Residual Haunting

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Residual Haunting, Place Memory, Restligeist (after the German "Residual Ghost"), Psychic Impressions, Stone Tape Haunting

Origin: mysticism, the occult, and modern parapsychology; the term "Stone Tape Haunting" was inspired by The Stone Tape (1972 film), a TV Movie about this sort of haunting.


Technically not a "race" in any traditional Call of Cthulhu sense, the unintelligent Residual Haunting is considered the least dangerous form of haunting is a type of psychic "leakage" from another plane, often connected to a place or sometimes to an inanimate object, in which sounds and visions can be perceived by the psychically sensitive, in much the same way as if they were a recording being replayed in the form of psychic visions (in fact, according to some paranormal theories, powerful emotions and psychic energy can be recorded in the metallic or crystal structure of stone and certain other materials in much the same way that electronic tape works). These visions are theoretically harmless, but they "feed" on strong emotions, especially fear and grief; if they are seen by someone that fears them, they become stronger and more vivid. Profound sorrow also intensifies them. Repetition and intensification can eventually give more power to these visions and open a "door" to the more dangerous phenomena described below. There may also be a similar form of psychic "recording", not initially involving active Ab-natural forces, but also capable of amplification by repetition.

Typical Residual Hauntings

This type of haunting normally involves no intelligent entity, but rather instead acts as a psychic recording replayed over and over, to sometimes be seen by the psychically sensitive. The "recording" is normally regarded by paranormal investigators to have been made through the psychic impressions of powerful emotions (frequently including such negative emotions or mental states as grief, pain, terror, rage, bitter disappointment, or insanity, though no less frequently powerful positive emotions captured at or near a time of death or other significant psychic event as well.) When a "Ghost" is seen in such a haunting, like a recording of a living being, it does not acknowledge its surroundings - if a doorway is moved, the figure will walk through the wall, following the same path and performing the same actions it always had. Normally, nothing in the vision actually moves: figures may go through the motions of opening a door and then walk through the closed door, and there might be the sound of the doorknob rattling and the hinges creaking, but the door will not actually move.

These psychic "recordings" may remain dormant for years or even centuries, aside from disturbing particularly sensitive psychics from time to time, but can be activated when the environment is changed: when a new family moves into a home where the residual haunting has been stored, a psychic inadvertently triggers the recording by entering the area or using her psychic ability, a significant life event takes place such as a birth, death, marriage, coming of age, etc. (especially if that event is in some way carries a similar emotion to that which recorded the haunting), a psychically-charged object is introduced into the home, deliberately or accidentally reenacting the events that caused the haunting, or renovation or vandalism of the building where the event takes place and thus "disturbing" the area.

Residual Hauntings rarely directly threaten anyone, and are normally relatively easy for clever investigators to identify and resolve, sometimes simply by "cleansing" the area by removing the haunted or charged object, restoring a haunted renovated room to its original condition, removing a highly emotional person or a latent psychic from the area, or performing an appropriate exorcism, sometimes by "discharging" the emotional/psychic energy by solving a mystery connected to the Residual Haunting (for example, by revealing the identity of a killer who created the haunting by murdering someone, or by otherwise resolving the emotional crisis that triggered the haunting). At worst, a Residual Haunting can usually be ignored as "harmless", since people are not usually harmed by these hauntings beyond an occasional fright, and such hauntings in the modern era are believed to add to the character and prestige of particularly old buildings, especially historic inns, hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, theaters, and the like, where rumors of a haunting might be welcomed as a boon to business from curious tourists or patrons.

Dangerous Residual Hauntings

On rare occasions, a case that seems to be a "simple" Residual Haunting may, under closer scrutiny, be revealed to be something far different, and far more dangerous - such as when the activity of a more dangerous Mythos force is mistaken for a Residual Haunting, or when the haunting is complicated by other forces, such as the presence of intelligent spirits: for example, it's not unusual for a residual haunting to be triggered by the introduction of another spirit, such as one bound to a haunted object or possessing or oppressing a human victim, or the opening of a gate or portal to another world. In these cases, unwary investigators may suddenly find a seemingly "harmless" residual haunting spiraling into a dangerous full-scale horror involving dangerous, demonic or alien entities.

In some very rare cases, a powerful enough Residual Haunting can so profoundly affect a psychically sensitive victim that the situation can become dangerous due to the fragility of the victim's nerves, a heart condition, excessive obsession with the haunting, etc. There can sometimes also be such indirect dangers associated with the Residual Haunting where the "recording" threatens to unearth dangerous secrets, such as the identity of a killer, a far more dangerous and terrifying hidden mythos element that caused the residual haunting, etc., which may come to threaten investigators who dig too deeply into the mystery and find unexpected dangers behind the haunting.

Heresies and Controversies

Keeper Notes

  • Note that, for convenience, this phenomenon is classified as a "Mythos race", even though no actual autonomous member of any "race" is actually described by the phenomenon.

Associated Mythos Elements