Whilst they are very rare, the most
famous hauntings are those that are particularly
violent or sadistic in nature. Here is some
information on the different kinds of violent
hauntings, and tips on what to do if you have one.
Contrary to what you saw in the Exorcist (even though the Exorcist was loosely based on a true story), violent hauntings are extremely rare. More people are hurt running away from ghosts then by the actual ghost itself. However, there do exist a small percentage of hauntings that are violent. There are basically three types of violent hauntings: poltergeists, violent human spirits, and demons. Here is some information on all of these.
Out of the three kinds of violent hauntings, poltergeists are by far the most common. It is believed that a poltergeist is not a true spirit, but the result of subconscious psychokinetic(PK) energy given off by a human agent. This means that a living human is inadvertently causing the occurrences with the power of their mind without their knowledge. This was for the most part proven by the famous “Phillip” experiments with PK. The typical agent tends to be a adolescent female, who is just beginning her menstruation, and usually under a great deal of stress. To be Freudian for a moment, it is also theorized that sexual tension is a major factor with a poltergeist agent. While the agent’s age and sex can vary, this by far tends to be the most common. A good (but not surefire) way to spot a poltergeist is if the activity seems to revolve around a certain individual. This individual is probably the agent. Poltergeists have a wide range of activity and intensity, so much so that they may be mistaken for a demonic haunting. At low levels, the poltergeist can be easily explained away by natural explanations. The low level activities can include feelings of being watched, items missing or moved around, cold spots, and many other small phenomenon. What we are concerned with however, are the extreme cases. The activity in the high levels of power can include physical attacks such as slaps, punches, bites, and scratches from unseen assailants, objects being hurled at the afflicted humans, sometimes with the intent to kill, fires starting in the night when everyone is asleep, people being levitated and thrown into walls, pushing people down stairs, knocking heavy items upon people such as book cases, and eventually what seems to be full materializations of a being. As the poltergeist grows in power, it seems to take on an identity that the afflicted humans provide for it. This is parallel with the “Phillip” experiments, in which a Canadian team created a fictional ghost, and through concentration were eventually able to produce many shocking poltergeist events. The poltergeist will fit itself to this identity, and seems to take on a will of its own. A famous example of a classic poltergeist is the Bell Witch of Tennessee.
The story of the Bell Witch began when farmer John Bell fired at a strange creature he saw on his property. Soon after that the poltergeist moved into the Bell household. It began with scratching on the walls, but quickly moved up to threats from a disembodied voice. Soon the poltergeist identified itself as a witch. Then after that it changed its mind and decided it was a person who’s body was improperly buried beneath the Bell House. Finally the poltergeist settled on the identity of a deceased local woman who was an accused witch. Then the physical attacks began. The Bell family and their visitors were repeatedly slapped by an unseen force. Objects were thrown at the Bells. Even President Jackson was supposedly chased from the house by the poltergeist. There were many other phenomenon taking play in the house as well. Particularly afflicted were John Bell and his adolescent daughter Betsy. Betsy was so afflicted that she tried to stay at a neighbor’s house to get a good night’s rest, but the activity followed her. This is a rare case because the poltergeist is supposed to have actually claimed the life of John Bell. One day John Bell fell into a stupor and later died. It was believed there was something amiss with his medicine, and so a small dose was given to a family pet. As the story goes, the animal went into convulsions and died. The witch then laughed and sang songs, reveling in the death of Bell. When Betsy Bell grew old enough to marry, she was engaged and ready to wed a man she loved. The poltergeist activity increased to such a level surrounding the two that the wedding was canceled. Betsy was heartbroken, but soon settled for another man and was married. After her marriage, the activity all but ceased. The poltergeist stuck around for a little while longer, and then vanished, claiming that it would return at a later date.
While this is an extreme case, it shows how violent a spirit can be, and also how it may mislead someone into thinking that it is a human or demonic spirit. To deal with a poltergeist, you should try to determine who the agent is. That person should be immediately removed from the area of the haunting. The activity may cease, or it may follow the agent. If the activity continues in the original area, try to reassess your assumption that a poltergeist is the problem, and also your guess as to the identity of the agent. The agent should receive counseling. If this does not solve the problem, then professional help should be sought out.
