We grew up on a block in New York that boasted a house with a ghost. Living in an older home, a spectral visit doesn't seem that unlikely, so we thought we'd get into the spirit of the season (pun intentional). After you determine whether that was a ghost (after all it could be your imagination playing tricks on you), then you have to decide what to do about it. Of course, you might think about keeping something under the bed in case your bump in the night turns out not to be a ghost...
- Be pragmatic: Rule out the normal before considering the paranormal. Often, the noises you hear and the things you see can be explained. The creaks on the stairs were the sounds of the house settling; the voices were the wind whistling past a curtain. Get to know your house (if you're doing the Cure, you're well on your way to developing a good relationship with it). What are its quirks? Some things - those creaks for example - can easily be fixed (rub baby powder into creaking wood floors to stop the noise).
- Don't be afraid: Think Sixth Sense. Chances are this spirit doesn't know it is dead and may need help in completing a task so that it can move on.
- Do your research: Talk to your neighbors, comb Google, sift through the archives at your local library and find out the stories of your home and who lived there. Even if it's not a ghost, you'll learn a lot about the history of your home and how life has changed since it was built. We have a weird door in the back of one of kitchen cabinets. Turns out it was where the milkman delivered fresh milk.
- Make contact: Talk to it. It's not here to scare you. Find out what it wants and give it firm boundaries about what you want. Like any guest it needs to know your home's rules.
- Remove the ghost: Often, once it has wrapped up what it stuck around for, your ghost will go away. If not, you may have to call in an expert or, if it's particularly stubborn, you may have to share your space with it. When we move into a new home we give it a good sageing, clean it from top to bottom and open the windows to air it out and we repeat this whenever we have a dramatic change in our life in order to clear our home of bad or unpleasant memories.
Check out this video by expert ghost hunter, Richard Felix, for more information.
Of course, you might think about keeping something under the bed in case your bump in the night turns out not to be a ghost.
Does your house or your neighborhood come with a ghost story? Share it with us in the comments!
[image: Banana Donuts, from her Flickr, with a Creative Commons License]