Do ghost hunters ever become ghosts?

I’ve never heard of a ghost who — during his or her lifetime — was a ghost hunter or paranormal investigator.

In fact, those who’ve left this world intending to convey a message from the other side – such as Harry Houdini – have yet to make a credible connection.

If you’re asking if any famous ghost hunters returned as ghosts… I have no idea.

Famous ghost hunters… are any of them ghosts?

If any readers have heard about ghosts of the following famous ghost hunters — or people like them — let me know. (I’m not asking if anyone has contacted them via psychics or divination. I mean an actual ghostly appearance — something that’s happened in front of enough witnesses to be credible.)

Can ghost hunters become spirits who visit this world? Maybe. That answer depends on your theology.

My spirituality is somewhat eclectic. I can’t imagine any benevolent Deity who’d refuse to let people return here to check on the well-being of friends and family.

So, whether you call the entity a “ghost” or a “spirit,” I think it’s normal for people to visit us after they’ve crossed over. That includes ghost hunters, your great-grandmother, and maybe your favorite teacher from “way back when.”

Can a ghost hunter choose to “test drive” the experience from the other side?

Maybe you’re asking: Is a ghost hunter likely to remain in this world, not cross over, and stay here to haunt a location?

I suppose that’s possible. It seems unlikely. Most of us have cajoled and argued with dozens (even hundreds) of spirits stuck here. Repeatedly, we’ve told them to go to the light or find Grandma.

So, I think we’d know what to do if we felt constrained here.

It’s possible that a ghost hunter – like any other spirit — might choose to be a ghost and haunt some location in spectacular fashion, just for fun.

It sounds pretty silly to me, but I think we all have free will. I believe anyone could choose to stay here.

Has a ghost ever been reincarnated?

This is one of the stranger questions I’ve been asked. It seems odd to me, but several people have asked about it. Maybe I don’t understand, because I’m not sure how anyone would know if a ghost reincarnated, in the first place.

If you believe in reincarnation or past lives, how might that look? Here’s one way to think about it:

First, perhaps someone lived on earth, and at the end of a normal (or even unusual) life, he died.

Next, he became a ghost for awhile, by choice or by default. Maybe he was waiting for something specific to happen. Or, maybe he had unfinished business on the earthly plane.

Then, after some time, the ghost decided to re-enter this plane for another life experience.  (That’s a plot device in some paranormal romance novels and movies.)

He’d be a ghost, reincarnated.

Possible…? Maybe. I can’t rule it out.

So, that raises several questions.

Taking this question to an extreme

  • person alone in a crowd If people reincarnate — or have multiple past lives — can the ghost reincarnate as the ghost of any of those past identities? (That is, can the deceased choose which past life to represent, as a ghost?)
  • If a person can choose between reincarnation and becoming a ghost, why become a ghost? (That may be a rhetorical question. If there’s unfinished business, the new incarnation might take 18 or more years to be able to finish whatever-it-is. Maybe the person thinks he or she can accomplish more, sooner, in spirit form.)
  • If doppelgangers exist, could a person encounter himself (or herself) as a ghost?

To me, it seems like those concepts wander far out on a limb. I’m not sure any of them are worth serious consideration.

Can a ghost reincarnate? If you believe in reincarnation, it’s possible that anyone deceased — even if they’re having a short-term adventure as a ghost — could be born into this reality again, in a new identity.

But, if it happened often, I think more people would remember past experiences as a ghost.

To date, no one has shared that kind of memory with me. If you have, let me know.

Are shadow people demons? Are shadow people dangerous?

Are Shadow People Dangerous?I’ve received a lot of emails asking about shadow people.

The questions surprised me. I don’t watch many ghost-related TV shows, so I hadn’t realized that “shadow people” were trending.

Also, shadowy figures used to be so rare, I’d never given them a label. They were just a fleeting dark something-or-other, sometimes seen out of the corner of my eye.

Frankly, we see a lot of weird things at haunted places. A brief, moving shadow or two…? Not so unusual.

The first time I heard the phrase “shadow people,” I think Grant Wilson used it. Oh, I knew what he was talking about, but — at that point — I had no idea that a lot of people were seeing them.

