Traditions and Paths forum: Ghosts

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Jul 20, 2010 12:46 PM CST
Name: Val
Please tell me what your religion (or non-religion) is and then tell me how you feel about ghosts?

Do you feel that they don't exist? Do you feel they are energy or lost souls? Are they spirits or demons? Or something else?

Are your feelings on the subject personal or does your religion explain what they are?

I'm not sure how I feel on the subject so I'd like to hear different views. Can you please explain why you feel the way that you do?
Jul 20, 2010 7:48 PM CST
Name: cerridwenn
Four Corners Area, NM
i guess my feelings on ghosts are irrelevant of religion, because they were the same when i was christian as they are now. although granted, the approach to christianity that i was raised is much more pagan anyway so maybe that isn't as strange as it sounds at first...

basically, i think ghosts are dead people or animals, and other kinds of spirits are (for lack of a better word) creatures or beings who may be friendly, indifferent or hostile to humans depending on what their agenda is. i grew up in an area where most people at least nominally accepted the possibility of ghosts, even if they claimed to never have had any experiences or chose to ignore their experiences because of fear. so i always believed in them and was always fascinated by them. i don't believe the modern new age approach that all beings are essentially good, i think that a ghost is exactly like the person or animal it was in life. some are mean and some are impatient and some just love you and some are confused. maybe some are all of the above. don't know what to make of the ones that are "stuck" (ie residual energy) because they don't seem to have the capacity for reason or observation. i have had personal experiences with ghosts that i feel confirm these beliefs, where i work in particular is a place that seems to attract some and has other permanent residents. i have had a very few personal experiences with the other kinds of spirit beings, mainly in ritual settings, so i feel they are confirmed too.

in learning about other cultures i came to view "otherworld beings" (faeries, elementals, even deities) as some kind of entity that is non-physical in our world, that chooses to interact with us for some reason. so they are different from ghosts, but hard to classify for most of us because we don't know much about them. so what we call demons i think are just beings that don't like what humans are doing or think we are in their way and want to affect us negatively because of it. not nice really but not evil. like how a predator wants to eat - it's not evil because it attacks you or your livestock, but it certainly isn't to your benefit and you can't reason with it because it honestly doesn't care what you think.

tell me what you think - ask questions - i love to talk about this stuff and usually get too into it and people get annoyed or bored. have been listening to paranormal research podcasts at work on days when i'm in the office, and listened to an interesting one that was an interview with a medium talking about ghosts. felt i was being watched, looked over to the doorway of my room, and had a flash of like 3 little kids sort of peering at me over each others shoulders with eyes big as saucers trying to listen to what she was saying without being noticed, then when i turned their way i had the impression of them running away giggling. i don't actually see them by the way - occasionally shadows but usually it's more like a flash of imagination but it feels real and not imaginary. the more i trust that i really did see or hear something, the more details i can remember from it. trusting those flashes instead of finding a "reasonable excuse" to explain them is something i've been working on a lot the past few years and i think i'm getting better at "noticing" those events.
Jul 20, 2010 11:16 PM CST
Name: Dorothy (LaVonne) Mitchell
Somerset, KY

I agree with Cerridwenn, my thoughts on the subject of ghosts is not ont connected with my spiritual belief system.

Over the years I have had feelings of not being alone in a room, other times I have seen entities that passed over a long time ago and not related to me. I know that there are those spirit individuals who walk amongst us for a variety of reasons. To date I have not been threatened or harmed by any of them. They appeared confused about where they were, friendly (but not over baring) and after awhile, when I tell them it is time for them to go, they understand and I "see" them no more. So as it said "There are more things between heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio....scene from Shakespeare's Hamlet.


Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Jul 21, 2010 5:45 AM CST
Name: Val
Thanks for answering, Cerridwenn and LaVonne. Yes, I have many questions. These are old questions that I've never really resolved about the subject. I've never had any experiences with ghosts so this is just one of those nagging subjects that I haven't sorted out.

I feel like the subject is a piece of a puzzle that I haven't figured out how it fits in. It has the colors and shapes to fit in in the area of the puzzle dealing with death and realms of the Otherworld. But I don't know how it fits in. How does it relate with my beliefs concerning my practices at Samhain or my beliefs in reincarnation? I don't know.

