Happily Haunted - Ghosts in the Real World
by Joanne Emmons
Ghosts are scary, right? No, not necessarily. Sometimes a haunted home can be pleasant and welcoming.
For those of us who watch the myriad of ghost shows on TV, the term "happily haunted" doesn't usually come to mind. Many of these shows focus on the more dramatic hauntings, and I have no doubt that the events depicted get at least a bit of a negative or dramatic twist in the editing process. It just (sometimes) makes for good TV and it's what viewers want to watch. But what is it really like to live with a ghost?
First, let's address the topic of demonic entities. Personally I used to think there really wasn't such a thing; now, unfortunately, I'm more convinced. In any case, demonic hauntings and possessions are thankfully rare. They are a whole different ballgame, and if you are venturing into the field of paranormal investigation, or if you have a negative or potentially demonic haunting in your own home, you might want to learn a bit more about the topic.
Aside from demonic cases, some spirit hauntings can also be negative in nature. Ghosts were people once, too, and people come from both ends of the niceness scale. Once a spirit is crossed over it is returned to its purest form, but the ones that are earthbound retain whatever personality traits, prejudices, and negativity they had while they were alive. Sometimes that's not a good thing.
So if you happen to move into a home that's already occupied, it's pretty much pot luck as to whom you'll get as your new roommate. There are a lot of spirits out there I wouldn't want to run into anywhere, much less in my own home. More often than not, though, earthbound spirits are generally benign and can even be helpful. Over the years they may annoy you at times, but they can also tend to grow on you.
Most hauntings themselves aren't as dramatic in their manifestations as those you see on TV. Knocks and banging are common symptoms, as are ongoing issues with electronics. Other subtle signs of a haunting include hot or colds spots, the feeling of being watched, unexplainable smells, and mechanical issues in the home. More significant hints that you're sharing your home with an unseen houseguest can include disembodied voices, object manipulation, and physically being touched. And actual sightings of shadow figures and full-bodied apparitions are always strong hints.
These types of symptoms aren't usually an attempt of the spirit to do harm or express discontent. Often they are just trying to get a little attention, or possibly to stir up a little emotional energy to draw from. Of course if the activity is causing undue fear or stress, or is keeping you awake at night, you'll need to take a few steps to get it under control. I usually recommend starting out by verbally laying down the ground rules. I don't mean that you should tell them it's your house now and they need to get out. Hopefully it won't come to that, and declaring that type of ultimatum could potentially backfire. Of course it always depends of the specifics of the case, but often I'll recommend something along the lines of a compromise. For example, you could start with something like this:
"Listen, I know you're here but this is my house now. I'm willing to share it with you if you follow a few ground rules. First, you need to stay away from the children. I know you like to play with them but you're scaring them, so they're off limits. Next you can't do anything to bother us at night. Once we're in bed it's quiet time. Period. If you'd like to let us know you're around during the day, that's fine, as long as you don't do anything to harm us. But we must have our sleep so you need to be quiet at night."
Use a firm but unemotional tone, and never yell as the energy could stir things up in unwanted ways. Approach it as you might when setting boundaries with younger child. Or, if you'd prefer, handle it like a conversation with a friend or relative who has come to stay but needs a bit of a reminder as to proper etiquette.
I'm amazed at how often this approach alone can help get unwanted activity under control. It may not have perfect results, and with an extremely negative haunting it could potentially backfire, but I've seen it get serious cases under control, allowing the clients to finally get good night's sleep.
Once you and your ghost are on better terms we can finally get on to the "happily haunted" part. As long as a spirit isn't being disruptive or affecting your energy, living with one can be a pleasant, even an uplifting experience. Some of the things they can do are nothing short of amazing, and they serve as a constant reminder that his physical plane of existence isn't all there is. The universe is so much broader and more amazing than we can see with our five senses, and paranormal experiences offer us brief glimpses through the veil.
Many of the clients I work with are quite content sharing their home with a spirit. They may want to learn more about them, or even want to help them cross over, an extreme gift of kindness in my view. In one particular home I've investigated I believe there is a child's spirit that is attached to the woman of the house. On my first investigation there we captured an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a little girl's voice clearly saying "I like you." On another visit we captured a child's voice saying "mommy" just after the female homeowner asked if she should leave the room. Knowing a little about the spirits in your home can often make living with the paranormal a little less frightening.
On the whole, many of the clients I work with might consider themselves "happily haunted", or at least they are comfortable with their circumstances. I put myself in that category as well. My current home used to be visited by a young boy's spirit. Although I believe I have helped him cross over, there is still at least one older male energy here. Our property used to be part of a farm, and I think our spirit was associated with that homestead and just drops by on occasion. Maybe he's here more often than I realize, but in any case, he's more than welcome to share our home.
There's a quote from Dr. Michael Newton's book Destiny of Souls that I think is very fitting:
Maybe that's exactly what our fascination with the paranormal is all about â€“ a stirring of something deep inside us that remembers the other side of the veil. If we think of our ghostly housemates along these lines it may bring us a little closer to being happily haunted as well.