A residual ghost appears at the same time and place over and over. It may appear nightly, weekly, or even yearly; but whenever it appears, it repeats the same behavior observed on previous sightings. It is believed that residual hauntings make up the vast majority of reported experiences.
If you are experiencing repeated appearances of a ghost at regular intervals, chances are it is a residual ghost. You may hear footsteps creaking up the stairs every night at midnight or hear laughter every Friday at dawn. You may see an apparition that walks the seashore mournfully searching for her long lost love or a child playing in the yard.
The residual ghost does not interact with those around it. It seems to be oblivious to your presence and continues with its nightly travels whether or not you are there to observe it.
Generally, a residual haunting is associated with a traumatic event that replays the exact sequence of events at the same place to many different observers. The theory is that a traumatic event can somehow etch itself into the fabric of time and attach itself to the setting in which it occurred.
It is not known how the image of this event is able to be recorded and be replayed at a later time. There are certain conditions that appear to be conducive to a residual haunting.
Most residual hauntings occur in locations that have been built over limestone, quartz, or water. It is believed that natural rock formations play a major role in the formation of a residual image. Buildings made of bricks and stones are also known to harbor residual ghosts.
Many ghost hunters believe that the release of intense energy from the original event is somehow imprinted on the area in which it occurred. The weather conditions at the time of the event may be connected to the imprinting of the image and the resulting residual haunting.
A residual ghost may appear as an apparition or it may simply be the repeated sounds of a door opening and closing, footsteps, or even voices. You may hear some unknown person singing a mournfully or crying in the night. You may hear the quiet sounds of laughter coming from the hallway. There are many reports of hearing children playing when there are no children in the home.
The reports of sightings of soldiers on a battlefield or a lone woman walking with a lantern are undoubtedly cases of a residual hauntings.
Whatever the cause, a residual ghost always repeats the same actions as though it were a movie being replayed. Residual hauntings do not always replay the a traumatic event. Often these actions are whatever the person who left the energy behind did the most often or something that was strongly tied to their life. A sea captain's wife may be seen watching the sea for her husbands return. Children may be heard laughing and playing in the hallway.
What you are observing is simply a recording of the energy left behind. There is no real entity present. It is more like a distant memory of events long ago that has somehow managed to imprint itself on the environment.
From standpoint of paranormal researchers, residual ghosts are completely harmless and are nothing to be afraid of. Because there is no real entity involved, a residual ghost can not interact with you or harm you in any way.
If you find the presence of a residual ghost in your home frightening you may want to consider moving. It does not appear that a cleansing or an exorcism will have any effect on a residual ghost.