Do Ghosts Scare You?

Do ghosts scare you? They probably shouldn't.“Do ghosts scare you?”

“What’s the scariest place you’ve ever visited?”

Those are the questions most people ask me when they learn that I’m a paranormal researcher.

My simplest answer is: No, ghosts don’t scare me.

And, since ghosts don’t frighten me, a simple haunting (or two or three) won’t alarm me.

In fact, I’m more likely to whisper, “Ooh, cool!” and members of my team will nod in agreement.

Most investigators want to encounter ghosts.

But, if you think ghost hunting is as exciting as it looks on TV, and – just for fun or a “good scare” – you just stumble into a “haunted” site, you may be disappointed.

You may also put yourself in danger.

Ghosts… and Not Ghosts

Most ghosts are just people, without solid, physical form.

They may be able to interact with our world – by moving objects, touching people, or speaking so they’re recorded as EVP.

Since most ghosts aren’t able to do much, physically, in our world, I’m not afraid of them. They’re just spirits.

  • Most seem to linger here for their own reasons. They may have unfinished business, or want to protect “their” family or former home.
  • Some are mischievous. They may tap you on the shoulder, give you a gentle nudge, or slam a door to surprise you.
  • A few are angry, and perhaps territorial. They’ll do what they can to frighten you away. As the saying goes, their “bark is worse than their bite.” (I usually imagine myself bigger and stronger than the spirit, and don’t flinch. After a while, the ghost usually gives up and leaves me alone.)

But, not all “hauntings” are ghostly. That’s what scares me.

What you’re experiencing could be caused by someone (or a few people) who are very much alive.

OR, it could be an entity that’s not human, not a ghost… but definitely a threat.

Dealing with Pranksters

Of course, if someone – or a group of people – might be trying to scare you, it’s best to retain your composure (as best you can), and leave immediately.

When a haunting turns out to be a joke -

In most cases – especially deserted locations like cemeteries, battlefields, and abandoned buildings – your most likely tormentors are party-goers. Those isolated sites are popular among young adults who want to drink, smoke, or have a laugh… or all three.

It’s never smart to try to argue with someone who wants to have a laugh at your expense. It could turn ugly in a hurry, especially if the person is drunk.

Just leave. Stop arguing. Say nothing more. Just leave, immediately.

Whether or not you’re dealing with party-goers, carefully consider whether someone in your group is part of the problem.

That includes jokers who don’t take ghost research seriously, and predators.  (I’m not sure if they’re magnets for problems, but every time I include a researcher who makes me a little uneasy, we seem to encounter other issues, too.)

When it’s Something More Dangerous

Ghosts don’t scare me, but other entities can, so Vale End Cemetery is the scariest place I’ve ever investigated.

That’s partly because I don’t know what those entities are, and how to protect myself from them. (Of course, in unfamiliar and creepy settings, it can be helpful to invoke spiritual protection before entering the site.)

Some entities might simply be weird energy, manifesting because… well, I have no idea why.

Yes, maybe they’re things people call “demons.” (Actual demonic attacks are far more rare than TV shows and movies might lead you to believe.)

What if it's not a ghost - but a demon?

Take no chances.

If something is clearly malicious, and starting to cause physical or emotional harm, leave the site immediately. That’s especially true if problems began with someone provoking the spirits.

Whatever demons really are, they’re dangerous. Despite what you’ve seen in popular media, a simple exorcism rarely resolves a demonic attack. The victim – if he or she survives – can battle dark entities for months or even years.

I’ve written about this in the past. See Possessed? Need help?

A personal note: I still recommend John Zaffis if you may be dealing with something demonic or malicious. I’ve known John for decades, and  I respect his work in demonology. (In my opinion, the TV series The Haunted Collector portrayed John in a truly unflattering light.)

John is actually one of the top authorities in the field of demonology, and donates many hours of his time to helping those in need.

