“There is real love just as there are real ghosts; every person speaks of it, few persons have seen it.”
~Francois de la Rochefoucauld
GHOSTS & SPIRITS
The belief in the existence of ghostly manifestations of the dead is culturally universal. Although a culture’s belief system may differ on whether said ghosts are typically malevolent or benign, the consensus is that they are the soul of a person once living. These manifestations will appear as an exact reproduction of physical features as well as clothing, and can be depicted as such in artwork from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Many cultures celebrate rites to appease ghosts in the form of ancestral veneration. The Chinese Ghost Festival, and the European traditions of All Souls Day to name a few- all cater to, and offer food to restless ghosts who may be lurking about.
The differences between these two entities however (Ghosts and Spirits) could not be more diverse.
“Everyone lives the life of their choosing.
Not just what they chose, but what they're choosing.”
Ghosts have traditionally been seen as spirits looking for revenge, or people who have died a violent or gruesome death. Although this may be true in some cases, the true description of a ghost is someone who has decided, for whatever reason, to stay behind and not go to where they are supposed to. Most do so out of choice, although some individuals may not realize that they have actually died. Ghosts can be conscious or unconscious.
It is interesting to note that ghosts are people who are allowed free will following their death. This is hard for many people to accept and understand. This cannot truly be classified as “purgatory” in all cases, as many ghosts are apparently very happy to be where they are. We have received EVP voices that have told us, “We can go at anytime,” as well as hinting that they could even tell us how they died. It is true, however, that most if not all ghosts have some type of unfinished business that they use as an excuse to keep themselves here. Whether they feel that they died too soon, or are holding on to the belief that something needs to change before they can move on, their personal views and emotional needs take precedence regardless of whether they are still in their physical bodies.
It should also be taken into account that ghosts are more attracted to locations rather than to people. This has been incorrectly stated on certain paranormal television shows that, “ghosts follow people.” While it is true that in extremely rare cases ghosts can apparently follow the living, our research has shown completely the opposite. This means that a ghost may have been given the free will to stay here, but they do so with limitations. A ghost’s range of travel is not infinite- they are bound by the restrictions of a location. They cannot bi-locate (appear in different places at the same time) as Spirits do. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what type of structure is built on a location that is haunted, and why even newer homes may harbor some type of deep, dark, spectral secret. For ghosts it’s all about Location, Location, Location.
Because ghosts are more attracted to locations, it should be no surprise that cemeteries are rarely haunted. Since ghosts stay in places that make them comfortable, cemeteries would not be at the top of their list. Ghosts who do stay in cemeteries are either persons who still believe they are protecting something (such as ghosts from the Civil War), or someone who is so completely heartbroken and filled with grief that they have chosen this location to wallow eternally in their own self-pity. Spirits on the other hand DO visit cemeteries, whether they are buried there or not. They may visit the gravesites of their friends and family, or they may be just chillin’ with other Spirits having what we might consider to be a Paranormal Party.
Also, if you see or hear stories about a “man in black” at the cemetery, please be aware that this is the Gatekeeper who is not a ghost at all. The Gatekeeper doesn’t like to be bothered when he’s at a cemetery, so if you do see him, please give him a wide berth (this is more of a friendly warning than a plea for good manners). I’ll discuss him more at another time.
*Please refer to our Ghost Psychology section for more information on ghosts*
“The Encyclopedia of Ghosts & Spirits”
Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Troy
“The Encyclopedia of Haunted Places”
“Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits and Haunted Places”
“The Everything Ghost Book”
Jason R. Rich
“Ghosts and Strange Critters of
“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (1947)
“The Haunting” (1963 version)
“The Lady in White” (1988)
(the original with George C. Scott)
“The Sixth Sense”
(Best film ever in our opinion that depicts a ghost’s mindset)
“Ghostbusters” (of course)
“In many ways, time and space are where the irresponsible learn to become responsible.”