Since then, it seems as if many more people are seeing shadowy figures. Or, maybe some entities aren’t as reticent as they used to be.

Shadow people - Laconia photoOver the past couple of years, I’ve seen many shadow people in TV show footage.

I’ve also taken a photo of one, in a weirdly haunted private residence in Laconia, NH.

That picture is shown, at right. The shadow from the hat looked like something from the Colonial era, or very early 19th century.

The figure moved like a person. And then, it walked away, moving towards the wall at the far end of the basement.

(We checked everything to see if a normal shadow could explain it. We found nothing.)

Are they dangerous?

A couple of years ago, I turned on a ghost-related TV show. On it, I heard the star declare that shadow people are killers. She insisted they’re extremely dangerous.

At this point, it’s irresponsible to tell homeowners that shadows in their homes might kill them. (In Dr. Who episodes, maybe. In really life? No.)

If a shadow person has ever killed someone, I haven’t heard about it.

Likewise, shadow people don’t have features. It might feel as if they’re looking at you.

Being certain of that…? Nearly impossible. It’s just the outline of a body. You can’t see its face.

I have seen the Ghost Hunters’ episode where a shadow person seemed to peek out from behind something. We can assume the shadow was looking in the direction of the investigators, but we can’t be certain of that.

Shadow people look like shadows. While you can find a lot of speculation about what they are (and aren’t), we really don’t know.

Ghosts or something else?

They might be ghosts that manifest as shadows. Maybe they’re not able to create EMF spikes or generate EVP, and they can’t rap on tables, but they can create shadows.

I doubt that anyone knows with certainty.

1839 photograph of R. CorneliusShadow people may be something entirely different than ghosts. They’re simply other kinds of beings.

At this point, anything is possible. Shadow people may be fearful apparitions, trying to hide from us.

Shadow people might be minions of demonic entities.

Then again, shadow people might be aliens in a form we didn’t expect.

One of my experiences might indicate an alien element. (Or, it may have no connection to shadow people.)

Dark portal to the night sky?

Around 2009, my husband and I were driving from New Hampshire to Dragon Con. It was nighttime. The sky was fairly dark and a little cloudy.

Driving south on I-95, we saw an odd column of darkness on the left side of the road. It seemed to be in back of a stand of trees, and about 100 yards from the shoulder of the highway. It was the same kind of column created by a searchlight, but it was darker than the sky, not lighter.

In that rural area, there were no spotlights or searchlights to create an illusion with contrast. (At the time, we didn’t realize it was an anomaly. I asked a few scientists at Dragon Con what might have caused it, and they said nothing like that was possible.)

Since then, we’ve never seen it or anything like it.

With the increasing reports of shadow people, was that column some sort of conduit for them? I haven’t a clue and it may have nothing to do with shadow people. It’s just an idle thought I wanted to share.

In terms of shadow people being evil, malicious, or demonic, I’m skeptical.

The shadow person I photographed (the interior photo, above) was about 30 or 40 feet from me, and I sensed nothing at all from him. He was just there.

His form didn’t seem to be sucking up light, like some sort of energy vampire. He wasn’t menacing or cowering or sending evil death-ray energy at at me.

He was just a shadow.

Just in case…

Until we know more about shadow people, keep your distance. That’s just a precaution. So far, I haven’t seen or heard credible reports to suggest they’re dangerous.

Whatever they are, I don’t think they’re ghosts, but I may be wrong. It’s fine to make note of them. Other than that, I’d keep the study of shadow people distinct from ghost investigations.

What’s the connection between ghosts and demons?

Ghosts and demons may be connected. Or, they may not be.

Let’s say ghosts are spirits of some people who once lived among us.

By contrast, demons never lived as humans. They are very different kinds of beings.

Figure in a fiery cave. Ghosts and demons?Some religions don’t believe in Satan, the Devil, or similar entities.

Usually, those religions don’t believe any entity could be a significant threat to Deity.

In fact, among those religions, it’s heresy to believe in a supremely powerful, Devil-like being.

However, if spirits exist, some seem to have better intentions than others.

At extremes, some spirits may be benevolent and described in angelic terms.

Others seem to thrive on evil and malicious behavior.

