Ghosts in the popular image are violent, and have been portrayed by tv shows and movies alike to be malicious and 'evil'. This is hype and nothing more. Ghosts are not inherintly dangerous in this dimension, and it's rare that they ever go out of their way to make their presense known, let alone physically harm someone. Demons and other 'evil' spirits are even rarer, comprising maybe 1% or less of known hauntings. Although spirits aren't the malicious stereotypes they're portrayed as, they can still be dangerous, and it's important to be careful when communicating or dealing with them. They might not throw things or possess you (I'll explain more about possessions later), but they can form attachments, which means they become a sort of leech on your energy. More on this later. 

Ghost: an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image.

Spirit: the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character

Spirits might stay on earth for many reasons, the most popular being 'unfinished business'. However, it is not the only reason.

 Reasons a Spirit Might Stay on EarthEdit

  • Unfinished business - the featured type of haunting on almost all paranormal shows and movies. These spirits are fully aware they're dead, and will usually use this knowledge to their advantage (mind over matter). 
  • Fear of judgement - Keep your athiest comments to yourselves, I have had previous experience with these type hauntings, as well as several other ghost hunters, psychics, and my trusted colleague. These spirits choose to stay on earth because they fear judgement. They are fully aware they're dead, but don't usually go out of their way to be noticed. 
  • Fear of change - These spirits can either be aware or unaware they've died. If aware, they've made a conscious decision not to leave. If not, it was a subconscious decision. Usually in both cases, the spirit is fairly quiet.

[note: you might wonder how a ghost wouldn't know they're dead. There is no explanation for this phenomena, but the speculation is these people are in denial.]

  • Physical people are keeping them here - this is a theory of mine and several others, family members of a deceased person unknowingly tether a them to this dimension. Depending on personality, the family member may or may not preform minor things to show their presense (flickering lights that weren't flickering before, cool/warm spots, creaking.. basic signs of ghosts, but nothing drastic). 

Manifestations of GhostsEdit

Spirits might manifest themselves in multiple ways, the most common being the above-mentioned flickering lights and such. Others include 

  • Apparitions - the most commonly portrayed, they usually appear as a human figure. They aren't always entire bodies though, sometimes only a head or torso will appear, and in rare cases, a disembodied pair of legs. It's speculated that a massive amount of energy is spent appearing in the physical realm, and as such, rarely manifest in such a way.
  • Orbs - little is known about these, since the study of orbs didn't start until fairly recently. Originally thought, and indeed usually found, to be light reflected from dust particles, some images captured have no logical explanation for the phenomena portrayed. 
  • Residual hauntings - Aka: "Place memory." These aren't really ghosts at all, but rather a recording of certain events. Best described as a 'recording' that will 'play back' when the conditions are right. This haunt is not aware of its surroundings and there is nothing to interact with.
  • Vaporous anomaly - mists or vapors. May either be directly observed with the naked eye or documented in photos/videos. 
  • Shadow people - full or partial bodied apparitions that appear as 2 dimensional shadows. 
  • Phantom vehicles - these are similar to residual hauntings, as there is nothing to interact with. 
  • Poltergeist hauntings - probably the most widely recognized as a 'haunting,' these "noisy ghosts" will actively move physical objects. Ex. a door opening and closing, a glass thrown violently across the room (a rare occurance). Poltergeists may not be an actual spirit either, and might be latent telekinetic abilities of a human being. Called HAPs, or Human Poltergeist Agents, these 'hauntings' usually start during the teen years and end with them. 
  • Transient hauntings - these are earthbound ghosts, but are not bound to a single location. The entity can roam anywhere and are responsible for 'on-off' hauntings. 

Communicating with SpiritsEdit

Because of the particular nature of ghosts, simply communicating can be dangerous to the untrained person. Although it is rare, the danger is still very real. 

Reasons to protect yourself from entitiesEdit

Two specific areas of concern are physical spirit attacks and spirit attachments. The first can be startling enough, there have been reports of investigators being stuck, tripped, or pushed, however, the second is far more concerning. Spirit attachments are defined as the "invasion of one's body by a disincarnate entity or by negative energies." It is an unpleasant experience that can be prevented in most cases, so taking those few extra minutes for prevention can save weeks of discomfort and/or pain. 

Some possible signs of spirit attachments are:

  • hearing voices
  • Extreme behaviour changes
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Unexplained depression
  • Fears and phobias
  • Serious illness of unknown cause
  • Loss of energy
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Apparent multiple personalities

These symptoms may also be expained by ordinary medical causes, so be sure to rule those out first. If there is no medical explanation, you might be dealing with an attachment and should immediately seek psychic help. 

Ways to Protect Yourself from AttachmentsEdit

Although there is no sure-fire way to make absolutely sure nothing will attach itself to you, prevention is better than nothing. Anxiety and exhaustion are like bread and butter to these forms of spirits, so contact should be limited, if possible, to nothing. Healthy, positive energy is the first step to prevention. Also:

1) Self-Check - Check your emotions and physical state. Are you feeling strong and healthy, or do you feel like you're coming down with something? Are your allergies kicking up? Are you having problems breathing? If you are, contacting spirits is not recommended. Also check your emotions and physical state during your session with a spirit. If there is no explanation for a sudden shift, end the session immediately.

