In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost (sometimes known as a spectre (British English) or specter (American English),phantom, apparition or spook) is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to rest the spirits of the dead. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
The English word ghost continues Old English gást, from a hypothetical Common Germanic *gaistaz. It is common to West Germanic, but lacking in North and East Germanic (the equivalent word in Gothic is ahma, Old Norse has andi m., önd f.). Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
The pre-Germanic form was *ghoisdo-s, apparently from a root denoting "fury, anger" reflected in Old Norse geisa "to rage". The Germanic word is recorded as masculine only, but likely continues a neuter s-stem. The original meaning of the Germanic word would thus have been an animating principle of the mind, in particular capable of excitation and fury (compare óðr). Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
In Germanic paganism, "Germanic Mercury", and the later Odin, was at the same time the conductor of the dead and the "lord of fury" leading the Wild Hunt.
Besides denoting the human spirit or soul, both of the living and the deceased, Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
the Old English word is used as a synonym of Latin spiritus also in the meaning of "breath" or "blast" from the earliest attestations (9th century). It could also denote any good or evil spirit, i.e. angels and demons; the Anglo-Saxongospel refers to the demonic possession of Matthew 12:43 as se unclæna gast. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
Also from the Old English period, the word could denote the spirit of God, viz. the "Holy Ghost". The now prevailing sense of "the soul of a deceased person, spoken of as appearing in a visible form" only emerges in Middle English (14th century). Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
The modern noun does, however, retain a wider field of application, extending on one hand to "soul", "spirit", "vital principle", "mind" or "psyche", the seat of feeling, thought and moral judgement; on the other hand used figuratively of any shadowy outline, fuzzy or unsubstantial image, Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
in optics, photography and cinematography especially a flare, secondary image or spurious signal.
The synonym spook is a Dutch loanword, akin to Low German spôk (of uncertain etymology); it entered the English language via the United States in the 19th century. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Alternative words in modern usage include spectre (from Latin spectrum), the Scottish wraith (of obscure origin), phantom (via French ultimately from Greek phantasma, compare fantasy) and apparition. The term shade in classical mythology translates Greek σκιά, or Latin umbra, in reference to the notion of spirits in the Greek underworld. Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
"Haint" is a synonym for ghost used in regional English of the southern United States, and the "haint tale" is a common feature of southern oral and literary tradition. The term poltergeist is a German word, literally a "noisy ghost", for a spirit said to manifest itself by invisibly moving and influencing objects. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
Wraith is a Scots word for "ghost", "spectre" or "apparition". It came to be used in Scottish Romanticist literature, and acquired the more general or figurative sense of "portent" or "omen". In 18th- to 19th-century Scottish literature, it was also applied to aquatic spirits. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
The word has no commonly accepted etymology; the OED notes "of obscure origin" only. An association with the verb writhe was the etymology favored by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien's use of the word in the naming of the creatures known as the Ringwraiths has influenced later usage in fantasy literature. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
Bogey or bogy/bogie is a term for a ghost, and appears in Scottish poet John Mayne's Hallowe'en in 1780.
A revenant is a deceased person returning from the dead to haunt the living, either as a disembodied ghost or alternatively as an animated ("undead") corpse. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
Also related is the concept of a fetch, the visible ghost or spirit of a person yet alive.
A notion of the transcendent, supernatural or numinous, usually involving entities like ghosts, demons or deities, is a cultural universal. In pre-literatefolk religions, these beliefs are often summarized under animism and ancestor worship. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
In many cultures malignant, restless ghosts are distinguished from the more benign spirits involved in ancestor worship.
Ancestor worship typically involves rites intended to prevent revenants, vengeful spirits of the dead, imagined as starving and envious of the living. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
Strategies for preventing revenants may either include sacrifice, i.e., giving the dead food and drink to pacify them, or magical banishment of the deceased to force them not to return. Ritual feeding of the dead is performed in traditions like the Chinese Ghost Festival or the Western All Souls' Day. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
Magical banishment of the dead is present in many of the world's burial customs. The bodies found in many tumuli (kurgan) had been ritually bound before burial, and the custom of binding the dead persists, for example, in rural Anatolia. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
Nineteenth-century anthropologist James Frazer stated in his classic work, The Golden Bough, that souls were seen as the creature within that animated the body.
Although the human soul was sometimes symbolically or literally depicted in ancient cultures as a bird or other animal, Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
it appears to have been widely held that the soul was an exact reproduction of the body in every feature, even down to clothing the person wore. This is depicted in artwork from various ancient cultures, including such works as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
which shows deceased people in the afterlife appearing much as they did before death, including the style of dress.
While deceased ancestors are universally regarded as venerable, and often imagined as having a continued presence in some sort ofafterlife, Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
the spirit of a deceased person which remains present in the material world (viz. a ghost) is regarded as an unnatural or undesirable state of affairs and the idea of ghosts or revenants is associated with a reaction of fear. This is universally the case in pre-modern folk cultures, Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
but fear of ghosts also remains an integral aspect of the modern ghost story, Gothic horror, and otherhorror fiction dealing with the supernatural.