Many investigators use the word “demon” to describe energy representing something profoundly malicious. It’s a relative term with a lot of variations.

Ghosts can be pranksters, or even angry

First of all, ghosts aren’t always well-behaved. Some may be pranksters or mischievous, like poltergeists. Some may be angry or territorial; those ghosts can be frightening.

Nevertheless, there is a distinction between ghosts and demons.

Demons’ intentions seem dangerously different

Most first-person encounters suggest that demonic energy is intent on fooling us so we drop our defenses. Then, it attacks.

Crossovers may exist. Some ghosts were, and perhaps still are, under the influence of demons.

angry man at gateI’m not sure of that, but if a spirit seems malicious, I avoid it.  If danger is possible, I leave.

I’d rather be too cautious than spend months — or even years — regretting a foolhardy moment.

I’ve listened to demonologists I trust, like John Zaffis and the late Father Andrew Calder. Their tales have been terrifying and convincing.

However, ghosts do not become demons, and demons do not become ghosts. So, there seems to be no direct connection between them.

Ghosts and demons are different kinds of entities in the spirit world. When they interact with us, their behaviors are very different.

If ghosts are just energy, how can they interact with people?

I don’t believe that ghosts are “just energy.”

Beam of light in a caveIf they have energy, we may be measuring that ghostly energy as EMF. We may be photographing it as anomalies.

At the moment, I don’t think anyone has reliable evidence of that.

I believe that if ghosts are real — actual spirits — they have a consciousness. They’re unique individuals, and each one finds unique ways to communicate with us.

If you’ve seen the Patrick Swayze movie, “Ghost,” you’ve seen how — as a ghost — he had to learn to interact with the world he’d left behind. It wasn’t easy. He had to channel his energy.

Is that an accurate portrayal of what ghosts deal with, trying to cross the gap between the living and those who’ve passed on?

I’m not sure.

At the moment, we’re following any paths that ghosts are able to use.

  • Sometimes it’s through EVP.
  • At other times, they make noise or get a flashlight to turn on and off.
  • Some have learned to communicate with talking devices such as the Ovilus, Frank’s Box, Ghost Radar, and so on.

Others are able to share impressions with psychics, mediums, and sensitives.

However, as communications devices, many of those range from tedious to unreliable. The tools are far too primitive.

And, whether it’s a recording, photograph, or someone’s impression, skeptical critics can debunk them. Sometimes, effortlessly.

It’s frustrating.

Now, I’m about to sound like the geek that I am.

Can we use computers?

ghost communication - binary?First, remember that computers are based on binary activity.  That is, something is on. Then it’s off.  It’s all zeroes (nothing) and ones (something).

Maybe the on/off flickering of a flashlight or EMF surges with K-II device could be filtered into zeros and ones.

Anything that can produce zeros and ones can convey complex data with the right interpretive tools.

At this point, the issue is speeding up the data transfer. And how do we explain this to a ghost, even one from the 20th century?

(That was a rhetorical question. This is exactly what several researchers and engineers are working on. The question is: Are we making this too complex? Are talking devices worth the effort? For now, no one knows.)

Ghosts… energy or something else?

Something is creating the anomalies. We’re not sure what.

Energy seems to be involved. We can measure it with a variety of devices, from EMF meters to thermometers.

However, is that energy connected to consciousness? And, is it what we call a ghost?

For now, we don’t know, but something is interacting with us. That’s all I can say with confidence.

What’s your theory about ghosts and alternate dimensions?

I believe that some “ghosts” are people who are alive and well in a parallel world. I mentioned that in my article about ghosts existing as energy.

Eerie mist in haunted cemeteryI’m not sure if there are geographical locations where the veil (or the membrane) between us is thinner. Nevertheless, I’m certain that many hauntings have nothing to do with dead people.

We’ve seen glimmers of this possibility throughout history. Stories of doppelgangers could be explained in quantum terms.

Even within our world and time, some paranormal researchers believe that EVP can be a recent energy echo.

For example, archaeologist and ghost excavator John Sabol recorded EVP that sounded exactly like a previous investigation by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson at the same location.

Was that a time echo? We don’t know.

Some spirits may be visiting us from the other side. If they are, I think they represent a small percentage of the entities and phenomena we label “ghostly.”

