Halloween is my favorite holiday, pagan chick that I am. I love that people get all dressed up in scary costumes and the shadow side of life comes to the surface. For that one night we let out our inner demons in cool and funny ways. That seems so real to me, to celebrate and play with the inner shadow, rather than deny it. We have permission to play with the energies of death, ghosts, ghouls and monsters, when most of the time we push it away as being rather uncivilized.
Halloween is the time of year where the veil thins between our world and Ghost World. Many people actually die at this time of year and it’s the easiest time to do a little ghost spotting.
I always felt right at home in the Shadowlands, as ghost world is sometimes called. Chalk it up to my haunted childhood, I suppose. I was one of those “I see dead people” kids, way back before it was cool. My rambling old Victorian house in Newton was haunted to rafters, which was something I dealt with all by myself.
Looking back on it now, I wonder how much the hauntings were due to the fact that I was a ghost magnet rather then the house itself was haunted. It is part of my mediumistic nature to pick the most haunted house on the block. A house could be oozing with the evil dead and I think it looks sort of homey. My husband is always teasing me about that.
This weekend we were driving out in western Massachusetts and we passed by this house that was for sale and I was like, “Ooooh, look at the pretty house! Can we have that one?” It was an enormous white federal style house that basically looked like it was either an abandoned insane asylum, an evil cult headquarters or best-case scenario, the scene of a ax murder.
He was making the sign of the cross and throwing holy water out the window.
“Jesus!” he said, “I am so picking the next house! I’d like one that doesn’t need an exorcism before we move in please. Ewwww!”
There is a gorgeous house in our neighborhood that I pass when I walk the kids to school. It always talks to me. “Leeesaaaaaa! Come and move in here with us! We’ll be like a family and we NEED you Leeesaaaa!”
Guess I should pass on that one too. Houses that talk to you when you walk by are generally to be avoided.
At any rate, the ghosts were my pals and when I was young, and they were just as real to me as my living family. It didn’t take me long to realize that being quiet about what I saw was better then talking about it. Some of them were sweet or harmless but some of them were nasty and mean too. Just like real living people, ghosts are a mixed bag and I am not sure the experience of death always improves someone’s temperament.
Almost everyone has a ghost story. The “death bed visitation” is the most common kind of psychic experience that people have. This is when you sense the presence of a loved one shortly after they have died, either in a dream or while you are wide awake. It’s very common for those who are recently deceased to spend some time visiting and reassuring their loved ones before they move on.
Here is a funny thing about me and ghosts. Every morning when I am in the shower, I get my daily download of who is going to visit me. I am not sure why then, maybe it’s cuz I have time and I am relaxed. But my shower gets pretty crowded.
People show up and I say, “Who are you?”
“I am Mr. Murphy, I am with your 10 O’clock this morning. We have some unfinished business. And this is Aunt Myrtle, she wants to say her two cents too.”
I have long ago stopped feeling weird about the fact that I am in the shower, they don’t seem to mind, except that they get a little foggy and soggy. I am sure if I did a morning meditation, they would vacate the bathroom, but who has time?
There are really two kinds of “ghosts.” The most common kind is what I call the “easy dead.” There is nothing wrong, they died nice peaceful deaths and went on to the Other Side with no problems. They come back because someone over here needs them. They are guides, guardians and companions. There is no angst- except on the part of those left living.
The uneasy dead are a different kettle of fish, a much smellier, nastier and ookie kettle of fish. Something went wrong in the natural process of death and they get stuck over here, unable to cross over. They are stuck and unhappy, these poor lost souls are what we call ghosts.
What makes a ghost? Plenty of things, but the basic recipe for making a ghost is to interrupt the natural process of death.
Trauma -This happens far too often! Trauma is a big fancy word that means “Really Bad Stuff Happened.” It is unresolved emotions, memories and energy from violent events. This creates a block in energy. (Trauma happens in living people too!) A traumatic death, like murder, suicide, battles, sudden, violent or accidental death can create a huge trauma that needs to be cleared before the spirit of the deceased can rest. Often trauma that happened in life, as opposed to at the time of death, can make a spirit uneasy too. This can be abuse, illness, neglect, violence, war, etc.
This is probably the most common kind of ghost. For example, I see them often standing on the side of road, the poor lost souls who die in traffic collisions. But anywhere there is trauma, there are usually ghosts. Battle fields, crime scenes, anywhere where bad stuff happens, which is pretty much everywhere!
Just as a side note here, I find that New England is fairly haunted, because there are more people that have been living longer here in some other parts of the world. In other words, lots of people have lived and died here, therefore very ghosty.
