There are five types of general paranormal activity, categorized as ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, entities and portal or vortex haunting, according to Manchester Paranormal Investigations. Phenomena involving haunted places or people are also categorized into different groups, depending on the circumstances.
Paranormal activities vary greatly in circumstance and therefore cannot be lumped into one category, says Manchester Paranormal Investigations. As an example, a ghost is different from a spirit in that a ghost is a remnant or imprint of the energy of a dead person, whereas a spirit is the soul of a person that has remained on the earthly plane after the body has died. In contrast, an entity is a good or evil being that has never been human at any time, and is rarely encountered. A poltergeist is a spirit that can control physical objects. It is generally associated with pubescent children, and occasionally adults, who had a great deal of stress during their lives. The term "poltergeist" literally means "noisy ghost."
The Harrisburg Area Paranormal Society categorizes different types of haunting activities, as well as paranormal activity. Residual haunting is the most common type and involves imprinted energy, but no spirit presence. An intelligent haunting occurs when an entity is aware of itself and its surroundings and has the ability to interact with the living. The most uncommon but serious form is demonic haunting, according to both MPI and HAPS.