Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On the trail of the human soul

From time to time, I like to throw a concept out to people and let them begin a conversation about it. Oh, hell, all my posts are like that--who am I kidding? I adore giving people a topic and seeing them conceptualize and communicate their thoughts on the theme.

Today's theme? Do human souls leave a trail?

There are some things about ghost hunting, and as a psychic, that seem to strike me as unified. The concept of residual hauntings where an event or a specter is seen over and over again in the same spot over a long period of time like a recording caught in a loop; the residual I’m able to read from objects and buildings of those who have come in contact with it; and the fact that many family reports seeing the same deceased person at the time of his death but in completely different parts of the country at the time, seem to have a unifying feature: Residue.

Do we at times of perhaps great emotion (positive or negative), extreme closeness to an individual, perhaps even great hatred for an individual, over prolonged periods of time in a beloved place or perhaps in a moment of sheer pleasure on a beach in Hawaii, leave some sort of as of yet undetected bit of our soul? Perhaps that bit containing all the contents of the soul? The moment reported by NDE (near-death experience) sufferers in which their life is reviewed in only a fraction of a moment might be just one sign of the ability of the soul to be time-less, space-less, location-less, and eternally omnidirectional.

When we haunt, can we haunt everyone and everywhere? Thus making a loved one suddenly think of us out of the blue or making a person who sits in a chair we once owned suddenly feel melancholy for no reason? Are we too linear in believing that one-person-one-soul? Might it be that the soul without the limits and confines of the body can be rather engaged in many people and places all at once? Is the key to a full spiritual afterlife in the concept of coming into contact with and loving as many people as possible, going to as many locations as possible, feeling as wide a range of human emotion as possible? Does a spiritually potent life mean a spiritually potent afterlife?

Although I admit to not adhering to or belonging to any religious sect, I was raised very staunchly in the Methodist faith and later explored nearly every religion to come to the conclusion that religion is not the way for me personally to practice my spirituality. I still have, however, a respect for the naturally inborn features in the human brain that made even cave men have a spiritual life beside and with their physical life.

Man is aware of soul and perhaps even aware of its constant presence.

This might also be why hospitals (which I’ve worked inside of and spent a lot of my life visiting) actually do not feel anguished to me. There is fear and loss of life and suffering but there are also babies born, children rescued from appendicitis, the elderly happy to go home after getting their IV hydration, and cures found for debility, not to mention the enormous amount of caregivers (family members and nursing staff as well as clergy praying) who attend to the sickly. This gives it a kind of counterbalance. If you wander an abandoned prison or mental hospital, however, the feelings are quite different. Could cumulative positive and negative residue create a balance or a pleasant or even horrifying location?

Did all those who attended these places leave a spiritual trail?

That's your thought for today. Let the discussion begin.


  1. To start off - I want to say that this was an excellent and thought provoking article - i definitely think so - to the point i would put money on it- that the extremely happy (and sad, angry, etcetera) times we go through leave traces- it is just an intuition with me - my paternal grandmother's guest bedroom - (actually my dad and his bro's old bedroom i think) gave you this feel at different times of so many emotions - sometimes it almost seemed "timeless" itself -hey there is a short story idea for you Autumnforest -or anyone -"The Eternal Bedroom" :-) It is very hard for me to describe it -but it almost seemed "layered" with many different emotions from an extreme melancholy loneliness to a childlike joy- it hasn't been til so many years later reading Ghost Hunting Theories and information like you present -that I wonder if I was somehow picking up information from different souls who inhabited that room- the house itself was tiny -but very old- and that is the only room I had those different impressions in. Funny typing about it now brings it all back so easily -and I haven't seen that room for 20 years I would think.
    But to answer shortly :-) I do think any kind of extreme emotion leaves some kind of impression -especially if it is "attached" to the particular place. Now to ponder on your other thoughts!!
    all the best to you my friend!!