When I was young, I used to go visit my grandparents in Vermont. Vermont is one haunted place! I am not sure why, but boy it’s chock full of ghosts. My grandmother’s barn had a nasty old man haunting it. He would say rude things when I went in there. I asked my Nanny about it once and she said, “Him? Just ignore him, he’s an old meanie.” He was also swinging from the rafters, which doubled the creep factor for sure.
But my grandmother did the best thing ever. She told me I wasn’t nuts, that it wasn’t just my imagination, which is what pretty much what everyone else said. I don’t know if she saw ghosts too, but what she did was take me seriously and that made all the difference.
She was a cool lady, my Nanny. Her house also had the mean old woman with a pinched face and a black dress. She didn’t approve of anything and would often stand over my bed on the couch in the parlor, which had been her sitting room. She was my grandfather’s mother and was a tarter and absolutely no fun at all.
Attachments– Ghosts are often depicted as being bound by chains. Sometimes people don’t want to leave because they feel tied to someone or something. The chains are the heaviness of emotions that keep them earth bound. These heavy emotions can be fear, pain, anger, love, longing, and simple attachment to another person. Sometimes a person who is still living holds onto the spirit through attachment. There are mothers who die but won’t leave their kids. Or children who pass on but are kept here by the attachment of the loved ones who “won’t let them go.”
If you have ever been around someone who is dying, you may know that sometimes they pass after they have been told it’s ok to leave. That everyone who is still alive will be ok and they have permission to go. It’s a well-known phenomenon that the dying will wait until everyone leaves the room before they die. Sometimes they need to be alone to break their attachment to the living.
Free Will Taken Away– The moment of our death is supposed to be our own free will choice. When that choice is taken from us, people often get stuck as ghosts. This can be through a violent death, but ironically life saving machines in hospitals do this all the time. All those machines we have to prolong life do a great job of screwing up someone’s free will choice to die. When the spirit leaves the body, but a machine is keeping the body alive, then a ghost can form. The spirit is attached to the body by a silver chord and cannot leave until the body dies. That is why hospitals are filled to the brim with ghosts these days!
Every time I go into a hospital, I see them. They are standing around the hallways looking like a herd of people who missed the bus. One nice old gent told me that he saw the light but couldn’t go because he wasn’t dead yet and the light never came back for him. All I do is show them the exit sign to the other side and the all pile through quite happily.
Here is another funny thing about me and ghosts. Most of the time I see ghosts with my psychic eye, meaning my inner eyes or my psychic vision. (If you have ever visualized something, it is like that, you “see” it in your head.) But sometimes I see them with my real eyes, especially this time of year. When that happens they look solid to me, like a real person right there in front of you. So on occasion, I can’t tell if there is a living person in front of me or a dead one. This can make appointment time in my waiting room rather interesting as I can’t tell the living client from the deceased one and I simply think I have double booked myself.
One time, I was walking my dog through a cemetery (Duh!) with my friend (an actual alive person) and there was this sad old man putting flowers on a grave. I smiled and waved and he said “Good morning.” And I said “Lovely day, isn’t it?”
My friend was very pale and said, “Ummmm, who are you talking to?”
And I said, “Oh, that sad old man with the flowers. Didn’t he look sweet?”
“You creep me out on a regular basis,” she replied, “There was no one there.”
When I turned around and looked over my shoulder, she was right.
Sheer Stubbornness and Fear: Sometimes people who have really strong wills just don’t want to go. They might have been really enjoying their lives, or they had a duty that they couldn’t leave in life and won’t leave in death, like the soldier who won’t abandon his post.
One time, when my daughter was really young, I heard her crying in her crib, it was the scared cry of a baby in distress. When I ran up to her room, I saw an old woman bent over her crib trying to pick her up. She was dressed in black but had the “dead face” on. (If you have every seen this, you will know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, you probably don’t want to know.)
She was scaring the heck out of the baby! She told me that she had been a child’s nanny for years in that old house, and she was buried in the family plot in the back yard. That house was built in 1812 and was pretty much Spook Central. The crying baby had called out to fulfill her duty. I kindly as I could, explained that she was dead and therefore was actually scaring the baby. She was mortified, the poor old dear and just faded apologetically away. I never saw her again!
Do you have a ghost story? I would love to hear it. Send one in to me as short as you can make it, and I’ll publish a bunch of them in my next blog. Also in the next blog, I’ll be talking about what to do if you encounter a ghost, how to clear them and help them move on.
Until then, I am with you in Spirit. (Muuuaaaaaa!)