Can ghosts hurt people?

Ghosts can hurt people, but probably not the way you’d expect.

Generally, you have a body but the ghost doesn’t. Most of the time, a ghost cannot hurt anyone physically. Not severely, anyway.

Can ghosts hurt people? A professional says "maybe."We’re not sure how some ghosts scratch people or leave red welts and other marks on an investigator.  The evidence is clear, but how it happens… that’s still baffling.

The exception is poltergeist phenomena which may be ghostly, but it might not.


Normal Explanations

In many cases, normal things explain or contribute to the problem.

First, make certain that you and your team are safe. That’s always the highest priority.

Then, see if you can debunk whatever seemed dangerous.

  • In a house, it could be something as simple as loose or uneven floorboards.
  • Outdoors – at a haunted cemetery or battlefield – it could be a depression in the ground, a vine that’s easy to trip over, or a low branch (or thorny plant) that’s practically invisible in the dark.

Once you’ve studied possible physical explanation, also look for one or more of the following. They can disorient people, and it can be so subtle, the person doesn’t even realize it.

– Elevated levels of EMF from something like exposed wiring.

– Infrasound. This includes underground streams and highways — especially bridges — within a quarter mile.

– Unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector. If you’re regularly investigating abandoned buildings, a portable carbon monoxide detector should be part of your investigation kit.

– Something else that might alter perceptions and behaviors at that location. (Environmental allergies, drug reactions, etc.) Check the correlation between ghost reports at that location or in that area, against spikes in pollen and other allergens.

Is it a Poltergeist?

The subject of poltergeists is very controversial, even among those who believe.

The word poltergeist, translated literally, means “a noisy ghost.”

Poltergeist reports have included unexplained voices, knocking on walls and tables, the sound of musical instruments, and so on.

Poltergeists have been blamed for stones raining on (or inside) a house, and people being pushed, slapped, or scratched.

Ghostly assaults are unusual. Even then, it’s very rare for someone to be seriously injured.

(However, if it happens around stairs, it can be dangerous. Stay away from stairways that have a history of falls or ghostly activity.)

What are Poltergeists?

Some psychologists think that real poltergeist phenomena are self-generated. That is, the victims are responsible.

aloneAccording to this theory, victims are individuals with extraordinary abilities. They can affect their own bodies, and remotely influence their environment.  (They’re grouped with people who receive stigmata.)

Other people, including me, suspect that two entities are involved.

– One is the person most consistently connected with the activity. He or she provides the energy, and – as a result – feels somewhat drained after a bout of activity. This person may not realize anything extraordinary is happening.

– The second “partner in crime” is an entity, perhaps unknown or paranormal, that makes the activity occur. That entity is, in a way, a parasite as well as the tormentor.

The two combine to manifest poltergeist activity.

How to Deal with a Poltergeist

Scientists and parapsychologists are still studying poltergeists phenomena. Patterns and answers are emerging.  No matter what your theory about poltergeists, the following  things may help.

– Treatment seems to help when it focuses on the living person most connected with the activity.

– At other times, it’s a matter of waiting for the poltergeist activity to diminish on its own.

Don’t treat the situation lightly. It’s not a “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” problem. If anyone is at risk, mentally, physically, or emotionally, take action immediately.

Analyze the situation from every possible angle, both normal and paranormal.

If the energy involves only one person, remove that person from the environment.  Don’t just escort the person outside.  He or she needs to be at least a dozen miles from the site.

Then, see if the alarming activity continues.

Test that several times.  If the activity always stops when the person is far from the site, that person is part of the activity.

You’re not likely to encounter dangerous poltergeist activity, ever.

Sure, you might witness an object flying across a room or a TV turning itself on or off, but even that is pretty rare.

What should you do if you can’t debunk the danger, and a poltergeist doesn’t seem to be the cause?

If an entity seems intent on causing deliberate physical harm – nothing playful – that might not be a ghost or a poltergeist. 

