So, you just realized you are sharing space with a ghost; now what? A startling amount of folks will tell you to build an altar and give them offerings, or call a priest and have the home exorcised, but I would not recommend either of these options. I've been a paranormal investigator for fifteen years, and a psychic medium for much longer than that. Along the way, I've gotten to know quite a few ghosts, and helped many of them find peace by crossing over to the other side or by cohabitating comfortably with their living roommates. If you find yourself sharing space regularly with a ghost, here is my advice for what to do about it.
Understanding Is Key
The second thing you need to understand is that not all ghosts are happy where they are. Many are lost or confused, and some don't even know they are dead. This can prevent them from moving on to the next place. I've noticed there is a big misunderstanding among many witches I speak to who think that any attempt at investigation is some form of harassment. However, many ghosts have been waiting decades for someone to notice them so they can get help. So, if your ghost is particularly active or seems to be trying to get your attention, it may be asking for assistance.
For further education on life as a ghost, I recommend picking up books like When Ghosts Speak by Mary Ann Winkowski, and my new book, The Witch's Guide to the Paranormal, for more detailed information.
Similarly, while you are setting boundaries, I would refrain from giving specific permissions about anything. For instance, I wouldn't say, "You're welcome to stay here, just don't go in my room." The reasons for this are: First, they're already staying in the home, so they don't necessarily need your permission to do so. Second, your perception might be off, and it may be something more sinister than the ghost of a sweet old lady and giving it permission to stay in the home will make getting rid of it that much harder.
But How Do I Know if They Need Something?
Other times, however, a ghost may create activity in order to try and get your attention. So, if you are experiencing some ghostly shenanigans such as knocking, objects falling off of shelves, or occasional pokes or prods, it may be an indication that the ghost is attempting to get your attention. If that happens, they may be asking for help, and you may need to reach out to local professionals for assistance. In some cases, you may get them to move on peacefully by placing fresh lilacs around the home and visualizing a beautiful white light opening to take them to the next place. Other times, they may need more complex care before they're ready to move on.
But What If They Are Aggressive?
In this situation I would highly recommend calling upon local professionals, and/or getting a copy of my book The Witch's Guide to the Paranormal, which goes in depth on these issues in a way that can't be covered in an article like this. You may be able to get them to move on using the technique described above, but if they are unwilling to go, you may have to resort to something a little more drastic. Using things like salt to repel them, as well as expellant smoke from cleansing herbs can help. Neither one of these will automatically boot them out, but prolonged use will make the space uninhabitable and force them to leave. Once you feel they have gone, be sure to put protections in place so they don't return.
At the end of the day, just remember that ghosts were people, too. Even in death, they have their own hopes, dreams, fears, desires, beliefs, and secrets. So, when it comes to a ghostly roommate or office helper, always remember not to frame them as something unknowable and otherworldly, because after all, the specter stealing the pens from your cubicle is probably not an eldritch creature from the void, but is instead more likely to be Chad, the copy guy who died in a bike accident a year ago. Knowing this, our everyday conflict resolution and communication customs are likely to do the trick.
J. Allen Cross (Oregon) is a practicing Folk Witch and paranormal investigator. He serves as psychic-medium and occult specialist on a well-known investigative team out of the Portland metro area. He enjoys working as a ...