Holzer, Hans

Holzer, Hans (1920– ) Dr. Hans Holzer is one of the foremost ghost hunters of the modern era. He has visited reportedly haunted sites throughout the world and has written 138 books on ghosts, haunted locations, reincarnation, and other paranormal subjects, as well as creating documentaries, films, and plays. Holzer first became interested in ghosts as a boy growing up in Vienna, Austria. In 1938 he moved to New York, where he currently lives. For a brief time he studied in London, receiving a doctorate in parapsychology at the London College of Applied Science. Based on his work, Holzer has defined three types of haunting entities: ghosts, spirits, and stay-behinds. A ghost, he says, is a residual image, or psychic imprint, of a person who is no longer present. A spirit is an entity that people not only see but can interact with, and during these interactions it can seem intelligent. A staybehind is the spirit of a person who does not realize that he or she has died and therefore does various things to make other people notice it; these things include not only trying to contact relatives in places familiar to the spirit but also moving objects around, sometimes violently. Holzer believes that stay-behinds are responsible for at least some incidents of poltergeist activity.


  • Apparitions
  • Human Ghosts


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning