Event Retention

I have to give Grant and Jason from TAPS big kudos for bringing “residual hauntings” out into the open. It’s intrigued me to no end since my upbringing, where I would say residual accounted for about 85% of the occurrences in the house (the other 15% were more poltergeist-related in characteristics).

I started actively working in the field because I never found answers to the kind of hauntings I experienced growing up. Residual hauntings weren’t something often talked about in the industry until the 2000s. Most folks were under an assumption that if something unexplained happened it was automatically a ghost trying to contact us--always an active and never a passive process.

The fact is, easily the majority of all “hauntings” can be attributed to what I like to call “event retention.” It’s the simple process of (for some as of yet unexplained reason within the realm of quantam physics) an event is recorded into a place to be replayed again and again at what seems like random times and witnessed just as randomly.

The question I’ve been asking for years is whether this is related to geology, location on leylines, a spiritual base of those who imprinted the event, a strong emotional upheaval that recorded the event, or perhaps just plain repetition of an event. Perhaps, it’s possible all events are recorded and randomly play back due to different changes in our environment, whether it’s in the RF plane or geomagnetic or some sort of schism between time and space, allowing a portal of viewing.

I’m really open to any theories.

My greatest hope is that we can eventually manage to document residual events to the point that we can figure out what might have been going on that day from the point of weather, the occupant’s emotional state, solar flares, use of more power to the house than usual; whatever might be commonalities.

Then, again, looking at the sites that have the most reported residual hauntings, what geological factors do they have? If there are earthly leylines, do they intersect at these points? What is fueling the environment to hold and replay an event?

Wondering about how these things play out and how often, and whether they play out if someone is there or not, I came to a new concept:

Could it be something in our own psyche that is affected by the right conditions can make us capable of seeing things that are always there, but that we do not usually see?

Could all events that have ever occurred be happening simultaneously but we simply do not have the capacity to see and hear them, except for brief moments under the right conditions? Sort of like how we have all sorts of frequencies of waves bombarding us, but cannot pick them up without a receiver?

This is what I like about this field of research is just how many theories and concepts can be thrown on the table and then the excitement of finding ways to test them.

If you have any other theories on residuals or “event retention,” please let me know. I’m always happy to put more concepts into the discussion.


  1. Autumnforest -dont know if I have anything useful to add -but I thought it was interesting that you had a post like this -as just last night (morning whatever it was-sleep schedule so screwed up) I was thinking ghosts could be much more than one phenomena-I do believe in event retention -but I wonder -why are not all the traumatic events people suffer recorded? of course for us it is a dang good thing they aren't-there would prob be hauntings almost everywhere-I have always seen in the paranormal literature how water -esp underground streams records events well. I think that in some cases hauntings could be "just" replays of old events -but the more I look at paranormal literature -I do believe many of them are actual spirits of the departed -either stuck here for some reason or another-or wanting to be here for some reason or another-great post as always-I will think on this some more!!

  2. Many people have reported seeing recreations of the battles in Gettysburg and other famous battlefields. The find out later that there was no re-enactments, just the ghosts of the soldiers doomed to fight the bloody battles over and over. I am curious to why some spirits repeat the same situation over and over and other can interact with the living. Sorry I don't have any other theories but you do bring up several good questions.

  3. I've always leaned toward geology as being a major factor for residual hauntings, recordings, literal hauntings, etc. Out in California, where much of the land held decomposed granite, I experienced and heard about much more phenomena than I have here in bentonite-mudstone Wyoming.

    I believe there are several types of "hauntings," the most common being passive residual recordings, the rarest being the sentient-ghost type that interacts with the living and the surrounding environment. As for poltergeist phenomena, I believe they are caused almost entirely by someone living.

    When I was young my mother often talked about hearing sounds like many men and women talking, laughing and tinking glasses around in the air in the living room of the Sundance House while she was upstairs in the loft. If she went downstairs the sound would stop and continue once she was upstairs. She has a theory that the partying "ghosts" were a kind of leak in time, something she could hear from a certain place, just as a radio can pick up certain frequencies withing a broadcast area.

  4. Devin;
    Yours is probably the most commonly held belief, that we're dealing with both residual and actual spiritual hauntings. I agree about the water factor and the geology factor. They both most definitely have had an effect in the most haunted places I've been to. Their significance is intriguing. Perhaps in the spirit world there is an issue of conductivity as there is with electrical things.

    Mike and Julie;
    In the theory of residual, it isn't the actual spirits replaying the events, it's believed it's sort of a "film" of the event recurring in nature. So, the spirits who attended the battle would be moved on to whatever/wherever they are and their event was held by the right geology or perhaps by the horrific nature of its existence, to be able to be seen by us over and over again.

    Yours is a very good observation about geology. It's unavoidable to not mention things like bodies of water, streams, rivers, and granite and quartz. They do seem to have a correlation. I think that's probably why I've always said that after living in the East, the West's land feels haunted, whereas the East's buildings felt haunted. Ironically, the east has more running streams and also built their older homes with stone. I have yet to find a haunted framed house yet--ever! We had a room in our home growing up where men talked around what must have been a table, you could hear their chairs scraping and them pacing around the table and pounding a fist every now and then. We also had the nightly walks of a spirit. Most everything was residual, but we did have an element of poltergeist and I think that was a combination of three girls in the family (activity went up when we all hit adolescence/teens) and the house being built over a stream with quartz rock everywhere and the walls being thick stone. You could really feel the power of the house in the basement and that wasn't just because basements are creepy, but the exposed stone used in the walls of the house were open there and you could just feel it radiating. I hope to spend some free time this summer when my workload is less and try and get together some sort of cobbled map of the most haunted places and the features geologically/water/train track wise and see what we might be dealing with. We might come up with a formula to ensure where we might find a haunting. Intriguing.


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