Ask most people what a ghost is and you’ll most likely receive the conventional response that they are the wandering souls of a human spirit, a deceased individual, a person, sometimes an animal; which makes a visual appearance to the living for reasons known or unknown Descriptions of the apparition will vary widely. It may be a barely visible wispy mist recognizable as human. It may appear translucent or solid, partial or full body, and very much life-like, and will often communicate with them directly. Manifestations can be anything from family to strangers, angels to demons, including harbingers (messengers) and animals (often deceased pets). Throughout history, people have deliberately attempted to conjure up spirits through mediums, usually a witch or sorcerer, that communicated with the deceased person. This was known as 'necromancy,' until spiritualists began practicing the 'séance' in the early 19th century. The belief in the manifestation of spirits is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices - funeral rites, exorcisms, and some early practices of spiritualism or ritualistic magic-were specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences which haunt particular people, locations, or objects that were associated with the deceased in life. Throughout recorded history there are stories of phantom armies, ghost trains and ships, recounting good and evil. Plato, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King are a few names that come to mind for many people when asked who told the best ghost stories.
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