Welcome to the world of ghost hunting. This is an ever-growing field and one that has many levels to it. There are those who consider ghost hunting to be a hobby. For many, the idea is to go to haunted places, take pictures, set up tape recorders and hope for the best. There are many “ghost clubs” that enjoy this type of “hunting.” With a little bit of knowledge and some common sense, it is a relatively safe and fun hobby. Sure, there may be an occasional scare or two such as when the ghost you tried to capture on film decides to follow you home. This falls into the category of “you asked for it…” However, rest assured, the spirit will go back on its own.
For many others, ghost hunting is really something more than a hobby. For these people, they want to understand more about life n general and what happens to us when life as we know it ends. It is interesting how many people believe that the key to life can be found with the dead. That idea is not without some merit. After all, if anything can make you a believer in life after death, spotting a ghost will surely do it.
Still others study this field with the thoughts of research in mind. This is a challenging way to approach ghost hunting and it carries with it some difficulty. Attempting to scientifically test and prove haunting phenomena can be extremely frustrating because let us face it: ghosts do not always cooperate with us and our efforts. However, there is much to be learned and if you approach it properly, that is with no set expectations in mind, you will be surprised what you can learn.
The last group is those who work in this field in order to help those who are suffering from the torments of some form of preternatural or supernatural phenomena. It takes a certain type of individual to do this type of work because unlike the other groups listed; this one carries with it some risks. As soon as an investigator accepts a case, (and sometimes before that) he or she has put themselves right into the crosshairs. It is one thing to be followed by a benign spirit that drew your interest in a haunted bed and breakfast establishment; it is something entirely different when you are followed home by an evil spirit who just happens to be angry with you for interfering in its plan.
This is a situation that can cause you a few problems. Having the best of intentions does not guarantee you protection. For that reason, the first chapter of this class will discuss some of the risks involved and the need to make sure that you know exactly what you are doing and why you are doing it. This is probably the most important chapter in this course.
In short, ghost hunting can be a fun and rewarding endeavor. Once you have completed this course, you will have a much better understanding of the spirit world and how to interact with that world safely and productively whether you are a hobbyist or a serious investigator. I hope you enjoy the journey.
Chapter 01: An Important Message
Before we get started with the “how to” section, we must understand a few things. In the introduction, I listed the basic types of ghost hunting. As mentioned, it can be a fun and safe endeavor as long as you exercise common sense and have a good idea about what you are doing. For the first three groups mentioned, there is little if any danger. You are simply trying to experience a few things and learn along the way. As you pose no threat to any spirit, the likelihood is that you will not run into anything negative. Exercise common sense: for example, if at any time you get the feeling that you are being threatened or some little voice tells you that it is a good idea to leave a certain spot, listen to that voice!
I have been studying the fields of parapsychology and demonology (they are not the same thing) and I have been investigating paranormal phenomena for well over a quarter century and I have learned the importance of following my feelings. This is not a fear thing we are talking about for fear is natural; it’s simply knowing that something may not be right and listening to that little voice. I am not suggesting that you will be tarred and feathered if you ignore that little voice but you may find yourself in a hairy situation, one that may take away your interest in the field in a hurry. This is why I say that you must exercise common sense. If you get the feeling that you should leave, do it. There is nothing to be gained in trying to “tough it out.”
You are not running from fear, you are using common sense. Hey, I have a high tolerance for pain but I know better than to stick my hand in the fire.
Investigating a potentially serious haunting is not the same as ghost hunting. Trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Just because someone is an experienced “ghost hunter” does not make them an investigator and it does little to prepare them to battle potentially evil forces. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from getting into this line of work; God knows we need as many competent ones as we can find. The thing is that you must know exactly what you are doing before you are in a position to diagnose a problem and help with the solution to said problem.
Investigating a human “haunting” is not necessarily a dangerous thing but it does have certain risks. The possibility of having the spirit in question follow you home is fairly high, especially if that spirit has been able to determine that you are frightened by it. This can be disruptive in many ways. However, it is not likely dangerous unless you panic. Human spirits really cannot do much to hurt us. The vast majority of cases, injuries result from an over-reaction to phenomenon. You can translate that to mean that most injuries occur from ones attempt to get away from a frightening experience. There is nothing wrong with being frightened; every investigator has found themselves frightened at one time or another. The important issue is how you react to that fear. Panic during an investigation is dangerous in two ways. For openers, you can become injured. The second problem is that you will cause harm for the people you are trying to help. They will view you as a professional. If they see that you are terrified, how will that make them feel? I have seen this happen many times. The effect this has on the victims is devastating. If you have not reached the point where you can withstand frightening occurrences, you are not ready to investigate a potentially negative haunting. That is not to say that you will not be ready, it just means that you need more time. However, this field is not for everyone. Not everyone can pass the “basement” test. (That will be discussed shortly.)
When it comes to a demonic haunting, it is an entirely different animal. Should you find yourself in an investigation that has demonic overtones, the best advice in the world is to refer the case to someone experienced in those types of hauntings. There are very real dangers involved in demonic cases. Although they are very rare, (despite what you see on the Internet) they do take place. You must make sure you know what to look for whenever you do an investigation. If you see signs of a demonic presence, use common sense. If this sounds like some arrogant, superior attitude, let me apologize for that is the last thing I want to do. There is a reason why I am stating all of this and it has nothing to do with you as a person. There are many out there who will make great investigators. However, there is a problem with our “information age.” A quick look through paranormal websites can be eye-opening, to say the least. There are literally hundreds of websites where people claim to be parapsychologists or demonologists or exorcists. In many instances, these sites are professionally done. A beautiful website means nothing more than the fact that they have a great webmaster. It does not mean they know “jack” about investigating demonic hauntings. You have to look carefully at the material on those sites. There are some in the alphabet game as I call them who claim to have been involved in “hundreds of exorcisms.” Any group that makes such a claim has probably never been confronted by a real demon. Most would not know a demon if it bit them on the butt. I am sorry to tell them this but a book or two falling off a shelf or a closet door that slams shut does not make for a demonic haunting.
Demons and devils do exist and they sometimes directly interfere directly with us but this is extremely rare. I cannot emphasize that enough. Reading some of these sites can be dangerous because they trivialize the demonic world and that does several things:
- It hurts every professional in the field because it makes it look like we are all nuts.
- It gives the impression that demons are no big deal and that they are something everyone can handle. Trust me when I tell you that is not so. There is nothing trivial about demons and their abilities.
Should you find yourself involved in a demon infested house, you are in real trouble. You are in even bigger trouble if you have the mistaken notion that they are no big deal. I hate listening to stories told by other investigators about how they did “this and that” with the demon in the California case or how they “outsmarted” the devils in New York. These people are dangerous, no matter how good their intentions may be.
You are not going to see too much in this class about demons and very little about how to work a demonic haunting. Believe me when I tell you that taking this course, reading a few books, (including mine) do not make you qualified to work a demonic haunting. It takes years of learning and investigating and some extremely strong belief systems to qualify you for that type of work. If that is what you want to do, I am sure you will succeed at it and I would gladly offer as much help as I can. However, make sure you are ready for that because the stakes are high. Reading a book or two about the Warren’s, (the world’s most famous self promotion team) will not do it. Neither will attending a lecture or two about the Amityville Horror. There are plenty of people out there, some famous and some infamous who will trivialize demonic encounters or boast about them to make themselves look special. Run; do not walk from those types. They have never dealt with a demon before and they are dangerous.