  2. Great post and has really made me put my thinking cap on. I definitely think that somehow our strong emotions can be everlasting. When my grandmother passed, I was a teenager, a rather fragile teenager at the time because I had really been close to her. I could feel her loving presence in her room. I wasn't afraid to sleep in there because I knew she was there with me. I don't know if I am explaining this right or not. Been a long day and I am kind of tired. What I am trying to say is that I felt things. The upstairs in their home had been made into a bedroom for me, but I felt something bad there and it frightened me so, but here I was sleeping in the bed of a woman who just died, and I felt so much comfort.

  3. I have no strong opinion on this subject, but it seems to be a strong part of Japanese tradition that emotions leave imprints on places. I like Japanese horror and that seems to be a reoccuring theme. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure. There is so much hurt in the world, so much suffering. If every place that had seen suffering had a lingering spiritual residue I think we would soon find ourselves unable to go anywhere. Very thought provoking blog!

  4. I knew this old woman named Martha. She was a "sitter" in the homes of the sick and or dying. I thought she was a bit twisted... she LOVED being there when people died, swore she could see the soul leave the body.

  5. Dev;
    I knew you were intuitive. Yes! In fact, I did an experiment once. On a ghost hunt with others, I went in and walked through the place ahead of time. People tend to gravitate to good parts of a building that they feel safe in. When they went into a room that had activity, they unconsciously stand in the opposite part of the room from the real active area. I watched people do it all evening. They'd walk into the room where the bad feelings and trauma were in one corner and they'd stand in the opposite corner and take pictures. Subconsciously, they knew where to shoot pictures, but none of them would rest or stand there or hover.

    I love to hear people tell me these things because it reiterates to me what I've always known,that the human body and people in general are extremely sensitive to such things. We don't know why we make the decisions we do, but it's often influenced by these subliminal sensations. When you have that kind off attachment and comfort from someone, I think you seek their residual where you sense it. It's rather comforting to think we seed ourselves everywhere and leave a little deja vu for others, perhaps tap into our soul in places it hovers in its omnipresence.

    That's a good point and probably why certain places are overwhelming. There is also a balance of emotions everywhere so that there are enough good times in the house that I grew up in that they also created a light and warmth that the suffering of the soldiers countered. I know from my own extraordinary experiences that objects and places do hold information, the question is--do they hold some sort of seeds of the soul that make it possible for a spirit to be everywhere at once? Do we leave an essence--like a spiritual trail? I agree about Japanese horror--they get the spiritual aspects.

    It's that intriguing? When my mother was dying, she was determine to die in her childhood home where her mother had died. We all sat vigil with her as she was passing and it took many days of her in a coma-like state. I remember about the third day, I came into the house after getting some sleep at my brother's across the street and I sensed she was gone. I rushed into the room and held her hand and knew that she wasn't there any longer. I wasn't sure how to tell anyone that was gone. It seemed weird that I could sense it, but I knew this was a body with no soul. I looked up at the ceiling and felt as if she were there, but I didn't know why. It was creeping me out. She seemed to leave the room completely and I let go of her hand and left the room, very upset. I spent the next couple days just helping my siblings and not hovering over her body any longer. At one point, someone thankfully mentioned we should turn off the oxygen and let her pass and I felt a gush of relief. I felt so guilty that I didn't want to keep her body alive when she wasn't in it. The odd thing is that at the time I was a staunch athiest. I had a great deal internally to deal with when I quite clearly sensed she was not there. She had been unconscious for days and I felt she was there, but something distinctly changed. I changed my mind about the spirit and the existence of the soul. It is more than consciousness. She had no consciousness, yet still had something about her that I sensed was present. When that part no longer felt present, she was gone. I still get chills when I think about it.

  6. I don't know. I think a lot of it may be preconceived notions about a place. If you go into a place and know bad things have happened there the "vibes" you get will naturally be creepy and heavy. Even if you know nothing of a place's past, it could simply be a matter of aesthetics. If it looks creepy, it most likely is going to feel that way. If you go into a place you knew well and/or a place you associate with a person you had a real connection with, you may be processing those feelings into the same sensations you used to feel when they were around, instilling a sense of comfort within yourself. I get this at times going to places I used to hang out with good friends that I don't see anymore, yet I know they're still alive.

    Also, isn't the whole philosophy behind Zen have to do with how we respond to visual stimuli in our environment and that we can influence emotional states by creating ambiance in our living spaces?