This video – a trailer for a film – shows John more clearly.  (Yes, the b&w segments may not impress you. Pay attention when John is actually on the screen.)

That video is at

The best thing to do is avoid anything that might be demonic or malicious.

This means nobody on your team should use a Ouija board. (We have no idea why they seem to attract bizarre and scary entities, but Ouija boards do.)

The most complete protection guide I’ve ever read.

And, as I said earlier, no one should provoke spirits, unless the investigator is very experienced with this technique, and there’s no alternative in the situation.

If you feel frightened for any reason at any haunted location, get out of there. Trust your angels, spirit guides, intuition, “gut feeling,” or whatever you call the impulse that signals danger.

I’m not scared of ghosts, but ghosts aren’t the only entities out there. It’s important to keep that in mind.

Mental Work, PK, and Poltergeist Activity

ghostbatPoltergeist activity… is it ghostly?

Four theories are popular:

  1. A ghost causes the objects to move.
  2. A ghost works in tandem with a living (and somewhat emotional) person. Their combined efforts remotely move objects.
  3. It’s a psychological issue, and PK (psychokinesis) probably comes from a living person.
  4. Poltergeist activity doesn’t exist, and it’s always a prank. (I’ve witnessed enough dramatic poltergeist activity to laugh at that idea.)
Mental Work?

In the near future, a research project called Mental Work may tell us more.

Here’s a YouTube video about it.

I prefer the explanation (and demonstration) in the Euronews report:

You can participate in this experiment in Switzerland. They’re hiring: Mental Work.

What this means to ghost hunters

Psychokinesis (PK) – also known as telekinesis – could explain some ghost phenomena.

  • Someone could cause poltergeist activity. (Most people connected with poltergeist activity have no idea they’re part of it.)
  • When we ask the ghost to move the child’s toy, knock on a wall, or slam a door, maybe someone living controls it.
  • Is some form of electromagnetic energy involved? That could trigger EMF spikes and affect devices such as the Ovilus.
  • Likewise, a living individual could create the on-off “communications” we attempt with loosened contacts in flashlights.

Of course, these “could” possibilities are more theory than hard science.

Meanwhile, avoid skeptics’ mistake of insisting that anything that can be faked (or explained in normal terms), always is.

I’m not sure where these studies will lead us. But, anything that clarifies what the mind can do – among the living or the dead – can help us better understand haunted places.

Ghost Hunting – When Someone Gets Hurt

Ghost hunting in real life is far more risky than watching it on TV… and not just for paranormal reasons.  Now and then, someone gets hurt. This is why every team of ghost hunters should have a good first aid kit that includes:

  • Sterile wipes.
  • A treatment for cuts and bug bites.
  • Some bandages (like BandAids™ or plasters).
  • Fabric for a sling.
  • A stretch (Ace-style) bandage for sprains.  (If you need a splint, you can usually improvise).
  • An OTC painkiller like aspirin, and something other than aspirin. (Some people are allergic to aspirin and related medications.)
  • On a more serious health-related topic, be sure to read Ghost Hunting and Respiratory Risks.

It’s a good idea for someone on the team to take a first aid class.  Community centers often offer them, and some church and Scouting groups will, too.

However, it’s just as important to determine what caused the injury, and if that person — or others on your team — are at risk at that location… now or for repeat visits.

Obviously, if it’s a turned ankle, an insect bite, or something you could encounter at any location, routine warnings and precautions are a good idea.

But… what if it’s something unknown, invisible, or paranormal?  What if someone is pushed, shoved, slapped, or scratched during a paranormal investigation?

When the problem might be paranormal

If the haunted location has a reputation for possibly demonic activity, get out now.  Conduct off-site research to find out if rumors and stories have enough credibility to make it a “don’t go back there” location.  Look for moderate warnings in about 20% to 30% of credible reports, or reports of significant issues from a few teams that include experts you respect.