Be careful too regarding the books you read. Some of the most popular books on the market today are about Deliverance. Here again, we find demons trivialized. Some of these books make it seem as if all we have to do is say a quick prayer or two, bind and cast the demon out. Then you can go to lunch. I repeat, people who act this way do not have clue one when it comes to a demonic problem. One hopes they never find themselves in a situation of that magnitude; they may be hurt badly.
Although the Catholic Church is often criticized about the way they investigate demonic cases, they know what they are doing. If you want to learn more about demonic hauntings, look for those written by Catholic priests.
Chapter 02: Getting Started
What do you need to get started in your career in ghost hunting? Well, the first thing you need is yourself. In truth, that is all you really need.
Let me show you what I mean. Let us say that I decide to investigate a house. Well, I walk in to the house and interview the people living there. I get a general idea about what is happening. While sitting on the couch, the couch with me on it slides five feel across the floor. Guess what, it is probably haunted. That is really all it takes. However, let us say that we want to take it a little farther. In that case, it is probably a good idea to have a pad and pen with me. That makes remembering the information I am giving easier to remember. Of course, it might be a good idea to have a camera or two with me as well in case something materializes.
Now that I think about it, it might be a good idea to have a tape recorder as well. Hey, a camcorder is good two. You never know when something might fly across the room. And on it goes. There are many “toys” that are useful for the ghost hunter, some more so than others.
You can spend a lot or a little and get good results either way. Personally, I prefer to use a lot of equipment. Since there is always the possibility that a case may turn into something big, I like to gather as much evidence as possible. Being an investigator is much like being a detective. You have to gather as much evidence as possible and begin to paint a picture. While any given bit of evidence may be noteworthy, one or two things by themselves do not always give you a clear picture, thus, the need for as much evidence as possible.
I sometimes consider myself the jury in an investigation. In other words, I have a somewhat skeptical attitude. However, the key is to have an open mind. What I try to do when I am constructing a case is see if there is enough evidence to convince myself that something paranormal is taking place. I want to prove this to myself “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That takes evidence. So how do we begin gathering it? That starts with the interview process. From the first contact, I am gathering evidence. When an inquiry first comes in, I look for two things:
· Does the person sound credible?
· Is what they are describing investigable?
Bear in mind that at this point I am not attempting to make a diagnosis. At this juncture, I just need to determine whether what is being described to me consistent with what would be considered paranormal. If the answer is yes to questions # 1 and 2, then I will set up an investigation.
The goal in any investigation is to determine 3 things:
· Is something there?
· What is it?
· Why is it there?
When I mention this to the client, they usually get a little annoyed at me, especially because of the first question. “What do you mean: is something there? Didn’t I tell you that my couch went flying through the window?” That is a bit extreme but the truth of the matter is that there are often natural explanations for what seems like unnatural phenomena. Always keep something in mind: it only takes one mistake to ruin a reputation. Therefore, I want to be sure before making any definitive statements one way or the other.
People who believe they are being haunted tend to exaggerate. They do not necessarily do this intentionally; usually they are not. However, when anyone is frightened, it is natural for things to seem larger than life. Police officers know this better than any other group. People who are victims of violent crime will often describe their attacker as being very large when it turns out that the attacker is really 5’2″. This is a natural process. Therefore, there is what I call the “exaggeration factor.” What this means is what I usually do is discount 25% of what they tell me, pending my own observations. Thus, when someone tells me that the knocking on the wall lasted close to twenty minutes, the likelihood it that it was really less. In most cases, question number one is the easiest to answer. If you are talking to the client and your coffee cup decides to fly across the room, it is a pretty safe bet to say that something is there. Beyond that, it begins to get tricky.
Determining what is there can be difficult. First of all, there are different types of spirits. If you determine what type of spirit is present, you also have to try to determine its intentions. For example, you may figure out that the problem is a human spirit. However, is the spirit evil or just confused? What makes this even more challenging is the fact that in many instances, a ghost is not a ghost at all. It could be something known as a “psychic imprint.” We will take a closer look at that in the coming chapters. You may see objects move and be sure that you are dealing with a poltergeist. However, it may well be something more natural than that. While discussing the poltergeist theory, a spirit may manifest and float across the room. There goes the poltergeist theory. Then there is the possibility that there is a demon there directly attacking the victim. Then again, it may be a demon puppeteering a human spirit. You see there are many variables. Before you can say anything to the client, you have to know exactly what is going on. This can take some work.
The last question may be the hardest to answer. Determining why a spirit is present can help you determine what it is but more importantly, it may tell you how to proceed with the case. For example, if someone conjured a spirit up using some form of divination, the possibility exists that something demonic may be involved. Even if it is not, you have to insure that once you get rid of it, no one invites it back. If you can determine that the spirit is indigenous to the location, a little research may tell you who it is and that may hold the key to solving the problem. The great difficulty here is that in so many cases, there does not appear to be a clear- cut reason why a spirit is inhabiting a location. It may require a lot of digging on your part to answer that question fully. Unfortunately, in many cases, you never find the answer.
The key to answering these questions may lie in the interview process. If someone is doing something like casting spells, they may be honest about it and tell you. Then again, they may be afraid to tell you about that. This is where you may have to dig.
In the next chapter, we will look at the best way to conduct the interview. Once you are able to answer these questions, you can begin to formulate a strategy to a positive outcome. Keep something in mind: the best solution is not always to make the spirit leave the premises. After a lengthy investigation, you may determine that the spirit was someone who once lived in the house and means no harm to anyone. This spirit may simply love the house and is not ready to leave it yet. In many cases, once the client realizes that there is no danger involved, they stop worrying about the spirit and in many cases that alone reduces the activity that was taking place. Some people even learn to like “their” ghost. Besides that, there is no sure fire way to force a benign human spirit from a location if it chooses to stay there. An exorcism will not help because that ritual was designed to rid evil, inhuman spirits; thus, it is ineffective in removing human spirits, especially if they are benign to begin with. In so many cases, human spirits will leave on their own once they decide that the place they love is safe.
Chapter 03: The Interview
As mentioned previously, the key to a haunting may lie in determine what is there and why it is there. However, even before that, you must have a solid understanding of what is transpiring there. Now there are several things you need to be aware of during the interview. One of the very first things is whether the person seems credible.
Unfortunately, there are many people in our society who are mentally ill. There are also a number of people who like to pull hoaxes. Either type can ruin your reputation. The best thing to look for is congruence.
Pay special attention to what they are saying and how they are saying it. Does it match? That is what I mean by congruence. When someone tells you how frightened they were by the furniture moving in the same tone in which they tell the scores to last nights game, something is wrong here. On the other hand, if they tell you in a dramatic way how horribly frightened they were when the coffee cup on the edge of the table fell off, something is wrong here too.
There is much debate as to how best to conduct an interview. I used to be a proponent of videotaping every interview. The benefit of this is it gives you the ability to review the tape and look for things such as congruence and the like. It also has the value of deterring hoaxes. People are less likely to lie on tape. There is also the added benefit of being able to show the tapes to the other investigators. They may pick up on something you missed. On the negative side, I have noticed that when I videotape an interview, I do not always get the best information. Many people feel embarrassed or shy when it comes to taping. (I do!) Thus, they may be more worried about how they look then they are about answering my questions. You can lose a lot of information that way. To be honest with you, I use my hunches when it comes to deciding whether to video an interview or not. If I suspect that something is not right, I will video it. However, I always audiotape the interview. Again, it has the value of letting other investigators hear the tape and it also comes in handy down the road. In many cases, you will listen to the tape over and over again.
