A few years back I received a distressed call from a young mother who believed her house to be haunted. They first started experiencing disturbances when they began renovating their old, colonial house in northern Vermont. At first family members didn’t think much of it, calling it imagination as they caught movement out of the corner of their eyes. Then their 10 year old son began sneaking cigarettes in his bedroom. Or more appropriately put…they believed their son was smoking. This went on for a few months, with their son repeatedly professing his innocence and the parents becoming more frustrated. As their bedroom was directly across from his, they knew without a doubt that they were smelling smoke. Finally one day while the mom was cleaning the living room, her preschool daughter said “Who is that man on the stairs?”.
After talking to her daughter, the mother then called me and asked me come take a look at their house. On the phone I started with my regular line-up of questions. “Do you have a teenager or anyone with a mental illness living in your home?” & “Has there been any construction or renovation on your home lately?” These two questions give me an idea of what is going on in the home before I even get there. They are not be all/know all questions, but more a foundation to start with.
The first question “Do you have a teenager or anyone with a mental illness living in your home?” is an important one, because often what is perceived as Spiritual Activity is in fact Kinetic energy from an unbalanced human. And yes…I did just compare teenagers to people with mental illness. In both cases-teenagers & people with mental illness there is usually a high level of chemical and emotional turmoil. Both groups of people also find it difficult to express themselves or to be understood. This can create a lot of Kinetic Energy which may result in Poltergeist activity (physical disturbances; noises, moving objects, etc). If the answer to my first question is “Yes”, then I have to consider that the house may not be haunted by a ghost, but by a living person.
I have personally experienced Poltergeist activity, including that which I myself created… On more then one occasion, under stress I have caused items in my house to fall off shelves & items to move. One time in particular stands out to me… I had come home from work late and had forgotten to tell my family that I had clients coming in the early a.m., like most houses mine is lived in and was a bit of a mess. I was frustrated with my family, but in truth it was my fault for not letting them know about my schedule. Instead of asking for help I just got silently pissed. Well sort of silent; in the sense that I didn’t say anything, but the energy I gave off was another matter. I began to clean my house like some kind a mad woman, whirling about. I do have to say it was amazing what I did in 30 minutes…but then as I stood doing my dishes, fuming with anger…I noticed things kept falling off the altar I have above my sink. They were not placed there precariously, and it was not just one item. So…I took a deep breathe, walked away from the dishes, out the door and screamed (the benefits of living in a very rural place). After I calmed down, I came in and asked for help from my family. This little bit was shared so you could see that displaying Kinetic Energy & creating Poltergeist activity is usually a sign that you feel bottled up and frustrated at not being heard. It does not make you the real life star of a cult classic horror story.
The second question “Has there been any construction or renovation on your home lately?” is important because changes in our home can create a disturbance energetically for Spirits that may still be attached to it. It is also the most common reason for sudden activity. The Spirits; who for whatever reason are attached to the home, do not understand why things are changing & they start to get restless. When a house ‘suddenly’ becomes haunted it means something has happened to stir things up. Most of the time all that is needed in these cases is a bit of negotiating, which is what I did in the Smoking House.
The young mother had answered ‘yes’ to question #2. There had been a lot of recent renovation in their home, and ‘yes’ activity had been noticed after renovation had begun. So I started by getting a grand tour of the place. Something I always do first. I walk through the house and pay attention to what I experience in each room…this is my way of ‘Reading’ the house. I am looking for Spirits and any sign that they have been hanging out in particular places. I come to all house clearings with a box of tools, ready for whatever awaits me…but in truth, 90% of the time I usually end up just talking to the Spirit; seeing what they need & then doing negotiations between the living tenants and the dead.
In my tour of the house, I was not at all surprised to find an old man sitting in the bedroom that belonged to the 10 year old boy…and the room reeked of cigarette smoke. He was not the most pleasant of Spirits, nor was he a psychopath…merely an old-curmudgeon who had not found his way to the other side of the Veil. I started by making sure he knew he was Dead. Which he did. Then I told him he couldn’t keep acting out the way he was & that he couldn’t keep smoking in the house. He then told me as he sat smoking in the chair next to the bed, that they couldn’t make him leave and that it was his house. He told me that it was his house and that he could smoke in it if he liked. To which I replied, that they may not be able to…but I can & you technically are not longer the owner of this property. It was remarkable the turn around in his willingness to cooperate. In fact, he agreed to not smoking in the house and not purposely trying to startle the Living residence. In part, the family agreed that he could stay on as long as he continued to follow the rules. It has been my experience that in most cases of House Hauntings there is an amicable solution for all parties. In the rare cases where the Spirits in the house are unwilling to negotiate-Spirit-eviction notices follow suit.
I hope you enjoyed the read Folks, I will be sharing a bit of Spooky all week. If your local or going to be in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont this weekend, check out my event on Facebook…Stories of Spirit-Tales for Halloween. Tickets are available at the Grindstone Cafe in Lyndonville, VT