Ghosts, Spooks, Poltergeists, Demons, Angels, Devas, Elementals, Upside Down Uglies and Things That Go Bump in the Night.
We're going to take each entity listed in the title above in turn and describe general classifications and characteristics of each. It would be wise to remember I've only been involved in heavy study in this field for a few years so I'm still forming many of my educated opinions and still generally learn something new or achieve a greater understanding of something every day.
This article is designed to give readers some point of reference for various spiritual entities from my own personal spiritual perspective and experience.
Before we begin, let me give you a bit of background on me. I am probably one of the most logical and levelheaded people on the planet. Having a mind that operates on logic and reason first and foremost, I need to see hard proof of things for myself. That's what prompted me to start into paranormal research. I wanted to see if this was for real or not, first-hand.
First and foremost, what you've read in books and heard in stories as children (and if you're odd enough, as adults) is just about all true. Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction. I've been involved in paranormal research for several years now and have been blinded by totally inexplicable flashes of light, growled at and touched by thin air, totally mentally disoriented for absolutely no reason (no, I'm not under psychiatric care), seen shadows that shouldn't be present move across the room of their own accord, heard whispering and full-blown voices without an identifiable source, seen doors shut and slam and lock, toilets and faucets operate all on their own and experienced the classic sudden changes in temperature and odor often associated with ghosts or hauntings for no apparent reason.
I have heard some say, “I am a believer.” I generally dislike this statement. To say that one “believes” implies that there is a stretch of faith involved in recognizing the reality of the situation. There is nothing here to “believe.” The simple fact of the matter is it’s very real.
Now, on to the heart of the matter, what are ghosts? Simply put, ghosts are the non-corporeal (non-material) spirits, or souls, of individuals who were once living and have since died. These spirits exist in both our realm and that of the Otherworld. Because they are pure spirit they may behave as pure spirit by taking actions that the living people around them may consider super-natural. However, ghosts cannot do anything that a living person with enough spiritual development cannot do . Ghosts seem to accomplish these supernatural feats like making objects fly across the room and causeing changes in temperature because it’s easier to accomplish if one is in purely spirit form, for example, as a ghost. If a living entity had enough practice and the proper spiritual training they would be able to accomplish the same feats. Simply put, there is nothing super-natural about them. It’s simply easier for an entity in pure spirit form to perform feats that seem super-natural to us.
How can ghosts do all this seemingly super-natural stuff? Well, it’s more of a question of being a layman vs. a professional. Our western society and western religions don’t generally encourage direct spiritual contact with other beings unless it's God or other humans. Most people in our society are seriously spiritually inept because of lack of development this stances imposes. Our society simply doesn’t deal well with these concepts, often labeling those that do practice serious spirituality as fruitcakes, cults, nuts, or other nasty descriptors. Ghosts, on the other hand, are full-time spirits. They are purely in the spiritual realm and have nothing to do but develop their spiritual skills. This makes them full-time spiritual professionals. We all know what the skill difference is between someone who is a part-time doctor, carpenter, electrician, lawyer or other highly-educated and trained professional or and someone who has gone to years of school and training to learn the skill. I'm going to hire and trust a professional electrician to wire my home before I'll let some guy who read a book about it once touch anything in my house.
Some people are gifted with serious potential. A seriously gifted professional in this arena is a true psychic or “sensitive” (not Madame Cleo). If we were entities of pure spirit and had nothing to do but develop our spiritual gifts we could certainly manifest the same things that ghosts are able to do and with relative ease as they seem to be able to do.
It’s important to remember that in a fashion we are ghosts in that we are entities of pure spirit but unlike ghosts we have bodies and define our reality the same way our society does. This can limit us and our potential because we don’t perceive we have these spiritual abilities that ghosts naturally have. The difference here is perception and belief. We don’t believe we have these abilities and our society has told us that we do not. That limits us greatly. To truly develop begin to realize our spiritual potential we must realize that the only difference between ghosts and us is that we have a body and they do not. Otherwise, we’re on the same playing field with the same potential abilities of the spirit.