If one ghost hunting team keeps encountering dangerous physical phenomena at a variety of locations, I’d suspect one or more issues.  None of them should be taken lightly.

  • Someone on the team is either a prankster or deeply unhealthy, and is using the cover of darkness to hurt others.
  • Someone among the ghost hunters is attracting poltergeist activity.  Usually — but not always — you’re looking for a female coping with an emotional or hormonal roller-coaster.  If you think you’ve identified the person, ask that person not to participate in two or three investigations, and see if the issue continues.
  • The team are really good at finding and activating physical phenomena, wherever they investigate.  This can be an asset, if the team take safety precautions.

On the other hand, if it’s a rare event and at just one location, there are several explanations.

  • It’s a poltergeist linked to that location.  Advice: Take safety precautions, and stop investigating if the physical dangers increase.  If one person is the regular target, ask him or her not to return to that location for a month or so.  Then, proceed with caution.
  • The spirit was just playing a prank and it got out of hand. (That happened to me at the Myrtles Plantation.)  Advice:  Talk out loud to the spirit, tell it that you are okay, but that kind of prank is not acceptable while you’re investigating.
  • The spirit is still figuring out ways to communicate.  Advice: Explain to it, out loud, more appropriate ways to communicate.  Clearly, it can move things, so give it something to move, like a small ball, a feather, a set of marbles or ball bearings, etc.  Also explain how your EMF meter works, that voices can be recorded on your voice recorder, and so on.
  • Though it’s unlikely, double-check in case the injury (especially a scratch, a sprain, or a bruise) happened earlier and the person was so involved in research, he or she didn’t notice until it started to bleed, sting, or hurt.  That’s happened to me, but only a few times in 20+ years.  Usually, after the initial surprise, the victim will say, “Oh. Wait a minute. I might have scratched myself when we were passing that hedge.”
  • The activity might be malicious or demonic.  Advice: If there is any chance of this, leave immediately and do not go back.  (Well, not unless you’re also involved in demonology and know exactly what to do next.)  Research the site, compare notes with other investigators, and then decide if this is a real possibility.  Demonic attacks are very rare, but not impossible.

As long as the injury is minor and an isolated incident at that location and for that individual, I wouldn’t worry about it.  I’d make sure my first aid kit is well-stocked, I’d take sensible precautions in the future, and — just in case — I’d recommend normal spiritual protection like a brief prayer or circle before entering that site again.

The chances of the injury being paranormal depend on the people involved and the reputation of the site.  The likelihood of it being demonic are slim, but should never be lightly dismissed if anyone’s “gut feeling” indicates a problem.

A malicious or demonic attack usually includes most or all of the following:

  • A physical injury.
  • A sense that the injury was a warning or “just the beginning.”
  • Something that impinges on the awareness of the person… a feeling of evil or intended injury.
  • Uneasiness that lingers far longer than you’d expect after an encounter with a ghost, even one that makes physical contact.

Remember that any physical contact with a ghost (or other entity) is unexpected and often feels like a violation of personal space.  That’s a reasonable reaction.

When the person is still distressed long after you expected the whole thing to be shrugged off or even forgotten in other conversation, something else may be going on: Either something genuinely disturbing happened, or the person isn’t ready for intensely haunted locations.

In most cases, once the person gets past the initial surprise, you’ll recognize it as one of those weird, rare things that can happen during an investigation.

If you return to that same site, fairly confident that the injury was a fluke, take a few extra precautions for safety’s sake.

I wouldn’t avoid a location as long as all the following criteria are met.

  1. It was a one-time, minor injury.
  2. The victim is okay and didn’t feel any emotional or spiritual distress at the time of the incident.
  3. The site has no credible reputation for malicious or demonic activity.
  4. The team wants to return there.
  5. You take extra precautions the next few times you visit that site.
  6. Nothing risky happens during future visits.

If the physical issues continue with that person or someone else on the team, pause and consider other explanations, including non-paranormal ones.