The historian, Tacitus documents an early haunting that occurred 2000 years ago. It happened to the philosopher, Athenodorus, who bought a house and discovered, one evening whilst at work, a ghost shaking chains at him. Dismissing the spectre to return to his work, the ghost eagerly beckoned the philosopher into the courtyard where he vanished. Marking the spot where the spectre stood, Athenodorus dug into the ground and discovered the corpse of a man in chains. The philosopher carefully separated the bones from the chains and conducted a dignified burial. The ghost was seen no more.
The story describes a typical ghost, a person who died with unfinished business and who cannot gain eternal rest until an act of restitution is supplied, in this case, release from the chains that we presume were placed unjustly. When the chains were removed and a proper burial was provided, justice and peace were restored.
In ancient times, many specialised angels were assigned the task of safely helping the dying to find their way into the regions of the spirit world. Many creatures are also said to perform this midwifery role. When people have been revived after clinical death, they frequently tell of a dog they had owned many years before which they see running towards them, tail wagging with delight, then running ahead and looking back to beckon the newly deceased forward on their transitionary journey.
In the 1940s, the immensely decorated Air Chief Marshall of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and Knight of Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Baron Dowding of Bentley Priory, joined the Ghost Club. He was also a very dedicated Spiritualist and Theosophist, humanitarian and animal rights activist. When Hugh sat in his chair in the sitting room of his home in Tunbridge Wells, air-men shot down in their Hurricanes and Spitfires would visit and speak with him. He describes their visits in several of his books and, with the assistance of his wife, Clarice, helped these men to achieve a loving and peaceful transition into the heavenly realms.
This process of removing a ghostly presence from a place is called ‘Spirit Release from Location’. It is often conducted to help a spirit that is trapped in the earthly realm and has not managed to say ‘goodbye’ to this world to enter their eternal home. It involves speaking calmly with the ghost, listening and learning of their story, and helping them to understand that they need to move on into the Afterlife to meet with their friends and relatives who have been patiently waiting for them. It is often possible to discover whether they have had a great loss, a traumatic incident or a great injustice conducted against them. They should be told that there are many places in the spirit world where they can gain healing for their suffering and sadness in this life. Often a small ritual can take place. If a house is involved, this can be done by having a good spring clean and rooms can be re-decorated in bright colours. If the house cannot be redecorated, clapping one’s hands in the corners of the rooms banishes stagnant energies. Flowers can be placed where the ghostly presence has been seen and herbal oils used for cleansing, such as hyssop, can be sprinkled in the vicinity of the last sighting. Then words, such as, “We call upon you, Ghostly Spirit, to hear our voices as we speak to you from July 2011. This is no longer your place to visit and now belongs to us. The time has long come for you to accept that your earthly life is over and the Eternal Realms await your presence. Restorative angels are waiting to heal you. Be gone from this place. Amen.’
Sometimes, a deceased spirit can psychically attack someone and cause great suffering and hardship. In the past, exorcism was conducted to forcibly remove the spirit. Many of these had disastrous consequences. Take for example, a West German case from 1975 when Anneliese Michel, a 23 year old student, died of starvation after numerous exorcisms were conducted by priests over a period of ten months. The girl’s parents and two priests were found guilty of homicide due to their negligence in caring for her prior to her death. They received only suspended sentences.
In 1999, the Catholic Church revised their exorcism procedures and now use a far less aggressive ritual called, ’The Chaplet of St Michael’. Mental illness of the person concerned must be excluded prior to exorcism and a team of specialists, including psychiatrists must be consulted by the Bishop before any priest can become involved in a case. Of the symptoms the Church considers as evidence of possession are many that could be psychic in origin, such as speaking in other languages not known by the sufferer, superhuman strength, knowledge of future events or the ability to find lost objects, spitting, swearing and offensive insults are also included. The outstanding author and psychiatrist M Scott Peck made an in-depth study of possessive states and is a believer in the usefulness of properly conducted spirit releasement. Only those with the highest level of compassion and understanding should be involved in this delicate work.
Modern research suggests the spirit needs to be healed rather than dominated. Dr Alan Sanderson is a qualified psychiatrist and carries out this procedure as founder of The Spirit Release Foundation. The Foundation holds courses and qualifications in the skilled art of removing unwanted spirit energies.
I was present at a conference where Dr Sanderson described a patient who was experiencing an attack by a discarnate spirit. Dr Sanderson spoke calmly to the girl, reassuring her and also adopting a caring for the spirit that was upsetting her. By separating the spirit from the personality of the girl, and working towards strengthening the girl and supporting the spirit to move on, the girl felt stronger and more relaxed and the spirit was guided to their rightful place in the spirit realms.
However, both spirit release from a location and spirit release from a person (previously called exorcism) should never be conducted alone and should only be conducted by an experienced person, especially the latter process.
More information about this subject is available in the ‘Soul Rescue’ section of my book: The Lightworkers Circle Guide – A Workbook for Spiritual Groups’. ISBN: 978 1 84694 387 4 www.wendystokes.co.uk