I was surprised to get a message from someone this morning about a spirit that was giving them trouble. I’m not the best sort of person to ask on these things. I was once interested in paranormal stuff but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a stuff-shirt about it now. I stopped paying random spirits attention years ago and they don’t bother me now. My ancestors give me enough trouble without inviting more.
This is the time of year for things that go bump in the night, though. Either for spiritual or entertainment reasons ghosts are popular in the time leading up to Hallow’s Eve. Legend says at this time of the year the veil thins, that is, things spiritual and incorporeal hold more sway over the material world. If you’re interested in contacting those from beyond, this is a good time of year to try reaching out to the other side.
While I haven’t been involved in such things for awhile, I can tell you that setting out to contact the departed has some basic common sense rules to abide by.
- Gather with people you trust. While I don’t hold with the idea you need to keep skeptics away, having a group of friends who will provide honest feedback, sincere support and won’t try to scare the bejeesus out of everyone for kicks is important. Besides, it will be more fun this way and you’ll likely talk about the experience for awhile.
- Try to find someone with some experience. It’s not necessary that your group of friends be venerated psychics, but having at least one person with some experience in the spirit realms helps.
- Ground, Center, Shield, Purify. Make sure everyone take the time to clear their heads, find their center, erect even just a rudimentary shield against harm and take some time to bless and smudge the place you will be using. I’m not saying you must erect elaborate ceremonial magick barriers or put on your psychic riot gear, but take some time to feel comfortable, relaxed and signal to your mind something a bit different is about to happen.
- Have a clear idea of how to establish connection. Maybe you plan to use a ouija board, a pendulum, automatic writing or a channeler, but read up on the method you plan to use. Talk to someone who has used it before if you can.
- Have a clear idea of who you are trying to contact. The spirit world can be a bit like an internet chat-room: full of useless chatter. Have an idea of who you want to contact, or at least what sort of entity you want to contact. A trivial session will result in trivial results. You should contact people you have a genuine need with which to converse. A spiritual authority for instance, may answer questions you have about spiritual matters.
- Someone needs to act as scribe. If all goes well you and your friends will be successful and excited and not remember too much afterwards. Getting someone fairly level-headed to record the experience will be something you will be thankful for a week later.
- Set the scene. Like any religio-magical working, the ambiance is important. Use color, light, scent and sound to create the atmosphere you need. Although try not to use an expensive stereo or any electronic equipment you are attached to. Sometimes magical energy makes electrical contraptions go poof! Leave your cell phone in another room, turned off, if you can to protect it.
- Have all the supplies you will need handy. Candles, matches, incense, drinking water in unbreakable containers, hearty nutritious finger food, something sweet to snack on, salt, blankets, bandaids, neosporin, and if anyone has asthma or some other condition that might be aggravated be becoming excitable make sure that those people have their meds where they can get to them easily. Assume someone will get over excited and make sure you will be able to keep them warm, get food and water in them, and that there isn’t anything breakable in your working area to lessen the chances of people getting hurt if they get a little freaked out.
- Remember that you are flesh and blood and the spirit world can only harm you if you allow it. Treat the entities you contact with respect and courtesy, but if you feel uncomfortable remember that you are in control of the situation.
- Have fun. Even when you are reaching out to realms beyond for matters of serious guidance, don’t forget that there should be mirth as well as reverence for the work you are doing. If the entity you are trying to contact was once human, it’s likely they have a lively sense of humor.
If, like me, you won’t be formally trying to converse with the spirit realms but still want to feel that spooky chill up you spine I recommend you go ghost hunting from the comfort of your own home. The Willard Library in Indiana is reportedly haunted and strewn with webcams. You can read about the live encounters, the webcam ghost sightings, the spoof sightings and try to see if you can see a haint yourself one spooky October night. While I no longer have a copy of the picture, I did once see the ghost of a small boy via the webcam, and occasionally I visit the site in hopes of spotting him again!
Here’s one of the webcam captures from the site featuring what appears to be a ghost in the bottom left corner:
Have fun, be safe, and relish both the mirth and reverence of the season!