Read an Excerpt
What Is a Ghost?
IT WAS A dark and stormy night. The thunder shook the trees from their very roots. Bolts of lightning struck the earth's surface, burning holes deep into the soil.
What was inside the house was ten times as frightening. The Livingstons had ghosts. Several black, monstrous floating creatures. They would knock lamps off tables, push pictures off walls, throw clothes out of the closets and drawers. They killed the family dog, Fluffy, and ate the guinea pig, Hector. The cat spewed brown foam from its mouth and moaned incessantly. The Livingstons wanted to know when this reign of terror was going to stop.
Green smoke would burn out of the nostrils of these unwelcome guests. Their red eyes glared in the dark. Purple slime dripped from their mouths. Nothing could stop or tame these horrible visitors from the world beyond. They were out to destroy the family home and drive Mr. and Mrs. Livingston insane. They hated with a vengeance. They showed no mercy on the children the day they tied them up and chopped off their toes. They were horrible, villainous monsters slowly taking over and destroying this beautiful nineteenth-century Victorian home.
Just as an evil-looking specter looms toward Mr. Livingston wielding a bloody ax, someone in the back room hollers, "Cut, let's do that scene over," and we realize it's Hollywood making another movie about ghosts!
Like most people, I grew up around a television set, and so when the subject of ghosts would come up, all I could think of werethese TV images. I had no idea what a ghost really was or looked like. I had this belief that they were all evil except for dear, sweet Casper, who was the only friendly ghost I had ever heard of.
Over the years I've noticed that most people share these misconceptions about ghosts: Ghosts are to be feared and not reckoned with. They are all evil spirits who will cause great harm to anyone whose house is haunted or who comes in contact with them.
As a person who has the ability to hear and see ghosts, I can tell you that ghosts are nothing like the images on TV.
When we physically die, our souls come out of our bodies, and, most of the time, we move on to the other side. Once in a while a soul will choose, for one reason or another, not to go on to the other side (more on that below). It will choose to stay here on earth, which is where the term "earthbound" spirit or ghost comes from.
A soul is made up of energy. It looks like the physical body it inhabited except that it's transparent. Some parapsychologists call the soul the body double because it does look so much like the physical body that it inhabited in its last life, but I have also seen the soul appear as a streak of light or blob of energy. When a soul appears in body form, it will also appear to have on clothing similar to something the person wore when in the body. A friend of mine who was killed visited me a few times after his death, and he always appeared to have on the same blue jeans and camel-colored leather jacket that he frequently wore when he was alive. My teacher told us that they do this so they won't frighten us, just in case we are able to see them.
Psychically, I saw the comedian Sam Kinnison about one week after he died, walking around on the other side shaking people's hands. He appeared to be wearing his long coat, tennis shoes, and that hat he always wore in his comedy routine. If he had been walking around in a flowing gown, I don't think I would have recognized him. Also common, and a little eerie, is that they will sometimes only appear from the waist up or as just a head! This is because their energy is low and that's all they are able to manifest. It doesn't mean they're not all thereit just means that's as visible as they can make themselves at that time. As time passes, they will build up their energy and be able to appear in full form.
Why Ghosts Hang Around
I bet you're wondering why ghosts would choose not to go on to the other side. In my work, I've come to see that there are seven levels of souls. Souls at levels one and two are new souls. They are at the beginning stages of their development and haven't yet grasped the meaning of life and the significance of the other side. As they mature and move into levels three and four, they have a greater understanding of what life and death and life after death are all about. It is my view that ghosts are level-one and level-two souls, although I have met an occasional ghost who is more mature and simply sticking around to care for someone (more on that later). Level-three and level-four souls have been around enough times to know about the light and the importance of moving into it and getting on with their journeys.
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Here's what the ghosts have taught me about what's keeping them stuck on this plane:
They are afraid to face God because of some things they did in their life. They were taught that God is a punishing God, and they fear that they will be sent to hell for their "bad deeds," so instead of going over and taking that chance, they stay here. They actually believe that God can't find them as long as they don't cross over!
There is someone they do not like who has died, and they don't want to run into them in heaven. Many a ghost has told us they don't want to run into their deceased ex-husband or ex-wife and that they would rather stay here.
They think going to heaven is going to be a real drag. They think they will automatically become angels and all the "fun in their life" will stop, so they decide to stay here and hang out with people who like to have a good time.
They are afraid of letting go of their identity. They may have been someone important in their community and they want to stay here and "hold onto their name."
Some ghosts don't know they are dead! That's right. Some of them believe there is no such thing as life after death, so when their body dies and their soul comes out of the body, they don't know where to go. If an angel, spirit guide or a deceased relative approaches them and tries to direct them over to heaven, they think they are hallucinating so they don't pay attention. They figure they couldn't possibly be dead because they feel so alive, and so they look around for a home to inhabit.
They feel the strong pull of a loved one on this side, so they stay, thinking they are helping them in their grieving process.
They stay to protect a loved one here.
They don't want to leave a loved one.
If they were murdered, they may stick around until justice has been served.
If they died from addiction, they may hang around looking for a body to inhabit so they can continue their drug of choice.