I’m closely watching studies related to gravity. It’s an anomaly. Gravity doesn’t make sense.

As explained in the Wikipedia entry about five-dimensional space, “Physicists have speculated that the graviton, a particle thought to carry the force of gravity, may ‘leak’ into the fifth or higher dimensions, which would explain how gravity is significantly weaker than the other three fundamental forces.”

I’ve discussed this in several articles, including What if EMF is Leaking into Our Universe?

I believe that better answers may emerge as we understand more about discrepancies and flows connected with gravity and higher dimensions.

They may help us understand parallel realities, the beings that inhabit them, and those that seem to interact with us.

It may sound completely “sci-fi,” but if you try and explain electric lights to some ghosts, they react with equal skepticism… and often think we’re demons.

For now, I’m keeping an open mind. I like the idea of alternate dimensions and realities. I think they’re among the best explanations for some odd things we encounter in ghost hunting.

Could ghosts exist as energy waves?

Could ghosts exist as energy waves? Are they on planes of existence that we don’t know about?


Many people believe in an afterlife. Some people believe it’s exactly as described in their religious scriptures.

So, to them, “ghosts” are demons. They’re servants of (or proxies for) the Devil.

I disagree with that generality.

Discussing ghosts, it’s easy to wander into conflicting beliefs. Even scientists avoid that kind of pitfall.

Science simply isn’t advanced enough to address the subject of ghosts, conclusively, one way or the other.

– We can’t prove that ghosts exist.
– We have no evidence of the world where they might live.
– We don’t know if it’s actually our reality or something on the other side of an invisible membrane.
– We don’t understand what connects ghostly phenomena to a location.

This is true of ghosts and residual energy hauntings.

With that in mind, my answer to this question is yes. Ghosts could exist on energy waves or planes of existence that we don’t know about, or at least can’t prove.

Ghost Meter ProI usually ghost hunt with a yes/no device like a loosened flashlight or Ghost Meter Pro.  Early in the conversation, I ask, “Are you alive and well and living in your own time?”

At least 20% of the time, the answer is yes.

(Yes, I know that the Ghost Meter Pro looks too “as seen on TV” to take seriously. I tried it anyway, and I was impressed. Now, it’s one of the top EMF meters I use in my investigations.)

Author Rosemary Guiley once described an experience she’d had. She was using a Ouija board at a haunted site. (That’s something I do not recommend.)

She asked, “Do you have a message for us?”

The ghost’s response was, “No, do you have a message for us, Rosemary?”

Many ghost hunters have had similar experiences.

I believe some “ghosts” aren’t dead. They’re just in a parallel realm, very much like ours.

Their century may not be the same as ours, but everything else seems similar to our reality. It’s just from the past, the future, or an alternate present.

I can’t explain this so it makes sense to everyone. Science-based researchers may think in quantum terms. Christians may prefer the “many mansions” concept offered in the Bible, in John 14:2.

But, I’m content to believe that some “ghosts” are alive, not dead. And, they’re in another reality or plane of existence where – sometimes – they can interact with us.

Is a ghost alive or dead?

It depends upon the ghost. And, it depends on how you define “alive.”

beam of lightI believe that the spirit of the person remains alive. (The body of that person, in this plane of existence, is lifeless.  That’s a semantic issue.)

In general, I believe that ghosts are as alive as you and I are. Despite that, we usually refer to ghosts as spirits of the dead.

One ghostly exception: some hauntings don’t seem to be actual ghosts. They’re more like energy imprints – often called “residual energy hauntings” – that linger at a location after something dramatic happened.

It’s like when you walk into a room where two people recently argued. Sometimes, you can still feel the crackle of hostile energy in the room.

For more about this topic, see my articles, Hauntings – residual or ‘real’? and Residual energy imprint hauntings.

Some people (and some ghosts) object to the “living v. dead” distinction.

When that’s an issue, I stick to words like: ghost, spirit, deceased, and entity, or I always refer to the ghost by his or her assumed name.

For more, ghost-related terms and phrases, see my article, What are some words that refer to ghosts?

For example, although we’re not sure the most famous ghost at the Myrtles Plantation is actually called “Chloe,” we use that name for her anyway.