Another widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
Anthropologists link this idea to early beliefs that ghosts were the person within the person (the person's spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
This belief may have also fostered the metaphorical meaning of "breath" in certain languages, such as the Latin spiritus and the Greek pneuma, which by analogy became extended to mean the soul. In the Bible, God is depicted as animating Adam with a breath. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
In many traditional accounts, ghosts were often thought to be deceased people looking for vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. The appearance of a ghost has often been regarded as an omen or portent of death. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
Seeing one's own ghostly double or "fetch" is a related omen of death.
White ladies were reported to appear in many rural areas, and supposed to have died tragically or suffered trauma in life. White Lady legends are found around the world. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
Common to many of them is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They are often associated with an individual family line or regarded as a harbinger of death similar to a banshee.
Legends of ghost ships have existed since the 18th century; most notable of these is the Flying Dutchman. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
This theme has been used in literature in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge.
A place where ghosts are reported is described as haunted, and often seen as being inhabited by spirits of deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
Supernatural activity inside homes is said to be mainly associated with violent or tragic events in the building's past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide — sometimes in the recent or ancient past. But not all hauntings are at a place of a violent death, or even on violent grounds. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
Many cultures and religions believe the essence of a being, such as the 'soul', continues to exist. Some religious views argue that the 'spirits' of those who have died have not 'passed over' and are trapped inside the property where their memories and energy are strong. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
There are many references to ghosts in Mesopotamian religions – the religions of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and other early states in Mesopotamia. Traces of these beliefs survive in the later Abrahamic religions that came to dominate the region. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
Ghosts were thought to be created at time of death, taking on the memory and personality of the dead person. They traveled to the netherworld, where they were assigned a position, and led an existence similar in some ways to that of the living. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
Relatives of the dead were expected to make offerings of food and drink to the dead to ease their conditions. If they did not, the ghosts could inflict misfortune and illness on the living. Traditional healing practices ascribed a variety of illnesses to the action of ghosts, while others were caused by gods or demons. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
The Hebrew Bible contains few references to ghosts, associating spiritism with forbidden occult activities cf. Deuteronomy 18:11. The most notable reference is in the First Book of Samuel (I Samuel 28:3–19 KJV), in which a disguised King Saul has the Witch of Endor summon the spirit/ghost of Samuel. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
There was widespread belief in ghosts in ancient Egyptian culture in the sense of the continued existence of the soul and spirit after death, with the ability to assist or harm the living, and the possibility of a second death. Over a period of more than 2,500 years, Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
Egyptian beliefs about the nature of the afterlife evolved constantly. Many of these beliefs were recorded in inscriptions, papyrus scrolls and tomb paintings. The Egyptian Book of the Dead compiles some of the beliefs from different periods of ancient Egyptian history. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
In modern times, the fanciful concept of a mummy coming back to life and wreaking vengeance when disturbed has spawned a whole genre of horror stories and films.
Ghosts appeared in Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, in which they were described as vanishing "as a vapor, gibbering and whining into the earth".Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
Homer’s ghosts had little interaction with the world of the living. Periodically they were called upon to provide advice or prophecy, but they do not appear to be particularly feared. Ghosts in the classical world often appeared in the form of vapor or smoke, Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
but at other times they were described as being substantial, appearing as they had been at the time of death, complete with the wounds that killed them.
By the 5th century BC, classical Greek ghosts had become haunting, frightening creatures who could work to either good or evil purposes. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The spirit of the dead was believed to hover near the resting place of the corpse, and cemeteries were places the living avoided. The dead were to be ritually mourned through public ceremony, sacrifice and libations, or they might return to haunt their families. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The ancient Greeks held annual feasts to honor and placate the spirits of the dead, to which the family ghosts were invited, and after which they were “firmly invited to leave until the same time next year”.
The 5th century BC play Oresteia contains one of the first ghosts to appear in a work of fiction. Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
The ancient Romans believed a ghost could be used to exact revenge on an enemy by scratching a curse on a piece of lead or pottery and placing it into a grave.
Plutarch, in the 1st century AD, described the haunting of the baths at Chaeronea by the ghost of a murdered man. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
The ghost’s loud and frightful groans caused the people of the town to seal up the doors of the building. Another celebrated account of a haunted house from the ancient classical world is given by Pliny the Younger (c. 50 AD). Pliny describes the haunting of a house in Athens by a ghost bound in chains. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
The hauntings ceased when the ghost's shackled skeleton was unearthed, and given a proper reburial. The writers Plautus and Lucian also wrote stories about haunted houses.
In the New Testament, Jesus has to persuade the Disciples that he is not a ghost following the resurrection, Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
Luke 24:37–39 (some versions of the Bible, such as the KJV and NKJV, use the term "spirit"). In a similar vein, Jesus' followers at first believe him to be a ghost (spirit) when they see him walking on water.
