Something lurks in the dark. You feel you’re being watched, but you know you’re alone.

You wonder if you’ve locked all means of entry into the house. You comfort yourself by saying ghosts aren’t real, but you can’t shake this weird feeling off.

Suddenly, it appears. Time freezes. And so do you.

You see a human-like entity and immediately run to tell your friends about it. How would you call the thing you saw—ghost or spirit?

The Differences Between a Ghost and a Spirit

The terms ghost and spirit are often used interchangeably. When one is frightened, the term of choice for most people is ghost. But where do you draw the line between the two?

Technically, these two entities have very distinct differences. They do, however, have this in common—they show some semblance of being a living being.

Most of the ghosts and spirits look like humans, but there can be animals too. But generally, they are under the broader category called hauntings, which is any paranormal entity.


There’s a reason why people tend to use ghost than spirit when they’re frightened. The former are generally more dangerous because they are incapable of rationalization. They are sometimes likened to psychotic people.

Most of the time, they do not have control over themselves. They are unsure of their existence because they are in a continuous struggle to understand the past, present, and future all at the same time.

Spirits, on the other hand, are those entities that make up the personalities of people who have died. Simply put, they are the souls of dead persons. They make up the incorporeal aspect of a mortal human.

It is not surprising, therefore, that spirits are generally more rational. You can usually talk to a spirit without much risk, but you have to be more careful around certain types of ghosts.

Manner of Death

Not all ghosts are dead humans, but those that are usually died suddenly or violently. In fact, most of them have unfinished business and they haven’t accepted their death yet.

Some ghosts are not even aware that they have already died.

But it does not mean that their manner of death should have been violent or sudden. Any life traumas—emotional pain, physical abuse, etc., —can contribute to the irrationality of ghosts.

Meanwhile, spirits are those that have lived and died relatively normally.


If an entity is always showing up in the same place, it is more likely a ghost than a spirit. This is because ghosts are usually tied to the location of their death. Again, some of them don’t know that they have died, so they remain there unknowingly.

Spirits have more options when it comes to travel. A lot of them can cross to different realms. They can choose to return to the realm of the living when they want to.

However, some experts say that spirits are human personalities that have not crossed the other side. This is contrary to the previous description.

We believe that they have access to different realms. Later in this article, you will see the kinds of spirits, and you’ll understand why.


Spirits generally have more control than ghosts, but then again, this depends of what kind of ghosts we are speaking of.

Spirits can communicate with humans through their chosen manner and are often capable of transforming themselves into different forms.

Ghosts only show themselves and do nothing else, right?


They can actually speak or change the room’s odor or the temperature, depending on how strong they are. This makes them more dangerous because as already mentioned, they usually experienced violent or sudden deaths.


While ghosts are generally more malevolent than spirits, this does not mean that ghosts are wired to harm living persons. Although a ghost has experienced a tragic death, this does not equate to it being malevolent, as if it’s out to take revenge.

What usually determines their malevolence is their attitude and energy when they were still alive. Someone mean can remain mean even after death. Talk about consistency!

Manifestation of Presence

Have you ever had coins dropping for no reason? You know they weren’t blown by the wind or disturbed by any object, but they managed to get from the countertop to the floor.

This is one way of how spirits manifest their presence. The year in the coins may have significance to them, so the next time you see a penny on the floor, check the date first. It might be your loved one trying to reach out.

Spirits tend to exude a comforting vibe when they’re around. You’d usually feel at peace when it’s a spirit.

Ghosts, on the other hand, tend to manifest themselves through negative energy. Because of their tragic life or death, there may be residual negative emotions that can be felt by the living.

So shouting “Ghost!” when you’re running away from something that frightens you is justified.

Do ghosts and spirits manifest their presence only at night?

It is more frightening to be alone at night than during daylight. But this does not mean that there are fewer entities during the day. They have not been sleeping or slacking off in one corner when the sun is out. In fact, it can even be better to hunt for ghosts and spirits during the day because most of them mimic their daily routines while they were still living.

So why do a lot of encounters happen at night? That’s because most people are asleep and the world is quieter. This makes it easier for your senses to perceive them rather than be distracted by the constant noise that is brought about by daytime activities.