One of the most important things you must do during the interview process is to get the client to trust you. Remember, you need all the information you can possibly get. If the client does not trust you, a lot may be lost. Another key is to make sure that you do not do anything that might lead them to believe that you will be critical of them. What I mean is that if someone in the house is dabbling with an Ouija board or something, you have to know that. That certainly is a critical piece of evidence. However, if the person you are interviewing believes that you will be critical of them for doing that, they will hide that from you. That can throw off your whole investigation. You can lose many nights sleep and critical time chasing in the wrong direction. Therefore, never appear critical.
When I do an interview, I try to be as loose as possible. I want the client to relax around me and I try to do that using humor. Now this is not to say that you should be the class clown. The trick is to show the client that you take your work seriously but you do not take yourself too seriously. This is much easier to do than you think. I like to work off interview forms for the simple reason that it is easy to lose your train of thought when you are hearing about fantastic phenomena. However, you have to be sure that you do not sound like an interrogator. Ask all of your questions but mix in a little relaxed conversation too. The more information you can get before the night of the investigation, the better off you will be. Also, do your best to sound as supportive as possible. If the client believes that you truly care, they will trust you and they may open up to you more. That is when you can often get very important information
In a sense, the interview process never ends. Over the course of the investigation, you will hear many pieces of information that will be helpful. Always keep your ears open for this. No matter how many times you may have talked to the client and no matter how many questions are on your interview forms, there is always something that gets missed. That is why it is good to establish a good rapport with your client. Sometimes valuable information comes at the oddest of times. Again, keep your ears open.
It is always a good idea to have a member of the opposite sex with you if possible. Match ups can become important. In many cases, a woman will feel more comfortable talking to another woman, sometimes not. You have to be sensitive to this and never take it personally if someone else is doing better with an interview. The goal is to get as much information as possible. Who gets that information is unimportant.
Try to get as much information as possible before the night of the investigation. That can save you time and make it easier to plan your investigation. Your time is valuable to you and you need to do as much possible if it will make things easier for you. Investigations can take a considerable amount of time and you have to be aware of that. A good interview is a must if you want to maximize your time on an investigation.
Chapter 04: Setting Up The Investigation
Once you have satisfied the question concerning whether there is something to investigate, you have to make your plans. Investigations must be orderly although they can become chaotic. What you have to shoot for is controlled chaos. The first thing you need to be concerned with is the number of people you will have working with you and how many people will be in the house on the night of the investigation.
More is not necessarily better when it comes to investigations. The size of the house and the type of phenomena reported dictate the size of the investigation group. Needless to say, four investigators investigating a possible haunting of a studio apartment will not work. On the other hand, it might be good to have four or more investigators in a ten- room house. Also, the reported phenomena must be considered.
If the activity consists of minor movement of objects, you will probably have investigators work alone. On the other hand, if the reported phenomena is frightening, you might want to team up investigators. Common sense should govern.
You also need to be aware of how many people will be in the house that are not with the investigation team. I am in favor of having the entire family home for the investigation. My theory is that we want the “normal” energy patterns in the house. If most of the activity happens when four residents are home, the best chance of having activity take place is with those four present. However, that is where it should end.
Unfortunately, I have been on many investigations when it appeared that half of the neighborhood was present. They all wanted to be part of the “ghost hunt.” Forget it! A situation like that quickly turns into a circus and I can guarantee that nothing will take place that night.
When confronted with such a situation, the best thing to do is reduce the number or pack up and leave. As much as you want to help the clients, you do not want to waste your time.
The early stages of the investigation are usually a bit nervous. The clients do not know what to expect and the same is true of the investigating team. This can result in nervous laughing and any number of faux pas. There is nothing wrong with a little levity; if anything, it can be helpful. However, it is important that you eventually get down to business. Professionalism is a key here. Anything in moderation is okay but things can get out of hand if you are not careful. If you are using equipment, you will now begin setting it up.
Assuming all that is taken care of, you then assign locations to your investigators. You want to try to have people in the most active areas. If there is movement of objects, you will want to set up camcorders. It is always a good idea to set up audio recorders. You never know what you might get on them. When making assignments, take note of the equipment available and who knows how to use it. Obviously, camcorders will be set up where there is the best likelihood of something moving. If someone has night vision equipment, that person would be assigned to a dark location.
Once everything is set up, all you can do is wait. It is very common for little if anything to happen in the early stages of an investigation. Expect this. It is not recommended that people stay glued to a location for a great length of time. Granted, if you stay in one spot all night, you are not taking the risk of missing something. However, sitting in a dusty attic all night is not the best thing to do either. You can go stir crazy in a hurry. Besides that, your mind will eventually start playing tricks on you. You may also want to rotate locations as the night wears on. Always keep in mind that investigations can go on for a long time so do not burn yourself out on the first night.
Eventually, the night will wear on and with that comes fatigue and silliness. There is nothing wrong with having fun on an investigation. Even professionals need to laugh. Like anything else, common sense is tantamount. On many cases, the clients will ask about other cases. Never tell them about the frightening ones. Most of the time, they are more interested in the funny stories. If you have been investigating for a long time, you will have a treasure trove of hilarious incidents. That can be the best part of the night. It has the advantage of making the night bearable and it also helps to establish rapport with the clients. That will pay off down the road.
At some point, you will decide that you have reached the point of diminishing returns. By this I mean that it is time to call it a night. If the reported phenomena is not serious, you will probably decide to leave earlier than if it appears serious. This is normal; if the people are at risk, you want to stay as long as possible. Again, you may be in it for the long haul so you do not want to overdo it the first night. Again, more is not necessarily better. The next thing we will do is take a look at equipment and what it all means.
Chapter 05: Equipment
Earlier, I mentioned that there are many devices available today that make ghost hunting easier. There are the basics such as tape recorders, camcorders, cameras and so forth. However, there are many other items that can prove to be quite useful. For openers, a digital camera is a good thing to have. On some of the simpler models, you can download the pictures on your PC. This can save you a considerable amount of money in developing expenses. There are more expensive digital cameras that let you see what you will be taking a picture of. For example, if there is an orb floating around, the camera will show that to you before you shoot. This provides instant gratification. In addition to that, the pictures can be stored on a disk making life much easier. These cameras are expensive but it will prove to be an invaluable tool. It never hurts to have a Polaroid instant camera with you, especially if you cannot afford the fancy digital ones.
Today, there is a variety of night vision related items available that are more than useful. There are camcorders with night shot so that with the aid of an inexpensive illuminator, you can film in complete dark. Amazingly, these are not terribly expensive. Night vision scopes are also very handy items. Much of the time spent on an investigation is in the dark. Having one of these gives you a good chance of seeing something that may only be comfortable moving around in the dark. Seeing the problem can save you a tremendous amount of time.
A basic and inexpensive item that is a must is a digital thermometer. It is best to get an indoor/outdoor model. Should you notice a remarkable change in room temperature on an investigation, you want to make sure that the outside temperature has not changed drastically. There are some nice non-contact thermometers available today.
One favorite of ghost hunters is the Gauss meter or EMF meter. EMF stands for electromagnetic energy field. What is a fairly accepted belief in the industry is that when spirits manifest in some form, there are usually unusual spikes in the electromagnetic energy fields in the area. Having a meter that can show this is valuable because it can alert you to the possible manifestation of a spirit. If your meter goes off, you might want to get your camera or camcorder ready. There are many models available today. Some are inexpensive, some are hi tech and expensive.
