Ghosts, Hauntings & Related Phenomena

Written by Matthew James Didier

I got a ghost in my home! How do I get rid of it?

Unedited Version of My June Article for YYZ Lifestyle Magazine...

This is one of those rare times you’re humble author will use these words... "Who ya gonna call?"

The answer is... No one - if possible.

Let’s assume you feel there’s "something" in your house and you want rid of it. The first thing you must do is eliminate all possible "natural" possibilities for what you’re experiencing before going to the "supernatural" answers.

For examples of separating the "natural" from the "supernatural"... If you’re seeing "weird shadows", what are the light sources casting those shadows? Could something in front of this light source be to blame like a blowing curtain or leaves on a tree? If you’re hearing odd noises, can you be 100% sure it’s not from the street below or neighbours? Have you checked your vents or heating pipes for strange raps or noises? How about pets or other animals? It is essential that you eliminate this before making the "leap" to the paranormal... You don’t want to tell someone about your ghost only to have them debunk it on the spot.

Once you feel you’ve eliminated all "natural" causation, the next step is to start keeping a journal. Note what time and place things either happen or where you’ve noticed the affects of the phenomena. Is there any pattern? Can you see any "natural" possibilities with this? As an example, if you notice that at 6:30am pretty much Monday through Friday your dishes rattle in the cupboard, is it the first streetcar of the day rattling by or something else?

On a more "believers" angle with the journal, can you attribute the phenomena to anyone via the movements? Is there method to the phenomena? A journal is important to find the patterns... if there’s any patterns to find.

Now, once you’ve got your information (a week or preferably more of journal entries and elimination of as many natural possibilities as you feel necessary), what next?

Many would say a priest to exorcise the spirit. Some would say a psychic or shaman to clear the home. Others would tell you to do nothing.

All may be right... all may be wrong.

The first words of wisdom I can impart are... DON’T OPEN YOUR WALLET.

I’m highly sceptical of any person(s) that charge money for clearing a house. Since no one (honestly) knows for sure what a ghost is, how can someone charge you to get rid of one? We have reports of people almost bankrupting themselves paying for clearings and psychical help... Oh sure, "guarantees" and whatnot are promised, but rarely delivered. Also, to date, every clearing attempt we’ve investigated did not work 100%. Sometimes, it "made things worse" according to the witnesses. Often, it "dissipated, but did not go away completely". One woman we communicated with in the GTA spent over $8,000.00 for a "clearing" that, when the psychic came over initially, was proclaimed to be her "late husband" and then new fees were charged to communicate with said "husband" to find out what he wanted. The problem is, the "psychic" made it very clear (legally) that she was doing her thing "For Entertainment Purposes Only", so there was little that could be done to retrieve the money... although things are, according to the witness, still pending.

I don’t care who says what, there are no guarantees and shouldn’t be. Caveat emptor to the customer of the ‘house clearer’.

So, what to do if you feel that something needs to be done?

Well, I asked several psychics and clergymen for opinions. Here’s what the "overall" suggestions were...

#1: If you feel "something" is in your home, ignore your own discomfort of feeling ‘weird’ and don’t be afraid to speak out loud to it as if speaking to a person nearby. All the sources I spoke to said the same thing... Don’t yell or be belligerent, simply state, with respect, that this is your home now and you’re willing to share or work with whatever/whoever is bothering you, but those certain things that are frightening you should stop. Treat this "unseen thing" as you would an adult roommate who plays their stereo too loud... try to use reason, be respectful, but make your point... gently.

Now, from a "believers" point of view, this should help as "ghosts" are/were people too and probably want respect... that’s all.

From a "non-believers" point of view, call this the "magic placebo". Taking ownership of things someone is having trouble understanding.

The above should always be your first avenue of resolution, but if you feel it was ineffective, try the next one...

#2: If you practice a religious faith, ask your local cleric to come and bless your home. Don’t ask for an exorcism (as that might tie up the works while proper permissions are given to the clergy by their "higher-ups"), but a blessing. For most clerics, this is part of their duty and they will do it for free... or worse case, a small donation to their church/temple.

#3: Only if the above fail, try to find a psychic to assist you (if you feel this may help). Many psychics and sensitive do feel that they have a "gift" and to assist someone with this gift should be done free of charge. In fact, there are large groups of psychics that have this as a credo... "Help is free." In other words, readings and psychic impressions of "things to come" and the like will be "chargeable" things. Helping someone in distress is not chargeable. If you need help finding a psychic to help, contact a local "ghost group" like Torontoghosts (or someone else) and ask where you could contact such a person. REMEMBER: DON’T OPEN YOUR WALLET!

