Visitors From Beyond the Grave

By: Joshua Keen

The definition of a nightmare house guest would certainly include behaviors such as slamming doors, moaning, coming around uninvited, breaking your things, and being insensitive to the fact that it is time to leave.

Many homeowners have had the experience of hosting one of these hangers-on, but not many have had the worst of all nightmare house guests: the undead.

Hauntings have captured people's imaginations since the dawn of time, and ghost stories can be found in every culture on the planet. Yet there is no definitive proof as to whether or not these apparitions truly exist. To those who have experienced a haunting, there is no doubt that ghosts are very real, and that extricating them from the house can be quite an ordeal.

If you think you have a ghost, there are things that you can do. First you need to decide if the ghost is really presenting a problem to you and your family. Many ghosts are harmless, and therefore may not need to be evicted. However, you may find the whole idea of its presence to be unnerving enough that its expulsion is necessary.

If you decide that you do want to rid your home of your spectral house guest, try not to panic. Treat the ghost like you would any other moocher whose time is up. Talk to them in a firm and honest manner. Do not yell or appear frightened; you will only escalate the situation. Tell the ghost how you feel; that their actions are scaring you and your family, and that you need them to stop. Many ghosts don't even realize when they've stepped out of line, and will appreciate your honest feedback. They may stop the offending behavior, or they may leave the premises completely. Again, they are not trying to impose, and will try their best to fix the situation.

Other ghosts are unaware that they are dead. This is a trickier predicament, as you have to first convince the ghost of their passing before you can evict them from your home. They may have lived in that house for a very long time and see the home as being their property, not yours. You must assert your right to the home, as the rights of the living surpass the rights of the dead (or undead, as the case may be).

If you have a ghost that appears to be confused as to their mortal state, inform them of their death in a calm, authoritative manner. Ghosts, like people, trust those who speak with confidence, so they will be more likely to believe what you're saying. Suggest that the ghost go towards the white light that is (hopefully) lingering nearby. Just keep telling them to go towards the light, and even if there doesn't seem to be one, you can perhaps convince the ghost to leave the premises while they keep on looking.

In the case of poltergeists, things can get complicated, fast. Like the most extreme freeloader, these folks aren't going anywhere. They like to cause trouble and do damage to your home. They feed off your energy when you get worked up. Asking them to leave or to head towards the light may not get them to budge. Do your research. Folk remedies abound for getting rid of a troublesome spirit, and include methods such as sprinkling holy water around the property, or by keeping garlic and blessed sea salt in the house. If you find yourself really in a pickle, consider seeing a priest or other spiritual leader. Even if you aren't religious, a priest will have a wealth of knowledge in this area, and can offer you invaluable advice on how to rid your home of this wily presence.

Like calling in the police to escort a moocher off your property, a priest will be your last resort in exorcising a ghost. Try reasoning with them first, explaining how their behavior is affecting your family. If that doesn't work, tell them about all the wonderful things that await on the other side of the light. Be sure to go into detail if the ghost appears skeptical. If you had a human freeloader, you would tell them about that shiny new condo development on the other side of town; play up the benefits of moving. If none of these methods work, then I suggest you try getting to know your ghost. They may prove to be stimulating company on a cold winter's eve.

Happy Halloween!

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