There really is no advantage to purchasing an expensive electro magnetometer. More inexpensive models function quite well for the purposes of ghost hunting. The key to using them is to record baseline readings in the location you will be working in. There are many causes of electromagnetic energy such as TV’s, computers, fluorescent lights and microwave ovens. (These give off high readings even when they are not in use.) There is no single, specific number to look for. In other words, a reading of 5 Milligaus does not indicate the presence of a spirit. A reading of 10 Milligaus does not indicate a spirit more powerful than one that registers 7 Milligaus. (At least none have been determined yet. Studies of correlations between an entity’s strength and the energy readings associated with it are in the infancy stage. I am not aware of any published research in this area although I am doing studies of this type myself.
The problem is that EMF research has been geared towards the belief that haunting phenomena is a result of high energy readings produced by a person. This is the theory of RSPK. Since parapsychologists for the most part do not regard an external entity as the source of haunting phenomena, no one has really done extensive research into the correlation between high energy levels and spiritual manifestations.) The point is that EMF levels will vary from one location to another and you must establish what the “normal” reading for a location is before you can attempt to determine whether anything preternatural or supernatural is going on.
Geiger counters and radiological survey meters are often used during investigations although they have not proven to be as useful as the EMF meters. Since beta and gamma radiation levels are not normally present in a natural environment, you should get baseline readings near zero. Spirits do not give off radiation either; if they did I would be pretty bright at night. However, my belief is that when there are strong enough anomalies taking place in the environment, these machines are “tricked” into giving off false readings. That alone can make them useful but they tend to be expensive. Their value may not justify the price of one for simple ghost hunting purposes.
Remote viewing or listening monitors are a good thing to have since they allow you to monitor activity in a room without coverage. Walkie talkies are a must if you will be working apart from other investigators. Motion detectors come in handy and you can buy portable ones inexpensively. They can alert you to movement in an uncovered area.
More expensive models can be hooked into camcorders. That is great because once the motion detector is tripped, the camcorder will begin recording. That saves you hours of viewing time when the investigation is over. Having to watch hours of tape of a blank wall can drive you insane. In my case, that is not that far a drive.
The point is that there are many items that you may find useful. The list can get fairly long. However, for the average ghost hunter, you need not spend exorbitant amounts of money. For those who love and can afford gadgets, there are plenty of items out there.
Chapter 06: What To Look For
Once the investigation is under way, we need to look for certain things and their possible cause. Most new investigators will sit and wait, hoping that they will see a half human- half animal creature walking around. They have a long wait. Images like that are beyond rare and that is a good thing. There are very few that could handle seeing something like that. However, images of human shapes are sometimes seen and even photographed. However, long before something appears, there are other things that are likely to happen.
What we look for are “outward manifestations.” These are any unusual things that may happen. Examples of outward manifestations would be objects moving, sounds, visions, smells, etc. That foul stench that fills a room during an investigation is an outward manifestation. So is the light show you may witness. Balls of light flying through the air are common manifestations during a haunting. What these balls of lights are is debated but the most likely cause is electromagnetic energy being concentrated in a small area. These balls of light may be of any color although blue and red seem to be the most common. Sometimes there are arcs of electricity observable. Sometimes small white orbs may float by. They are usually transparent, almost like bubbles.
Among the sounds you may hear is knocking, pounding, scratching sounds, growls and even voices. When you hear voices, they are usually in a whisper. Sound amplification equipment comes in handy when this takes place. So do stethoscopes. Footsteps are a common sound during a haunting. They are much easier to take when they are heading away from you. Crying is fairly common and more unnerving is the maniacal laughing that often takes place in a negative haunting.
Temperature changes are common during outbreaks of paranormal phenomena. This too is an outward manifestation. There are two types of cold. One is the psychic cold that often takes place. In this case, energy is being taken from a person in the room. This is described as one feeling cold but the thermometer will remain constant. However, there are times when the temperature will change suddenly and dramatically. To the investigator, this is a bonanza. If the interior temperature drops dramatically while the external temperature remains constant and no form of cooling equipment was introduced, you have evidence that the laws of physics have been violated. That is a nice piece of evidence.
In some cases, investigators will find themselves being touched. This is unnerving to say the least. In most cases, the touching is in the form of poking or pinching. Occasionally, clothes may be tugged. In one house where I was investigating, the entity present liked to pull my hair and tug my head back. This was not with enough force to cause pain; rather it seemed that the entity was just trying to get my attention. It was successful.
Finally, you might see a spirit form. In most cases, human spirits will appear as they did in life. (Another form is the light show mentioned earlier.) In most cases, spirits will appear to be translucent. In my experience, the apparitions were only visible from the waist up. These apparitions usually seem to float as opposed to walking. In some instances, a spirit will appear to be a solid as anyone living. In fact, there have been occasions where people have talked to what appeared to be a living person. For example, one time I met a friend of the family on the street. This friend asked how my parent’s were feeling and we talked briefly. When I arrived home, my mother was visibly upset. It turned out that she had received a call earlier in the day telling her that this friend had passed on the night before.
In another instance, I awoke to find a person standing next to my bed. The man was as solid as anyone. In fact, he appeared to be a living person except for the dead look in his eyes. For some reason, I had the feeling that he would fall and topple on me and sure enough, he did just that. The impact was strong enough to bruise my ribs. After that, he was gone. However, encounters such as that are unusual. Fortunately.
Sometimes, shadows will be seen. At other times, there will appear what seems to be a black, amorphous mist. I have often referred to this as “an absence of light.” I called it that because even in pitch dark, you can see a darker spot where the spirit forms. Extremely rare are forms that appear as some form of demon. By this I mean those things that resemble some of the pictures found in demonology books.
These are the ones with the goat’s head and the cloven hooves. One form that does show up from time to time is the infamous “old hag.” Occasionally, animal shapes are seen. More common is what appears to be something scurrying across the floor. This is usually seen peripherally. Of course, it could also be a mouse.
Moving objects are common in hauntings. These objects can range from a light coffee cup to a 400- pound refrigerator. Pictures may fly off walls, furniture may slide across the floor and doors and drawers may open and slam closed. Most of the times, the objects will miss people. When struck by an object, it is usually with little force.
In demonic hauntings, the objects may be propelled with enough force to injure.
Also common is the disappearance and reappearance of objects. This can happen right under your nose. For example, you are writing your notes when you place the pen down on the pad and light a cigarette. You take a puff and pick up the pen only to realize that the pad is missing. It may turn up later in another room. It may also turn up back where it was supposed to be, leaving the investigator to wonder whether senility may be taking place. Voices being mimicked are relatively common in hauntings as well. Now it is time to confuse the issue.
Chapter 07: When Is A Ghost Not A Ghost?
Now we begin to look at some of the confusing issues concerning ghost hunting. There is a phenomenon known as a “psychic projection” or an “energy imprint.”
What we have here is a case where there appears to be a spirit but in actuality, it is nothing more than a projection. In this case, a person may walk into a room and see the form of a woman standing by the window. Needless to say, that person becomes frightened. After all, there is a ghost in the room. He knows that she is a ghost because although he can see what she is wearing, he can also see right through her. Well, as the frightened person watches, the woman seems to float away from the window and moves across the room. The frightened man is glad to see that she was walking away from him. As she moves away from the man, he hears sobbing. Slowly, the apparition fades away. Even more slowly, the man’s fear fades away too. However, unknown to him, the scene he witnessed actually took place thirty years earlier. What he was seeing was not a ghost at all; it was a sort of projection or energy imprint. How did the imprint get there?