Lastly, for the non-believers and more sceptical...

#4: Invite either trustworthy friends or family or a ghost group (again, like Torontoghosts) to come and have a look. Perhaps they may "catch" something you missed in your initial look around for answers.

Now, the "DON’Ts"...

DON’T open your wallet. Money should never be involved.

DON’T be afraid. Your chances of winning a large lottery are much better than being harmed physically by a ghost. Most "injuries" from ghosts are caused be people "running away" or reacting to the phenomena and hurting themselves in the process. Hollywood, urban legends, folkloric tales and old stories may differ, but if you do the numbers, not too many people are honestly physically ‘hurt’ by ghosts.

DON’T use a Ouija board or the like to "make contact" with things. Remember: There are two lines of thinking about Ouija boards... You can see them as a dangerous portal that might welcome anything to "come through" without restraint, or you may see them as a dangerous toy that allows a person to let their own imagination and sub-conscious go crazy making the believe that something worse is coming out via the toy. Either way, almost everyone we spoke to said leave the "YesYes" board alone.

DON’T assume that a history of your home will be revealing. The only time you should break out the historical research side of things is when you have something tangible (through your journal entries?) that seems to point to a possible person. It’s a given that many older homes have had deaths in them... but can you be 100% sure you’re on the right historical track?

DON’T bring in an "expert" from somewhere and expect answers... or at least, correct answers. First of all, ghosts are a study of the "unknown". How can one be an expert of "The Unknown"? Everything about ghosts from "experts" (or even myself) is guesswork... hypothesis... and, untested hypothesis at that! Take all information said as "fact" with a grain of salt and separate what may work for you while ignoring those items that may not jive with what you’re thinking. Unless empirical evidence is brought to the table, it’s all best guesses.

DON’T assume that "orb" photos or "mist" photos are evidence of a ghost. Far from it. Most "orb" and "mist" (and even "vortex") photos can be easily explained via natural phenomenon. The question I inevitably ask a person who sends me a photo like that as "evidence" that their home or whatever is "haunted", I ask if this is the only "evidence" or have other things happened to lead them to this conclusion.

As a note, if you are unfamiliar with "orb", "mist" (sometimes called "ecto") and "vortex" photos are, first of all, consider yourself lucky. Secondly, I promise I’ll cover these things in another article. For now, just use good old Google to find out more...

DON’T assume all things are ghostly in nature. It’s very easy to get a little lost in things when you feel you’ve stumbled on something supernatural. Your senses get heightened as you strain and wait for the "next" thing to happen... This can sometimes lead to every little noise and weird shadow being taken as something "very" supernatural. Trust me, if there’s something to be "found", you’ll find it... without straining to hear/see every little thing.

DON’T assume that your home is on an "ancient native burial ground" or "cemetery where they moved the stones, and not the bodies". These explanations make for great Hollywood movies, but don’t pan out too well in the real world. Think of all the "true ghost stories" you’ve heard or read... "Ghosts" are usually seen where the person they represent lived, worked, played or died, not where they are buried. Also, sites of native ossuaries (burial grounds) are well marked (for the most part) by the city and province. If you do believe this is "possible", a call down to city hall can often tell you the truth. If I believed all the sites that we’ve heard in Toronto were "ancient native burial grounds", I got news for you... the whole city seems to be (by dint of rumour) a huge cemetery! Thanks to those Hollywood movies, many people jump to the assumption that their house is indeed on top of a lot of dead people... when, chances are, they’re not.

DON’T assume someone like myself or another ‘ghost investigator’ (or worse, ‘ghost hunter’) has magic toys that "detect" ghosts. We don’t. In fact, there’s nothing like that available... how can you "detect" something when you don’t know really what it is? Many assume (incorrectly) that ghosts are "detectable" via weird electro-magnetic field variances. Unfortunately, there is absolutely zero credibility to this. I know, many people "assume" this to be the case, (after all, don’t all ghost hunters run around with EMF detectors?) but there’s no documented scientific correlation of this. Like poltergeists (noisy, un-seen ghosts) only being around pre-pubescent girls (totally unfounded through statistical analysis), this is just something someone decided "must" be the case long ago.

DON’T cave in to rumours and "stories". Just because the local kids talk about "The Ghost House", it may have been a wonderful tale made up over Halloween to amuse or scare children as opposed to something tangible in folklore or legitimate history. Research will answer that pretty quickly.

So, "Who ya gonna call?" Start with yourself, save your money, keep a truly open mind (not only to things being "paranormal", but also to the possibility of things being not-so "paranormal") and relax... There are ways to deal with a pesky ghost!

Matthew Didier