These are the ways that I'm relating it to my religious beliefs. Not that I worship ghosts but rather, how does the concept fit in with my existing religious beliefs in these areas.

From listening to others on the subject of ghosts, I mostly believe that they exist. There does seem to be a major difference between conscious ones and ones that are more rote. You described it well, Cerridwenn. Are these two types of phenomena different enough that they have different terms to describe them? They seem different enough that perhaps they are two different pieces to my puzzle. How do they each mesh with concepts of the afterlife, the Otherworld realms (or whatever one believes in), or the concept of reincarnation? I really don't know. When I set a feast (like at Samhain) or give offering to my ancestors, are they considered as ghosts that I can't see (but can feel their presence)? I don't know. Concerning the more rote ghosts (those that seem stuck in a particular time and place doing the same thing over and over) are they actual beings or is it some sort of imprint in time that occasionally can be seen through the veil between realms? There's a can of worms. That leads me to wonder if all actions are imprinted on time in another realm. And for what purpose?

How do you fit this piece of the puzzle in your beliefs?
Jul 21, 2010 1:53 PM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Interesting topic, Val! I've had a few experiences with something ghost-like at least, for lack of a better term. Not something I saw, but there was a peculiar energy or presence in a house I once lived in. Several of my friends had strange or even creepy "vibes" while in the house, and one even saw an image that horrified him. The part that I didn't like was that I couldn't keep the curtains closed or the door locked- I'd be alone, close the curtains and lock the door, and an hour later find the curtains open and the door unlocked. My roomate and I both attributed it to the other for some time, till we both started realizing it happened when the other wasn't there.

Several years later I became friends with a woman who I some years later found out had lived in the same house after I did. She was telling me her ghost experiences, that sounded so much like mine, when I asked where it was and we realized we'd lived in the same house!

I've never been able to really come to a decision as to what was happening or what a ghost could really be, but it seems logical that the non physical part of who we are probably has free will. I guess that would include freedom to hang around on the earth plane, although I can't imagine wanting to, LOL. I can see that some are more attached to the physical realm than others, and emotional attachments to loved ones makes sense to me too.

Oh, I just remembered another thing that happened there. This was in the late 80s, and a friend has dubbing a music tape I had on a dual casette player. It dubbed internally, so outside noise didn't interfere. He recorded the same song over and over on one side of his casette. When we played his recording to check the quality, the first 2 times the song played it sounded normal, but from the 3rd on there was a background noice, that sounded oddly like a woman crying or wailing. Now that was pretty creepy!
Jul 22, 2010 6:35 AM CST
Name: Val
Hi, Neal.
I've had experiences with things like doors being unlocked. A bathtub full of water when no one ran it (and no drips). *Knowing* where I put things and having them vanish.

Most times I attribute it to "house spirits" or "fey" but sometimes I joke about it being a ghost. It could have been a ghost. Since I've never seen a house spirit, fey or ghost, I'm not sure that I could tell the difference by just their actions. Maybe I'm more likely to attribute it to a ghost if the actions seem more human---like hearing footsteps walking across the floor. That's something that I heard often in the first two years that we lived here. How would you distinguish between house spirits, fey (if you believe in such things) and ghosts without seeing them?

Now that I think about it, I suppose that I had a ghost at one time. At one time I had a third-floor apartment that I rented for seven years. Occasionally, I would see the face of a little girl in the window. At first, it was startling but I got used to it. She wasn't scary. It was just startling to see a face at a third-story window (no balcony). Sometimes guests (people who didn't believe in such things) saw it too. After I moved, the next person who rented that apartment told me about having the same experiences (I didn't tell her about my experiences). She described the same little girl.

I tend to forget about the little girl because she wasn't scary and didn't bother me. She seldom ever came in the apartment that I know of.

