Are you entangled in other people's lives, deaths and emotions?
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You're Dead Right!
Can you talk to ghosts? Can ask them about how they
exist, and why, and where they go next, and why not? Can enquire into their
values and beliefs, into their perception of justice and love, and into their
awareness of time?
You may ask about hidden treasures, but generous ghosts
seem to be as common as generous people. Also, as in everyday life, many
will claim to be victims. You can ask them if they know that their
bodies are dead ... and if they know how much time has passed since
their bodies died.
What are ghosts? Let's ask Encyclopedia Britannica ...
Ghost: soul or specter of a dead
person, usually believed to inhabit a netherworld and capable of returning
to the world of the living. According to descriptions or depictions
provided by believers, a ghost may appear as a living being or as a
nebulous likeness of the deceased or in other forms. Belief in ghosts
is based on an ancient notion that a human spirit is separable from
the body and may maintain its existence after the body's death. In
many societies, funeral rituals are believed to prevent ghosts from
haunting the living. Encyclopedia Britannica
(Martyn) You probably have about 10 to 30 living relatives
that you know about. How many dead relatives do you have? Let's say 10 to 30
million, depending on how far back you consider your ancestors to be human.
Your more recent ancestors - in the last hundred thousand years or so - were
like you - and at least as smart. They lived, they loved and they died. Where are they now?
As you might expect, most ghosts are - or
were - ordinary people. They rarely offer profound revelations. They may be
peaceful, relaxed and supportive of their descendents. Or they may be depressed
or obsessed, sometimes taking the concept of tunnel vision to
extremes. They are more often scared than scary.
(David) As a retired psychotherapist, I had many
living clients. When I had clients who could not speak Canadian, we had
to work through a translator. Lately I have worked with dead clients, and we work through a trance-later. But work it is - working with
dead people can be exhausting!
(And although their gratitude can be tear-provoking, only
one knew anything about a lost treasure ... and
that's a pretty good story about one of the greatest lost treasures of all
(Martyn) I never had time for
nor interest in ghosts ... until I started studying with native
Hawaiian healers. Since then, I find that ghosts and ghost stories
help explain many relationship problems and family karma
(intergenerational entanglements) that seems to transcend life
and death. Whether you call them ghosts, spirits or imagination,
they offer useful ways to increase the relationship harmony that
gives sense to our lives.
Everybody wants to go to Heaven - but nobody wants to die
(Martyn) In societies where people are scared to death
of dying, ghosts can be treated badly. In societies that accept death as an
integral part of living, ghosts can be treated well. Many Catholic cultures
honor the dead on special days, and light candles for them.
assume that family ghosts can be helpful and friendly, and they regularly offer
prayers, incense and food to their ancestors. (Such behavior might
be called schizophrenic in the West ...)
The Living Dead or Undead
Many ghosts that we meet seem stuck
between two time zones - between the world of the living and
the world of the dead. Most ghosts often have the
1. Ghosts are dead people
(David) If this seems obvious - slow down. Some
people who are still living have fully dissociated their "selves"
- and may act as free agents. I remember a university professor - I knew
him for years and I can't say I that ever met him. I met a very intellectual
and logical "mind" - but I don't recall any sense of shared
humanity. Ever. Where was his self? I thought that he
haunted his classrooms - while still alive.
A person may die unpleasantly. In my experience, pain
wasn't much of an issue for ghosts - but suffering was.
The suffering of being abandoned by family or deserted
by friends, the suffering of living for some ideal which turned out
to be empty. The suffering of watching your children die.
Many ghosts communicated that a painful end made
it easier to accept death; while dying in one's sleep or under the influence
of psychoactive drugs could cause confusion during and after death.
2. Ghosts are disoriented
(David) Some of the most disoriented ghosts that I
talked to were the ghosts of murderers, abortions and suicides. Some
described horrible fantasies - but not deathly realities. Often these ghosts
communicated that murder or suicide seemed to be an easy way out of some
problem. Usually, it wasn't, and the chaos continued.
(Martyn) Many ghosts seem confused. They may not know that their bodies have died. They do not know
what year it is. Some ghosts seem senile -
they don't like where they are and they try to cling to somebody. Other ghosts
are like people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),
which seems to makes sense. I'm sure that dying can be traumatic.
3. Ghosts do not know that time has passed
(David) A ghost may be unwilling to even consider
that time has passed. It may cling to a fixed idea that in any moment he
or she will wake up or be forgiven or that it will complete
something important that it was doing around the time its body died.
It can be interesting to ask a ghost, "What year is this?"
or "Who is ruling your country?"
(Martyn) A ghost may be frozen in time.
One year or a hundred years - there may be little difference.
A ghost may say that it is waiting for someone to return, or waiting
for something specific to happen before it can move on.
4. Ghosts may not know that their bodies have died
(David) Many ghosts seem to be stuck at the time of their death,
as if time seemed to stop before
the moment of death, then a ghost may believe that it is still alive.
A ghost may also believe that it was abandoned or betrayed
and be quite angry, sad or scared.
(Martyn) A ghost might be shocked to find that it
has no living body. A ghost may call you crazy, stupid or misinformed.
"How can I be dead? Are you an idiot? I am here ...!"
