Can Ghosts Hurt The Living?
I have often been asked whether ghosts are capable of hurting the living. On the face of it, it is a simple enough question. However, like everything in this world of ours, it carries with it some gray area. If I had to give a simple answer, I would have to say that ghosts really cannot hurt the living. However, it is an issue that must be looked at a little deeper.
The first bit of gray area involves what you mean by “hurt.” Certainly ghosts can have a terrible mental affect on someone. Living in fear is unhealthy, plain and simple. If there is a ghost operating in a house, even one that means no harm, it can cause all kinds of mental strain. Frightened people do not sleep well. They become extremely nervous and often their diets suffer as well. All of this creates problems with the jobs or schooling and that adds to the pressure they are under.
If you take that a bit further, prolonged fear and stress and all the results from it will surely have a debilitating effect on the health of the person involved. So in that regard, a ghost, even a well meaning one, can cause physical problems. Granted, it is not physically injuring the person but its actions are causing physical problems. I told you it was gray area. However, there is something else to consider.
Accidents And Fear Reactions
Many people who live in a haunted house find themselves injured as a result of trying to get away from a ghost. More than a few people have fallen down stairs in an attempt to flee the ghost. That has resulted in broken bones and it is conceivable that someone could be injured severely, if not mortally. Thus, it seems that the ghost hurt the person. However, it must be pointed out that the person’s reactions are what caused the injury, not the spirit itself. It may seem like a small distinction, especially to the one who was hurt but you have to remember, it is quite possible that the ghost meant no harm to the person. In that regard, fear was the cause of the accident. Of course you can argue that the ghost caused the fear but is that the fault of the ghost or the person who saw the ghost? If the person involved knew the ghost meant no harm, he might not run from it. Okay, you could argue that the ghost should have known he would scare the person but remember, the ghost was a person and he may be desperate to have contact with the living. Again, it is a tough one to call.
Then there are the cases where a nasty ghost has decided that he does not want anyone living in his house and makes every possible attempt to drive out the living residents. There have been many documented cases where the living have been hit by objects that were propelled by a spirit. Also, many people have claimed that they were tripped, sometimes on stairs. That would be a direct attack and proof conclusive that ghosts can indeed hurt the living. God knows there are more than a few nasty spirits out there. Earthbound spirits tend to be in death exactly as they were in life. The person who was mean and grouchy while alive is likely to be equally mean and grouchy in death. For that matter, he may be a bit worse since he may feel that he was gypped out of life. But can he really hurt someone? I have always doubted that human spirits can actually hurt people. In my mind, there are limits to what they are capable of doing on their own. However, they may occasionally get a little help from their friends, so to speak.
The Bad Ones
There are spirits out there that are quite capable of causing severe harm but they are of the inhuman variety. Demonic spirits do have the ability to cause serious injury of both the mental and physical variety. However, attacks by demonic entities are extremely rare, thank God, although they do take place more than most people realize or are willing to admit. Still, you chances of encountering one are minute, unless you delve into high-risk areas such as practicing the black arts or you live an evil lifestyle that would be attractive to demonic entities. Far and away, the most likely spirit you will encounter will be human. The overwhelming majority of those spirits are benign and even benevolent. However, they are often mistaken for being bad. It is my belief that where you have physical injury, aside from the variety that results from a panic reaction, you can look for a demonic spirit. Yes, there may well be a human entity involved but it is the demonic spirit has the ability to cause the physical attack.
If you have a situation where there is a nasty human spirit, you can expect frightening phenomena and attempts to drive you out of the residence. He may knock on your walls or he may turn your electrical appliances on and off. He may even shake you bed. However, acting alone, that is probably all the ghost can do. The situation changes where there is a demonic spirit present. It is in this scenario where I feel physical injury is sustained. Why would a demonic spirit be around? Well, the negativity of the ghost might be such that it attracted the attention of a demonic spirit. That spirit then moves in and uses the ghost as a puppet. Like I said, left to his own devices, the human ghost probably can do little more than frighten. So why then do people fear ghosts?
Ghosts have a bad reputation. To the average person, seeing a ghost would be a terribly frightening experience. This is often true even when the person knows who the ghost is. People have been taught that ghosts are frightening and dangerous. They have been taught to view ghosts as aberrations, as things that should not be around us. Yet we all will become ghosts. We may not all stick around after our deaths but we all will die and become spirits. Actually, I should say that we will revert back to being spirits. If you look at it logically, they have every bit as much right to be here as we do. We exist; they exist. Why should one group have more right to be than another?
People often ask me how I can do casework. “Aren’t you afraid of ghosts?” I am often asked. Truthfully, I am not or I could not do this work. There really is no reason to fear the ghost since it is simply a person in spirit form. In the overwhelming majority of cases I have worked, human entities were the cause of the trouble. In the vast majority of those cases, the ghost meant no harm. In most cases, it was confused. With a little guidance, they can be helped across the line into their next dimension. In so many cases, the ghosts are pretty much lost and simply do not know where to go. Fear may be holding them back. The desire to remain where they were most comfortable may be holding them back. If you don’t mind my using a bad pun, eventually they will see the light.
Today more than ever, people like to go ghost hunting. They will take ghost tours, stay in hotels that are reported to be haunted or they will go to famous locations. I am often asked whether this is dangerous. The answer is no. I have never heard of anyone being hurt by going to a reportedly haunting location for the sake of adventure. I will say that if you go looking for ghosts, you will probably find them since they are all around us. When you do find them, there really is nothing to fear. Doing casework is a little different because you will eventually come across a nasty one and possible even a demonic one. However, going to a haunted location for the sake of fun is quite safe. Use a little common sense and take a few precautions and you can have a lot of fun. So, having said all of that, happy ghosting!
© 2003 T. Cooney