A Residual Haunting is not the same thing as a conscious ghost. What we are witnessing when we see a Residual Haunting is the playback of a moment in time almost like watching a movie. These playbacks are mainly visual, but can also be auditory. They are normally attributed to traumatic, life-altering events. Think of a Residual as a psychic footprint.
Residual Hauntings can occur anytime and anywhere as they are random in nature. Historical places where life and death situations took place are prime spots for Residuals. To name a few:
Any old structures including residences and businesses.
The living cannot interact with any entities during a Residual playback and vice-versa.
We have had many clients explain the Residual playbacks they have seen and they are extremely fascinating accounts. One of the main components we’ve noticed in all stories is that the playback itself appears to consist of events that transpired before something tragic or violent had taken place.
We have yet to receive word of a Residual where the viewer actually witnessed a murderous or violent act- what was witnessed were the preceding events prior to such acts. Here’s a prime example- the owner of a restaurant that used to be a Speakeasy would see this same Residual over and over again. Two goons are sitting at a table having a heated conversation with an attractive girl in 1920’s flapper attire. The witness could never tell what the argument was about, but knew that the conversation wasn’t going well. When the girl angrily gets up from the table to head up the stairs, the one goon also gets up and follows her. He turns around and looks behind him once, before reaching into his suit coat pocket and bringing out a large knife. He then comes right up behind the girl ready to strike her with the knife, whereas immediately all of the participants fade and disappear. There was no rhyme or reason when this playback would occur, and the original witness and some of her employees claimed to have watched it a number of times. Just like a photograph, a RESIDUAL haunting, saved in time and space by highly-charged emotional distress, will playback itself time and time again.
“There must be a bug in the system, because according to our records, we’ve never been told exactly how powerful we are.”
The meaning of the word “Poltergeist” (or “noisy, racketing ghost) means something very different to paranormal investigators. The description of a “Poltergeist” is an invisible entity that manifests in an unruly manner by being noisy, or performs the violent manipulation and movement of objects. Families are suddenly terrorized by inexplicable phenomena such as: broken dishes, showers of stones, mysterious fires, objects that levitate than are thrown and broken, or the violent moving of furniture. However, paranormal research has shown that poltergeist activity usually revolves around a pre-teen child or adolescent. We call this person “The Agent.”
Hormonal and emotional changes are rampant during our pre-teen years. This can create hostile and resentful-type energies. In particular individuals, these pent-up energies can explode outward, thus creating a disturbance in the physical environment displayed in the form of a psychokinetic disturbance. This is more common with pre-teen females than males, although either gender can become the ‘Agent.’ Exorcism and/or house blessing is not effective, and can make things worse since an adolescents rage is directed toward authority.
If a client writes to us saying that they have a “Poltergeist” in their home, one of the first questions we would ask them is how many children they have, and what their ages are. It’s no surprise that most people are not thrilled to hear that their teenage son or daughter may be the cause of said activity, as it is a lot easier to blame an outside entity for such odd and sometimes violent occurrences. To pin down the source of the activity, our first recommendation is to note if activity increases around the ‘Agent’. The best way to do this is to document the difference in activity level when the ‘Agent’ is in the house and compare it to when they are gone. In a very high percentage of these cases, when the main source of the psychokinetic energy is gone, the activity completely disappears. This proves that the ‘Agent’ has been the source of the disturbances.
To make matters more confusing, the ‘Agent’ will not even be aware that they are causing the disturbances, and are just as terrified as the rest of the household when turbulence happens. Furthermore, when the ‘Agent’ has a fear of the activity along with the rest of the household, this will only cause the disturbances to become more intense.
Poltergeist activity starts and stops suddenly. It can last anywhere from a few hours, few days, to a few years. Once the determination has been made that it is indeed the ‘Agent’ causing the activity, our recommendation is to help the ‘Agent’ get rid of some of that pent-up energy. Physical exercise during this time is very important, and sports that are geared to improve self-esteem are recommended. Actually, Karate has appeared to be very helpful with these types of individuals. If there has been a major change in the family dynamic of the household such as a divorce or a change in residence/schools, then a more emotional outlet may be needed, such as psychotherapy.