    The only sensations that are hard to grapple with are the times when you've been to a place a million times before and out of no where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end or you feel as if you've been touched by something that isn't there. That's when I know I should be paying attention.

  7. Grim;
    It would probably depend on people's susceptibility. I've been on loads of hunts and people walking into a building and immediately look into every dark corner and think there's a spook. It can be pretty funny. Humans are visual creatures. I was once in a home where two generations of patriarchs had died--in the living room of all places! Both were on hospice in a hospital bed in the house so the family could be with them. Father and son died about 25 or so years apart. So, the girl living there has over two friends from the old neighborhood across town and me, her new friend. So, we're in the house bringing boxes upstairs. We stop and take a break and sit downstairs and watch some TV and have lunch and sodas and talk. I can't help noticing that the three of them are sitting not on the big comfy sofa, but across the room on the floor, leaned up against the wall crowded between boxes. I'm sitting down with them and feeling stupid because there's a perfectly good sofa. Her mom comes in and laughs and asks what we're doing on the floor. They don't mind if we eat on the sofa. We're all juggling plates and soda cans on a shag rug. Every time I come over during the next few weeks, not a sole on the sofa. Not a sole sitting in the living room. There's three folding chairs in front of the sofa facing the TV. I ask her finally--why are they sitting in the folding chairs? She says she doesn't know. They just like it. I think her family is crazy. At supper, her mother comments on the sofa dilemma. "No one will sit there." I go in there after supper and sit down on the sofa. Overwhelming regret and sadness and desperation. I feel like I'm going to cry. A week later, school's in session and I ask the girl what's up with the sofa--are they going to trade it in and get a new one? She said, no, they just moved it and the TV and everyone's using it again. Her mother won't let it go. She put her reading chair there and she won't use it. They find out from the neighbors the history of the house and the neighbor comes over and points out where the hospital bed was set up--in that spot against the wall. Craziest thing!

    Oh, and that thing you described is what people call "someone walking over your grave," or as my mom called it "the creepy willies." I've experienced that many times at ghost hunts. It can happen in a place I was in all evening, but suddenly, I feel as if someone has just gotten very near me or even through me. That would be the sense of a spirit being present. What makes me wonder is--why do we not feel that around souls that are still in bodies? Why only the ones that are free of human flesh?

  8. Great post! Lot to take in for me right now. I'm a little dopey on my migraine med.
    All great points! There have been so many types of paranormal experiences that people have. I know about many experiences my family has had, from speaking to someone that had just passed in another part of the city at the very moment they were seen, to speaking to someone that had been dead for weeks or even years, to seeing demonic looking entities, to being touched by unseen hands, seeing and hearing things that can't be explained, etc.
    There has to be some type of energy that lives on after our physical bodies expire. But is that energy just hanging out with the living. Are they always there just watching us. I can go on and on with questions. But basically I believe that there is more to this physical body and the plain we live in. But I'm always left with questions and there are many theories. I would love to have a conversation with someone who has passed and find out the answers to some of my questions.
    Ok, I'm nodding off. I hope I've made some sense here, hee hee.
    Ta ta and good night.

  9. Yes, I feel that we leave traces of ourselves, our emotions, our thoughts behind in places we visit. I also feel that a person need not be dead to have those traces felt by others.

    The more powerful the thought or emotion then the stronger the trace that is left. All too often I have heard someone speak of a 'feeling' they got at a certain spot or location, even from holding a book or performing an activity - feelings of joy, sadness, confusion, anger. As you stated, prisons & mental hospitals are places where strong negative emotions can be felt.
    I feel that a soul can be everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time. I had an Aunt (she was gifted with second sight)who worked in the nursing profession most of her life. She was able to see the soul as it departed from the body. And another Aunt, also a nurse, felt that there was a distinct connection between the souls of the person dying in the hospital and the baby who was born at the same time.

    I have always received a message from people I have been close to when they have died. The moment when my Father-in-law died, the phone rang and no one was there but I had a feeling of his embrace. When my Mother died, I had an overwhelming sense of relief come over me - she had a lot of pain in her life - and I knew she was gone.
    And for many years after both of their deaths (along with other relatives which I was close to) I would be 'visited' by them at various times. Usually in a dream.