Why are ghosts here? Well, why are we here? Why are you sitting there reading this article? Why is the sky blue? There are varying reasons for everything. Some spirits are aware of their situation and are here by choice. Some spirits are mere shards of consciousness and are stuck in one mindset or emotion; often the same emotion or mindset they were in when they passed on. Some spirits are not spirits really at all, but mere echoes of a time long past, stuck in a sort of Otherworld videotape on a continuous loop. The spirits that can prove to be the most dangerous and often the most helpful are those that are in full possession of their mental capacities. They can reason and think logically and with just as much cunning and wit as the best of us AND they have the advantage that they are in full spiritual form so they can easily manifest things that might scare or otherwise harm (or help) us. These types of entities have the greatest potential to do harm but they are not all malicious. We’ve all heard stories about the mother or grandmother spirit that hangs around to help her children or grandchildren and acts as a guardian. Perhaps when she died she wanted to see more of her loved ones or felt that she needed to help and protect them and decided to stay in this realm instead of passing on fully into the Otherworld or Summerland.
So, in summation of what we have talked about thus far we have stated that ghosts are very real and briefly identified what they are and how they can manifest the things that they are reported to be able to manifest (making things fly across the room and similar phenomenon). And, we have very clearly stated that this is not necessarily something to be afraid of because we all have the potential to do these things because we are all spirit, it’s just that some of us still have bodies.
Just like dealing with any other entity on the planet, we should approach these entities with caution and respect. They DO have the ability to harm us through means of the spirit just as we have the ability to cause harm through means of the spirit. Take caution in dealing with these entities until you know their true intent. That intent may not be what it appears to be as ghosts can be just as cunning and conniving as the best human. Do NOT confront a known malicious spirit unless you are FULLY prepared and experienced in dealing with serious matters of the spirit. If you are not truly prepared for a confrontation with a fully sentient malicious ghost and you end up confronting one it’s much like bringing a knife to a gunfight. You may be seriously outmatched by the skills the ghost has in using forces of the spirit.
This reminds me a lot of one of my favorite quotes from the movie The Matrix, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” You should ideally be somewhat experienced, very knowledgeable and fully aware of the possibilities of such a confrontation. Where do you get this knowledge and training? That’s a very good question and one I get quite often. You get these skills and this training from whatever your spiritual path is. Almost all major religions have customs or methods of dealing with ghosts, good and bad alike. Find a teacher who is at least somewhat knowledgeable in extremely spiritual matters and their direct application to these situations and open your mind and learn. If you can’t find someone of your faith that is well trained in this subject then find someone of another faith that you can believe in. You don’t have to change your religion to do this. The idea is to get the training you need and gain the experience. You can then mold the training to be more suitable to your belief system. How do you know when you’re ready? I’m not sure we ever really know. When you feel comfortable start reaching out and trying new things in baby steps. Be wary of throwing yourself directly in the fire before you’re really had a chance to try out your spiritual wings.
Now that we have talked about the general classification of ghosts we will dig a bit deeper and discuss what I consider a sub-set of ghosts which I call “spooks” or “shades.” Spooks are named just that because they are, well, spooky. These are the extreme negative of the ghost spectrum. These are the really nasty guys that cause all sorts of mayhem, chaos, disorder, literal insanity and even sickness and death/murder. They have been known to physically molest and harm people (and pets), kill plants, drive animals and people insane or temporarily control / possess them, cause horrible disturbing nightmares (night hags), throw stuff out around causing damage to property and/or people, seize breathing or paralyze someone, exude nasty smells, cause all sorts of voices, noise and clatter, cause extreme illness or cancer and exude pure negative emotion (fear, hate, distrust, jealousy) to the point where everyone in the area is directly effected. That being said, they are still ghosts and can still be dealt with in the same manner as any other ghosts as we will discuss in a later article.
The most common ghosts of this sort are those that died horrible violent deaths, are defending their territory (objects they once possessed or their burial site), or were insane when they were alive. Some were even abusers or murderers when they were alive and still feel driven or compelled to continue the cycle of abuse after they die. With newfound spiritual abilities in death they may even revel in causing strife to an exponential degree. Often the worst of spooks are confused with demons, which we will discuss later. The key concept in difference here is that ghosts were once living. Demons were never living and are a spiritual breed apart from spooks. Spooks may often consort with demons though and a demon may cause/develop a spook by possessing or otherwise truly corrupting a person while they were living to the point where they become a spook when they die.
