Haunted? Ten Steps for Ghostbusting

Whether you are a skeptic or a believer it is a fact that people who believe they have a malicious entity in their homes suffer emotional and sometimes physical trauma. Here are my ten tips for dealing with a haunting that even skeptics will approve of:

1. Have your home checked for a gas leak

Do this first and do it ASAP. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, anxiety, nausea, lethargy, hallucinations (visual and audible), and the feeling that you are being watched. It may come from natural sources, like a crack in the foundation or man-made sources like a gas leak.

2. Rage clean

Don’t get scared. Get mad. This is YOUR house. So take care of it. Skeptics would argue that it’s easy to lose items when you can’t even see the floor but believers agree that malicious spirits prefer messy, neglected spaces. They can insinuate themselves, going unnoticed in the rubbish, feeding on the pain of every stubbed toe and forgotten, musty load of laundry. So, get to work, clean and declutter– and keep it up. Bonus to having a clean house: you definitely won’t mistake a scurrying mouse out of the corner of your eye for a ghoul, which brings me to…

3. Call the pest inspector

Whether it’s a flash in the corner of your eye, things getting knocked off shelves, bumping sounds from the attic, or horror-of-horrors full on plagues of flies, you may have an infestation. Chicken or egg debate: are ghosts attracted to a mess (see above) or do they attract the mess? A skeptic would argue that our senses take in the stimulus from a pest, like a flash from a fast-moving rodent in our periphery and our imagination fills in the rest. I have certainly seen my share of bugs on security camera lenses being offered as proof of a haunting.

4. Get a complete physical

green wooden chair on white surface

Okay. So there is no carbon monoxide leak, you’ve raged clean your home into something out of Instagram #minimalist tag, and the pest inspector went over your home top to bottom and found nothing. Yet you’re still experiencing a haunting. That sucks. It’s time to see a doctor, an actual mundane, run-of-the-mill licensed professional medical doctor. You might be suffering from a chronic illness, whether physical or mental. Now, a skeptic would say illness is the cause of a haunting and a believer would suggest that ghosts are attracted to people who are vulnerable. I say, if discovering and treating an illness makes you feel better you’re still coming out on top, the haunting will end either because your new meds stop the hallucinations or because you’re so strong it won’t fuck with you anymore.

5. Get your finances in order

So many people who find themselves in a haunted house are stuck there because they cannot afford to leave, which adds stress to the situation, which makes the haunting worse. It’s like being trapped in an abusive relationship because you can’t afford to leave. Go over your budget and cut the fat so to speak. Do you really need 5 subscription boxes every month? Are you dining out multiple times a week? Do you really use that gym membership? Are you using shopping as recreation to fill the deep dark emptiness of your soul? If your budget is pragmatic and still too tight, is there a way to add a side hustle to your schedule? How about lowering fixed monthly bills: Contact your utility providers and inquire about lowering your rates or if there is assistance available. ISP’s will generally lower your rates by up to half just because a customer asks for a lower rate (be sure to ask for the “loyalty department” if you get sent to sales, ask to be transferred). Take control over your budget so that poverty isn’t keeping you in an unhealthy place (or relationship).

6. Get relationship or individual counseling

One thing that is always bound to cause friction in a relationship is when one person has had a traumatic experience and the other person either doesn’t believe them or minimizes it. This situation is amplified when the victimized partner is dependent (eh-hem, especially financially, see above) on the asshole partner. And yes, they are an asshole. I don’t care if your partner claims to have accosted by flying unicorns distributing literature on the mating habits of the Patagonian lizard– if they are terrified then have some fucking compassion and offer help (sharing this list is a great jumping off point). Maybe the haunting itself is a manifestation of deep issues in the relationship and counseling itself will resolve them. And even if both partners have witnessed the haunting counseling is an important tool to ensure that the stress of the situation doesn’t pull them apart. And you can get counseling including couples counseling online through organizations like TalkSpace

7. Establish Healthy Boundaries

Damaged people tend to have unhealthy boundaries. Either they will let everyone and everything in too quickly and too deeply, or they won’t let anyone get close. Folks who experience hauntings tend to be the former sort. So desperate for attention, to be fulfilled or fixed, that a haunting is ideal. Either it will draw the attention of others who want to help (or exploit) or the person will feel like they have a companion, “Oh this is my pet ghost, Robert. He doesn’t like men and that’s why I can’t keep a boyfriend.” And if this suggesting pissing you off, you might be the type. Folks like this have some self-work to do and I strongly recommend a licensed therapist. There may well be a haunting but instead of lying down like a doormat and letting your daily life determined by a ghost, take ownership of your home and your behavior.

8. Work on Sleep Hygiene

Set a regular bedtime and a routine to help you ease into it. For example, put the lights on a timer so they start to turn off towards bedtime, the lower lighting will help your body get ready for restful sleep. Set a no-screen-time rule for yourself to reduce blue-light and scroll-reward exposure. My personal routine involves tidying up the house, lower lighting, checking windows and doors, washing face, brush-floss-rinse teeth, light yoga, and some reading before I go to sleep. If I feel particularly stressed I will write out my thoughts before bed which helps me feel like I’ve emptied my brain, so there is no need to mull over ideas, afraid of forgetting them.  If you avoid bedtime because of nightmares, hot flashes/sweating, restless legs, sleep paralysis, sleep walking, or any kind of pain this is something to discuss with your doctor because they are treatable conditions.

Sleep paralysis is one sleep condition in particular that people associate with hauntings. Even without medication, there are ways to help manage it including: sleeping on your side or stomach, wearing a sleeping mask, and being aware that you have the condition. When you awake with the pressure on your chest, keep your eyes closed and try to give in. You will still breath. Focus on fingers and toes. Try to wiggle them as your body catches up with your brain. The sleep mask or keeping your eyes shut will prevent your brain from hallucinating. I also recommend a sound machine, just in general. Whether hallucinations or ghosts bumping in the night, a sound machine will mask the noises that might otherwise wake you.

9. Yoga and Meditation

I touched on yoga in the previous tip but it doesn’t need to be associated with bedtime. Developing a home yoga and/or meditation practice will help you deal with haunting by building up your personal power. A calm, centered mind and body is no match for a haunting. I recommend finding a yoga instructor’s channel on youtube that you enjoy and try to do a video every day, ideally. As for meditation, recognize that it is a skill that you build with practice, and look for guided meditation apps or podcasts or videos.

10. Cleansing or Exorcism

Okay. You’ve done it all. Healthy home, healthy body, healthy relationships, healthy finances… but dagnabit, you’re still haunted. Now what? Now it is time to call in the professionals unless you feel enlightened and/or empowered enough to metaphysically clean your own house. Yes, it will involve some salt and sage. Exorcism is out of this list’s depth but having done the tips on this list will make it clear to whomever you’re asking for an exorcism that you’ve done your due diligence.  


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