    I don't feel that people need to be 'sensitives' to pick up on the residue left behind in places or the residue attached to things. They fell it, just in a more subtle way than those people who are sensitives.
    Great Question!

  10. I used to think it was more linear. Now I don't know. I spoke with Loyd Auerbach about this. I have been meaning to post his answer. It's right up your alley. He feels attachments are key. And that you don't necessarily haunt the place where you died. Unless you were attached to it. But you can roam. And you can definitely haunt a person. (well, "haunt" isn't the right word, but your ghost can follow people.)

    Good post.

  11. Wow what a conversation starter! My opinion is yes yes yes! Absolutely I feel that the soul leaves a trail... Walk in to any house, touch someones clothing, jewellery... you can feel that energy :)

  12. Jeanne;
    We totally jive on this. With my ability to touch objects and places and read them, I know that people leave some kind of residual most definitely. I've known events that have imprinted on an environment while people are alive and still replay. In fact, what actually made me finally go out and ghost hunt for myself was a reading I did a house. In fact, I might have talked about it before in here, but now I'm thinking that should be my next post. The read had a very interesting ending that made me realize there are lot of theories we need to explore in ghost hunting. I had a visit with my father when he passed and apparently he showed to others too, so hence the splitting of his soul into being omnipresent.

  13. I think that strong emotions or repetitive actions can leave an imprint on a location. It is true some places definitely "feel" better than others due to the overall residue of people over time that have been there. For instance Disneyland feels awesome, while Walmart seems to have an aura of anxiety about it, and places where many people have died horribly feel awful. I have read somewhere it is not wise to study in your bedroom because the bedroom has the aura of sleep about it!

    Hospitals to me are slightly uncomfortable. Not because of the people who have died in them because as you say that is counterbalanced with the good things that happen in them. No they are uncomfortable because they SMELL like sickness no matter how sterile the staff try to keep them.

  14. Interesing post and comments. How about an example? I've always found it cutious that the ghost of James Dean has been seen at the scene of his accident, at the Griffith Park Observatory, and at his grave all the way back in Indiana. Plus, the supposed "curse" on the car in which he died. Omnipresence, or just "imprints" left behind?

  15. Panademona;
    I totally agree. I was once led into a house that looked quite modern and happy and bright. My friend was testing me, I suppose. We sat down and had some tea and talked and I kept studying one corner of the room. I got up and touched some of the objects. It wasn't something placed in the house. So, I walked around the fireplace and back around to the next room, the dining room. It had another fireplace off of the living room's. I stroked the wall and was shocked to feel layers and layers of feeling. She confessed that the house was kind of new and kind of old. The people who lived there before kept the chimney and main load-bearing walls and then build all new contemporary design around it. We can say that Walmart and Disneyland make us feel how we expect to feel, but I suspect that without the obvious visual clues, we would sense it. The hospital smell--I totally get that. Whenever we go east to visit family and walk into a stale room with that moldy smell, I get a strange creepy feeling. I think it was one of the most depressing and sad feelings about growing up in such a moist climate. If the air is moving or the windows are open, it's fine, but when it's a house where maybe an old person lives and they never dust, it gets this smell. It's just like the movie "The Haunting" when she won't go in the library--the old book smell. Yikes!

    Yeah, these are the bits that make me wonder. James Dean being seen where he died is really part romance. If you saw him walking around there--it wouldn't make sense for residual because he died in the car--not walking around the area. (My logic always takes over here). So, if you're seeing him, my guess would be that you might have seen an imprint of the moment his soul stepped outside of his body and studied the scene in confusion--but that would have to be tied to the site of his death not the entire park. If people are seeing him elsewhere in the park, my guess is that when they see something, they blame it on him knowing that he died there. The curse of his car parts I wrote about not too long ago. The problem is that the people who bought the used tires--kind of asking for it. The others who got parts were race car drivers and high risk takers, so you have to consider the source of where the parts went. If they went into the cars of sweet old ladies in Cleveland, I might be impressed. I'm actually writing a post right now about bringing on loved ones to visit you. This might be answered more in that post.