And ladies, please take note that our pre-teen years are not the only time we are blessed with such hormonal changes. When going through changes from PMS, peri-menopause or menopause, these fluctuating energies may again explode outward. Electricity may be affected- especially appliances, light bulbs and even street lights. I tend to blow out a lot of light bulbs and street lamps during certain special times, and you don’t want to get me near any type of electronic equipment or it will cease to function if not completely blow up. Things sometimes fly off of the shelves directly at me during this time too, especially at the supermarket. This activity is annoying and sometimes embarrassing and I am unaware of myself consciously performing such feats, but I’m sensitive to the fact that during these episodes I have temporarily become the ‘Agent.’
“Would you believe, that here, in the unseen, just a breath away from "there," in time and space, we have gardens with such sweet fragrances they actually caress passersby? That we have melodies so rich you can actually see them dancing through the air? And colors so exquisite they tickle all of your senses?”
Keep in mind that most of us will not become ghosts, as we will go to where we are supposed to. For the sake of simplicity, Todd and I like to separate ghosts from people who have passed over to the Other Side. We simply call them Spirits.
Spirits are people who have gone to where they are supposed to. If your grandfather comes to visit you and tells you that he’s doing fine now and not to worry about him anymore, this is not the Ghost of your grandfather. This is the Spirit of your grandfather. 75% of all bereaved persons have experienced such visitations.
Spirits can and do come back and forth from the Other Side to visit and they will do so intermittently. They may choose a more emotionally removed person to appear to pass on messages. If your mother died and the two of you were very close, you may still be grieving for her years following her passing. She knows that appearing to you may impede your bereavement and this is something she wouldn’t do. Bereavement is a training process so to speak, and is something very personal that we all much face and learn how to deal with. So to let the family know that she’s okay, she may appear in a dream or even in person to someone more removed such as your spouse (which my father actually did) or a niece, or even one of your friends. Or they may not appear to anyone at all. You cannot force an issue such as this- Spirits choose if and when they will appear. It’s not like we can download an App on our iSpirits and pick and choose who we want to talk to over there. And to be frank, Spirits have a lot of things to do where they are and they do get busy. More often than not, if they do visit us they tend to leave signs more than making appearances, especially when they’ve been gone for quite some time.
On the night that my father died, Todd and I drove to
Spirits can announce themselves with signs and they like to do this quite often. If your grandmother baked the best cookies you’ve ever had, the scent of those cookies may waft by when she is visiting you. Your father’s pipe smoke may linger in the air when he’s checking in with you. Perfume is another favorite. Another choice are items that were very personal to them such as flowers or favorite types of animals (butterflies, birds, cats, etc).
Spirits can manipulate many things in our physical environment to announce their presence, very much like ghosts can. Sometimes it may be hard to tell the difference. Spirits can affect anything electrical such as lighting, appliances, televisions, computers, and even phones! I would tell the story about the phone call I received at 2:30 in the morning from my deceased father about 4 months after his death, but I think I’ve made it pretty clear already that he’s fairly active and visits us often (and I admit that the phone call slightly terrified me at the time, which is why he most certainly hasn’t done that again). My dad has an affinity for my kitchen and this is usually where he pops in. This is not surprising- the man loved food.
Spirits can pick up and move physical items, and even bring you little presents. My father appeared to me in a dream about 8 months after his passing and in this dream I asked him to leave me a sign when he’s around. He said he’d drop pennies for me to find and that is how I would know. So whenever I find a penny, I thank him.
