Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to Grow A Ghost

1. My understanding of ghost experiences comes from decades of talking with people who have “seen” a ghost in their lives.

2. Almost equally, I have engaging conversations with people who want to see a ghost and are making an effort to do so.

3. And, finally, people who don’t believe in ghosts at all speak to me at will on the subject. Their conversations are as likely filled with interesting ideas as everyone else’s.

In trying to understand how the ghost world exists parallel to our real-life world, I benefit in understanding (and in finding my own limits of understanding) from close conversation with all three groups. I can draw few, if any conclusions about ghosts. But I can tell you how most people experience a ghost.

First, you should know that I am one of those individuals who is content to “let the mystery be” (with a nod of thank you to Iris Dement for having written such a wonderful song on the subject). I am vastly, but specifically, interested in how people encounter and experience ghosts in their lives.

I am not intent on discovering, explaining, or proving how those experiences might physically (or not so physically) occur within the laws of science, nature, religion, etc.

Because I am interested in the heart of a ghost experience and not so much in the science of a ghost encounter, I do not make limiting definitions of what a ghost is or is not. I keep an open mind on the subject. People who have pat definitions of such things bore me. Even in hard science, we need a little wiggle room of thought if we are to continue to learn and to discover.


Back to the beginning of this post, I have found a divide exists between people who have a ghost encounter and people who want to (and set out to) “see” a ghost. Most people who share their ghost encounters with me did not seek a ghost experience on purpose.

Ghosts happen. For now, let me note that people who do not believe in ghosts in any manner or form are as likely to have a ghost experience in their lives as people who openly embrace the idea that dead people can and do interact with our living world.

The most common thread and perhaps the most important thing to understand about ghost experiences is that such encounters are most often involved with heart ties. That’s right, love.

Love is center and foremost in almost all ghost encounters.

Sadly, this also means that love’s counter-balance, hate, can also create a ghost. There are hateful ghosts. Hate can bind a spirit to the real world as surely as love does.

Hate, however, does not often bind a close tie between a dead person and a living person. Hate-filled ghosts are more often tied to place and objects. As are the ghosts of people who experience traumatic and/or fearful death.

Love-based ghosts are most often tied directly to another person or living thing. By a wide margin, the great majority of ghost experiences I have collected are love-based interactions between the living and the dead. This includes ghosts that are seen, ghosts that are heard, ghosts that are smelled, ghosts that are touched, and ghosts that touch you. This includes ghosts that visit people in their dreams.

Conversely, hateful ghosts are likely the type of ghost that might be experienced or encountered by strangers who live entirely outside the realm of the ghost’s influences. Otherwise, love is the key. Many ghost encounters are private experiences.

In short, you grow a ghost from the heart. You grow a ghost from being able to love and from being loved.

A ghost experience is not all roses and Valentines. Love is not a red paper heart decorated with lace, and neither is a ghost encounter. But love is the key.

Yes, this includes obsessive love. Obsessive love and misplaced love are rarely good for anyone (although, they have their moments in our lives). Both are fertile soil for a ghost experience. I have even heard a few ghost experiences based on erotic love.

Still, the vast majority of ghost experiences I have collected grow out of a close and relatively normal experience of human love, of loving someone and/or being loved by someone.

Have you seen a ghost?

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