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things that go bump in the night

Are ghosts and hauntings real?

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Are ghosts and hauntings real? Ghosts and hauntings seem to be a common part of the human experience. A ghost is an image or apparition of the deceased. They typically have unfinished business here in this world and may need help getting a message to someone, or may need help locating in an item which they had hidden during their lifetime.

Ghosts can manifest anywhere but are more likely appear at night. It is thought that their appearance at night is because living humans are less active and more relaxed. This makes living humans more susceptive to the subtle energies of spirits. On a practical note, a less substantial ghost may be difficult to see during daylight hours.

Types of hauntings

Death-bed visions (version I)

A death-bed vision is the appearance of a recently deceased individual to a relative or a close friend at the time of their death. The person may not find out until later that the person had in fact died.

Death-bed visions (version II)

The veil between worlds becomes thinner when an individual is dying. The dying person may comment on seeing their (long-dead) relatives checking in, sitting nearby, or otherwise in close proximity. When it is the "turn" of that individual, their relatives will assist the person in crossing over to the other world.

a ghostly figure in the window Residual hauntings

The traditional view is that ghosts are the earthbound souls of people who have died, remaining on earth in a ghostly form. This commonly occurs due to a traumatic or untimely death, but some ghosts seem to want to remain in a familiar location. In some cases, the ghost may not even know they have died or who has otherwise not accepted their death.

Those who want to pass on should be helped along to the other world in the most gentle manner possible.

Repeater ghosts

A repeater ghost is a recording of residual energy from a particular person. They remain in this world to replay certain experiences over and over again, for all practical purposes caught in a loop of events.

Repeater ghosts are harmless, and often are completely unaware of the living.

Spirits and spirit guides

A spirit is the soul of a deceased individual who has crossed over into the other world. They are intelligent and can communicate with living humans, in addition to possessing the ability to come and go as they choose between the worlds.

If they communicate in a helpful manner with a particular person, the spirit is generally considered that person's spirit guide. A spirit guide acts as a protector for that individual. An individual may have just the one spirit guide, or there may be several. In my experience, the presence of relatives acting as spirit guides may be sensed as they check on their loved ones, pass messages along to the living, or check in during trying times such as a major surgery.

Poltergeists

Literally a "noisy ghost", this isn't a spirit in the usual sense of the word. A poltergeist is an excess of energy being released from a living individual, and will generally take the form of psychokinesis with objects in the vicinity. Psychokinesis (literally 'mind-movement') is the grouping of talents by which one can move objects with one's mind such as levitation and teleportation. This is believed to be the result of suppressed hostilities arising from the subconscious of an individual, and is commonly seen in adolescents, particularly girls.

Inhuman spirits

Inhuman spirits are entities that are not, nor have ever been, human. The goal of an inhuman spirit is to break the will of the individual so they can take control of that individual. Inhuman spirits are mischievous if not outright malevolent. They interact with living humans by physically throwing things or levitating objects, and often possess great strength and power. A disturbance caused by an inhuman spirit is more pronounced and violent than poltergeist activity. Such spirits are a danger to the living.

If the "resident ghost" is a malevolent spirit, an exorcism is recommended.

Can ghosts sense each other?

Ghosts remaining in an area may be aware that other souls are around. Sometimes they "know" one another as in the case of relatives, but sometimes they don't.

Can children sense ghosts?

Children are more open minded than adults, so they might not know that what they are seeing is a spirit or ghost rather than a physical being. They are not preconditioned to ignore or be fearful of the unexplained, nor do they really understand the idea that "there are no such thing as ghosts".

Speaking from my own experience, even as a child I could sense ghosts nearby. In general, around age 6 or 7 children are more perceptive of things that adults tend not to notice. What may to an adult be a child's imaginary friend may in fact be a ghost communicating with the child.

How can I see a real ghost?

You don't have to be a medium to see ghosts. Many ordinary people have at least one ghostly encounter during their lifetime.

Find a local ghost hunting group

One way to try to see a ghost is to see if there are any local ghost hunting groups in your area. These groups visit haunted locations to investigate paranormal phenomena. This does not mean you will definitely see a ghost, but it could give you some kind of evidence of the existence of ghosts (such as EVPs) at the location.

Do a ghost tour

Another way you could possibly see a ghost is during a ghost tour. However, do keep in mind that often these tours are for entertainment purposes only.

In some cases, you may walk by or drive by a haunted location during the tour, but you may not enter the site. During some tours, you may hear some wonderful storytelling about local ghosts, but it doesn't mean any ghosts are present at those sites.

Tip: In the event you actually do have a ghostly encounter during a tour, I would suggest having both a video camera and a film camera with you. Although you may not see anything with the naked eye, it is possible that you might capture something on film.

Visit a historic location on your own

The older buildings in any part of the world are most likely to have residual energies and ghosts. These are the most likely sites for a ghostly encounter.

If there is a historic area near where you live, or if you plan to travel to one, do some research on the Internet for local haunts.

Although you might actually see a ghost at these historic sites, you may also encounter one in a different way such as through sounds, the moving of an object, or a scent that shouldn't be there.

Tip: If you plan to travel to visit the site of a purported haunting, phone ahead to see if there are any restrictions on visiting. The location may only be open at certain times.

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