Recently Scarlett from Ask Scarlett! received a question pertaining to haunted houses. She referred the question to me with the hope I would be able to deliver a more clear answer.

Dear Scarlett,

I am in dire need of advice. I believe my house to be haunted. Not the silly kind of haunted like you see in the movies, but truly haunted. I have seen apparitions and I walk thru cold spots all the time. Now, I don't mind any of this; however, I want to be able to communicate with my house spirit. Do you know of any good ways to do this? I have considered using an Ouija board, but that seems so Hollywood. I just want to find out why my spirit is in my house and if it is looking for anything in particular, or if it is just trapped here.

Friend of Casper

Dear Friend of Casper,

A haunting can happen in many different ways. Some are very subtle like cold spots, such as you mentioned. Others can be a bit unnerving. Seeing an apparition falls under that category for me. Thus far it seems that you have been lucky not to encounter a violent haunting. I myself have witnessed cases in which people were attacked or knives or glass were strewn about on the floor. Many times a house can have both a friendly and unfriendly spirit haunting it. This is usually the case when something traumatic has happened to one of the individuals. The victim spirit is generally the nicer one. They want justice and they want you to help them get it. The more aggressive spirit is less friendly. They are trying to protect themselves or the truth about an event that has happened. Violence in the house may increase the more you help the victim spirit.

A house can be haunted for many different reasons. The most common is unfinished business. A spirit will have a tendency to be trapped here on earth if there is something left for them to do. The easiest way to explain this would be to refer you to the movie The Crow. Eric Draven, the lead character in the movie, was sent back to earth to avenge his death and to ensure the culprits got their just deserts.

I grew up in a haunted house. Unlike most victims of haunting, my family had a personal relationship with our ghosts. They were my aunt, my grandfather, and my cousin. All of these people had a strong relationship with us during life and those relationships continued in death. I never attempted to contact them but from my frequent experiences, and the lack of experiences of others in the house, I believe that my long dead relatives were always there to protect me.

This brings me to the topic of communication. First you need to know a few things about communicating. Communicating with a spirit often helps that spirit to continue on its journey. Many people use Ouija boards when dabbling in necromancy. There are other and more effective ways to communicate with a spirit. You can conduct a séance. This is no easy task but if it is the path you choose simply pick up a book such as Tom Cowan's The Book of Séance: How to Reach Out to the Next World. Another option is a bit more expensive but may be the most productive. There are many people out there called psychic-mediums. These people talk with the dead. They are professionals. The nice thing about this is that if your spirit gets violent a medium is trained to deal with the situation. In almost any area of the United States you can locate a medium. Keep in mind, do not go find Madam Helga who has a big neon sign on her front window and charges ten dollars to read your palm. Although some of these people have talents, many of them are frauds and will do nothing but take your money for telling you a very nice fairy tale.

All in all remember that this spirit is earthbound for a reason. Any help you give to assist in them achieving their goal will be appreciated. Think of how frustrated you get when you can't seem to finish something. Always take your haunting seriously. To your ghost this is no joking matter and it shouldn't be for you either. When in doubt think of how you would feel if it were you.

Originally published in Acrimony Magazine Issue #6 January 2004