The accepted belief is that during a time of great stress, a person’s energy can be “burned” into an environment. An example might be the case where a woman stands by the window, watching with growing anxiety for her husband to come home. It is a cold, rainy night and he should have been home hours earlier. As the time passes, her anxiety grows. Finally, the phone rings and she finds out that her husband was killed on his way home to her. This terrible energy somehow remains behind to be view by another person at some later date in time. In this case, the exact conditions would have to be duplicated and a psychically sensitive person would have to be present. If those things occur, the psychically sensitive person will be able to view the projection. The amazing thing about these energy imprints is that the person seen in this case may well be still living. Yet, the question arises: how can you tell the difference between a ghost and an energy imprint?
The answer to that is simple; in the case of a psychic projection, there is no actual spirit present. Therefore, it cannot react to the presence of a person. So if this man were to scream, the imprint would not react to that. If he had walked in front of her, she would have played the scene out, passing right through him if he remained in her path. Had she been a spirit, she would react to his presence. So whenever you see what appears to be a spirit, the key is to see if it reacts to you.
Chapter 08: The Poltergeist
The poltergeist is the most studied and least understood of all paranormal phenomena. You will find two schools of thought on the subject and to muddy the waters even more, both schools agree on almost all points. For that reason, we will discuss both schools.
What constitutes poltergeist phenomena? To the parapsychologist, poltergeist phenomena consist of the movement of objects, sometimes large objects. You may hear pounding in the walls, there may be water “raining” inside a home and there may be electrical disturbances of all kinds. The demonologist would agree with the parapsychologist on this point and as you are about to see, many others as well.
Let us take a close look at the areas where there is a difference between the two schools of thought. To the parapsychologist, the movement of objects is the result of what is called Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis. (RSPK) The belief here is that the movement of objects is caused by the unconscious mind of someone living in the residence. To the demonologist, the cause of the problem is a spirit, an inhuman one at that. Both sides believe that when the phenomena occur, there are strong readings of electromagnetic energy fields. However, the source of those anomalous readings is disputed. The parapsychologists will state that the electromagnetic energy is what moves the objects in question. The demonologist believes that it is the spirit that does the dirty work and that the EMF readings are a byproduct of the spirit. When questioned, the parapsychologist will usually admit that they do not know the source of the energy. That is fair enough.
RSPK does indeed exist and there have been many studies over the years. However, there are a few bumps in the road, not to mention those in the night. In all of the testing done under laboratory conditions, the objects moved by RSPK were light in nature. They also were moved only slightly. In a poltergeist explosion, refrigerators and sofas may be propelled with great force.
Now let us take a look at what both schools of thought agree upon. For openers, there is usually one person around whom the phenomenon occurs. That person is called the “agent” or “trigger.” That trigger is usually a female and usually entering puberty. There will be moving objects. However, there will not be apparitions of any kind. The phenomena will start suddenly, unlike the pattern of hauntings. In a poltergeist explosion, you go from 0-60 in the snap of a finger. You may have lived quietly in a house for ten years and one day all hell breaks loose. Fortunately, these outbreaks are relatively short lived.
The average is just under two months. The phenomena will stop as suddenly and as inexplicably as it started. Whatever activity takes place shows no intelligence behind it; it is merely a strong burst of energy. The last one is troubling: there is no known way to stop a poltergeist explosion.
At one time, parapsychologists believed that by counseling the “agent,” the phenomena would stop or at least diminish. However, in the majority of cases, the activity tends to increase when this is done.
On the other side of the coin, demonologists believed that prayer and exorcism would stop the problem. Research has proven that the opposite is true. These steps usually exacerbate the situation. Sadly, the only solution seems to be letting it burn itself out. Unfortunately, a lot of damage can be done in the meantime.
There is another thing to note. There are times when the poltergeist phenomenon is merely another step in the progression of a demonic infestation. It might be incorrectly diagnosed as a poltergeist, which could be a serious problem in that it gives the invading spirit time to entrench further. That is why someone qualified should make the determination. There are certain things that will not take place in a “true” poltergeist situation. The foremost is apparitions; they are never seen in poltergeist outbreaks.
When a parapsychologist has to deal with the subject of an apparition, they will call it a secondary phenomenon. It will be regarded as a psychic imprint as well as RSPK. In many instances they are correct. To the demonologist, an apparition at the time of a poltergeist outbreak means giant red flags are going up.
In most instances of poltergeist outbreaks, rarely is anyone struck with a hurled object and if they are, there is little or no force behind the strike. The object simply falls to the floor. This is amazing to experience. However, if there is a stepping stone situation brewing, a hurled object may indeed cause harm. This is another way to gauge what type of situation you have on your hands. It is certainly not the most pleasant. In stepping stone cases, objects may be hurled in the direction of someone and will turn towards that person if he moves out of the initial line of fire. That is another indication of trouble.
There are cases on record where unusual objects rain on a house. Sometimes there are rocks; sometimes there are small animals. A recent case was reported where small fish rained on a farmhouse. Needless to say, many people surmised that it was a poltergeist outbreak. However, after scientific studies were done, it turned out that these fish had been sucked from a nearby lake by a waterspout. Eventually they had to fall to earth. However, some cases are not that easily solved.
One such incident is where rain will take place inside a house. Perhaps that rain will consist of small fish. That is a tough one to solve. Fires will sometimes start spontaneously and without cause. Treasured objects may be destroyed. The list goes on. One day, the two schools of thought will work together. Then and only then will the riddle of the poltergeist be solved, assuming it can be solved.
Chapter 09: Know Thy Enemy
It stands to reason that you must know what you are dealing with before you can offer any type of help. Certainly there are things that you can do no matter what type of spirit you come across. However, there are certain things that will be useless if tried on the wrong type of spirit and there are certain things that can be dangerous. The key is to make sure you know exactly what you are up against. Let us take a look at what I am talking about.
When people contact me, they often ask whether or not they should try blessing the home themselves. What I always tell them is they should wait until we have a better idea what is going on. What is wrong with blessing the house? Well, depending on what you are dealing with, the answer is nothing. If the spirit in question is human, blessing the house is a good idea. If the spirit in question is of the nasty variety, it may well leave. Human spirits generally do not want to mess with God. In that regard, they are a lot smarter than demons.
Now if the spirit in question is benign, the blessing will likely have no effect at all. There is a chance that the benign spirit will realize that it is bothering the people and may choose to reduce its activity. Benign spirits do not want to hurt anyone. However, if the spirit in the house is inhuman and demonic, (I say that because it must be remembered that Angels are inhuman as well) there could be a problem. Attempting to bless the house yourself can and usually does start a firestorm of activity as the demon retaliates from the provocation. The activity may become fierce and the overall problem multiplied. To a demon, blessing the home hurts, in whatever way a spirit can hurt. To it, you have provoked him and he will fight back.
For that reason, it is best to wait until you are sure what the problem is. Now let us confuse the issue. One of the things that the experienced investigator may recommend is blessing the house. “Wait a minute, you just said not to do that.” Okay, fair enough. There is a difference between the experienced investigator provoking the spirit and the victims. What is that difference? Well, for one, the experienced investigator knows how to quell the firestorm if it does come. (In some cases, the demon, especially if it is weak will cut its losses and run.)
However, in some cases, the firestorm will be minor simply because the demon knows that this individual has experience with this. In other words, it does not want to waste its time.
