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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A haunting is the appearance of a ghost or disturbances of a supernormal character attributed to a deceased person or persons. It is also the site for such an occurrence. Although the majority of hauntings are associated with the spirits of deceased persons, there are records of supposed ghosts turning out to be the astral bodies of someone who is alive and well. It is unusual for an astral body of one person to become visible to another but it is not unknown. Even with ghosts, not everyone can see them. A place may be haunted, and ghosts may be seen by a wide variety of people, but there is no guarantee that everyone visiting that site will see a ghost.

Hauntings are usually associated with old houses but this is not always the case. A modern building can be as haunted as an ancient one. There are instances of a house being built on the site of an old Native American burial ground, for example, resulting in appearances of Native Americans in the modern building. However, the majority of hauntings do seem to be related to older buildings. The Tower of London, Sandringham, Hampton Court Palace in England, the Octagon in Washington D.C., Rocky Hill Castle in Alabama, the Whaley House in San Diego, the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana … these and many hundreds if not thousands more old homes are haunted, some by a large number of ghosts.

Haunting can consist of spectral appearances by a ghost or ghosts but can also consist of auditory effects. The original rappings heard in the Fox cottage at Hydesville, New York, in 1848, were of this type. Through the questioning of the Fox sisters and their mother, a dialogue was established between them and the deceased peddler, Charles B. Rosna. Many times, however, when there is no attempt to establish such a discourse, the noises are accepted as simply phantom noises.

Many times, when a haunting can be traced to the spirit of a recently deceased person who has not accepted their own death, or who does not want to leave their long familiar surroundings, the spirit can be persuaded to acknowledge that death and move on. This can be done by Spiritualist Rescue Circles, which sit for just that purpose.


Steiger, Brad: Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2003
References in periodicals archive ?
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