Something else of note, spooks often get confused with demons because they can psychically connect (or chord) into the people they are harassing. This gives them a direct mental and telepathic link with their victim. They can use this link to harass and drive their victims to do things they wouldn’t normally do, sometimes-horrible things and thoughts like murder, suicide, and abuse. An abusive person in life will seek to continue the cycle of abuse through his or her own actions or through coercing others in their capacity as a ghost. The most dangerous of spooks are the ones that are in full possession of the mental capacities they had as a living being. These entities can be just as conniving and quick-witted as they were when they were alive but now with a few more potential advantages that being in purely spirit form can give. For a truly scary perspective on this consider the likes of Charles Manson or Ted Bundy with a direct telepathic link into your mind 24 hours a day prodding you into doing their bidding or using the abilities we mentioned above generally attributed to spooks to wreak havoc and mayhem on you and your loved ones. Now you might have some sense of how serious dealing with a spook can be.
I have encountered more than one spook in my short tenure as a paranormal investigator. One was the ghost of a father & husband that had seriously abused and killed his family while he was living. He had attached himself to another family and was trying to propagate the cycle of abuse yet again. The family consisted of a mother and father, two children and the parents of the mother. The spook had chorded himself into the 9 year old daughter to the point where he was talking to her on a daily basis and could at times gain a significant amount of influence over her while her conscious mind was sleeping. He was prodding the girl to kill her younger brother. She would talk of having daydreams and nightmares of killing her brother with an axe or otherwise sneaking into his room to smother or harm him. While we’re all aware of the rivalry between siblings this was an otherwise normal family. The situation got so out of hand eventually that the family finally persuaded the Catholic Church to take action on the matter (a rare event indeed) and our group stepped aside to let the true representatives of the family’s faith/religion handle the situation.
Another incident was one where an older (and wiser/sneakier) ghost managed to present himself as a friendly grandmother spirit and gain a family’s trust in thinking they had a beneficial spirit co-habitating with them. Once the spirit was openly invited into the home and welcomed it slowly began an insidious task of creeping into the minds of everyone in the home. The children began to be seriously effected, the marriage suffered great strife because the couple was now having tremendous fights over petty issues, the husband began to gradually become physically abusive and constantly angry and the wife was driven to the brink of suicide through chronic depression. Normal yet extreme stresses on a family can cause similar problems but there was a dark and foreboding presence in the air and a whispering voice in the back of each of their minds that was not noticed until the family was instructed to listen for it. Once the spook was found out he dropped the guise of a grandmotherly figure and took on the form of a dark, decrepit ghost of an elderly man. Psychics that were brought into the situation verified that the man had committed suicide in the house next to the one the family had recently moved into and jumped at the chance to be around children again. But, because he was still partially stuck in the mental state he was in when he died he couldn’t help but seriously negatively influence the family.
When the spook was finally confronted by a Native American shaman and told to leave and the family started actively trying to push him out of the house he became exceedingly dark and destructive in his behavior and influence. Whether his plan was to cause this destruction all along after seducing the family into letting him into the home or whether it was something compulsive that he couldn’t help given his mental state he was still a very negative spirit and needed to be removed from the premises and the family as soon as possible. He didn’t want to go and clung to everything he could but in the end he was removed with the proper help and guidance. The family is now much wiser for the experience though I wish they had never had to endure the events in the first place.
Those two true stories are prime examples of negatively oriented ghosts or “spooks”. Be wary in dealing with any and all spirits with which you are not FULLY acquainted. Whether you’re an investigator helping someone in such a situation or the person in the situation with the ghost yourself realize that the situation is far from hopeless. You simply have to find adequate help by educating yourself and progressing on your own spiritual path to deal with the situation or enlisting the help of others.
On to Poltergeists; these are not a separate classification or type of ghost. Poltergeist literally means “noisy spirit”. Any spirit that is noisy (audible) or disturbing is a poltergeist. Poltergeists are also known for throwing or moving objects. A ghost, spook, or other spiritual entity that does these things is said to exhibit poltergeist or poltergeist-like activity. A spook that throws stuff is also a poltergeist because they are manipulating physical objects but a regular non-negative ghost can move stuff and throw things around the room and be considered a poltergeist as well. Poltergeist is not a separate species of ghost rather than a behavior or descriptor of the actions or activities of ghosts and spirits.
