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Residual Haunting

A Residual haunting, AKA a restligeist (German loan word) from restlich (residual) and Geist (ghost), is thought by some to be a replayed haunting in which no intelligent ghost, spirit, or other entity is directly involved. Much like a video tape, residual hauntings are playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory, and other sensory phenomenon which are attributed to a traumatic event, life-altering event, or a common event of a person or place, like an echo of past events.

Alleged residual hauntings often center on moments of intense emotion: someone’s beheading, a great battle, a murder, or even a celebration. Paranormal researchers theorize that residual hauntings are the result of discharged personal energy of a person or group of people being imprinted on the surrounding environment, most commonly at or just after death.

One of the first to promulgate the hypothesis of residual haunting was Thomas Charles Lethbridge in books such as Ghost and Ghoul, written in 1961.[1] The subject was explored in Peter Sasdy’s 1972 television play The Stone Tape, written by Nigel Kneale. The popularity of the programme has led to residual haunting becoming known colloquially as the Stone Tape theory.


  1. Green, Nigel Kneale/Peter Sasdy: The Stone Tape.