2) Eat something - This is the best and quickest way to raise your energy. Never start on an empty stomach. (There have been reports of eating right before a session/investigation, and after an hour being hungry again, so never start without eating first)

3) Take time to ground and center yourself 

4) Develop and use your own form of personal protection - A personalized method of protection should be used every time, as it will become stronger every time you use it. Some methods are

    • Prayer - A simple prayer for protection is the easiest and most effective defense against an attack. However, the catch is you have to believe it will work, otherwise you might as well have recited Hamlet.
    • Create a shield
    • Open your chakras
    • Use talismans - As with prayer, if you don't believe in it, you might as well have carried an old eraser with you. Charging the item (it can be a symbol or crystal) with the task of protecting you from harm has been reported to work well.

Stop! Don't Panic! What To Do if you're attackedEdit

1) Keep calm and assess the situation - not every push or shove requires banishment

2) Immediately reinforce your personal protection

3) Reassure the entity that you mean no harm - Did someone do something disrespectful? Did you speak to it rudely? Could you have scared it (yes, it is possible)? They might be acting out of anger or fear. Reassure it to communicate with you and that you mean no harm.

4) Banish ONLY IF YOU HAVE TO - If the situation proves to be dangerous to you or anyone else, you might have to drive the spirit away. This is not the same as an exocism, it is purely a defensive measure. 

    • Compel the spirit to depart - "The power of God compels you" may sound crazy, but it works. Command the spirit to leave using the name of whatever God you worship
    • White light - similar to the shield, only imagine the room filling up with light. It should banish any negative spirit.
    • Call upon your guardians - guardian angel, spirit guide, or protection totem, call upon them to ward off the attack. The Archangel Michael is said to be a particularly powerful protector in these cases.

Contacting the SpiritsEdit

Once you have protected yourself, you can begin. There are several ways to talking to spirits.

  • Ouiji - I felt this one should be addressed first. Ouiji is particulary dangerous because you are giving a spirit access to your mind and body, which makes it easier and more likely you'll have issues with attachements. Preforming ouiji is not recommended for novices and should only be done with a trained professional. 
  • Trances - this is similar to ouiji, as it allows the spirit into your mind and body. Again, this is not recommended for novices and should only be preformed with a trained professional. 
  • Tape recorder - technology somehow has the ability to capture what we can't hear. This is the best for beginners, and recommended as a starting point for contact. Ambient sounds can disrupt the recording and sound like a ghostly voice, so keeping a detailed log of what you hear is a good idea. (Note, be sure to unplug all electrical devices before starting)
  • Clairaudience

Once you have determined which technique is best, now it's time to make contact. Be nice and polite, remember, they were once humans too. Being rude and disagreeable can anger or scare a spirit, causing them to lash out. Also, do not dare a ghost to "prove they're there." There have been many chilling reports of such people being pushed down stairs, hit with thrown objects, and even getting scratched. Treat them how you want to be treated. Ask questions politely and give them plenty of time to answer with whatever method you've chosen. 

[A quick note on tape recorders: some ghosts might not know what a tape recorder is, so be as simple as you can. For example: "This device might be able to hear you, so please speak as loudly as you can so we can hear and help you." Some investigators prefer to use "thingamajig" for a better chance at being understood.] 

After a SessionEdit

1) "Please don't follow me home" - make sure all spirits understand they are not welcome to follow you. You may feel foolish, but do it anyway. Thank them for their presense and say goodbye. Set boundaries and leave no room for interpretation, ex. "To all spirits present, I ask that you do NOT follow me home"

2) Remove your shield - ground and center yourself and put the shield back up if you so desire

3) Eat something to rebalance yourself 

Possession and Other Hostile ActsEdit

A Quick Word on DemonsEdit

Demon hunting seems to have been glamourized by Hollywood, when in reality, it's a harsh field to get into. Because of their nature, demons and 'evil' entities require a large amount of mental and physical control to banish, let alone speak to. Usually the ones that make trouble are the ones who want trouble, so if you are insistent on dealing with them, you should consult a priest or other religious leader for help. 

Another Quick WordEdit

This is for religious people only. If you are athiest, you have the choice not to read this, but you will not comment on how stupid you think it is. 

I'm well aware of what the Bible says about mediumship, but I've done some research on this. Based on accounts of mediums, you shouldn't allow another spirit into your being, consult someone who does, or purposefully raise someone's spirit if they have successfully moved to the other side. How do I know this? From my own personal experience, and one key verse in Samuel 1, detailing how the spirit of Samuel was raised from the dead by the Witch of Endor for Saul. 

In ConclusionEdit

I hope you enjoyed this and gained some insight to the fascinating world of the paranormal. 

As a final note, here are the Do's and Don't's of paranormal interaction, so's to be kind to our paranormal investigator friends: 

DO be willing to set boundaries

DO ground and center before and after each session/investigation

DO develop and use your own personal protection ritual

DO know and be watchful for the signs of spirit attack or attachment

DO listen to your instinct during an investigation

DO be prepared to take immediate action against potentially harmful spirits

DO ask for permission if you are going somewhere that isn't your house (Note: graveyards are closed after dark, so ask the city for permission to go there after hours)

DO have fun, but STAY ON GUARD

DON'T take your safety or that of anyone else for granted

DON'T go ghost hunting alone

DON'T participate if you are feeling ill, tired, angry, or stressed

DON'T ever go while under the influence

DON'T attempt to raise anything you don't know how to get rid of