There is another factor at work here as well. It is very difficult for the victims to effectively battle the demon directly. The reason for this is simple: the demon knows what terrifies them. It knows what buttons to push with them. Take this scenario: the victims pick up a cross and walk into the room where most of the activity takes place.
For example, there may be pounding in the walls. They walk in and bless the room. Before they finish the blessing, the pounding starts. To combat this, they say the blessing louder. The result is that the pounding also gets louder and faster too. Then, some books go flying around the room, some just missing them. The likelihood is that they will stop the blessing. The activity may continue longer than usual, convincing the victims that they had made a mistake. In actuality, they had made a mistake and they made a big one at that. The mistake is that they stopped the blessing. Had they kept it up, it would eventually have worked, although at a cost.
When the experienced investigator tries the blessing, he/she knows that they must be persistent. They will keep at it, regardless of what the demon does. However, no matter how strong willed the victim may be, it is all but impossible for them to do this because the demon will do exactly what they fear most. Unfortunately, it is not always that simple either. The investigator has to know what he/she is dealing with because if the demon in question is powerful, they have to realize that it may be outside their realm. Even the most experienced investigator is not an exorcist and they are no match for the powerful demon. Indeed, they can make the problem worse than it was for if the blessing did not knock the spirit out, that spirit is going to retaliate against them as well as the victims.
There are some spirits that must be dealt with by the trained clergy. “Trained” is a key word there. Not every Priest, Rabbi or Minister is qualified to battle with a demon. For many of them, possession and demonology was one short class in seminary. This is especially true today where so many of the clergy are more concerned with Church image than they are Church effectiveness. Possession is old school to them and should be forgotten. However, there are those who specialize in that area and they may be the only ones who can stop the onslaught.
Most experienced investigators are smart enough to know when not to push an issue. A good rule is that of pro-action and reaction. For example, when the pounding takes place, the investigator reacts by trying to stop the phenomenon. The spirit has already started; you are in effect reacting to the activity. Thus, there is no provocation there.
However, walking through the house when it is quiet and blessing it is being proactive and in effect, provoking the spirit. That is where the firestorm begins.
I am not saying that we must let spirits have their way; that is a ridiculous notion. All I am saying is that the right people must take action. One needs to “know thy enemy” but they must also know their limitations.
Chapter 10: Human or Inhuman
How do we know thy enemy? This can be complicated because the inhuman spirit, being the coward and bully that it is will do its best to avoid detection. If there is a human spirit around, it will often hide behind it. The activity that takes place will often be border line at best. This presents a serious problem because we have already seen the dangers of misdiagnosing the spirit. This can be a tricky situation. The best rule to follow is to err on the side of caution. If you think the spirit may be demonic, do not do anything that will provoke it until you have a better idea of what is going on there.
There are things you can look for that will give you a good idea. In short, there are certain types of phenomena that are outside the known abilities of a human spirit. Of course, in many cases those cut and dried manifestation will not take place. Still, there are things we can look out for.
Before we look at some of those things, we must keep two things in mind. Demonic hauntings are very rare, despite some of the hysterical ranting you see on so many websites. That cannot be stressed enough. The other thing to keep in mind is that a demonic spirit can do anything a human spirit can. Thus, it is unnecessary to repeat those phenomena.
Human spirits will move objects around. They will sometimes knock things off shelves, knock pictures off walls, throw light items such as glasses, figurines and the like. When you see a four hundred pound freezer go sailing across the room, it is a good bet that you have a demonic spirit at work. A human spirit may take something like the book you were just reading and hide it elsewhere. When your washer and drier disappear, you should think demon. Human spirits may visually manifest in the form of bright lights, arcs of electricity and as they appeared in life. They may be translucent or they may be as solid as you or I. If you see a creature with a goat’s head, a human torso and a horse’s legs, it might be a good idea to rule out the human guy.
Unfortunately, in many cases, we see borderline phenomena. Both types of spirits can produce an odor and they can both make sounds. Human spirits tend to laugh or cry, depending on their purpose in the haunting. They will sometimes speak although this is usually in whispers. Animal noises usually indicate something demonic although it may not always be so. Demonic spirits tend to mimic voices but it is believed that human spirits may be able to do so as well.
Always remember, no one knows all of the answers and we are continuously learning. (Those with open minds, that is.) Both types can manipulate electrical items such as turning lights on and off or other appliances. Both can cause loud banging in walls or ceilings. Both can also create the sound of footsteps. The opening and closing or doors or drawers falls into the realm of human and inhuman spirits. Both spirits can act angrily although demonic spirits show something closer to rage than anger.
In addition, both have the ability to touch the living. (Within reason; a demon can hurl a person against a wall. A human spirit may be able to give you a little push.) However, human and inhuman spirits can leave marks. Claw marks and those that draw blood should send up red flags. Both spirits can levitate objects although human spirits can usually only levitate something light. When the sofa hovers, use common sense. Either can manipulate the environment. Turning a warm room cold would be one example of this.
In some cases, both spirits will show anger at religious objects. However, when you have something like the destruction of something religious, there is a good possibility that the spirit is inhuman. Human ones may knock a crucifix off a wall but they will usually not do any form of damage to it. This is not an absolute by any means but it does sort of point you in the right direction. Most human spirits do not want a fight with God. However, there may be some who simply do not believe in God or who are angry with Him for whatever reason. By and large though, most human spirits do not touch religious objects.
You see here how difficult it can be to make a determination. In some cases, common sense will dictate what type of spirit is at work. You can tell by using religious provocation but unless you are experienced, you can create the firestorm mentioned in the last chapter. However, there does come a time when it may be necessary to do this. You may find yourself in a situation where you spend a weekend investigating in a house. During those days, nothing unusual happens. However, after you leave, the spirit retaliates against the family. You go back there the following weekend but again, nothing happens. When you leave, the family pays again. Obviously, that situation cannot continue that way. In that case, you may well have to provoke it. Remember though, you have to know what you are doing.
Human spirits may react to provocation as well but the results are usually minor. In one case, the provocation resulted in immediate activity but the spirit seemed to run away from the provocation as opposed to reacting in a violent manner. This led me to believe that the spirit was human and that gave me several options to use to stop the problem. In that case, it was clear; in many, that is not so.
Chapter 11: Interpreting Your Findings
Once you begin your investigation, you have to gather as much evidence as possible. One thing I have heard on many occasions is someone trying to convince me (or someone else) that they have discovered an evil spirit or a demonic one in a home. When I ask how they determined that, the answer is often: “Well, I felt it.” That’s great.
I was involved in an investigation not long ago where a ghost hunting group was called in to investigate claims of unusual phenomena. Within fifteen minutes, two of the investigators stated that they felt the presence of a demonic spirit. In this case, they “felt” it. By all admissions, nothing unusual happened during those early minutes. These must be some extremely talented individuals.
Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist of Rome. In his book: “An Exorcist Tells His Story” Father Amorth states that it is often not until the exorcism itself that the exorcist is sure that there is a demonic spirit. Up until that point, it can be extremely difficult to be certain.
However, these investigators “discerned” the presence of a demon. Of course, they also went into the basement where they claimed that the “demon” touched them and they stated that they would never go down that basement again. Those two are a credit to the field. When you hear stories like this, it becomes painfully obvious why no one who works in this field is taken seriously. Sadly, there are many out there who behave in this same manner.