When I’m ghost hunting at the Myrtles, and I want to speak with that ghost, I’ll say, “Chloe, I’d like to talk with you,” and then say or ask whatever is on my mind.

Also, most ghosts seem to find very little humor related to the subject of death. The jokes and puns at Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction may seem funny to you. (They strike me funny, too.)

However, avoid morbid jokes during ghost investigations.  (I’m talking about things like “dying to meet you” and “feeling dead tired,” and so on.)

Offending ghosts is a very bad idea, if you’re interested in learning more about them, or want their cooperation.

How can you catch a ghost?

As far as I know, you cannot catch a ghost.

CryptSo far, no one has proved that ghosts have physical form in our world. So, there is no trap to contain them.

Some people believe that “dreamcatchers” also snag ghosts. I’ve seen no evidence of that.

However, dreamcatchers may confuse ghosts or prevent them from entering a home.

That defense might help if a ghost is immediately outside your home. (Of course, that’s the opposite of attracting and catching them.)

You might convince a ghost to remain in a particular location, temporarily.  For example, if the ghost has unfinished business and you act as if you could help, the ghost might linger. (If you know you can’t help, it’s cruel to suggest that.)

Other than that, I don’t think there’s any way to catch or entrap a ghost.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that, anyway.

Some paranormal entities can be caught. For example, some believe you can trap a leprechaun — or at least a clurichaun (in Irish, clobhair-ceann) — in an open bottle of whiskey. This requires having a clurichaun on the premises, and leaving an uncorked bottle of whiskey near him. Around dawn, the trapper must sneak up on the clurichaun and cork it while the clurichaun is still inside.

Some people believe a bottle can hold a ghost, as well. As I’ve heard it, the person waits in a haunted location until shortly before midnight. (That’s another “between time.”)

As midnight approaches, place a candle inside a bottle and light it. When any ghost is so attracted to the light, he or she goes into the bottle, cork it quickly.

That particular idea is riddled with problems. For one thing, some bottles will crack or explode if exposed to flame.

Another is more obvious: If ghosts were actually attracted to light, they wouldn’t show up at night.

Finally, I’m not sure how anyone could tell if a ghost enters a bottle.

I’ve also heard variations of Vodun and Voodoo practices involving. One “ghost catcher” uses cemetery dirt and a metal-lined (or lead-lined) box with a lid. I don’t know the specifics.

If someone tries to convince you that this works, run in the other direction. Vodun and Voodoo are intensely spiritual practices. The Guédé should not be treated lightly.

Likewise, “summoning” ghosts is a bad idea. You might summon something much darker. Sending it back might require expert spiritual help.

Is a banshee a ghost?

A banshee (in the Irish language, bean sidhe) is usually considered part faerie, part ghost.

However, with the banshee, the line between those labels blurs.

A banshee may represent an actual ancestor, so she’s like a ghost. She may be a shapeshifter as well, so she’s more mystical or fae.

Many people think a banshee causes death. That’s absolutely false. The banshee protects the family she’s attached to.

Other people think the banshee predicts death. That’s not always the case.

A banshee warns family members about a potential, upcoming tragedy.

Sometimes, that tragedy can be avoided. At other times, it cannot. The banshee wails because she sees the tragedy and, on her own, she can’t stop it.  However, another family member — someone living in physical form, at that moment — might be able to.

Most families with Irish ancestry have their own, individual banshees. They may never know she’s protecting them. (Scottish families, and those with Scottish ancestry, are more likely to have a green lady. She protects the house and those in it.)

Recently, some people have speculated that each banshee was profoundly psychic during her lifetime. So, there may be “banshees in training” that are very much alive right now.  In fact, that makes sense, since the network of banshees expands with each generation.

Banshees probably aren’t trapped in our world. Not unless the banshee’s unfinished business includes guarding her descendants. I believe she manifests in this plane by choice, and she helps the family she tries to protect.

Also, her protection doesn’t usually extend to harming others, even enemies of her family. She will warn and defend her family, but she is not an aggressor.

If you study Irish folklore and history, you’ll understand banshees far better.

For more about this topic, see my articles, The Banshee – Ghost, Faerie, or Something Else? and Banshees and Ghost Hunting.

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