The Demon Issue

As I’ve said: generally, ghosts do not seriously injure people. They may be mischievous. Some of them might play pranks.

That’s very different from anything demonic.

If there’s any possibility that demons are involved, get professional, experienced help immediately.  That means talking with minister, priest, or other member of the clergy in real life, face-to-face.

Demonic issues are spiritual, and the clergy have spent years (often decades) studying spiritual matters, in depth.

Too many well-meaning amateurs (and a few trolls) are online, claiming to be exorcists. If someone’s life (or spiritual well-being) may be at risk, you cannot take chances.

I don’t want to scare you. Really, 99% of ghost hunters will never experience anything demonic. If I thought it was a genuine risk, I wouldn’t encourage others to get involved in paranormal research, and I wouldn’t be in this field myself.

My Experiences

In over 30 years of investigating haunted locations, I have encountered some very scary, malicious entities. For example, I won’t go within 10 miles of Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, NH (USA).

But, I’ve only been injured once. I don’t believe the injury was deliberate; it was simply a prank by a childlike spirit. And, I happened to be on a stairway when the spirit pushed me, and I lost my balance.

During ghost investigations, keep this in mind: You have a more to worry about from the living than the dead.

But, that doesn’t mean ghost hunting is risk-free. You may still encounter some vicious, angry ghosts, and some of them can injure you.

Take reasonable precautions. If something alarming happens, see if you can debunk it.

But, if the physical dangers persist, leave the site immediately. And then warn others about it, too.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.

7 thoughts on “Can ghosts hurt people?”

  1. Can you beable to tell me since my partner moved into his place weird stuff happens…just a question…most nites you see a shadowey type in the passage…then as soon as tele of clicking starts from kitchen then stereo on th a Tele starts makin like a bass noise from speaker..and last nite he was in kitchen and it felt like summin like he been scratchef or pinched…woke up this morning has got bruise on tummy…any explanation please…

    1. Hi, Jackie,

      The telly + stereo issues could be from a passing vehicle. It has to do with the radio frequencies, and it’s unusual, but not rare. I’ve witnessed it myself, many times, especially in areas where a few people own really old trucks, vans, etc.

      The pinching and scratching is a concern. My advice is to talk to a local minister about it, immediately. (Church of England ministers are fine, and many other mainstream faiths – including Catholics – are good in that field, too. It’s important to chat with someone who understands your concerns, and has some background in this.)

      Physical attacks can be dangerous and from a spirit realm, and that possibility should be ruled out first, especially if there’s a shadowy figure.

      Otherwise, that could be poltergeist activity; most reports of pinching and minor physical annoyances seem to be. (I don’t want to trivialize this. You’re the best one to decide how serious this is.) But, if it is activity we categorize as “poltergeist,” it should decrease over time.

      I hope that’s helpful.


  2. Hi Fiona,

    I hope you’re well.

    I’m using this comment section to contact you so please feel free to delete this comment.

    Would it be possible to publish my article on your site? It’d be unique, not published anywhere before and obviously about ghosts and spirits 🙂

    Please let me know here if possible: (deleted for Oscar’s privacy)

    If you say yes, I can sand you over some ideas for an article that I have.

    Looking forward to hearing from you

  3. So I just recently have moved and EVERY single time I lay down in my bed it’s like a hand is reaching under the back of my pillow or there’s a hand in my mattress pushing up in my butt gently. Or touching me like just with one finger on my back… and it’s only happening to me, no one else… constantly hearing a dog panting too if I’m sitting down and awake it’s a little bit aways. But when I’m laying down covered up(including head) and the activity gets closer and a little more frequent

    1. Blake, tell it – out loud – to stop doing that. Usually, that’s enough to get the annoyances to stop.

      A stronger measure – which nearly always works – is to put a bowl of salt (I use kosher sea salt from the grocery store) in any container underneath the bed.

      However, if the problem is caused by a poltergeist, you may have to ignore it until the entity (and/or the person empowering it) gets bored and goes somewhere else to play.

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