Once you start gathering evidence, you need to interpret it. Does a slamming door constitute a spirit? It could. It could also be a draft. A creaking floor may be just that. It can become frustrating at times when you look at your evidence and someone pokes holes in it. However, that has to be done. If you are serious about your work, you have to be sure that what you experienced is paranormal. If you jump to conclusions, you can well look like a fool. Sadly, because of the boobs mentioned earlier, you cannot afford to be wrong. It takes very little to ruin a reputation you spent years building. The point is that you have to make sure that you rule out every possible natural cause for a given phenomenon.
Okay, that is the simple part. Once you have determined to the best of your abilities, (no one is ever 100% sure) that a spirit is present, then the hard part starts. Remember, before you begin to look for the solution to the problem, you must be sure what is causing it. Again, something as simple as blessing a house can cause a firestorm of activity if the spirit is demonic. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell because the majority of the activity taking place could probably have been caused by a human spirit. As I mentioned earlier, demonic spirits like to hide behind the skirts of human spirits.
Often, there is no clear cut evidence like a sofa bed doing the fandango with the refrigerator in the driveway. Much of what is experienced will be the movement of lighter objects and maybe some knocking coming from the walls. One subtle thing that I have noticed over the years is that when a knocking sound seems to be coming from a specific spot on a wall, the culprit is probably human. In my experience, when demonic spirits cause knocking, it seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. However, this is too subtle to call an absolute. With the relatively small numbers of demonic cases, (Thank God) it is hard to subject this theory to more scrutiny.
Should anyone reading this have a similar or different experience, please contact us. Trust me, we never know it all. One thing you can do is look for intent. Do objects just move around or are they hurled in the direction of someone? Yes, a negative human spirit can do this but if there are any injuries, it should send up a red flag. I do not have to be hit on the head with an anvil before I start to get the picture. Again, look for desecration of religious objects. Moving them is one thing but desecrating them is quite another. One useful test is to try using holy water to stop activity that is taking place. If the holy water stops the activity quickly, it is a good bet that the spirit is demonic.
Being touched is another, although unpleasant way of determining phenomena. In one case I recently worked on, the spirit present liked to pull my hair. It always did this from behind, pulling my head back. However, on both occasions, there was very little force. That led me to believe it was human. Here is a totally unscientific method that has proven successful.
If there is almost daily activity or if it is particularly active on a given night, try having the victim ask it to leave her/him alone. On two different cases, the victims told me that they had asked the spirit to leave them alone for a given night. In one case, the woman had been working long hours as was exhausted. When she heard three knocks (that always heralded the beginning of the activity) she asked the spirit to leave her alone that night. She told it how exhausted it was and that she needed sleep. Oddly enough, it did. The activity stopped cold and she slept like a baby. Guess what? That was no demon; they are incapable of compassion. A crude but effective strategy.
One man told me that he came home from work one day and was tired from a series of meetings he had to suffer through. Shortly after arriving home, some small objects started to move. He angrily told the spirit that it should do something anatomically impossible. (Use your imagination.) The activity stopped. Once again, this ruled out the possibility of a demonic spirit. Had there been one, it would have responded negatively.
In short, just look carefully at all of the evidence. Do not rush to a conclusion. Try to poke holes in your evidence. Trust me, if you have to seek outside help, those who you contact are going to punch as many holes in it as they possible can. If you have already done that, you can be pretty sure that what you have is good. Always ask yourself one simple question when you are evaluating your evidence: “Could it have been done by a human spirit?”
Chapter 12: Taking Action
Once you have an idea of what you are dealing with, you need to decide on a course of action. In all likelihood, you are dealing with a human spirit and that can get tricky. Obviously, it is better to be dealing with a human spirit than an inhuman one but in some ways, it is more complicated. When you are dealing with the demonic, there is really only one way to go. It is a dangerous endeavor but it is also clear-cut. With the human spirit, you are faced with several possibilities. One thing you have to try to do is determine why the spirit is there and what its intent is. The fact than a spirit may be responsible for frightening activity does not guarantee that it is evil.
The spirit in question may simply be protective of its home. In that situation, it does not want to hurt anyone, it just wants them out. There is a misconception that a medium is needed to help a spirit cross over. Truthfully, if it can hear her talk to it, one would think it would hear everyone talk to it. Where a medium can come in handy is by finding out what it wants.
Clearing away a human spirit may require a good deal of detective work. If you know who the spirit is, it may be easier to get it to move along. For example, one way to help an earthbound spirit is by asking it to call to someone it once cared for. If you know who it is, you may be able to ask it to call on “so and so.” By having a name to call on, it gives you an advantage. That little bit of personalization can make a big difference, especially when dealing with a spirit who is adamant about staying.
One question that always comes up is the idea of exorcism. If the human spirit is evil, there is a lot you can do involving prayer that may make it leave. However, it must always be remembered that the ritual of exorcism was designed to force Satan himself out of someone. It does not stand to reason that the ritual would necessarily work on a human spirit. However, even if it does, there is a greater danger. You see, conducting an exorcism when it is not needed is likely to attract an inhuman spirit that is drawn to the location. It will not be affected by the exorcism because it is not the evil spirit being chased away. Thus, it becomes a spectator. What it sees is a human spirit it can puppeteer. After the exorcism is done with, you now have a demonic spirit hanging around.
Some call this idea ridiculous but I must point out that at one time, Catholics were given a prayer that they were to say daily. (I will not print it here.) What this prayer basically consisted of was a short form of exorcism. (This is not the St. Michael the Archangel prayer. That is safe and should be said by everyone daily.) After a while, it became clear that this prayer was in effect stirring up problems. Cardinal Ratzinger then stated that it should not be said because of this fact. Now it is no longer mentioned. The point is that you can create a problem by being overly aggressive and jumping into exorcisms. In most cases, they will not work against a human agent and it might just cause a bigger problem than already existed.
To look at how to rid a home of a human spirit, you have to see why the spirit is still there. The possibility exists that the spirit is confused; many do not know they are dead. In other cases, they are attached to loved ones or a special place and they do not want to leave. In still other cases, a spirit will stick around because it has a message for someone. Another common reason is because it is afraid to cross over, fearing perhaps punishment for the sins it has committed while alive.
In that instance, an effective strategy is to tell the spirit of the mercy of God. In most people’s cases, their imagined sins are far worse than their real ones. Most of us judge ourselves in a much darker light than our loving God does. Thankfully.
The best way to communicate with the spirit is to simply sit down and talk to it quietly. Explain to it that it should leave so that it can find peace in the next realm. Advise it to call on loved ones who will show it the way home. This should not be done in a threatening manner. If the spirit responds in a way that you believe is evil, then you can start saying prayers designed to make it leave. There are many prayers that are extremely effective for this purpose. It also helps to say a prayer asking God to help the spirit.
There was an occasion where I was confronted by a demonic spirit. I actually prayed to God to help that lost angel to see the evil that it does. This strategy really ticks them off. However, it is also effective. I do not advise séances or Ouija sessions when trying to communicate with a spirit. For one, you have no way of knowing what is coming through or whether it is even a spirit at all. The likelihood is that this will make the problem worse because you may be bringing in something worse that what is already there.
Suppose you have enough reason to believe that the spirit is demonic. If that is the case, you are most likely in over your head. Unless you have a great deal of experience in dealing with that type of spirit and few do, then it is best that you take your case to someone qualified to handle it. There are organizations that “specialize” in demonic hauntings. By specialize, I mean that they will work those types of cases. (Many will tell you honestly that they will not take on a case of that magnitude.) In a demonic case, your best bet is to contact the clergy. The likelihood is that it will require the clergy to get rid of it.
