Monday, May 11, 2009

Are Ghosts Site Specific?

I was wondering one day early in my ghost hunting experience, if I could make my own home haunted. Could I, in order to test a piece of new equipment, call up a dead relative and let them help me test the equipment here in my home, where there’s no evidence of haunting? In my years since then, I’ve tried many methods to call forth one of my dozens of relatives who have passed on, without one hit on the meters, thermometer, photographs, or EVP.

If we take conjuring a step further, we should consider the efficacy of séances and Ouijas. They’re a prime example of trying to bring the ghost to you. The sites of séances are often times someone’s home or a neutral location not known for a haunting. Although many view the Ouija as a way to speak to the other side, a kind of teletype for spirits, the act of communicating would be creating a kind of visitation by the spirit. (Note: This is all supposition, as I’m personally am not impressed with the abilities of a Ouija or a séance in gathering objective information from a separate party that isn’t physically present at the table). My objections in general with séances and Ouija are that they are impossible to evaluate objectively. Unless the table is filled with people who have no knowledge or association with the supposed ghost and even the medium doesn’t know who is to be contacted until they are about to proceed, I find it extremely hard to differentiate if the medium or the Ouija operator is using her/his own knowledge or gathering psychically the knowledge from a person attending who knows the spirit intimately.

Some have reported that if a building is built on the site of a previous haunting, it too will be haunted. I’m reminded of an old story of a cabin that burned down, killing the family in it, and then a house was built over top of that site. The new building was believed to haunted. I can’t speak for that case, because it is an extremely vague one that gives no real details to check out, but in my own experience with the house I grew up in, I can make some assumptions. Aspen Grove was a simple very square shaped house from the mid 1700s until around the 1900s. Then, more rooms were added on and it became rectangular. The rooms added on; the art room, library, kitchen, and breakfast room, and bathroom, all had no activity. The only activity appeared to be contained in the body of the house that was present during the Civil War when it was a field hospital for both sides.

Another thing that intrigued me about the house, however, was that the booted footsteps went up the stairway. This is a stairway that supposedly was not there during the Civil War. Apparently, the old stairway went up from the music room which was the front of the house back then. Of course, it is impossible to tell when the staircase was moved, but if you look at the add on of the kitchen which the new staircase runs alongside, it is believed to have been moved in the 1900s some time when the kitchen was added on, otherwise the staircase would have been against the back wall of the house during the Civil War which didn’t make any practical sense. It would have extended up from the entryway which was the music room. That being said, how did the ghost of a Civil War soldier find the new staircase and use it? Hmm…. That was a huge mystery to me as a child. I asked my mother about it once and she told me that the wood used from the old staircase was used for the new one. I looked closely at the boards which perfectly matched the 100-year-old wood floors and they did appear to go together. That being said, the moving of the wood still carried the soldier with it. He wasn’t attached to that space in the house, he was somehow attached to the wood he’d been walking on (assuming you believe it's his spirit walking the wood and not the wood recalling its memories). If I took that one step further (no pun intended), the staircase could have been moved to a new house and possibly remained haunted. (The question of course, is what is a haunting? Is it house memories or actual spirits of the deceased?)

That leads me to the next obvious question about ghosts being site specific, when someone inherits an object or purchases an antique and begins to experience haunting issues. Museums often times report hauntings amongst their found objects. Yes, I do think objects can carry traits of hauntings with them. What I’m not going to eagerly say is that the spirit of a deceased person is attached to the object and follows it around, but I am willing to say that habit and memory are imprinted on the object, as well as emotions. Those boards that kept creaking had the memory of people in boots going up and down them all the time. Those beloved objects people inherit and the ones found in museums and antique shops all have memories attached to them and those can be released and create all kinds of phenomenon in the right conditions. Without true signs of intelligence and interaction, it's impossible to prove spirit attachment.

Considering all these factors, I have come to my own personal conclusion that séances and Ouijas are of little objective validity as far as conjuring up the dead to speak. Buildings set on sites of previous hauntings could be haunted, but by my estimation it would be a consideration of the geology of the site or the use of previous materials from the site or the sacredness of the ground. Objects do hold information but that information has as of yet not been proven to be the souls of the departed, but perhaps memories and information contained within and released. I have seen no objective evidence that an object that is haunted is actually haunted by the dead, but perhaps haunted with stored residual.

I have not seen proof of being able to call a ghost to you, to a new location. I also have seen no evidence that ghosts themselves are attached to objects but that their past history with that object is held within. Although some people have reported leaving a home and being haunted at the next, there is no way to prove that spirits followed that person/people, but that he/she/they were great conduits for activity no matter where they chose to go.

Getting objective evidence is nearly impossible in that, even if I were to get specific information from a spirit of someone I don’t know, someone that no one in the room knows, I still have no way of telling if my psychic abilities are picking up the information or if that spirit is actually giving me that information. So, for now, I’ll say that ghosts are site specific, if you term a ghost as the spirit of the deceased. I would also say that a ghost is not site specific, if you are like myself and call a ghost or spirit the unexplained phenomena as of yet not proven to be a deceased person’s spirit.


  1. I think I lean toward ghosts being site specific. In regards to your staircase example I thought of the stories I've heard regarding organ transplant. One story I read was about a woman who received a heart from a young man who died in an automobile accident. The young man's family released their information along with the heart, as they felt very strongly about the benefits of organ donation. They wanted contact with the recipient so that they could know that their son's organs went to good people. The woman who received the heart waited several months after her transplant, as she understandably wanted to make sure her body would accept the organ. When the time to meet the man's family did come they visited her at her home and asked her how she was doing. She said she felt well but experienced strange things since her transplant. She found she liked garlic, which she hadn't before, and that she now prefered heavier music than she usually listened to. The man's family went quiet, and said that she had just mentioned two things that their son had liked during his lifetime. An organ is much more intimate than a staircase, but I think it lends an analogy to the closeness of a human spirit to things they once touched or were a part of, spirit being tied to the physical.

  2. That's a great observation! I know someone who had two different transplants at two different times and reported changes in personality. I think for me this goes along with the theory of every cell in your body holding your history. The cells in your kidney know what the mind knows, the mind knows what the cells in the kidneys know. It's impossible to imagine they are separate from each other as most things in our body run autonomic without us having to tell them what to do. My brother when he died had donated his organs. We got a letter from a lady in Greece who got his eyes and was able to see again. She did report loving to look at the ocean for hours and loving the color blue which was my brother who adored blue and scuba dived all the time, wanting to be an oceanographer... I think that was the premise of the Japanese movie "The Eye." There's been a lot of transplant horror movies and probably because these sort of things are reported. I'd like to think when I pass and my organs go on that my love of life and child-like exuberance is passed on too to help the person adjust to surviving a physical trauma with feelings of hope and happiness to be alive. I truly suspect that everything is tied together by some kind of magical soup that we don't know about yet, but some day we'll figure out. It could be attributed to things like psychokinesis and self healing and such. I think humans tend to swim against the tide on these matters and once we get in sync with the currents, we'll have nirvana.