach. You are truly lucky when this happens to you. I have never experienced this but I hope that someday it will happen.

Fairy lights are just that, lights. Seeing them in the woods is like looking at Christmas tree lights. They tend to blink on and off. While doing a cemetery shoot, my wife and a friend of ours were taking pictures. My wife asked me if I felt anything. I told her, yes, I was feeling a lot of energy. Of course, who wouldn’t in a cemetery? However, I was more specific since I believe that feeling energy can be a copout answer. I explained to her that I felt we were being watched and that I think we were being checked out. My feeling was that there was something there that was as curious of us as we were of it. I did not fell threatened, however. Well, while sitting by a tree loading my camera, I felt something lightly brush my neck. It almost felt like a breeze but the touch seemed just a bit harder. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw a blinking light. It stayed on for a second or so then went out. After that, it blinked on and off again. After a few seconds, it stayed on and began to move lazily away. After travelling about thirty feet or so, the light went out. Nothing else approached me but I saw a spectacular light show in the woods where my little friend had gone.

Spirit energy can also take the form of an electrical arc. Usually bluish in color, these arcs of electricity will produce a sound much like the sound of static. On some occasions, it will appear as if you have an electrical storm in your house. Can you imagine seeing mini lightning in your bedroom? Wild, right? Of course, if you are being haunted, this light show is anything but appreciated. Since we know that manifesting spirits create electromagnetic energy fields, it would make sense they appear in this form. Therefore, it is no surprise that spirits are often seen, in many different forms, during electrical storms.

Balls of light are common in haunting situations. They may be of any color and they will often shoot across a room. If they impact a wall, there is usually that static like sound. Although they usually fly overhead, there have been instances where they have been “shot”, for want of a better term, right at someone. When touched by these balls, the victims often report having felt a shock. Many pictures of this type of electrical activity have been caught on film. This is also true of the arc and the lightning type of energy.

Do all of these many forms of spirits come out on photographs? Most of them do. These light shows commonly do. Ditto for the globules. Rare are the shots of ghosts looking like a person. There have been some really good shots published but getting those are pretty rare. I have never heard of anyone capturing a demonic form such as the half-man, half-animal creature or anything resembling a creature with a goat’s head. I have also never heard of anyone capturing a headless animal on film. The shadow ghosts do sometimes come out. However, if there are pictures out there showing any other form of demonic creature, I have never seen one or met anyone that claims to have one. That does not mean they do not exist. If someone has such a horrific picture of a demon, he may well have chosen to keep it a secret. I just think that if there is a shot like that out there, someone would have published it by now.

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