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When a House is Haunted

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Dear Intuitive Times

I have been told that the house down the street is haunted but no one has ever seen a ghost. Just what do people mean when they say a house is haunted.

Philip C.,

Dear Philip,

A haunting does not necessarily have to have apparitions, or ghosts of the deceased. In fact, apparitions are associated with a minority of reported cases. Most hauntings involve noises, such as mysterious footsteps, rustlings, whisperings, animal noises and howlings, thumps, tappings and raps; smells, especially of flowers, perfume, burned or rotting flesh or organic matter; tactile sensations such as a cold prickling of the skin, cold breezes and feelings of being touched by an invisible hand. Some hauntings feature poltergeist activities such as rearranged furniture, stopped clocks, smashed glassware and mirrors, and the paranormal movement of objects.

A haunting can be defined as the repeated manifestation of strange and inexplicable sensory phenomena-smells, sounds, tactile sensations and hallucinations - said to be by ghosts or spirits attached to a certain local. The term "haunt" comes from the same root as "home." Typically, a haunted location is the home of the deceased, or the spot where the deceased died. Haunted sites also include places that apparently were frequented or favored by the deceased, and sites of violent death. Other hauntings are "aimless," occurring without explanation.

There is no general pattern to a haunting phenomena manifested periodically or continually over durations that may be short - a matter of days - or going on for centuries. Some hauntings occur on certain "anniversary" dates: the ghost of Sir Christopher Wren is said to be heard hurrying up and down the stairs of Hampton Court every Feb. 26, the date of his death in 1723.

Not everyone who visits or lives in a reputedly haunted location will experience phenomena. Hauntings sometimes can be brought to an end through exorcisms conducted either by clergy or by mediumistic individuals who reportedly can communicate with the ghost or spirit believed to be responsible for haunting. Some hauntings end of their own accord and for reasons not known. Those that seem to be "psychic recordings," or impressions that certain people can receive, do not respond to exorcisms. Such hauntings seem to be endless re-enactments of events. People often experience negative emotions at a haunted site, including anger, fear or hatred. They may sense a presence of evil.

Other hauntings seem to involve friendly or benign ghosts. Some say they can contact trapped spirits of the dead who are haunting sites, and are able to send them on their way to the Other Side. Some hauntings also feature phantom animals, pet dogs, cats and horses, which are seen and heard in their familiar spots.

Poltergeist hauntings are characterized by physical disturbances such as flying and levitating objects, banging doors, assaults on humans, ping and thumping noises. These disturbances often seem to be caused by living persons; there is some evidence that some poltergeists may be discarnate spirits.

Little is known about why or how hauntings occur. Thousands of hauntings have been systematically investigated by psychical researchers and parapsychologists since the late 19th century. Many explanations have been proposed, but there is no conclusive evidence to support one more strongly than another.


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