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Ghosts & Identification with a Dead Person
David J. Marsden 2003

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

Are you entangled with a dead person?

Preface by Martyn Carruthers
David Marsden can bring mystery and magic into lives made sterile by technology. Many people claim to heal the symptoms that David describes here. Some priests, intuitive healers and energy workers claim this as their specialty. At every psychic fair are sellers of crystals and symbols who claim to offer protection against these symptoms. Psychotherapists can be quite territorial about it, while physicians and psychiatrists supply expensive psychoactive drugs to manage the same symptoms, yet criticize natural medicine and alternative therapies. I only say, "Please demonstrate your claims."

Between Life and Death

People of most cultures honor dead relatives. According to traditions from all over the world, a dishonored or ignored dead person will haunt the living, either as an external or internal ghost. An external ghost is the common ghost of creepy tales. You may call an internal ghost - or imagination, possession, obsession, or identification with a dead person, depending on your education.

Exorcists are an endangered species. Science declares demons and ghosts to be archetypes existing only in the imaginations of the naive and childish. Priests are being replaced by therapists, and their blessings are being displaced by psychoactive drugs.

Dead Person Identification (DPI) exorcises medieval ideas of spirit possession. Entanglement with dead people is well described by Martyn Carruthers, who offers a solid model for its causation, symptoms and resolution. Martyn provides lasting solutions.

According to Martyn Carruthers, the symptoms of identifying with a dead person follow systemic rules. Systemic identifications, he says, are expected when a family member dies in a manner that creates so much guilt for the family that the death cannot be discussed or rationalized. Martyn said that in his opinion, the most common events leading to DPI are suicide, abortion and vanishing twins.

Some Symptoms of Dead Person Identification (DPI)

  • Chronic sadness and melancholy
  • May appear to have psychic sensitivity
  • Preoccupied with death and dying
  • Fascination with cemeteries
  • Anorexia nervosa and some addictions.

(Personal notes from Soulwork systemic coach training)

  • Fascination with places where people died
  • May risk life (no fear of death)
  • May be sterile or avoid becoming a parent
  • May fear that own children will die
  • May have miscarriages and dead children


I tested Martyn's methods - and I confirm their validity. They work. But two challenges to helping people over DPI are the horror movies that we and our clients have seen as children, and ghost stories that seem to be part of every culture. Unresolved childish fears can grow into into a full bloom of terror.

One symptom of dead person identification (or spirit possession) is may appear to have psychic sensitivity. Although Martyn seems to dismiss this as sensitivity to body language, I have frequently observed people with DPI symptoms accurately describe secret past events, current events elsewhere, and accurately predict future events of previously unknown people.

Protection against Undead Spirits

Some people attempting to play games with ghosts or spirits of dead people later find themselves obsessed or disturbed in ways that psychotherapy does not recognize and cannot heal. Magical stories are full of warnings about entities that expect to be paid for their services. (Inexperienced therapists or healers may be wise to refer clients with DPI symptoms to people with experience.)

Never Strike a Happy Medium

Talk to self-proclaimed mediums - perhaps at a psychic fair. Many mediums seem to have exactly the symptoms and sensitivity that Martyn describes as typical of identified people. This ghost archetype seems common wherever I go. Perhaps 5-10% of living people may be entangled with dead people.

Many mediums not only show symptoms of dead person identification - they boast about spirit helpers - about dead people who aid or protect them. Perhaps it's wise to consider the consequences before entangling with dead people. These unpleasant consequences seem to include identification (possession), miscarriages, cot death and dysfunctional relationships.

Ouija Board

My boyfriend died in an accident ... my friends and I bought a Ouija board to see if he would come through and he did. We talk to him almost every night and he is always with us. He said he would never leave me and he will always wait for me ... January 2006

An entanglement with a dead partner will likely influence a future partnership. Also, a future child may identify with the dead boyfriend ... to bring him back into this woman's life. Systemic coaching can prevent and manage such consequences.
January 2006

Which Witch is Which?

My studies into "Can the dead communicate?" brought me to spiritualism, parapsychology and psychic research. Most people were well-meaning with good intentions. For a few groups and cults, however, you are prey to be exploited. (If you have difficulty leaving an occult group - read Exit Coaching.)