One of the first persons to express disbelief in ghosts was Lucian of Samosata in the 2nd century AD. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
In his tale "The Doubter" (circa 150 AD) he relates howDemocritus "the learned man from Abdera in Thrace" lived in a tomb outside the city gates to prove that cemeteries were not haunted by the spirits of the departed. Lucian relates how he persisted Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
in his disbelief despite practical jokes perpetrated by "some young men of Abdera" who dressed up in black robes with skull masks to frighten him. This account by Lucian notes something about the popular classical expectation of how a ghost should look. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
In the 5th century AD, the Christian priest Constantius of Lyon recorded an instance of the recurring theme of the improperly buried dead who come back to haunt the living, and who can only cease their haunting when their bones have been discovered and properly reburied. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
Ghosts reported in medieval Europe tended to fall into two categories: the souls of the dead, or demons. The souls of the dead returned for a specific purpose. Demonic ghosts were those which existed only to torment or tempt the living. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
The living could tell them apart by demanding their purpose in the name of Jesus Christ. The soul of a dead person would divulge their mission, while a demonic ghost would be banished at the sound of the Holy Name.
Most ghosts were souls assigned to Purgatory, condemned for a specific period to atone for their transgressions in life. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
Their penance was generally related to their sin. For example, the ghost of a man who had been abusive to his servants was condemned to tear off and swallow bits of his own tongue; the ghost of another man, who had neglected to leave his cloak to the poor, Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
was condemned to wear the cloak, now "heavy as a church tower". These ghosts appeared to the living to ask for prayers to end their suffering. Other dead souls returned to urge the living to confess their sins before their own deaths. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
Medieval European ghosts were more substantial than ghosts described in the Victorian age, and there are accounts of ghosts being wrestled with and physically restrained until a priest could arrive to hear its confession. Some were less solid, and could move through walls. Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
Often they were described as paler and sadder versions of the person they had been while alive, and dressed in tattered gray rags. The vast majority of reported sightings were male.
There were some reported cases of ghostly armies, Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
fighting battles at night in the forest, or in the remains of an Iron Age hillfort, as at Wandlebury, near Cambridge, England. Living knights were sometimes challenged to single combat by phantom knights, which vanished when defeated. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
From the medieval period an apparition of a ghost is recorded from 1211, at the time of the Albigensian Crusade. Gervase of Tilbury, Marshal of Arles, wrote that the image of Guilhem, a boy recently murdered in the forest, appeared in his cousin's home in Beaucaire, near Avignon. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
This series of "visits" lasted all of the summer. Through his cousin, who spoke for him, the boy allegedly held conversations with anyone who wished, until the local priest requested to speak to the boy directly, leading to an extended disquisition on theology. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
The boy narrated the trauma of death and the unhappiness of his fellow souls in Purgatory, and reported that God was most pleased with the ongoing Crusade against the Cathar heretics, launched three years earlier. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
The time of the Albigensian Crusade in southern France was marked by intense and prolonged warfare, this constant bloodshed and dislocation of populations being the context for these reported visits by the murdered boy.
Renaissance magic took a revived interest in the occult, including necromancy. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
In the era of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, there was frequently a backlash against unwholesome interest in the dark arts, typified by writers such asThomas Erastus. The Swiss Reformed pastor Ludwig Lavater supplied one of the most frequently reprinted books of the period with his Of Ghosts and Spirits Walking By Night. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
The Child ballad "Sweet William's Ghost" (1868) recounts the story of a ghost returning to his fiancée begging her to free him from his promise to marry her. He cannot marry her because he is dead but her refusal would mean his damnation. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
This reflects a popular British belief that the dead haunted their lovers if they took up with a new love without some formal release. "The Unquiet Grave" expresses a belief even more widespread, found in various locations over Europe: Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
ghosts can stem from the excessive grief of the living, whose mourning interferes with the dead's peaceful rest. In many folktales from around the world, the hero arranges for the burial of a dead man. Soon after, he gains a companion who aids him and, in the end, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
the hero's companion reveals that he is in fact the dead man. Instances of this include the Italian fairy tale"Fair Brow" and the Swedish "The Bird 'Grip'".
Spiritualism is a monotheistic belief system or religion, postulating a belief in God, Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
but with a distinguishing feature of belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world can be contacted by "mediums", who can then provide information about the afterlife.
Spiritualism developed in the United States and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery
especially inEnglish-language countries, By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes, while the corresponding movement in continental Europe and Latin America is known as Spiritism. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery
The religion flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion by periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent Spiritualists were women. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery
Most followers supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. By the late 1880s, credibility of the informal movement weakened, due to accusations of fraud among mediums, and formal Spiritualist organizations began to appear. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery
Spiritualism is currently practiced primarily through various denominational Spiritualist Churches in the United States and United Kingdom.