According to some cultures, ghosts are not only real, but can be troublesome.
Here in the United States we tend to believe in ghosts and they are sensationalized on television shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. According to these shows, ghosts can do things like decrease the temperature in a room, cause orbs in pictures, occasionally move things like curtains or chairs, and speak in difficult to hear voices that are picked up on EVP recording devices.
If the entity haunting the house is demonic, supposedly it is much more dangerous to the inhabitants of the home. A demon or devil can possess a person and take over their lives.
There are many different types of ghosts according to Chinese culture, and even Confucius said: "Respect ghosts and gods, but keep away from them."
If a person died from hanging by either suicide or execution, or far away from home, a wrongful death, or was drowned, he will leave behind a spirit that is vengeful or evil. They can come to the party that wronged them or even seek to harm them.
Some ghosts are benign like Gui Po, who takes the form of a kindly old woman and helps around the house.
During the Ghost Festival, on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar year, ghosts and spirits visit the earth from the lower realms. People are told not to go out alone on festival night if they can help it or swim on this day for fear that a malicious ghosts will attack them or drown them in dark water as revenge. Those born during this month are said to be more sensitive and have the ability to see ghosts and apparitions.
According to folklore in Bali, ghosts clutter where it is dark and not many people walk or visit. If you have many useless papers or a dusty mess beneath your bed spirits may hide there in the quiet and interfere with your sleep. It is said we fear the dark not because of what we can't see, but what we CAN feel.
Almost everyone feels a little trepidacious when walking down the basement stairs. The darkest corner is exactly where we do not want to go. That creepy corner of the yard by the fence that gets no light from the street lamps...you will probably get someone else to go and look what that noise was.
A Feng Shui practitioner might hang a wind chime in the dark corner of your yard to attract motion and rid the area of ghosts. According to Kartar Diamond, in certain instances hanging a wind chime can actually attract ghosts. (A great book on Feng Shui by Kartar Diamond: http://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Skeptics-Kartar-Diamond/dp/0967193788 In a future post I will be talking about my own experiences with Feng Shui and Kartar Diamond after a long-distance consultation.)
Living too close to a cemetery can cause a property to attract more than its share of spirits also. There is a slang word in Chinese for cemetery because it is said the ghosts that inhabit the graveyard come "to life" at night, like at a nightclub.
If your house is very 'yin' it will attract ghosts also. A yin house is dark, damp, and possibly covered in plants. It could be built into a mountainside or have an overgrown garden or landscape.
If someone died in your current house before you lived there, the previous owner might decide to come and visit. If the death was particularly violent, the spirit might have a hard time detaching from the magnetic pull of the place where the death occurred.
If you have a long empty hallway make especially sure not to collect clutter there. The Chinese believe ghosts can only move in a straight line and call anything too straight a poison arrow.
Ghosts dislike children and animals, especially if they are noisy and funny--so keep them laughing and busy!
Here is a list of things you can do to keep ghosts away:
* Burn crushed and dried orange peels
* Fu Dogs or Fu Lions placed at the front door keep away ghosts
* Placing a penny in the corner of each room in the house deters evil spirits. Copper conducts love. Even a jar of pennies in a room that seems a bit haunted could be the equivalent of psychic Raid.
* Play music in your house
* Live plants and flowers deter ghosts. Dead plants can give them a place to hover.
* Simply ask the ghosts to leave
* Keep the home immaculate. Fix dripping faucets and clogged drains. Get rid of clutter and pick up crumbs.
* Clean your mirrors and windows until they are spotless. Ghosts cannot inhabit them if they are clean
*Clean gemstones until sparkling and then cleanse them in salt
* Open your windows during the day--let in the sun and the air
* Take down pictures of people that give you any kind of bad feelings. Pictures of the dead can attract negativity and 'bad vibes' too
* Keep the entire house and yard well-lit
* Have your house blessed
* Place lines of salt before the windows of doors of your home. Supposedly ghosts cannot cross them and they cannot get in
* If ghosts are haunting your dreams sleep with a bowl of water beneath your bed. In the morning empty the bowl outside the house
* Remove suspicious or old items--dolls recently purchased from an antique store, ring that belonged to a deceased relative. Ghosts can cling to old items
Although the jury is still out whether ghosts actually exist or not, I will NOT be walking around on July 15th this year without a burly escort. For all I know a ghost could be looking over my shoulder right now...and wondering who is reading this.
If any of you have had any ghostly experiences I would love to know about them. I would also like to hear of any ways you keep the ghosts OUT. :)
More ghostly thoughts from 100 UNFORTUNATE DAYS:
Every single basement has a dark corner or room no one likes. Maybe the whole basement is dark and scary. Spirits collect in dark and cluttered spaces. They hide and wait for you because they are stuck. Some people can see them. Some people see the long thin black wispy figures with arms ten feet long that unfold as they slowly reach for you in the dark because you have to go down there to get something or fix a light bulb or retrieve a screwdriver. Part of you revs up and moves really quickly to get out of there because you know if you wait long enough and the arms fully unfold, they can touch you and then part of you belongs in the black corner in the basement. Then it will be very hard to be normal again. You will wake up in the middle of the night, and you won’t be able to get back to sleep because you will worry about all the things you have done wrong and how you are hurting people.
You can’t get this out of your mind now and you think that maybe if you count and envision each number in your head as you say it in your mind; you can block some of the bad thoughts. Or maybe you can pray—say the Lord’s Prayer over and over and over and God will surely be there to help you because you are saying his prayer.
But it doesn’t help. God doesn’t give a fuck when you are miserable—he doesn’t care if you pray. You can pray until there is blood dripping out of your mouth and nothing will change. God is an asshole that way. Even a relatively rotten person will assist you if you are begging for help. But your thoughts will just revolve through your mind over and over until you want to take a gun like the lead in Fight Club and shoot them out of your head. Maybe someday you will, but for now, you are trying to figure why God is such a jerk and you have to live like this. You wonder why you feel forsaken—well it’s probably because you have been forsaken and you don’t know how to live in that state. Because when you are a kid somebody probably told you everything would be all right, and now you realize they lied.
So you keep lying to yourself, telling yourself it’s not such a big deal, but actually it is. Because now the dark corners in your basement have started to get darker. And bigger. The arms get longer and longer and pretty soon there won’t be anywhere you can go where they can’t touch you. So you start to drink or take pills or do some other kind of drug so you can’t tell when you get touched. But now the problem is you get touched all the time, but you don’t know it.
At least now you don’t care.