The image and perception of a ghost has taken on so many attributes and illusions over the centuries that it is difficult to distinguish the difference as to what is and what isn't a true haunting.
For some, a ghostly image may be that of a glowing translucent figure that ominously floats from one room of a house to the next, apparently searching for something or someone, unaware of their own demise. For others, poltergeists are demonic or evil entities that spend their eternal days and nights thinking of ways to torture, frighten and manipulate the innocent human beings that happened upon unfortunate territories. The notion is foolish to skeptics who think that a phantom could be nothing more than a person covered with a white sheet, moaning and rattling some chains to disturb the naive and imaginative..
There are many misconceptions about ghosts and the afterlife. Many perceived ghostly activities can be explained quite readily by logic or reason. Residual energy is a definite contending culprit when deciding whether or not there is a spirit prevailing in the area. There are also many other explanations that need to be explored before determining whether a house, location or person, for that matter, are haunted.
Ghost hunters are brave, intellectual and pioneering paranormal scientists and explorers, they courageously enter the domain of a suspected paranormal haunting. They explore locations armed with various technical and instrumental elements, such as cameras, thermometers, EMF detectors, voice recorders and more. Although these well-intentioned individuals are honorably seeking the perplexing truths to the existence of the afterlife, some are lacking knowledge and etiquette in a few essential and spiritual areas.
The first and most important step of ghost hunting is diagnosis. Is it or isn't it a real ghost? Many questions must be asked of the witnesses to determine if the strange activity or experiences are truly those of a ghost. Residual energy haunting can be determined simply by asking the homeowner, tenant or witnesses if the paranormal experience consisted only of feelings and emotional sensations. Residual energy does not manifest physical consciousness, malevolence or aggression.
Physical evaluation and study of the home or area must be conducted to rule out any logical or reasonable reasons for any odd activity. High concentrations of magnetic fluctuations due to ley lines or man-made technology can create false readings on instruments, as well as alter human perception.
In the event a real haunting, a determination must be made whether actual physical or communicative contact has been made. True ghosts will try to the best of their abilities to make contact of some kind, whether it be by moving items around the area or attempting to address the living while they are in a partially awakened or sleep state. Apparitions, orbs and audible sounds are all common forms of a ghostly presence trying to make themselves known. Often, they will become frustrated or provoked into more assertive attempts to make their points obvious. By poking, pushing or scratching, they prove they do not wish to be ignored.
It would be wise to obtain information pertaining to the history of the home and it's former residents as to better understand what type of activities, negative or positive may have gone on in the home. Better yet, an honorable and experienced empathic psychic medium can be a very valuable asset to the ghost hunting team. These individuals are specifically tuned into paranormal anomalies and would be able to distinguish what the spirit wants and needs more effectively.
Once the ghost hunter has determined whether or not it is in fact a true haunting, the next step is to attempt to make contact. Almost all ghosts have a message to get across. The messages are often relatively clear. The most common of messages are either 'hello' , 'help' or 'get out'! All of which the ghost hunter or home owner needs to acknowledge and value. If not, the entity will simply continue voicing it's displeasure with your presence.
One way to attempt to make contact with the wayward soul is to simply speak to it aloud and then allow them to respond. Since we humans cannot usually hear their response , a tape recorder is the a good way to capture electric voice phenomena or EVP. Due to the high density of our dimension, the living are often unable to audibly distinguish voices or sounds created in another dimension that is less dense. An ordinary cassette recorder is somehow able to archive a spirit's voice to manifest. This auditory strategy may support the living and the dead in conversation.
Etiquette is of the most utmost importance when physically and verbally approaching a deceased human being. No matter who officially pays the mortgage and holds the land title, the spirit believes that this is their territory. A ghost hunter, and home owner, must be respectful towards the ghost and their predicament or the investigator is bound to get an adverse reaction or none at all. It's important to be polite and verbally state your purpose immediately upon approaching the location. Asking the deceased individual's permission to enter the premises or to take photographs is a great way to show them they are being respected.
One has to anticipate what the ghost may be feeling. They are obviously confused, scared, lonely or defensive. An example of how best to learn to appreciate and anticipate the spirits feelings and reactions is that of a frightened animal. If you approach a confused and terrified cat aggressively and abruptly, what can you expect? Well, obviously the petrified feline will either run away or attempt to hurt you in defense. It's their natural and instinctive reaction to your assumed invasive presence. An animal has no way of knowing your innocent intentions because they are incapable of understanding or reading your mind.
A ghost isn't much different, the lines of communication are crossed as it is and they don't have the full understanding of where they are or what's happened to them. They're simply reacting with instinct when wondering why this person with strange instruments is intruding in their home!
In saying that, we mustn't underestimate their intelligence either, we must simply try to understand and gently coax them into submission. Your advance and attitude towards them is the most important aspect of the experience. Fear is also a factor, if your disposition is that of terror, panic or hysterical behavior , they may feed off of that energy. They can themselves become afraid and unresponsive to your requests.
In their realm, they have very little control of their existence. They wander aimlessly and confused through a foggy existence, wondering what to do next. A human soul can sometimes be tormented by memories of a terrible past. They may be reliving a painful and traumatic event over and over. So when someone comes into their fragile world, poking and prodding, they may lash out to protect themselves. Or worse yet, they may be the type that feels empowered by the fact that they can manipulate or control a living person again. This is usually when a haunting can become dangerous and terribly frightening.
One of the most important things to remember is that this literally used to be a flesh and blood human being. A being's personality, as well as your own, will continue into the next realm even though your tangible body does not. These entities, when alive, had families, jobs, memories and emotions. They had loved ones and were loved by others. Quite distressingly, some of these souls are bound to this limbo for a potentially horrible and tragic reason. Try to have empathy, consideration and compassion for the state that they are in.
A good point to remember when beginning your ghost hunting adventure, you'll catch more flies with honey. So enter their home with respect, gratitude and a polite disposition and you may end up with a very cooperative spirit, hence some very good photographs.
Copyright Danielle Lee 2008 All Rights Reserved
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