Chapter 15- Closing Thoughts
There are a few thoughts that I would like to leave you with. In many cases, there is little we can do regarding a haunting until we know what is going on. That can take some time. However, there are things we can do that will help them right away. There are 3 things we should attempt to do:
1) Lend them support.
2) Teach them defenses.
3) Teach them coping skills.
This is not as difficult as it sounds and you do not have to be a trained mental health professional to do this. Lending support is the easiest thing to do. Most victims of haunting type phenomena find that their world shrinks a bit. What I mean by this is that they find that they have fewer and fewer people to talk to. When you are being terrorized at home, the last thing you want to hear from your friends is that you are imagining it. Try telling someone who lives in a house where pictures go flying off the walls that there are no such things as ghosts. Yet this is exactly what happens to many victims. This causes them to isolate and that is the worst thing you can do in a haunting.
Sometimes the simple things in life are best. Just telling someone that you believe them can make all the difference in the world to them. Letting them pour their hearts out can take away much of their frustration. This does nothing to stop the haunting but it makes the victim feel better. Every little victory counts. In the early stages, that may indeed be all that we can do for them.
There are defenses that the client can employ. Knowing that there is a strategy at work in a haunting, it is possible to begin building defenses. Sprinkling holy water in the bedroom at night may allow them to have a good night’s sleep. When activity begins to take place, they can be taught how to stop it. One of the keys to lessening the effects of a haunting is to give as little recognition as possible to the activity. That alone can diminish it. It is a practical defense.
Coping skills can take a little time but they are important. Lending support is a coping skill of sort. However, a very effective one is to let the victims know that hauntings do happen and that they do end. The biggest problem they usually face is a sense of disorientation that results from seeing “impossible” phenomena taking place. At that point, their whole world looks different. The comforts that they usually enjoy suddenly seem alien to them. That wonderful overstuffed chair where so many pleasant hours have been spent reading books now looks different to them. Suddenly, it seems to have lost its inviting quality. Maybe now when the family look at it, it reminds them of the time when the cushions went flying through the room.
The problem is that their model of the world has been destroyed. They are now living in a world that they never imagined existed and one they do not want to have to live in. I am repeatedly asked whether I get frightened on investigations. Truthfully, that rarely, if ever happens anymore. I am sure that the day will come when it will happen again but it has been many years since I have been frightened. Now, no one will ever accuse me of being particularly brave. However, the reasons are simple:
1) You become desensitized after awhile.
2) When you have seen hell, purgatory looks pretty good.
3) I am task saturated.
4) My model of the world in intact.
Obviously, the first is self-explanatory. The second simply means that when you have seen tables levitate and furniture being hurled around a room, seeing a coffee cup slide slowly across a counter does not do much for me. The third one is simple. When activity breaks out, I have a lot to do. Instrument readings must be taken, if there is movement of objects, a camcorder has to be turned on and if something begins to manifest, I need to take photos. There is too much to do to worry about how frightening the activity may be. The fourth is the one that the client needs to be taught. They are shocked because in their model of the world, furniture is not supposed to move on its own. Thus, when it happens, they are in a state of shock. That adds to their disorientation. For them, this does not make sense. They no longer feel part of the “real” world.
Now, in my world, I know this stuff happens and I expect to see it. When it happens, it becomes a line in my activity notes. “11:10 pm, books flew off the shelf in living room.” That is what it means to me. It is an item that I am expecting to see so when I do, it is hardly frightening. Once you help the victims alter their model of the world to one that includes this type of phenomena, they slowly begin to take back their lives. They will then begin to end their isolation and that in itself makes them better able to cope with their situation.
These are simple steps that can make the haunting far more tolerable. The best part is that you can do this right away, starting with the first phone call. Best of all, you can see the results right away. That is very fulfilling to me.