Demons and Angels are similar entities in origin so we will discuss them together. According to Christian mythos God created both of these entities as separate creatures from humans. They are not and never were human. Angels are those spirits still loyal to God and still working for the positive forces in the universe. Demons were once angels that have had a change of heart and have turned to the “dark side”. These are extremely powerful beings given great authority by God to perform certain tasks and duties. Angels and demons alike can both be called up or otherwise contacted through prayer or ritual. Angels will often assist us if we ask in a polite respectful manner and if the subject with which we require aid is within their realm of influence and within the will of God to do. Demons are dark negative angels that have turned to the dark side of creation. They embrace chaos, entropy, disorder, deceit, treachery, and revel in suffering and pain. Angels can be VERY powerful and effective allies, especially in cleansing or banishing rituals, but demons should be avoided at almost all costs.
According to Christian mythology one can test an angel or demon by discussing or pressing the subject of the superiority or divinity of God or the holy name of Christ. If the spirit responds favorably or agrees and endorses the proclamation then they are likely truly an angel. If they rebuke the authority and superiority of The Light and God then they are likely demons and should be banished or dealt with accordingly. However, in my experience, demons can be especially tricky and deceptive. Be very wary of dealing with an entity if you even suspect it’s a demon or it reacts adversely to “white light” or the name and power of Christ or other “white light” representatives. For more information on this topic I suggest researching Christian mythology or perhaps reading Angels: Companions in Magick by Silver Ravenwolf. I have not read this personally yet but some of my trusted friends endorse it highly.
We’ve covered a lot of ground and we’re almost done with the scope of this document. We have left to cover but a few more types of entities. We will now discuss devas and elementals.
Devas are locally based nature spirits that are not human (ghost), demon, or angelic in origin. They are generally associated with specific topics. There may be a deva in your neighborhood that cares for all the plants and another that cares for all the small wildlife or pets. Devas are generally very shy spirits but can be immensely helpful when dealing with the element they influence. For instance, if you contact or summon a deva in your area to help with a sick plant or animal they may help tend to the situation, lending their expertise, talents and energies. Most legends of gnomes, sprites, and sometimes fairies are actually devas. They generally respond well to gentle, cautious contact and a loving and understanding heart. Small offerings of food, treats, incense or even aid are usually gladly accepted. Aid as described here being something on the order of watering or caring for plants in the area by putting a few fertilizer spikes in the soil in honor of the local plant deva. This helps them with their job and strengthens the entities with which they are charged with caring for. A deva for small animals that you need help from to find your lost pet may be enlisted by leaving a bowl of milk out on your front porch with the announcement that it's there for that purpose. Devas are always watching and always around. Being cruel or malicious or otherwise offending these spirits may lead to them retaliating in the forms of tricks or neglect for their sphere of influence within your area. If this is the case then do what you can to make amends for the offense. Devas are generally kind gentle creatures that deserve our appreciation for their work and energies.
Elementals are somewhat similar to devas in that they are charged with certain responsibilities and have certain influences within the realm of their element. An elemental for the Earth element can be enlisted for aid for concerns about soil quality. An air elemental may be enlisted for aid for pollution or to clear an especially bad smell that you just can’t find the source of. Each element is generally attributed to a specific direction of the compass as well. This direction should be used to call forth the elemental when possible. Wicca makes use of elementals and their services extensively and would be a good resource to turn to for further information on this topic.
Upside-down Uglies and Things That Go Bump in the Night are those imaginary things that spring from a child’s (or and adult’s) imagination. They are not actual entities but the thought of which can be scary in itself, therefore they are addressed here. The imaginary monster in the closet of a 3 year old could actually be a ghost or some other spirit that the child is truly seeing or it could be nothing more than the remnant of a bad dream spawned by watching a scary movie. These are not actual entities but can be scary none-the-less. The point here is that these things are perceived to be real but are, in fact, not. However, they can manifest phenomenon as psychic projections from the mind of the person involved. In that sense they can be real. Usually, this type of haunting is only evident in children going through puberty or in especially psychic or emotionally involved people. At times, a good counseling session or two can start to deal with this type of haunting.
Well, I believe I’ve covered everything I originally set out to do. You should have a much better understanding of the spiritual entities that you may or may not encounter on a daily basis. I hope you have had as much enrichment and pleasure in reading this article as I have in writing it.