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What exactly is a ghost, and how do you know if you’ve seen one? Paranormal investigator Sarah Chumacero explains.

Seeing a ghost is an experience a person won’t quickly — or easily — forget. It’s usually the case that they see someone dressed in period clothing, only to find out later there was no living person there at all. Or maybe they capture a translucent figure in a photo. Both of these encounters involve seeing what’s referred to as an apparition; a term generally used to describe a ghostly figure. There are a few different types of apparitions. 

Full body apparitions

This apparition appears as a regular, solid-looking person. They may, however, seem out of place by how they are dressed, which is usually in period clothing. The person standing next to you may not even see them. 

Most historical locations will be able to tell you stories about sightings of an apparition. Staff members often see someone they think is a fellow staff member, until they remember they are there alone. Black Rock House, in the bayside suburb of Black Rock in Melbourne, is no exception. There was once a council worker sitting in the dining room filling out paperwork. He suddenly felt like someone was staring at him so he looked up and in the doorway he saw a woman dressed in period clothing. He looked away, and didn’t think much of it as the staff there often dress in costume to conduct tours. When he looked up again she was gone. 

On his way out, he asked the volunteer on-site where the woman in the period dress was. Needless to say, he was a little freaked out when they told him there was no one else there that day, let alone dressed in costume. He’s never returned to Black Rock House. 

Partial body apparitions

This involves seeing only a part of the body such as an arm, a hand appearing out of a cupboard, or even just a head and shoulders. A guest at Black Rock House reported seeing only a head as a reflection in the mirror. When she turned to the doorway where they would have been standing, no one was there and when she looked back at the mirror, the head was gone. 

But she had a good enough look to be able to describe the person she saw, and it ended up matching that of Charles Ebden, the original owner of Black Rock House whose photo she had never seen before. Was this a partial body apparition of Mr Ebden? Was he there keeping an eye on the house?

Transparent apparitions

This is commonly how movies portray spirits, either as a mist in the shape of a human, or a human form that is see-through. While people do spot them with their own eyes, transparent apparitions commonly appear in photos and videos. It is important to note that it is quite easy for a camera to replicate this see-through image and is something we see a lot now with ghost apps. Way before these apps appeared, people reported seeing apparitions and, over the years, I have been collecting experiences and accounts from readers all over the world and asking them to detail their sightings. 

Sarah Chumacero

Sarah is a paranormal investigator and author.


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