What happens if someone sees a ghost?

The simple answer is: Nothing happens to them. They’ve seen something that looked like a ghost. That’s all.

I’m sorry if that’s disappointing. It happens to be the truth. After decades of paranormal research, I’m used to ghosts and things that just look like ghosts.

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Strange mist at haunted Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH (USA)

Seeing an apparition — or any other evidence of ghosts — may change how a person reacts to ghost stories. Aside from the emotional and cognitive impact, I don’t think anything else happens to the person.

No one dies from it. The person isn’t cursed. People who see ghosts aren’t personally haunted for the rest of their lives.

If you see a ghost, that’s usually described as an apparition.  An apparition usually looks like a person, or at least part of one. You might see just a torso, or just a face. The apparition might be solid, translucent (it lets light through), or nearly transparent.

Generally, the ghost appears as he or she wants to be remembered.

Few apparitions look gory, gruesome, or even elderly. When someone thinks they’ve seen something really creepy… it’s rarely a ghost.

Seeing a ghost is like witnessing any other extraordinary (but natural) event. It’s an unusual experience, like seeing the Aurora Borealis, or visiting an active volcano.

Maybe it’s memorable. Maybe the viewer would prefer to explain it as “an overactive imagination” or “the power of suggestion.”

I never try to convince someone that they’ve seen a ghost, even if I’m 99% sure they did.

Spiritual contexts make a difference.

  • Seeing a ghost might be startling, particularly if the person had been a skeptic.
  • To a believer, it affirms the idea of an afterlife.

We can’t prove anything, one way or the other. All we can say is: The person believes he (or she) saw something like a ghost.

That’s a personal, subjective experience.

For some people, seeing a ghost answers all their questions: Ghosts are real. After that, the individual may quit ghost hunting.

Or, the experience might trigger new questions. If so, the researcher may be even more enthusiastic about ghost hunting.

Meanwhile, nothing terrible happens to a person who’s seen a ghost. Real life is different from movies and TV shows.

And, to be honest, apparitions are extremely rare. Most ghost hunters never see a ghost… not one that they’re sure was a ghost, anyway.

You’re more likely to win the lottery.

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Are some people more receptive to ghosts than others?

Yes, but I think it depends on several things.

– Is the person vulnerable? If the person is sad, depressed, or morose, he worried womanor she may attract sympathetic ghosts. That person may also attract less benign spirits. Be very watchful if you think this has happened.

– Does the person have anything common with the ghost or entity?  That can include appearance, interests, personal history, and family connections to a particular ghost.

If you’re a ghost hunter, know your family tree. I investigated one Salem (MA) location for years before discovering I was a direct descendant of two of the ghosts.

– Is the person looking for contact with the ghost, or with spirits in general?  If you’re more open to ghosts, you might encounter more of them. 

– On the other hand, if the person fears ghosts, I think some ghosts like to torment them.

– If a skeptical critic is startled by a ghost, watch out. Poltergeist activity may follow, immediately. (The ghost might be making use of the person’s own energy. It can be very scary.)

The most receptive people may be those with the best observational skill.

Those skills often come from practice.

Can you identify normal creaking noises in a house? If so, it may be easier to identify other, unusual — and perhaps ghostly — sounds.

In other words, if you’d like to be more receptive, go on more ghost investigations. The more you know about what’s normal at creepy locations, the more sensitive you’ll become to things that are paranormal.

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Can a ghost follow you from place to place?

Can ghosts follow you?

No, not usually. Ghostly phenomena seem tied to locations.

If ghosts could go somewhere else, they probably would. (If you had a choice, would you spend relentless years at a site where people ignore you, or are afraid of you? Probably not.)

Can Ghosts Follow You? Maybe.Exceptions to this rule are rare.

One of them is Judith Thompson Tyng. Her ghost moved around Tyngsboro, Massachusetts (USA) for many years. Witnesses say she’s still there, over 200 years later.

According folklore, Judith tormented (and perhaps killed) two 18th century men responsible for her death.

One of them was John Alford Tyng, the father of her child. He killed her and buried her under the hearth of their home.

Then, when Judith haunted him, he moved to another house. Judith’s ghost followed him.

He tried again, with the same results.

Finally, when John Tyng was dying, Judith’s ghost stood at his door and prevented anyone from helping him.

Judith’s other victim was a quack called “Dr. Blood.” He’d pretended to be a minister or a Justice of the Peace, and conducted the marriage ceremony between Judith and John Tyng. 

The whole thing was a sham.

When Dr. Blood was found dead on a country road, Judith’s distinctive boot print was on his back. Folklore claims she’d forced his head into a puddle, and held him there until he drowned.

Other Entities Can Change Location

Of course, stories like those must be studied closely. About 99% of ghosts seem to stay in one place.  Anything that moves from one location to another might something else.

For example, poltergeists can follow and torment the people they select as targets. That’s why many researchers don’t believe poltergeists are ghosts.

Demons can follow people or even become attached to them. Demons can mimic ghosts.

Few credible stories describe a ghost changing locations. Even the Bell Witch was probably the product of several entities. Those include at least one opportunistic (and very alive) person in that community.

If You Think a Ghost Is Following You

sympathetic and comforting handsIf you think a ghost has followed you, see a priest or spiritual minister immediately.

Chances are, the problem isn’t a ghost. It could be something far worse. You might be at risk.

Don’t seek help from strangers, online.

Not even me.

Find a priest or full-time minister to help you, even if you are not a religious person or a member of that congregation. 

(A good minister won’t care.  His or her job is to help with spiritual matters, period and full stop.)

Most important: if you think a ghost is following you, get help right away. You could be at risk.

 

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