This confusion seems more likely if a person died in their sleep or
demented or under the influence of psychotropic drugs. If a ghost
has no memory of dying - how can a ghost know that he or she has died?
5. Ghosts are enmeshed and cannot leave
(David) Ghosts are often vague as to their
next step. Some are scared of taking it, and try to cling to
the life or world that they once knew. Others seem to have no idea
what to do to move on and cling to a living person, usually
a family member. Others are held by the living, who grasp the dead
person and may offer a warm human body for the ghost to call home.
A ghost may say that it wants to leave, but that it cannot. A ghost
may communicate that it has to say something or prevent something
before it can move on. Some ghosts communicate that they need
forgiveness. We find that ghosts are often entangled with
physical and mental diseases (particularly with miscarriages and
spontaneous abortions) and that they may be a factor in suicides.
6. Ghosts have little leverage
(David) Some ghosts radiate emotions
- usually sorrow, anxiety, guilt or anger. Some highly motivated
ghosts can even move physical items or manifest strange noises,
fluids, items etc - they may be called poltergeists. A few
may be called energy vampires and are accused of sucking
energy from the living - but I find that many living people freely
give their life-energy to dead people, especially to their dead ancestors and
other dead relatives. Such people are often sad or melancholic.
(Martyn) A ghost may try to attract the
attention of the living, but most of the time they just wait.
Ghosts may be bonded to a location - to their places of death
or to their graves, or may be bonded to their genealogy - to
their ancestral homes or to their descendents' lives. I find
that people are more likely to be haunted than places
- although some places may trigger this weird communication.
Communicating with the Dead - Calling Ghosts
"I can call spirits from the vasty deep!"
Hotspur: "Why so can I; or so can any man.
But will they come when you do call for them?"
William Shakespeare (Henry
IV - Part 1)
(David) Many people communicate with ghosts
- although those people may not recognize it. They refer to their
communication as intuition or self-hatred, etc. Try
this out - simply observe or pay attention to your thoughts -
instead of responding emotionally to them. Is your inner voice
inside - or outside; male or female; young or old ...
who or what is speaking to you? Some people call them
dimensional travelers ... or even demons ...
(Martyn) A profound method of
communicating with ghosts is our Dreaming Together, which
was inspired by native Hawaiian healers that I met. Expertise
requires long experience or training in lucid dreaming and interactive
metaphors - and in handling whatever comes up in shared lucid dreams.
Be aware that Dreaming Together can quickly
bring unconscious stuff to consciousness - and that there
may be reasons for keeping it buried! (If your dreams are horrific,
maybe contact us and we can sort it out together. (We teach
Dreaming Together in our Systems 3
. Identification .
Exorcism: Do your Daily Exorcises!
(David) I find most exorcism to be brutal.
Imagine inviting a confused and mentally distressed
relative to stay in your home - and then paying a hit-man to destroy
your relative, or to force him or her leave with no place to go.
(Martyn) Perhaps exorcism is better
than nothing - although most ghosts have agendas, in my opinion.
Sometimes the person or family being haunted is in debt to the
ghost, or hurt the living person that the ghost represents, etc. Such
enmeshments can cross many generations.
A place that is haunted
is thought to be associated by the haunting spirit with some strong
emotion — remorse, fear, or the terror of a violent death. Individuals
who are haunted are believed to be responsible for, or associated with,
the ghost's unhappy past experience. The
traditional manifestations of haunting include ghostly
apparitions, the displacement of objects, or the appearance of strange
lights; auditory signs include disembodied laughter and screams,
footsteps, ringing bells, and the spontaneous emanation of sounds from
musical instruments. Encyclopedia Britannica 2002
(David) I wrote about a
Haunted House that
seemed to have three ghosts and two ... things ... from a separate reality. What we call
demons are not ghosts of dead people, but entities from a normally
inaccessible level of consciousness. Demons are not as easy to interview
as ghosts (because the trance-later may freak out).
Some entities are frightfully toxic - feeding on
human emotional energy. Psychotics and addicts may provide fast-food
and all you can eat services for hungry demons. But even
on their best behavior, visitors from separate realities can cause
confusion and chaos. The entities called demons seem to follow
their own paths, uncaring about whatever chaos they cause us humans.
(Martyn) A common way of inviting
problems into your life is to ignore unfinished
business with dead people - for example if a family member dies
in such a way that you feel guilty - especially if the death is a
taboo topic that cannot be discussed and rationalized.
Suicides and abortion seem the most common causes of death that lead to
We coach people to manage entanglements with dead
people - and with the undead. See
Consequences of Abortion,
Suicide and Vanishing
Twins. (We have coached a few people who were entangled with dead pets ...
and one person who was entangled with a dead tree!)
Haunted House . Curses .
Black Magic .
Dead Person Identification .
and demons are supposed to have horns and hoofs;
yet all animals with
horns and hoofs are vegetarian.
But we don't let that spoil a good story.
David J. Marsden was a retired psychotherapist
living in Ontario. David investigates stories of ghosts, demons and
curses etc. Martyn Carruthers teaches Systemic Coaching
internationally. We can help you bring heart, science and
humor into your dark emotions and
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