But I did have something valuable that came up missing from that apartment that I never could explain. I had looked for years for a particular crystal (I collect rocks). This was a large, rare crystal in that although it had plenty of six-sided crystals that went into the crystal, it also had one six-sided crystal that had formed in the center that did not touch any of the sides and was easy to see. Some call it a manifestation crystal. I had it out one night talking it about it to a guy I was dating. I remembered *exactly* where I left it when I went to bed. I went to bed after my then-boyfriend and woke up before him. My first thoughts when I woke were to put the crystal away because I normally didn't leave it out. But it was gone. I am absolutely positive that my then-boyfriend did not take it. I was with him for two years and he was one of the most honest people I've met. Plus he didn't have any interest or knowledge of those things. I tore that apartment up looking for my rock. I tore apart recliners and furniture , went through every bit of trash, and looked through every single item in the house in every room and closet. After searching to buy a nice crystal like that for so long, you can imagine how thorough I was---multiple searches. Everywhere. It simply wasn't there. No one broke in that night and we didn't have company. I didn't drink alcohol. There was no practical explanation for the disappearance of that rock.

I finally came to terms with it and figured that a house spirit had taken it. But I guess it could have been the little girl. Ha. It would be nice if she would give it back to me. I'm still half-expecting it to turn up someday even though this happened 15 years ago and I've moved a few times. I've had small rocks disappear before but never anything that I valued so much.
Jul 22, 2010 7:22 PM CST
Name: cerridwenn
Four Corners Area, NM
i think the explanation of how to determine which kind of spirit is which has to do with an individual's abilities. if a person is gifted with seeing, whether it appears physical or in the mind's eye, the different kinds will look different. if a person is gifted with intuitive feelings, a ghost will have a different feel from a different spiritual entity. it's the same exact concept as understanding that some people are good at tarot, others are good at runes, others don't use a tool but pick up empathic feelings, all to address the same question. at least, this is how i make sense of it - not saying i'm right or that it's the only way to look at it, but that's how it makes sense to me.

the difficult part is for those of us who either were not taught how to use our gifts from an early age and are trying to rejuvenate them after some period of time, or those of us who don't have a really strong gift of that type and have to work really hard to feel any impressions at all. i have never had very strong gifts in that type but once i started trusting my intuition i'm starting to be able to feel presences, see shadows, and very occasionally hear a voice or sound. to me, a main difference between a ghost and a different kind of spirit is what they want or need. for example, a ghost may want to communicate with you for some reason - some apparently just want to be noticed and that's good enough for them, others might need help, whatever. does a faery or angel or elemental need something from you? most likely not. in some cases, they may emphatically NOT want to be noticed or communicated with. so that's what i mean when i say their agenda may be different from yours. but if you ask a being to be present, for example in a ritual or to be honored in some way, and it is pleased, it may try to show itself to you, and if you have abilities you in turn see or feel it. that is something i have experienced in rituals and sometimes at ancient sites or in nature. i don't get the feeling at all though, just the vision. so the information that you get is different. with a spirit being, it's more of a confirmation of your beliefs unless they want to tell you something.

the feeling is the sort of "butterflies in your stomach" or "someone is staring at me". that's what i feel when there is a ghost present. it's very easy to ignore or explain by something "sensible" which is why i believe most people learn to ignore it, either on purpose or not. i often have that feeling whether or not i can see or hear anything, and i don't get information from it, so the feeling itself isn't all that useful except that you can learn to take note of it and trust that it is real. if i see a spirit being, i don't have that being watched feeling. i don't know what criteria other people use to know if "something" is there. some people i have talked to said something similar to what i notice, but i have a good friend who sees ghosts all the time and can talk with them etc... she just knows, no special feeling. so it's not universal.

by the way, i didn't mean that believing in or interacting with spirits and ghosts is not a part of my beliefs, because it is a very important part, simply that i don't find it related to a particular religion versus another religion. in the dumb supper that you mentioned, or other work to honor the ancestors which has become very important to me, i do feel that they are present and that the activity helps me to understand them and be closer to them. i have not ever been able to have a conversation or even see them, but i see that as MY mental block, not their inability or disinterest in being there. i wish that one of us were stronger and able to do something more obvious in the way of communication, but that is why i am working on becoming more observant and trusting my intuition.

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