This is where you have to have all of your evidence and you must be able to present a strong case. The clergy often take a knock for not being willing to help out but in truth, all it really takes is good evidence. Just don’t tell them that you know it is a demon because “you feel it.” You will be shown the door quickly and deservedly so.
Chapter 13: Investigator Etiquette
It should go without saying but there are certain things that must be stressed, especially if you have any plans of developing a good reputation. You would be surprised at how many investigators fail to follow these simple, common sense items. First of all, act professionally on an investigation. That does not mean that you should be stuffy or arrogant, just act respectfully. My style has always been simple: I take my work seriously but I do not take myself seriously.
There is nothing wrong with humor on an investigation; if anything it helps. However, humor does not mean acting like the class clown. Show respect to the client. If it is a non-smoking household and you smoke, you should go outside. I hate that one myself but it is necessary. Never use foul language in someone else’s home. Do not put your feet up on their furniture. Also, do not make a lot of noise. This is especially important when there are children in the house.
Never ever diagnose the problem until you are as sure as you can possibly be. On some investigations, I have been asked about other hauntings. When that happens, I try to get away with telling them about humorous cases. I am only going to hurt my own cause if I tell them something really frightening. Besides, you can teach people how to be haunted if you are not careful.
Some cases produce frightening phenomena. When that happens, you are likely to be scared. Natural fear is fine; you really cannot hide that. However, never tell someone that you will never go down their basement again or that you will never go into a certain room. In the first place, if you feel that way, you should look for another endeavor. The other thing is that the victims look up to you as an expert and if the expert is too frightened to go into a room, how are they supposed to live there! Try not to get too excited when something happens.
It is important that the client believes that you are a trained professional.
Jumping with joy when you see a light shoot across the room makes you look like an amateur. Believe it or not, many investigators have difficulty with something as simple as this. Those ones hurt all of us. It must always be remembered that the client is likely to believe everything you say so you have to make sure that you do not give them the wrong idea about what is happening. I like to keep the family informed every step of the way.
Whispered conversations between investigators look bad. If you need to discuss something away from the client, excuse yourself and talk among yourselves. Just do not make them feel that you are leaving them out. They are frightened and a little paranoid anyway so do not do anything that will add to that. Always be respectful.
Chapter 14: Revealing A Strategy
There is a strategy to a haunting, be it one that involves a human spirit or a demonic one. This strategy is actually very simple but very effective. Spirits feed on energy. To the negative spirit, the energy that is most appealing is that which is produced by fear.
Early in a haunting, things start out slowly. As time passes things become obvious and this is where the fear starts. Now, when a spirit feeds off of fear, it gets stronger. Since it is stronger, it now can do much that will result in more fear. That increased fear makes it stronger still and around and around we go. Slowly at first, then with some speed, the grip gets tighter on the victim. The haunting suddenly becomes dangerous.
Realizing that this strategy exists is very helpful to the client. I usually take a compass and draw circles that get smaller and tighter to illustrate the fear factor. Once they understand this, they can begin to take back some lost ground. If something should happen that might have caused considerable fear but no longer does, the spirit has less to feed on. The less it has to feed on, the less it can use to frighten them with. Thus, you begin to unravel the grip.
In the event of a human spirit, this unraveling process may by itself end the haunting. Human spirits are limited in what they can do anyway so anything that reduces their ability to cause fear weakens them. If they are not that strong to begin with, this can knock them out. When you are dealing with a demonic spirit, it will at first try to retaliate for the change in strategy. If the family can weather that initial retaliation, they can begin to unravel the grip. It will not knock the demonic spirit out but it may weaken it to where strong prayers can finish the job.
If there is one valuable thing I have learned over the years, it is that the simple things are often the best. We too often look for complicated answers to the point where we do not see the simple and best ones right under our noses. Simply foiling a strategy is a small victory for the family against the marauding spirit and that can change the momentum. Confident people fight a much better battle that those who feel defeated. Take every victory wherever you can get it.
Chapter 15: Closing Thoughts
There are a few thoughts that I would like to leave you with. In many cases, there is little we can do regarding a haunting until we know what is going on. That can take some time. However, there are things we can do that will help them right away. There are 3 things we should attempt to do:
· Lend them support.
· Teach them defenses.
· Teach them coping skills.
This is not as difficult as it sounds and you do not have to be a trained mental health professional to do this. Lending support is the easiest thing to do. Most victims of haunting type phenomena find that their world shrinks a bit. What I mean by this is that they find that they have fewer and fewer people to talk to. When you are being terrorized at home, the last thing you want to hear from your friends is that you are imagining it. Try telling someone who lives in a house where pictures go flying off the walls that there are no such things as ghosts. Yet this is exactly what happens to many victims. This causes them to isolate and that is the worst thing you can do in a haunting.
Sometimes the simple things in life are best. Just telling someone that you believe them can make all the difference in the world to them. Letting them pour their hearts out can take away much of their frustration. This does nothing to stop the haunting but it makes the victim feel better. Every little victory counts. In the early stages, that may indeed be all that we can do for them. There are defenses that the client can employ. Knowing that there is a strategy at work in a haunting, it is possible to begin building defenses.
Sprinkling holy water in the bedroom at night may allow them to have a good night’s sleep. When activity begins to take place, they can be taught how to stop it. One of the keys to lessening the effects of a haunting is to give as little recognition as possible to the activity. That alone can diminish it. It is a practical defense. Coping skills can take a little time but they are important. Lending support is a coping skill of sort. However, a very effective one is to let the victims know that hauntings do happen and that they do end.
The biggest problem they usually face is a sense of disorientation that results from seeing “impossible” phenomena taking place. At that point, their whole world looks different. The comforts that they usually enjoy suddenly seem alien to them. That wonderful overstuffed chair where so many pleasant hours have been spent reading books now looks different to them. Suddenly, it seems to have lost its inviting quality. Now when the family look at it, it may remind them of when the cushions went flying through the room. The problem is that their model of the world has been destroyed. They are now living in a world that they never imagined existed and one they do not want to have to live in.
I am repeatedly asked whether I get frightened on investigations. Truthfully, that rarely, if ever happens anymore. I am sure that the day will come when it will happen again but it has been many years since I have been frightened. Now, no one will ever accuse me of being particularly brave. However, the reasons are simple:
· You become desensitized after awhile.
· When you have seen hell, purgatory looks pretty good.
· I am task saturated.
· My model of the world in intact.
Obviously, the first is self-explanatory. The second simply means that when you have seen tables levitate and furniture being hurled around a room, seeing a coffee cup slide slowly across a counter does not do much for me. The third one is simple. When activity breaks out, I have a lot to do. Instrument readings must be taken, if there is movement of objects, a camcorder has to be turned on and if something begins to manifest, I need to take photos.
There is too much to do to worry about how frightening the activity may be. The fourth is the one that the client needs to be taught. They are shocked because in their model of the world, furniture is not supposed to move on its own. Thus, when it happens, they are in a state of shock. That adds to their disorientation. For them, this does not make sense. They no longer feel part of the “real” world. Now, in my world, I know this stuff happens and I expect to see it.
When it happens, it becomes a line in my activity notes. “11:10 pm, books flew off the shelf in living room.” That is what it means to me. It is an item that I am expecting to see so when I do, it is hardly frightening. Once you help the victims alter their model of the world to one that includes this type of phenomena, they slowly begin to take back their lives. They will then begin to end their isolation and that in itself makes them better able to cope with their situation.
These are simple steps that can make the haunting far more tolerable. The best part is that you can do this right away, starting with the first phone call. Best of all, you can see the results right away. That is very fulfilling to me.