So it’s not their absence during the day but your divided attention that makes it rarer for people to feel a ghostly presence.

Types of Ghosts



These are often circular entities that usually manifest themselves in photographs. You know those famous “ghostly lights” you see in a picture? Those are orbs. They are the ghostly equivalent of photobombers.

They take a spherical shape because this allows them to travel faster.

Funnel Ghosts

If you happen to walk by something cold, check if you’ve passed an open fridge first. But if you didn’t and you felt an unusually chilly portion you can’t explain, you may have gone through a funnel ghost.

As the name suggests, they usually appear as swirling funnels of light. They are often tied to homes or historical places.



If you think vomiting after drinking too much is the worst, wait till you see an ectoplasm. They are thick fog-like entities that come out of a medium during a spiritualistic session.

Their colors can vary from gray, white, and black.

They are mostly found in graveyards and battlefields because they are very old souls who are stuck in time. But don’t be fooled by their age because these super senior former citizens can move incredibly fast.

Interactive Ghosts

Interactive ghosts are usually loved ones. They are the kind of ghost that resembles a spirit the most. They are the most common type that people perceive.

Their manifestation is often through a familiar scent that can be associated with them while they were living.


Yep. We’ve come to your favorite movie. Hollywood has made us more familiar with poltergeists, and we’ve grown to fear them over the years.

We’re not wrong to do so.

Poltergeists are noisy ghosts. Their name literally means that. Their main objective is to cause harm and fear among the living. Couple this with their ability to control things, you get an entity you never want to mess with.

A poltergeist attack usually starts with mild interruptions and it gets stronger by the day. When a poltergeist is wreaking havoc around your house, it’s best to call paranormal experts immediately. You never know what they can be capable of.

One of the things you can do is to be positive. We know this seems silly, but poltergeists feed on negative energy. Thus, the more troubled you are, the stronger they get. This is a practical reason for you to change your attitude, huh?



We’re not even gonna attempt to tell you how dangerous these can be. They are literally the entities you see in hell, and not just as visitors, but as tormentors.

They are very dangerous especially when they are able to possess a person. They take control of the person’s body. And if you’re familiar with movies about possession, you they’re able to make you an instant contortionist against your will.

One way to avoid demons is to let go of your negative thoughts. We’re starting to sound like yogis here, but bear with us. A demon feeds off fear and anger. A successful demonic possession occurs when your will is in line with that of the demon. This means you have such evil thoughts that the evil consumes you.

Who knew “Forgive and forget” can save you from a demonic possession?

Types of Spirits



These are beings that have not marked their visas with the Earth stamp before. In other words, they have never lived in our planet.

However, they can easily take up a human form, and their main purpose is to guide groups of people with specific issues. They aim to make the world a better place . . . and unlike most of us, they mean it.

Guardian Angels

While archangels are the group promo for spiritual guidance, guardian angels are for individuals. In the context of Christianity, they guide us spiritually and uplift our spiritual lives.

They also take human forms, and they are able to warn us when something is about to go wrong.

Ascended Masters


You can tell from the name alone that these entities are very important. They are like archangels, but they have lived on Earth before. This makes them more knowledgeable about human experiences, and they are able to guide larger groups of people.

Some would consider deities as ascended masters. This would make sense because of the role they play in human lives.

Spirit Guides

This one is quite odd because spirit guides can be actual living, breathing humans. However, we are referring here specifically to those who are already in spirit form. Yes, you can have spirit spirit guides!

They usually attach to the person they watch and guide. In this regard, they have a similar role as those of guardian angels.

A Final Note

Whether it’s a ghost or a spirit, these entities are a part of life, whether we have the ability to perceive them or not. Their presence cannot be denied by our stubbornness because although science can’t explain them (yet), there are many evidences of paranormal activities all around the world.

If, however, you intend to participate in looking for the evidence, paranormal presence can be detected by spirit boxes and EMF machines. It’s a good thing that technology has embraced the ghost-hunting experience and provided us with phone apps that help us with this. Check out our recommendations here.

Now that you know the difference between spirits and ghosts, you can correctly identify them the next time you feel an unusual presence.

While you’re busy running for your life, at least you’ll have the comfort of knowing exactly what it is you’re running away from.