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The "Supernatural" Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls
Spirits come in all kinds, and they can be provoked to stay in the world of the living by any kind of emotion: love or hate, sadness or confusion. Dad quotes the English demonologist Ebenezer Sibly in his journals:
In the world of spirits is always a very great number of them, as being the first sort of all, in order to their examination and preparation; but there is no fixed time for their stay; for some are translated to heaven and others confined to hell soon after their arrival; whilst some continue there for weeks, and others for several years.
Almost always, a spirit is tied to a material object. More often than not, that material object is the spirit's own remains. We spend a lot of time digging up bones. But we've also worked jobs where the spirit was residing in jewelry, dolls, picture frames, you name it. In a nutshell, here's what we've learned:
Anything can be haunted.
After death, some spirits don't want to go. They think their work on earth isn't done, or they feel they have to right some wrong or avenge some injustice. So they don't go. They hang around the material world, unable to touch anything or talk to anyone, and their only company is other spirits as lost and confused as they are. It doesn't take Dr. Phil to figure out that eventually all of that feeling is going to turn bad.
When it does, you've got a spirit that might be evil, or might be angry, or might just be lashing out from pure anguish. Whatever the reasons, these spirits tend to be fatal to the people who get in theirway, and it's our job to see them back on their path to the afterlife.
Dispelling a spirit is pretty straightforward, even though it's not always easy. You find the remains, or the object the spirit is using as a focus to stay active in the human world. When you've found it, you salt it and burn it. End of spirit. Maybe it lacks a little finesse, but it gets the job done. Sometimes you can even get away with just giving the body a proper burial. That works if the spirit hasn't had time to go crazy in the limbo between this world and the next. And if it turns out to be a death omen—well, they're satisfied just to be noticed.
Here's an old story, maybe one of the oldest, about a spirit like that. It's one of Dad's favorites—well, was one of Dad's favorites. It's maybe the prototype haunted-house story.The "Supernatural" Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls. Copyright © by Alex Irvine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.