After a particularly vivid ghost hunt, people sometimes get nervous about what they’ve just experienced.
A few people may become genuinely frightened.
Generally, there is nothing to be afraid of. Not from the dead, anyway. Here are a few facts to remember, from an article I wrote in 2005. My opinions haven’t changed much since I wrote this.
- Ghosts aren’t likely to follow you home. Ghosts haunt a location, particularly cemeteries, for a reason. If they felt like they could leave, they wouldn’t be at the cemetery (or house, or battlefield) in the first place. Except for legends like The Flying Dutchman (a ghost ship) and the John Alford Tyng hauntings, few stories describe a ghost that moves from one location to another.
- Ghosts cannot make you do things you don’t want to do. Ghosts are not hypnotists and they do not have powers beyond those that they had in life. Frankly, any spirit of the dead that’s tied to the earthly plane, has a specific reason for being here. Usually, their powers are significantly less than an average living person’s. If you’re having “unwanted thoughts” after encountering a ghost, get professional help. Ghosts are not the problem. Hollywood imagery can be fun, but it’s not real. Steering wheels don’t jerk out of your hand. Bed canopies don’t sprout spikes and fall on people. People are not “taken over” by ghosts unless they agree to accept the trance state, or unwittingly give permission for something to use their bodies. Usually, if someone is “possessed,” something else is going on. It’s not a ghost. Get help right away.
- Ghosts do not “curse” you. Ghosts are just people living in another dimension, or perhaps on another plane. They have no superhuman powers other than — perhaps — enhanced telepathy. They cannot curse you. They do not turn into “witches” when they die.
- Ghosts cannot hurt you. Poltergeists are the only “ghosts” that ever harm people, and even then it’s usually nothing worse than bruising. People often ask why I warn against ghost hunting alone. It’s not because of ghosts, it’s because you might turn an ankle in a neglected yard or cemetery, and need help. Or you might encounter a bunch of drunk teens or (animal) hunters who don’t want you around. I’m not afraid of ghosts, but I’m very wary of isolated sites.
- Ghosts will not haunt your dreams, keep you awake at night, etc. Unless you’re deliberately sleeping in a haunted house or camping at a haunted battleground, ghosts do not usually travel from their earthly locations to bother you.
- Most ghosts “move on,” eventually. Spirits of the dead remain on earth for a specific reason. Usually, they’re fighting reality and want to turn back the clock. They want to change an event from the past. In rare cases, they simply have a message to pass on, or a minor task to accomplish. We’ve only encountered this once in hundreds of hauntings . One notable exception is when a spirit returns to help a friend or family member, or just check to be sure you’re okay. Spirit guides, angels, and totems, are a different topic. They are not malicious, ever. Don’t worry about them. You never have to worry about a ghost following you forever. It simply doesn’t happen.
- Spiritual energy is pretty much all the same to a casual observer. If you’re in a setting where there is poltergeist phenomena, you probably won’t be able to guess whether it’s from a spirit of the dead, or someone nearby with RSPK. (RSPK is Remote Spontaneous PsychoKinesis, or the ability to move things using your thoughts, consciously or not). Don’t assume that the dish that flew across the room was propelled by a spirit of the dead. It could be a prank by an ESP-gifted person who is very much alive, and near you.
I hope this puts your mind at rest.
Ghost hunting is fun. For people like me, it’s fascinating to encounter ghostly manifestations. Haunted sites can have risks, but they’re usually physical (like frail floorboards in the attic, or uneven stairs). It’s nothing directly related to ghosts.
Ghost hunting itself is not hazardous, and ghosts are not maliciously wandering the earth as portrayed in movies and novels.
Nothing bad is likely to happen to you if you go on a ghost tour or public ghost investigation and take proper precautions. (For example, always take a friend with you to an event or tour. If you’re on your own, watch your back and never treat the evening like speed dating.)
Frankly, most of your concerns should be about the living, not the spirits of the dead.
Consider another hobby if spirits and hauntings really frighten you.
It’s worth repeating: If ghost hunting isn’t fun, find something else for your spare time.
The more you go ghost hunting, the more spirits and manifestations you’re likely to encounter. If you’re nervous now, things will only get more intense if you continue.