Violent Human Spirits
Just as there are evil living humans, there are evil dead humans. These spirits were usually very angry and violent people in life, and their death has not improved things any. True violent human spirits are rare. There may be many very frightening or threatening human spirits, but actual violent ones are few and far between. A violent human spirit will probably have more direct physical attacks than poltergeist like object throwing attacks. A human spirit may also try to “possess” a living person. A true possession is a rare occurrence with a human spirit, but not unheard of. These spirits are not constantly violent however. They sometimes are triggered by some stimulus that provokes them to attack. For instance, an abusive husband who was killed by his wife may be violent only to women who he encounters. Maybe the spirit does not like people entering its room or the area where it died. Most violent human spirits require some stimulus to physically attack. These attacks can have some warning signs as well. A drastic drop in temperature can indicate an impending attack. Before a violent act, many people report a strong smell of sulfur. This smell is a very consistent warning and should not be overlooked. Also, you may feel the demeanor of the room change to an angry one. And obviously, if a spirit yells at you to get out, you probably should listen to it for the time being. If you encounter any of these warnings and feel threatened, leave the area immediately. Return later with someone else. If you have a violent haunting, you might first try to deal with it yourself. There is not too much you can do in this respect. You may try asking the spirit to leave, but if it is a malevolent entity, it probably will not listen. If you are a religious person, try blessing the area, adding religious symbols, and practice frequent prayer. If you are seriously hurt, or your own attempts to deal with the spirit are inadequate, you should seek professional help.
These are probably the entities most rarely encountered by humans. They are not, nor were they even human beings. These creatures are violent by nature, and will seek to do great harm to their targets. Demons usually need to be given permission to enter attack a person, usually through immature use of a spiritual device such as a Ouija Board, or through an improperly conducted magical ceremony, although sometimes simply inviting spirits into your home aloud could give them power over you. These creatures are capable of amazing feats, which far surpass the powers of human spirits and poltergeists. They can affect matter in ways that are impossible for any other spirits to achieve. For example, your kitchen chairs could walk out into your living room. While at low levels, a demon could be mistaken for a type of poltergeist, as it gains power there can be no mistakes. These inhuman creatures can move amazing weights, create fires, hurl objects at, bite, kick, punch, slap, burn, and cut their targets, as well as many other horrible afflictions. It would be redundant to list all the attacks a demon can use, but just take everything a poltergeist or human spirit can do and greatly intensify it. In rare cases, they have been reported to violently rape humans; male or female. The most feared attack of a demon is the full possession. This is the goal of a demonic attack. A demon wants to break the will of the afflicted to the point where it can take control of the person. They can appear in many shapes, including animals such as huge black dogs or cats. Their attacks are almost always associated with the smell of sulfur and either a dramatic rise or fall in temperature. These creatures have no morals, and will seek out any way to torment the afflicted individuals. They will prey on the weak and defenseless, such as children and the elderly. Should you encounter one of these beings, you are in way over your head and should seek professional help immediately!
When a human spirit or demon attempts to take over a living person’s mind, they are trying to possess them. At low levels the phenomenon is called obsession. Obsession is when the malevolent spirit is exerting it’s influence upon their target, and having some effect, but the human is still resisting enough that the spirit cannot possess the human. At this level the spirit will constantly exert it’s influence upon and play mind games with its target. When a human is obsessed, they have already begun the process of succumbing to the spirit’s will. The spirit will also physically torment the afflicted with the intent of breaking down the person’s resistance. When the afflicted person’s will is weak enough, the demon will directly possess them. If you can catch an obsession before it is too late, the person must try to resist the obsession. This can be achieved by ordering the spirit to depart, and constantly willing it to go away, or by religious faith. Should the obsession seem to be progressing, seek professional help.
Possession is when a evil spirit has taken full control over a living human’s actions. By this point you should have already contacted professionals to help you deal with it. If for some reason you have not, do so immediately. This is the highest level of a violent spirit. This is where “all Hell breaks loose.” All the previous activity will probably continue, possibly with increased intensity. Some of the new activity could include: leviatation and mutilation of the possessed, intense blasphemy/vulgarity, physical attacks from the possessed, speaking in tongues, and various other phenomenon.
On the right is a picture of a 13th century English manuscript in which a woman is praying for deliverance from demons. While most religions have some rites for the deliverance from spirits, Pagans and Chrisitians have the most in depth rituals. Pagans have assorted rituals for the ordering of spirits, usually involving the Ceremonial Sword, which is used to command the spirits. Other methods include writing the demons name on paper and burning it over hot coals, and purification rituals. Chrisitans have the most widely known form of cleansing, the exorcism. The Catholic Church has a formal ritual, the Rituale Romanum, which dates back to 1614. This ancient rite for casting out the devil begins with the words: "Abjure te, spiritus nequissime, per Deum Omnipotentem." This means "I abjure thee, most evil spirit,by almighty God." While it is rare that any priest have to perform an exorcism, most priests are trained in them anyway. The Chrisitan exorcism is supposed to be a duel between the priest and the demon, in which the preist must hold his faith. The demon may throw the sins of the priest back at him to make him waver in his faith, all the while trying to attack him physically with hurled objects. Possession is the top level of a violent haunting; the highest level of power. If you keep an eye out, you should be able to get help before a haunting reaches that stage.
