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What is a

      Well now, that's the big question, ain't it? What is a ghost? My Random House dictionary defines a ghost as " the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined as wondering among or haunting living persons. A spiritual being."  Imagined? That's what many skeptics will tell you. They'll say that all this paranormal stuff is just made up of a bunch of overactive imaginations or by someone craving attention. Around here, I have a different view.

     I see a ghost as the energy that once powered our physical bodies. Essentially, we are all ghosts riding around in a body, much like we ride around in a car. We are all made up of energy, and according to modern science, energy cannot be destroyed. It can only change forms. Albert Einstein also taught us this same thing. Therefore, I must accept the fact that after the physical body dies, our soul has to go somewhere. Heaven, Hell, another form of existence or maybe they just stay behind for a while. Perhaps they live in another demension, side by side with our own. Some ghosts have shown the same personalities traits and habits as the living-such as emotions, the need to interact and conscience thought.

      Let's use the example with the car . We drive around in a car to get somewhere. When we get there we get out of the car and go about our business. What if something happens along the way? What if we get lost? Then things get confused, and we wonder around lost, looking for a way home or someone to give us directions. What if it's a car accident? Then we're stuck somewhere until somebody can pick us up. We can apply this same theory to ghosts. If a person dies, they may become confused. The events that transpire when one dies are probably a little intimidating at first, so we may choose to hide or run at first. We get lost and wonder around, looking for someone to help us find a way home. No one can hear us or see us, so we are doomed to roam around, lost and confused.

      Of course this isn't true for all ghosts. Some are said to be guardian angels, protecting us or warning us of something. Some believe that ghosts are actually demons drawing attention away from God. Still many will say that it's just a bunch of silly stories. To be honest, some are just that. But not all. Each case should be looked over carefully and not accepted at face value. Be careful.

     Here are the most common forms in which we "see" ghosts;

           * The first and most common type is an Orb. Orbs show up as transparent or solid balls of light that are floating in the air. It is believed that these orbs represent the soul of someone who passed on. The Japanese call these orbs "hito dama", meaning person-globe. Most of the orbs we have captured on film have been white in color, but a very few have turned out blue and gold. I have heard that some groups have captured red orbs as well as an orange one, although I have not witnessed this myself. Orbs have been seen by our members, often only for a few seconds before they streak away. This streaking sometimes leaves contrails, which have also been caught on film. Many investigators agree that these orbs are capable of great speeds, effectively keeping themselves from our sight, most of the time.

            *The second type is Ectoplasmic Mist, or just plain Ecto. This is not the green goop in the movie Ghostbusters. It is a vapor form that resembles cigarette smoke. It is easily distinguishable from late night fog or early morning mist, due to the fact that when a picture is taken of mist or fog, it shows up as thousands of orbs. Ecto usually appears up close to the lens, which is why it is highly important that no one is smoking during an investigation. In many photos of ecto, orbs can be seen through the mist. We're not sure if it is an orb expanding into an ectoplasmic mist or vise-versa. Ectoplasms are rare to capture on film.

           *A third type is called Streaks. These streaks appear yellow or blue in color, and look very much like bolts of lightning. They are very short, about 1 to 3 feet in length, and sometimes light up the surrounding area within a foot or two. These have been photographed but as far as I know, no one has actually witnessed one. It is not certain if these streaks can be considered spirits or a natural event, but I have added it here because it has been discussed among ghost hunters as possible spirit energy.

             *The forth type of ghost is called a Vortice or Vortex, depending on who you're talking to. Vortexes are long streaks of light that are usually solid. These are similar to Streaks but are thought to be an orb moving at a very high speed, thus appearing as a solid white line. Many pictures show this streak of light reversing its course and going back the way it came. I, personally do not consider vortexes a paranormal phenomena. So far, every picture with the claim of being a vortex has looked more like a camera strap then anything else. About 95 % of these photos show the same thing, a white streak from the right side( or top if the camera was turned on its side) and usually looping back to the same point it entered the picture. A camera strap around the wrist can easily make its way in front of the lens. When the flash hits it, no matter what color the strap is, it gets bleached white. Be careful when taking pictures.

            *The last type is the most rare of them all. It is the full blown or partial Apparition. These are the pictures every ghost hunter wants. Our group has only obtained a very few photos of apparitions in the years we have been investigating. Other groups haven't been that lucky. An apparition is the solid or -the more commonly seen- transparent figure or part of a figure. Most of the pictures containing partial figure usually show the head and shoulders. Sometimes the figure is seen from the waist up. Only rarely is the figure positively identifiable.