I’ve been asked this question quite a few times. Why does only one person in a family experience haunting issues while others don’t?
Logic tells us there are a number of reasons which can include;
Location issues—only their room is troubled
Qualities—something particular about him/her, his/her sex, age, or sensitivity that is attractive to a spirit
Latent psychic qualities coming forth—an emerging psychic medium
Purposeful isolation—to keep him/her separated from the others in the family
Poor explanatory style—attributing explainable things to ghostly events
Mental illness—from paranoia to schizophrenia
Attention-seeking behavior—finding a way to get help by having something wrong, what I like to call a "scapeghost" situation.
A great deal of haunting experiences occur when a person is alone. However, in a typical “haunted” house, several members of a family have experienced similar things at different times, on rare occasions together. The case of an isolated haunting particular to one family member is a difficult one to tackle. You have only one witness, but you do have some very important clues when interviewing the victim.
Here’s a list of some important questions to ask:
1. Does this occur when you are in bed, preparing for bed, sleeping, or awakening?
2. Does this happen in other parts of the home others have access to regularly?
3. Is there any “aura” before the occurrence; hair standing on end, chills, a feeling of being watched, or other warning sign of what is impending?
4. Are these occurrences only involved in one sense? Hearing? Seeing? Smelling? Touching?
5. Has this kind of thing happened in any other residence?
6. Why do you think it presents itself to you?
Some of these questions can really mete out what’s really happening. The first question is crucial because I generally dismiss anything witnessed in bed. There is no way to know the state of wake and sleep a person is in. We hear very often of ghosts coming to people at night and probably 90% of that or more is purely the sleep state issues. These come from people with sleep paralysis, night terrors, sleep talking/walking/eating, or insomnia.
If this occurs only in one’s bedroom and nowhere else in the house, then this could be site-specific and my suggestion would be to switch bedrooms with another family member and see if that person who moves in begins to experience such things.
If it seems to follow the occupant to the new room, it might be person-specific. In that case, we have to mete out if they might be a budding psychic medium, attention-seeking, mental illness, or perhaps something about that person that is different than the others and perhaps attractive to a spirit. Going through the rest of the questioning, might help clarify this.
If there is an aura occurring before an incidence, what we might be dealing with is a sensitive person who can sense changes in the atmosphere. Learning more about their capabilities and noting them in other places will help the person understand how natural it is and how these things come and go quickly and the human body can be a wonderful ghost hunting tool with its own on-board barometer.
I’m curious about whether the person is experiencing a haunting with one sense and not the others. It’s entirely possibly this person is a sensitive and this might be the only sense with which they can “feel” the other side. Knowing that they tend to be auditory or visual can help them in many parts of their life. For instance, an auditory-oriented sensitive might do better testing in school if he/she listens to an audio recording of the lecture to study.
If this has happened in another residence for the person, this is something inherent about the person. At this point, it’s important to discern if there are any family issues unaddressed or perhaps underlying mental illness.
Most times, however, it’s a person who is more keyed into occurrences but has no skills or knowledge to understand the input. This could be a latent psychic ability in mediumship talent that has not been diagnosed or encouraged. Some people are simply more naturally tuned to phenomenon. These people have several ways they can deal with it; ignore it and accept that sometimes they’ll get strange occurrences and sensations and that they’re no different than being sensitive to loud sounds or disliking the cold, or they can learn more about their abilities and how to develop them by finding a psychic mentor.
The most telling question to ask is the last one. Why is this thing presenting itself just to her/him?
A person’s personal explanatory style will come into play in answering this one. You might need to sit there quietly for a while and wait for the person to spill their guts, but they will eventually toss an idea onto the table and from their response, you can know which way to help counsel him/her.
“Maybe the ghost is lonely?” or “Maybe the ghost thinks I’m nice?” This shows a healthy amount of self-esteem. This person believes that he/she is a good listener, a kind heart, a warm person to be drawn to. That same explanatory style will help the person deal with future events. He/she can either offer assistance in moving on to find their family members and find peace elsewhere or enjoy a sense of pride in knowing spirits are drawn to her/his aura and personality.
“The ghost is angry I’m here?” or “He wants his home back?” or “He wants to possess me?” This is not a healthy explanatory style and shows some wavering self-esteem. The assumption is that the ghost means no good because what it’s doing is scaring the occupant. This not only gives the power to the “unseen,” but it shows a person who tends to project others’ feelings as being created by their very presence. If something goes wrong, “it must be me.”
This advice I’m going to give works for friends and yourself when they’re/you're being negative. You find proof that what they/you believe isn’t the only assumption. You have to put their statement on the stand and prove it flimsy and false.
You: “You think the ghost doesn’t like you, right?”
You: “Have you ever had someone mad at you before?”
You: “When was the last time someone was mad at you?”
Client: “I don’t know, a couple days ago. My mom came home and was all grumpy and mad I didn’t start supper.”
You: “Could there have been other things making her mad that day?”
Client: “I suppose.”
You: “Can you name three reasons she might have been mad that had nothing to do with you?”
Client: “She hates her job. The traffic was bad. She got home later than usual.”
You: “But you think it was you she was mad at?”
Client: “I guess it could have been a lot of things.”
You: “Is it possible if there is a spirit spending time in this location, it could be many things making the spirit unsettled? Can you name three reasons other than you?”
Client: “He can’t find heaven? He’s missing his family? He doesn’t want to be here but can’t figure out how to leave?”
Reframing a haunting for a client is the very most important aspect of it. If you are quick to tell someone they have a haunted house or they have spirits wandering their halls, you have already left him/her with a large burden of worry. You can’t truly prove one way or the other if there are spirits in their house or if spirits even exist in the first place, but haunting features are unsettling – wherever they originate from.
Helping the client be able to reframe how they see they explain to themselves the sights and sounds can change the very tone of their home and their reaction to it. When you bring in priests and prayers and holy water and talk of possession and angry spirits and such (“Paranormal State” or as I like to call it, “Paranoid State” show), you’ve just made the person feel worried about the unknown, fearful, and helpless.
The fact is, these sounds and appearances will continue to occur. There is no way to “stop” a haunting every single time, but you can change the way you interpret what’s happening. It’s possible to debunk many sounds in the house, many doors slamming, and other features so that people can live comfortably in their home.
Being startled is not the same as being afraid, although lazy moviemakers like to think so. Helping a person determine if they are under threat or just projecting unexplained things as assaults against them is a very vital part of helping those who are experiencing phenomena.
Why do ghosts pick on just one member of the family? Well, first you have to determine it's a ghost, then you need to determine if the family member has something to gain or perhaps has an issue of imbalance, and then you can move on to dealing with their handling of the attention from an unwanted guest, helping to empower them and reframe the experience.
One of my favorite techniques is simply a spiral notebook and pen. Keep it open. Let the person write down time, event, where, who was there, what they felt, what mood they were in and keep a log. Narc on the ghost every time something happens.
What occurs over time is that the person reporting it actually enjoys being able to go report the happening and the power is now in their hands to tattle. So, you see the action receding quickly and disappearing all together almost always.
There are a lot of variables in evaluating if a person is being haunted and if that person is the only person being affected or if there are explainable reasons for the complaints. It's not an easy call, but with a little observation, some information, and looking for patterns, one can learn a good deal about what is going on.