As the whole world shut down for a global pandemic, stay-at-home orders everywhere forced people inside. As people began to spend more in their homes than they'd ever had to before, a few of us began to realize we weren't as alone as we otherwise thought.
As a paranormal investigator, I often remind tour participants that their best ghost hunting tool is their own body, equipped with a variety of senses. One of the reasons we sit in the dark during a ghost hunt is to better tune in to the energies around us. We listen better with our ears. We can better feel when the temperature changes in our space. Our other senses are amplified when our sight is restricted.
When the daily distractions came to a grinding halt, it naturally made it a lot easier for all of us to tune in to the energies of our space—whether we wanted to or not. And sometimes, that meant realizing our space was a little more haunted than we originally thought.
It's one thing to begin to understand that something is there—that an unseen energy is sharing and haunting our space. But the very next question becomes, what should we do about it? All of us have the ability to do more than we might think.
First, it's important to understand the two different ways a space can be "haunted." There are two types of energies that can haunt a space: Residual and Intelligent.
When a traumatic event occurs, or something repeatedly happens in a space over and over again, a residual energetic pattern can imprint on that space. It's almost like a record player, replaying recorded sound waves.
For example, have you ever walked into a room after two people have argued? You might not even have had to witness the argument, but the tension can still be hanging in the air; it can feel heavy. Some of us who are more empathic and sensitive can physically feel that energy. Just imagine if someone argues in that same space over and over again for the course of days, weeks, months, or years. The amount of angsty, tense residual energy that can build up might very well be overwhelming for anyone to feel, empath or not.
Residual energy doesn't always have to be sad and heavy. For example, a common paranormal occurrence up at the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, Minnesota is unexplained disembodied footsteps in the hallway. But this type of residual energy makes a whole lot of sense at a place like the Palmer House. In operation as a hotel for its entire existence, it was built in the early 1900s. Back then, it was ahead of its time with respect to indoor plumbing, boasting an indoor bathroom on each floor. Even still, there was only one bathroom that served a lot of residents and guests. Imagine for a moment what would happen every night as people would get ready for bed—they would walk down the hallway to get in line for the bathroom.
Residual energy can be cleared. Metaphysical tools like sage, Palo Santo, Florida Water, or even singing bowls and special crystals can be used to help clear and rebalance the energy of a space.
Clearing Residual Energy
In my humble opinion, there's no wrong way to clear residual energy out of a space as long as the intent is clear. I usually burn sage and Palo Santo, mostly because I like the way they smell together. I start by setting an intention, which I repeat as I walk through the house.
I usually say some variation of, "I hereby breakup and release all of the negative energy in this space, may peace light and love be ever present." But if it makes more sense for you to say something like, "Bad stuff be gone, good stuff take over," then do that. This process is called "smudging."
I never worry about walking in the right direction or making sure all of the windows are open. The more I start to worry about any of that, the more it takes away from my intent that any negative residual energy be replaced with light and love. In other words, worrying and having a lot of fear about "doing it wrong" is actually going to be the reason you do it wrong.
The other way a house can be haunted is by an intelligent energy. Intelligent energy is just that, intelligent…and oftentimes, interactive. An intelligent energy can move small objects around. It can reach out and touch a shoulder. It could tap on a wall in response to a question or command. It can even whisper your name from across the room.
But intelligent energy can come in different vibrations. A high-vibrational energy feels light, happy, and non-threatening. Often times, high-vibrational energies are our loved ones from the other side of the veil coming back to check in on us. After all, heaven can be wherever they want it to be and often, part of their heavenly experience can be popping in on us every now and then. When I was going through a rough stretch, I couldn't turn around without bumping into one of my grandmothers. My father-in-law has been known to drop in at our house, and once he even turned on my husband's stereo, which just happened to be playing a song that had been his favorite. I also love going into church and seeing how many people have their loved ones from the other side sitting right next to them.
A lower-vibrational energy (i.e. a ghost) often feels heavier, and more confused. Sometimes, this kind of energy actually needs help. If a soul didn't go where it was supposed to go upon death, it can get trapped in what seems to be an in-between dimension—it's one that overlaps with ours just enough that we know something is there. This energy can take a little bit more work to clear, in part because in that in-between dimension, there's not a lot of clarity. Sometimes, these ghosts don't even realize that they died.
Clearing Intelligent Energy
Even when a ghost does realize that it's dead, getting a low-vibration intelligent energy to move along can be a little bit trickier. Why? Because an intelligent energy has freewill choice in death, as it did in life. If a soul chose not to go where it was supposed to go upon death, there is usually a reason. If a ghost specifically chose not to go to the light—that higher vibrational dimension—when it had the chance, waving some sage around is not going to get it to go where it is supposed to go now. When we've burnt sage at the Palmer House, I've actually watched ghosts simply go outside and wait for us to be done smudging. When the air has cleared, they go right back inside again.
I was investigating a property with my Ghost Stories Ink team once at a notoriously haunted property on the East Coast. We were having an intelligent interaction with an energy that we believed was the ghost of a woman who committed suicide. Throughout the course of our conversation, it became clear that this ghost was feeling guilty for a lot of the choices she had made in her life and this guilt was keeping her trapped in the dimension between this world and the next. By offering some words of kindness and compassion, we reassured this poor girl that she still deserved to go to heaven. After a few minutes, there was a big swirl of energy. The interaction stopped and it was obvious this ghost was gone.
It might feel a little silly to talk to the air, but it can't hurt to give it a try. Sometimes, all a ghost needs is a little bit of reassurance that their loved ones are waiting for them or that they deserve to go where they should have gone all along. After all, at one time or another, that ghost was somebody's grandmother, father, brother, daughter, or friend. And if one of my deceased loved ones were stuck somewhere they weren't supposed to be, I know I'd be forever grateful to the person who noticed and tried to say a few words to try and help them.