Shamans of many cultures claim to use the spirits of dead people to harm the living. Solving these attacks can be wild rides, mostly because of a client's fears and beliefs.

Cross Cultural Horror Show

All over this planet, people use similar ways to honor and communicate with the quiet dead - and have similar unpleasant stories about the unquiet dead - the undead. Central European vampires, werewolves and Egyptian mummies may reflect Hollywood films, but my talks with native Canadians and with immigrants from Cuba, Africa, Vietnam and Afghanistan included eerily similar stories.

While Martyn says "Preoccupation with death and dying" is a common symptom of dead person identification, there are other, less scientific, explanations. What is the difference between a dead person and a ghost? Or between dead person identification and possession? Between dissociating a dead person and exorcism? Or between a systemic coach and an exorcist?

Here are a few of my stories ...

Haunted House  Curses  Black Magic  Ghosts  Demon  Systemic Magic  Possession

Death and Dying

As I investigated the lives and family histories of people with symptoms of dead person identification, a deep concern arose. These unpleasant symptoms provide doors between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Some of these doors can be easily opened, and not so easily closed.

The symptoms of dead person identification may predispose people towards unusual behavior and suicidal depression. I met people with these recognizable symptoms who tried psychiatry, spiritualism, psychotherapy and religion, but I found long-term solutions in Martyn's Soulwork.

Ghosts, Ghosts & More Ghosts

Since I retired, I research ghost stories. I have many first-hand descriptions of ghosts - and of the people telling the ghost stories. A ghost archetype might include wide-open eyes, a fixed stare - often downwards, dark skin under the eyes, slack facial skin, lowered shoulders and down-turned mouths. And these are exactly the physical features that Martyn associates with dead-person identification.

To go beyond second-hand stories into first hand experience, I needed a bridge; and I found it in lucid dreaming. With that I can do more than listen to ghost stories. Carruthers teaches ways to join people in their dreams that he learned while living in Hawaii (see Hawaiian Spirituality).

It seems that shared dreams can overlap onto objective reality! Changes made in the dreams seemed to cause, or at least be related to, rapid changes in the reality in which we live. My question became, "Where does a dream stop and reality begin?"

Entertaining Demons

Dead Person Identification concerns dead people. Yet our human world includes many never-living entities that were once worshipped. Can something die that was never born? Would a dead god be different to a dead person? And how can we recognize a group of people who are identified with a dead person or an undead entity?"

It is often said that man creates gods in his own image. If so, the gods of identified people might appear to demand, or at least request, that symptoms of dead person identification be perceived as normal. Can Carruthers' systemic symptoms (of DPI) explain recognizable belief systems?

DP Identification Symptoms

DP Identified Cult Beliefs

  • Chronic sadness and melancholy
  • May have extreme sensitivity
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Fascination with cemeteries
  • Fascinated by places where people died
  • May avoid becoming a parent
  • May fear that own children will die
  • Suffering and melancholy are holy
  • Extreme sensitivity is holy
  • Preoccupation with death is holy
  • Cemeteries are sacred
  • Places where people died are sacred
  • Celibacy is holy
  • Childhood deaths are holy

Do these symptoms only apply to the darker esoteric cults and occult societies? Or can large communities be influenced by dead people? Perhaps entire cultures can be haunted?

Answering these questions opened some of my strangest ghost stories ... how dead people influence businesses, organizations and cultures! A series of CEOs who died of a heart attacks. An office over an abortion clinic. Religions idealizing death. I may write some of those stories one day.

Haunted House . Curses . Black Magic . Ghosts . Demon . Systemic Magic

Afterword by Martyn Carruthers

Your willingness to walk across a cemetery at night may expose whether you live in a world where not all dead people rest in peace. Trespass into other realities may be fun at first - but the consequences can be unpleasant. Entanglement with apparent visitors from a separate reality can upset your equilibrium and disturb your health.

Contact us to safely explore and manage esoteric phenomena.

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

David J Marsden is a retired therapist who investigates ghost stories - email: David Marsden, Ghost Hunter, 
ghost stories,demons,exorcism

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright David J. Marsden 2003 All rights reserved

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email