Friday, January 1, 2010

Isolation: why do ghosts pick on just one family member?

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 issuesonly their room is troubled

Qualitiessomething particular about him/her, his/her sex, age, or sensitivity that is attractive to a spirit

Latent psychic qualities coming forthan emerging psychic medium

Purposeful isolation
to keep him/her separated from the others in the family

Poor explanatory styleattributing explainable things to ghostly events

Mental illnessfrom paranoia to schizophrenia

Attention-seeking behavior
finding a way to get help by having something wrong

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.

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 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 there might be attention-seeking problems, 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 onboard 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 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.

Start here:

You: “You think the ghost doesn’t like you, right?”
Client: “Yeah.”
You: “Have you ever had someone mad at you before?”
Client: “Sure.”
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?”
(Immediate relief)

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, 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.


  1. this is informative, & i can see how it could reassure someone!

  2. Hey Libby;
    It's one of my favorite aspects of dealing with people who are having issues. Reframing the experience makes it so much more livable and empowers people. My parents instinctively did that when I was a kid growing up at Aspen Grove. I so appreciated them giving me a healthy perspective on it rather than the scary "old world" attitudes about hauntings.

  3. Very interesting post. This is what happened to the previous owners of the house that was haunted when I was a kid.
    The people who owned the house prior to us, was a family of four. A mom and dad and daughter and son. For them the mom was the only one who experienced the paranormal phenomenon and was the reason they sold their home.
    While we were living there, many persons experienced the paranormal and in many forms. Our entire family experienced it and even visitors who stayed with us were witnesses as well. So it's very interesting to find out why this happens.
    My parents met that couple (the previous owners) at a dinner with neighbors and the whole paranormal activity came up in conversation. The lady was so relieved that someone confirmed that what she was experiencing was real.

  4. Sandra;
    Yeah, when owners talk to each other it really helps. When we moved to Aspen Grove, my mother had a visit from the past owners who came by for tea. They were sitting there discussing the ins and outs of the well and the radiators and all the features of the home, but then they asked my mother if she'd heard the booted footsteps up the stairs and down the hall. She felt immediate relief. No one said "ghosts" when they bought the place and my parents were not believers until they witnessed so many weird things. I've been able to comfort some of the people who have since owned Aspen Grove. Sometimes, just one keen observer in the family notes these things and others just ignore them. That woman must have been one of those sensitive types who realized it.

  5. Happy New Year! Yes this will be the year of the swimsuit and the bikini!! :-D

  6. Great post...a good run down of reasons an isolated haunting could occur. Those are also great questions to ask to analyze the situation, and I like your ideas about reframing the nature or purpose of the haunting.

  7. Hey Jeff;
    Thanks. There is never a place for fear and superstition in counseling people. Bringing them back to logic keeps it all in perspective. That's probably why haunted places don't scare me in the least (except admittedly for any people hiding there or rats racing across the floor). Sometimes, I use the intestinal cramps example. If you live in a haunted house, perhaps at maximum 1 hour a day total there are strange happenings (that's actually a lot). If you had intestinal cramps one hour a day, the other 23, you'd be fine. It should be the same way in a haunted house. The little things shouldn't negate the home and what it symbolizes.

  8. Another great post where you showcase your perceptive caring. This could really be a comfort to someone experiencing the unknown.

  9. Hey Courtney;
    Thanks. I feel for people who are scared by the paranormal. I understand some of the influences from TV to religion to superstition, but a little logical thinking and you get logical emotions about it. There's really nothing to fear but your own thoughts.