Saturday, 31 October 2009


Pinkfairygran asked a question about the difference between spirits and ghosts. I did a little reading....

We all have a soul. Our soul exists before we are born and will continue after we are born. Our spirit is more connected with us and grows in strength with us. So some people have stronger spirits than others. It is our essence, what makes us us in this life. Spirited people have stronger essences.

Lots of things have spirits if you believe in animism. Trees, rocks, whatever....

A ghost is the spirit of someone that has died but tends to be used to refer to an apparition of a dead person. They haunt the place that they died. I have heard them described as the emotional energy left as a sort of tape recording of traumatic events. Some ghosts are more than mindless reinactments of past events. I think it is these ghosts that are a little more that are more truly spirits because they still retain something of the original person.

I remember ghost stories from my childhood being all about ghost horsemen and people seeing some traumatic event being replayed. It doesn't seem to be so much like that these days. Maybe it is because of programmes such as Most Haunted. Most Haunted would definitely be all about contacting spirits rather than watching ghostly apparitions. The spirits of Most Haunted might be able to move things, talk through a medium, affect the temperature or appear as an orb but they don't seem to be able to appear as ghosts. Do you ever hear of ghosts in this way any more?

All i know is that I have never seen a ghost. Have you?

I did a ghost walk once of an old market town. He had made quite a study of the ghosts in the older buildings around the market square and had some interesting insights.

Ghosts respond to their own culture, not the culture of those trying to get rid of them. A Chinese restaurant in this town became haunted by a hanged person. They were very superstitious and tried every thing they could from the considerable wealth of lore they had from their varied homelands. Nothing worked and eventually they had to admit defeat and call in a local ghost expert who exorcised the ghost and it was never seen again.

Ghosts in that town appear to have a time delay. They start to appear so many years after their death and then so many years later they fade away. So all the ghosts appearing in that town came from the same era. The earlier ghosts reported by other past generations had faded away and were no longer seen. The energy fades. The recording stops. The ghost fades. The spirit moves on?

A shaman called Reya who writes the blog The Gold Puppy wrote about a war memorial in DC that suddenly seemed to have become a doorway for the spirits of the dead from the Vietnam war to start moving through. Maybe their delay was over. Maybe we all sort of stick close to this realm when we first die. Maybe it varies from soul to soul. I don't know.

But also it seems to me that the behaviour of ghosts has changed over the years too. Maybe the way the ghosts behave depends on how they believe they will behave. Maybe those spirits who died horrible deaths, just wanted to show others how they died. Maybe some spirits just don't want to leave their homes. Maybe some want to scare people because they like to do that. Maybe the mother visits the child because that is what they want to do. Maybe the spirits that Most Haunted find don't want to appear, maybe they can't.

I grew up in a very old cottage. Over four hundred years old. It used to be two tiny farm labourers cottages but at some point they were made into one. The house had no foundations and creeked and moved as it heated and cooled, dried and sucked up moisture. I grew up used to all te noises of wood and brick moving. Two staircases with one splitting half way up to go to my folks room or my room. If someone went to my aprents room i would not wake but if they set one foot on a stair in the fork to my room, i would instantly wake. Those noises were the house and were familiar and known. Not scary but comforting and familiar.

I never saw a ghost or felt a ghost there. Many people must have died there over the years but I never felt anything other than happiness and quiet support from the house and garden. At one point in my life I attracted some nasty thing. A black blob. For a while i had to make a circle to sleep in. A witch friend I spoke to on the phone about it felt an echo of it that night and had to sleep in a circle to. It followed me, like a black dog from Cornwall to my parents house (maybe it went because I got Big Dog... hmmm....). And there it had to stand at the gate, it couldn't step onto that land. I have no doubt some powerful folk lived there and they set up protections that still remain. Maybe their spirits linger and protect it. Who knows. I can't remember how but the black thing one day went....

So I guess we shouldn't be scared of ghosts or spirits but we should treat them like we would people. Don't take sweeties from strangers (*laugh* except at haloween) but allow them to gain our respect and trust so they can be friends, if they deserve it. Just cos we can't see them, doesn't mean they are not there. And just because they are there doesn't mean we should pester them.

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