Haunting

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Haunting

(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.

Sources:

Steiger, Brad: Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2003
References in classic literature ?
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head.
Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him.
"And did Sam never find out what was buried by the red-caps?" said Wolfert eagerly, whose mind was haunted by nothing but ingots and doubloons.
"Haunts!" exclaimed several of the party, opening their eyes still wider, and edging their chairs still closer.
Like a haunted house, its walls are ever echoing to unseen feet.
And never let me hear a word out of your head about haunted woods again."
She said she would not go far, and would call at the haunted house once a month for her money.
Saylor waked him and said: "I have been at the haunted house."
Here they may resemble those great hordes of the North, "Gog and Magog with their bands," that haunted the gloomy imaginations of the prophets.
These savages, through whose mountain haunts the party would have to pass, were noted for daring and excursive habits, and great dexterity in horse stealing.
Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew.
Tarr and Professor Fether"; such bits of extravaganza as "The Devil in the Belfry" and "The Angel of the Odd"; such tales of adventure as "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym"; such papers of keen criticism and review as won for Poe the enthusiastic admiration of Charles Dickens, although they made him many enemies among the over-puffed minor American writers so mercilessly exposed by him; such poems of beauty and melody as "The Bells," "The Haunted Palace," "Tamerlane," "The City in the Sea" and "The Raven." What delight for the jaded senses of the reader is this enchanted domain of wonder-pieces!