A 13th century English manuscript of a woman praying to redeem herself from the demons of the Seven Deadly Sins
Disclaimer: Since this is a touchy subject, I wish to point out right away that I am in no way prejudiced against any religion. I simply wish to point out some misconceptions that seem rampant with some demonologists.
If you encounter a violent haunting, many people will give you their opinion on how to deal with it. Unfortunately there are a lot of religious fanatics out there in the demonology field. Many of them may tell you that the best way to deal with a violent haunting is to become strong in your faith. While this may be true, Christianity is NOT the only religion that holds sway over paranormal events. It is generally accepted by most organizations that religious faith has a power that can affect a haunting. This power seems to have more to do with the strength of the person’s faith than to do with the specific religion. A house blessing or prayer with the rites of any religion will affect a haunting, as long as it is done with faith. If someone tells you that you must pray in a certain religion to affect the haunting, do not listen to them, for they are simply closed minded. The only exception to this is that when dealing with a violent human spirit, and not a demonic haunting, the religion that the ghost practiced in life, or at least one similar to it, may be more effective in convincing them to cease their activity.
Another misconception about prayer is that it will always lessen the activity. This is not always true. While prayer will almost always have some effect on a haunting, it is not always the desired one. Attempts to compel a spirit to cease its activity can very well enrage it, causing the activity to increase. On a similar note, a church is not always a safe haven. Demonic activity can follow a person into a church.
Poltergeist activity seems to be more heavily effected by prayer. This is dependant on the human carrier. If the human carrier truly believes in their faith, and the power it holds over the “ghost,” the activity should decrease dramatically. However, should the person subconsciously not really have faith, or even have a slight contempt for religion, it could cause the activity to escalate. This contempt for religion is not all that uncommon in the typical poltergeist agent; a teenage girl.
And now my favorite myth about religion and evil spirits. It is not true that Paganism or Witchcraft are predisposed to summoning evil spirits! Regardless of what some people may tell you, Pagans are in no way evil. Should you refuse to believe that Paganism is not evil, then you are closed minded; email me and I will give you a lengthy essay about why paganism is not evil. The reason why these religions can frequently summon evil spirits is because people who do not know what they are doing fool around with summoning spells. It is true that there are many rites that can be performed in these religions to summons spirits. Performing these rites without proper preparation and knowledge is like playing with fire.
Let me create the scenario for you. Two teenage girls decide to fool around with Witchcraft. They do not have any of the maturity, knowledge, development, or discipline to perform a summoning and they have no control of what is going on. They are also more likely to try and conjure a demonic spirit, not believing what the consequences may be. They do not know how to properly protect themselves or their house, and do not know how to invoke the right kind of spirit or how to banish it when the rite is completed. They begin the rite, and make contact with a spirit. This entity, unless invoked correctly, very likely is a negative spirit. These spirits will seek to manipulate their way past any meager protection the girls have created. It may seem like a perfectly benevolent entity, until it has gained the power it needs to make its move. If the spirit breaks past whatever poor protection the girls have, or if they invite it to stay, or if the girls do not make sure that they have properly banished the spirit at the end of the ritual, this demon could stick around. Then, when the demon begins to make life miserable for the family, Paganism gets blamed as an evil practice, and not the girls who actually gave the evil spirit power over them. True Pagans will almost never try to invoke an evil spirit, and there are many ways to properly protect oneself from them. Before anyone should try to invoke any sort of spirit they should have practiced and developed their skills, and be tedious in knowing the ritual and their protection. So the next time someone goes telling you that Witchcraft is the root of their problem, see how they came to this conclusion, because it was probably their fault.
Where do I go for help?
Ok you've tried all you can think of and the activity is only getting worse? Is the activity getting to a dangerous level? Well there are people who can help. Firstly, I would look for religious leaders in your area. See what help they can offer you. Remember that Catholic priests need permission from their bishop to perform an exorcism , so it may take a while. Try to find demonologists and experienced paranormal investigators in your area. Local colleges may also have professors in demonology or parapsychology. I have here a link to the shadowlands "the light" page, which lists many organizations experienced in helping people with troublesome hauntings. Check it out, and find someone who can help you. Good Luck.
Shadowlands: The Light
If you have experienced a violent haunting, and would like to share your experience, you
can submit it