Todd has a friend from his high school days who was killed in a car crash. When Ronnie started visiting us, he used to leave chewed up gum on my kitchen counters until I told him to knock it off. That’s nasty. Now he leaves whole sticks of gum or empty gum wrappers when he pops in for a visit, which is perfectly fine. An odd little present to leave for us it’s true, but certainly one that we can attribute to him specifically. You may be receiving signs and not even be aware of them, or they may be so blatant that there is no other explanation for them. Regardless, it does us all good to take the time and pay attention.
Animals and very young children will see visiting Spirits because nobody has told them that they don’t exist. This is why babies look over your shoulder and giggle. Dogs and cats will sometimes run and play and talk to someone who you cannot see. These are people that they may have known and remembered. Even if they never met them while the person was alive, they know that this visitor is someone they can trust. Many if not most young children before the age of five will see Spirits and may tell you about it. Stories have been recounted to me time and again of 2 and 3 year olds telling mom and dad about how “Nana” was in their room last night to sing them a lullaby or “Gramps” was sitting at the foot of their bed and had brought them a baseball. This happens all the time and should not be viewed as anything paranormal, but a normal occurrence. What could be more normal than our friends and relatives visiting us?
Unfortunately the closest the living have to visiting those who have passed on is a visit to the cemetery. Our earthbound, physical bodies do not allow us traveling allowances to and from the Other Side. Many people ask me if Spirits hear us when we speak to them. You can be assured that they do. Even your beloved pets who have passed over hear you when you speak to them. Spirits hear everything, they watch everything, and they know everything. They know what’s in your heart and what you are thinking. Ghosts on the other hand are still earthbound, so ESP is not something they are blessed with. They may be able to manipulate the physical environment better than they used to, but they cannot read your mind. Only those who have passed over correctly gain all of this knowledge. Ghosts also have no boundaries and no understanding of when they have crossed the line. Spirits have infinite knowledge of this, and one of their main concerns is not to upset you. You may beg them to come and visit you, but they will know whether you are truly ready for this or not. And if you are not ready, they will not come regardless of whether you think you are.
American society as a rule tends to be very prudish when discussing death and the afterlife which I find slightly humorous based on the huge spiritual/medium movements that were so popular during the Victorian era. I find the current way we view death as a society severely lacking if not bordering on stuffy. Why we promote such a phobia of death in this society is beyond me.
Personally, I wish there were people at every hospital whose main purpose is to counsel patients who have had NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) or to simply offer guidance to someone who is getting ready for their transition from life into death. Instead, doctors and nurses are taught not to “speak of such things” when people getting ready to die say aloud what relatives are in the room with them, or when someone is brought back to life after being flat lined- recounting what they saw with infinite detail.
I spoke to many patients when I volunteered at a Hospice who would whisper to me that they wouldn’t be there the next day, and they were always right. Some of them even pointed to the corners of the room, smiling, and when I asked them if there was someone special here to see them they would answer with a definitive yes. These deathbed visitations from Spirits would normally transpire up to a week before a person would ultimately pass, but it could be quicker. I think it all depended on the person who was dying and if they were ready to go once the visitations began. Also, it should be noted that sober family members and friends of the patient, as well as Hospice employees and volunteers (myself included) have witnessed such phenomenon. In my opinion, deathbed visitations should be regarded as the highest evidence of the afterlife that we have, and are not just a by-product of an individual’s dying brain.
Most other cultures do not have such morbidity to death as we do here in the
Additionally, there are some persons in our society who seem to have no problem desecrating cemeteries and vandalizing tombstones- something other cultures if not most of us, find abhorrent. This is a pointless act of violence against our own ancestors and I deem it one of the lowest of the low. Endless Spirits have come up to me in cemeteries expressing their concern over a relative’s broken gravestone, or the remains of party trash laid about the cemetery grounds. This is something that they just can’t understand, and I cannot disagree with their complaints. So, if you’ve done anything like this, just know that the dead know all about it and they’re keeping an eye on you. Spirits rarely get angry, but this type of action does seem to upset them.