They don't feel worthy of going to heaven, so they stay put.
About a year ago I was giving a lecture to a large group of senior citizens on the subject of death and life after death. One woman in the audience told me she strongly disagreed with me about souls not going to heaven and said that we are God's property once we die and that God decides what he will do with us at the time of death. However, it has been explained to me by my spirit guides that we are given free will in death, just as we are given free will in life. We make the decisions for ourselves and are responsible for those decisions.
A question I'm asked every time I give a lecture on this subject is "Why don't spirit guides, angels or deceased loved ones living on the other side intervene and direct these earthbound souls home to heaven?"
There are many workers from the other side who do work with earthbound souls to help them "come home" (see my discussion of the Squadron, p. 118). I think that's why we don't have as many ghosts as we could have. The ghosts we encounter are the diehardsthe stubborn, want-to-do-things-their-own-way kind of folks who will hold out until someone like us comes in and insists that they go. As you will see when you read each ghost story, each situation is so different.
Here's the routine that my brother Michael and I have found works best when doing these ghostbusting jobs:
When we first arrive, we sit with the people for a while, ask them what symptoms they're having that makes them think they have a ghost. We want to eliminate the usual sounds, like houses settling or noisy pipes.
Then we walk through each room of the house, preferably with no lights on, because this is less distracting and also makes it easier to see the ghosts, who give off a light grayish energy. We make notes of the rooms we find the ghosts in, and then once we've gone through the entire house, we go back to the rooms inhabited by a ghost and begin a dialogue with it.
We ask what their name is and why they're here. We explain that we're here to get them to move on to the other side and tell them it's important to get unstuck and move on with their life after death.
This is where most of the work takes place, especially if the ghost doesn't want to go. Our guides assist us, always giving us suggestions as to how to deal with each ghost. We carry on regular, out-loud conversations with the ghost, so that the client knows what's going on. After we convince the earthbound spirit to leave, we direct it to float to the tunnel, then through it, going toward the light. We both hear and see the ghost and know each step it's taking. We continually encourage it to move into the light, until it does.
Then we burn sage (burning sage is a Native American cleansing ritual) to clear the home of any negative energy left behind from the ghost, or fear or anger coming from the clients because of the ghost's activities.
How You Can Tell If You Have a Ghost
You might be wondering how you can tell if you have a ghost. First, you should know there's rarely only one ghost in a house; if there's one ghost, you can bet there are more. One reason for this is that ghosts will look for a house that already has some earthbound spirits in it, so that they don't feel so alone. But though they may choose a house to live in that has other ghosts, they don't necessarily hang out with each other. They are always aware of each other but don't always "socialize." If they weren't much on socializing when living in a body, they often just continue on that way in death. But the fact that they want to be left alone doesn't mean they don't get lonely, so they hang out in houses that have other ghosts. We have, on occasion, found a home that has only one ghost, and that ghost usually wants to be left alone.
Here are the most common clues that you've got a ghost:
Tapping or knocking on the walls
Doorbell ringing when no one is there
Radio and/or television going on and off by itself
The sound of footsteps
Sounds of breathing
Water faucets being turned on by themselves
Voices are heard, and no one is there.
Music is heard with no obvious source playing it.
Books or other objects being knocked off shelves
Clothes thrown out of closets
Wastepaper baskets turned upside down
Burners turned on on the stove
A definite cold spot in the room and no draft or window nearby
Material possessions moved from room to room
A white or grayish hazy object floating through a room
Something touches you but no one is there.
A feeling of someone sitting down on your couch or bed
Children claiming they can see someone that you can't
Something pulling your hair or tugging on your clothes
Your house has been for sale for a long time and no one will buy it.
This last symptom is an interesting one. Over the years we have been called by several realtors who have done everything they could to sell a home and nothing was happening. In each case, when we came to check things out we found a ghost living in the home, and the ghost did not want anyone buying the house. In one situation, the original builder of the house had died and didn't want any new people moving in. He liked the current tenants. In another situation the ghost just wanted the place to himself, and in yet another the ghost was in love with the current homeowner and he didn't want her to move (see Chapter 7).
In each case we were able to get the ghost to move on (more about that later) and the house sold within a week.
Ghosts are as varied as people are. Some are angry, some are frightened, some are depressed, some are party animals who don't want to give up their good times. Just remember, we are in death as we were in life. Most of us will move on to the other side when our time comes. The souls that stay behind are a small number compared to the ones that move on.
This notion about all ghosts being evil is not based in reality. In order for a ghost to be evil, he would have had to be evil in his recent lifewhich of course is possible, but there are not as many evil people running around as some of the ghosthunters would lead you to believe. The majority of ghosts are simply unhappy, restless and harmless. Always remember when dealing with a ghost that you are the one with the body. You are the one with the power. Don't give it away.
Facts About Ghosts
The difference between a ghost and a spirit is very simple. They are both souls that are no longer living in a body, but a ghost is a soul that has remained on earth, and a spirit is a soul that has moved on to the other side and has begun a new life there. A spirit can come to this side to visit, but it will return home; spirits are not stuck here on Earth. Ghosts are.