So, growing up looking into these things and wanting to be a real life ghost buster (at 8 years old, I had high aspirations!), earned me a bit of a reputation as being a bit weird. To me, that was interesting. Way more fun than football and sports! Even when I decided to become Christian, I couldn’t help but take notice that there were things in this world that people tended to…. ignore. That fascination stayed with me and so began my journey from Christianity to Shamanism, to Wicca, to Hedgewitchcraft and of course to Druidry. Even today, the partner of one of my older cousins refers to me as “Merlin” and jokingly asks “What’s Merlin up to now?” It’s a laugh and I often tell my cousin “Tell him Merlin says Hi!” And that’s as far as the “Merlin” thing goes for me. But, I digress.
And it was a member of the family who sought my advice on this very subject: One of my younger cousins messaged me recently, telling me she and her long-term boyfriend are putting a deposit down on a rather nice looking flat….. in a reconverted mental hospice from 1880. And she wanted to know if she had to be worried about anything spooky being there…..
Now, I resisted all urges of my sense of humour kicking in and making stuff up stuff about her having to watch out for her being possessed, climbing walls and seeing the patients in the mirror as well as messages of “REDRUM!” bleeding from the walls…..that would have only fueled her worries. I got the idea she wouldn’t have seen the funny side.
Instead, I did the decent thing and told her the truth: There was nothing to worry about. Truth is, a lot of it is all hype and expectation. Yes, you get reports of haunted hospitals and hospices. And yes my young cousin has had her potential future neighbours say there’s been a few strange things going on. But this doesn’t mean that every building of the type has to be haunted by spirits of the dead.
I haven’t followed the ghost hunter route, but I did take part in a few seances, ghost hunts and even carried out my own investigations. I’m not an expert in this field, there are others who are way more experienced than me. But what I found when it came to going around looking for ghosts was: a lot of it is down to what people bring with them.
99% of a haunting is in fact quite mundane in what causes it: houses move and creak, as do pipes and wood. Pockets of temperature occur in buildings, as do damp and dry spots. Even vibrations from a road can affect a building in some way. When you take these things into account, these are everyday things that go on in every buildings everyday. It’s amazing how terrifying they can be when you become all excited about being in a reputable place and suddenly the sounds of the automatic ventilation switching on become “psychokinetic phenomenon feeding on the collective psychic energy and interfering with electric machinery”. When looking for ghosts, people want things to happen and will jump at the most simplist thing when they are primed for an encounter or disturbance.
But what about that 1%?
What about when you are in a dark room with a group of others and the dark actually gets physically thicker, the air gets colder?
What about that time you walk past a door and you see the figure of a person and you discount it as one of your colleagues until you realise no one else is in the same area?
What about that dark shape that flies past the living room and not only do you see it, your housemate asks if you saw it too?
What are those lights you see in and above the trees after a Druid ceremony?
Those are my experiences, and they happened and I saw them, felt them with my own eyes and body. Do I know what they were? No. Ok, the palpable dark thing was most likely the fact no one’s eyes were adjusting to the dark as there was no dusk light to allow us to do so. And you know what physically happens when you become afraid? Your hair stands on end, and adrenaline is all ready to kick in that flight response. If you’re already expecting something to happen, then you’ve wound yourself up before you gotten started.
Do I believe in ghosts? Not quite. I have seen things but I don’t know what they were. Do I believe in energy? Absolutely! Do I believe that energy from people can not only be shared, but also affect a place where there is already a strong energy resonance? Yes I do!
So, how did I explain this to my younger cousin?
I told her that they’ll be fine. That Hollywood has a lot to answer for in terms of making what happens in hauntings waaaayyyyy bigger than what really happens.
I told her that if she wants to make absolutely sure, she can burn some smudging sage, taking it to every corner in every room whilst chanting:
“with this smoke I bring peace, for this space we bring peace, for this home we live in peace”.
The idea being that even if there is the remote chance of something there, if you let it know you are there and don’t want to bother it, it should leave you alone. Plus the smudging helps with ridding any negative energies. I did also recommend that if anything did happen, she is to keep a log, recording of any instances….. and to keep me informed. Just in case I’m wrong.
I am no expert on this subject, but I have found it is easier to make peace with a spirit (human, animal or other) than it is to attempt to force one out.
Click here for Pt.2 .