As a footnote, Spirits love celebrations. Marriages, holiday celebrations, births, even their own funerals and Celebrations of Life in their honor. Spirits are silent witnesses to all of our festivities and special moments in life- both the grim as well as the gleeful.
“One Last Hug Before I Go:
The Mystery and Meaning of Deathbed Visions.” Carla Wills-Brandon
“Life After Life” Raymond A. Moody
“The Everything Guide to Evidence of the Afterlife” Joseph M. Higgins
Spirit Guides/Guardian Angels/Teachers
“Not only are you now dreaming, but you're adored.
And not only are you adored, but you're guided.”
There are many different dimensional levels on the other plane of existence besides the one we live in. On a level close to our own, you have a Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel (if you prefer this description). A Guardian Spirit can also fall under this category. Some of these spirits have lived before- they may be a relative or someone with a special interest in your life, or they may just be assigned to you for a change approaching your life that they have superior knowledge of. Sometimes you have made an agreement with them and chosen them to be your Guide.
A Guide will never appear or do an activity that would make you uncomfortable or frightened- they know you and they know what your mind will accept and allow. They do not stand and stare at you or knock dishes out of kitchen cupboards. There are also no severe abnormal cold or hot spots from a Guide’s presence, although I have felt cool breezes and smelled certain scents that announce their presence. They do not show up on EMF detectors or any other equipment that which we would use to detect Ghosts. They are not judgmental about our sexual preferences, the color of our skin, or our personal religious convictions. They also do not have the negative or positive fields of emotional energy carried with them as a Ghost does. A Guide is only positive energy and never negative, although we frustrate them and they can get annoyed and exasperated by our behavior.
Some Guides are only with you for a short while- others are with you throughout your lifetime. They do seem to change positions and depending on what the situation is, can and will leave you in the hands of another Guide. You can have more than one Guide at one time, and most people do, although there is always one that is your ‘main’ teacher and supporter. Guides do have a hierarchy. Theologians have noted and written about the hierarchy of Angels. I have noticed that these higher spirits which theologians have called Archangels dress and act differently. Other Guides always give them respect and it is obvious that Archangels carry with them an aura of authority and knowledge. On occasion, Archangels visit Guides to see how things are transpiring (almost like a 90-day review). I can usually listen to Guides when they speak amongst themselves or to me, but it is interesting to note that when an
“I always advocate never creating monsters when there are none.”
Just in the past two years, one of the most requested questions we get asked when we do a paranormal lecture is about demons. Truth be told, I’m really fired up about all this talk about demons lately, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything about them. Okay, maybe just one or two things…
Let me just say that this insipid witch-hunt in regards to demons is getting old to me really fast. It completely reminds me of the Satanic-flap of the 1970’s and 1980’s. You remember that, don’t you? It’s when Geraldo Rivera was at his most popular and random daycare workers were ritualistically abusing their wards. I lived in
That said, let me just say that I’m not here to tell you that I don’t believe in the Big D’s. Of course I do. While I recognize the existence of an elemental or evil spirit, I’m not going to dwell on them. Dwelling on this type of entity only gives them more credibility and strength. And, having done almost 200 investigations, there were only a handful of locations where we can confidently say that these entities were the source of the problem. (I’m holding up one finger).
The Big D’s are making a comeback. They make great television. The media loves to play up on anything evil and malicious. “Paranormal Activity” was a movie done very well and one which scared the bejeezus out of a lot of people. Many folks thought it was a true and real account, even though they included the alternate ending on the DVD. Moreover, watching ghost hunters on television go into a location and claim that a particular place is two shots of evil with a demonic twist helps their ratings significantly. Things are a lot more exciting when we put people at risk.
I was recently offered the chance to apply as a ghost hunter for a proposed television show whose premise was ghost hunting with animals. I immediately told them that if they even had an inkling that they were going to put animals at risk and turn this into a demonic-fun-fest that I wasn’t the gal for them. Of course, I didn’t hear back and I honestly wasn’t expecting to. Just watching us ghost hunt with dogs and cats and a hamster in a ball isn’t stimulating enough. Putting us all at risk and calling demons out to play with us is a helluva lot more fun. Now, its one thing to do that to us stupid humans, but I won’t be a part of anything that puts animals at any type of risk. Especially not for the sake of some T.V. show.
Demons just don’t show up unannounced. You have to invite them. If you’ve invited them in, then you have to dis-invite them. Demons are attracted to - remember that. If you’ve used a Ouija Board and there were a couple of them wandering around watching what you were doing, you’ve just opened the door and let ‘em in. If you’ve dabbled in trying to conjure spirits and didn’t know what you were doing, you’ve let ‘em in without putting ‘em back. Furthermore, if you have your own personal demons that you are fighting, they love to make you relapse or backtrack and make your life miserable in the process. Demons love mayhem. But again, they have to be invited into your life to create these messes….not that we don’t create great messes on our own without their help! By the way, the Big D’s are entities that have never been incarnate – they aren’t deceased murderers or anything like that. They will also appear to a person in the exact form which that person believes they should take, and this is dependant upon cultural as well as spiritual views. When I have seen them, they have appeared to me as sneering, snotty little punks, very similar to the depiction of these entities in the movie Dogma but without the hockey sticks. I have never seen any of them horned, hairy, animalistic or bulbous.
It is important to note that once a D attaches itself to an individual, it pretty much has been handed a wrecking ball for its tormented pleasure. At the same time that they sound so horrible, D’s play an important part in the spiritual realm, as we in the living dimension struggle with our own choices of good and evil. These entities are in place to teach us hard lessons; that we must learn to gain this knowledge so that we may move forward. There has to be a balance to everything- the spiritual worlds are built on that concept. The Big D’s are here to do a job just like everyone else, and it seems that our current economy isn’t showing signs of sending them to the unemployment line anytime soon. Angels/Spirit Guides are their counterparts, and they do the good stuff.
Every culture has members who are placed on a higher spiritual pedestal then the rest of the community. Shamans, medicine men, etc. In the
With that being said, for clients only- I would start with your clergy if you feel like your problem is demonic in nature. Seriously, don’t contact one of us ghost hunter types unless we list a trained demonologist on staff. Todd and I are NOT demonologists and have never claimed to be.
Why we are giving these types of entities all this power is beyond me. The more we talk about them and do shows about them the more powerful they are. Believe me, they are loving all of us right now especially the media! Seriously, if you don’t give them a reason to bother you, they just won’t. There’s nothing cool or neat about having demons in your life, and if you are someone who believes you have them as your personal buddy-system then there is something in your life that needs to be fixed. I’m not talking about the time you stole a candy bar from the local 7-11 when you were twelve. I’m talking about the big stuff. You know.
Everybody has their own views on the Big D’s and I’m not here to get into a spiritual power-play or start an argument with anyone. If you knew us personally you’d know that Todd and I have great respect and admiration for people of all cultures and faiths and we hold this respect for both the living and the dead. But let me just say this. Whatever you believe in this life is what you’ll get. If you believe that there’s a horned demon in your kitchen at night eating a ham sandwich, there will eventually be one. If you believe that the cause of your misfortune and heartache is being caused by the Big D’s even though deep in your heart you know better, they are more than happy to take credit for it…and you are welcome to go ahead and give them that power. Just don’t call ghost hunters to try and solve these problems.
Me, I’ll settle for self-responsibility in my life. It’s not always pleasant, but it is easier in the long run, and certainly keeps the D’s away. And as far as the media is concerned- well, I know I’ll never get my own show. I refuse to make up demonic or evil stuff when it’s just not there.
We were told by the one network, “You guys are just too normal for television.”
Guess it just goes to show you. True reality is terribly, terribly disappointing.