New York NY Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Guiley, Rosemary. The encyclopedia of ghosts and spirits / Rosemary Ellen Guiley. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF 6b aiu> Sp irti5 ROSEMARY ELLEN GUILEY The Encyclopedia of GHOSTS AND SPIRITS THIRD EDITION Also by Rosemary . TEFL courses in person and tutored those taking distance your lesson plan so that they can talk to you Putting Your Le Encyclopedia Of Mathematics.
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The spirit is an individual's higher self, something of which survives bodily death in many religious accounts. In Western societies, people tend to speak of this surviving element as the soul. Ghosts, however, do not necessarily emanate from the refined spirit of divinity within.
It is fairly common among world cultures to believe in another spirit that accompanies them throughout life. This is a shadowy sort of spirit that could be thought of as a duplicate image of the physical body. The German term doppelganger clearly conveys the idea of a second spirit that moves mysteriously through one's life, sometimes serving as the ruthless Mr.
Hyde to the everyday cultivated Dr. This shadow spirit is apt to leave the body from time to time and linger around a person's place of death and burial. A ghost, then, might either be a blessed spirit on a mission of mercy, or the tortured and malevolent image of a body that suffered an anguished death. Varieties of Ghosts Two sharply contrasting beliefs about ghosts have long coexisted, sometimes in the same society.
The good ghost appears to be related to the higher spirit of a deceased person; the dangerous ghost, though, might be the shadowy doppelganger or a higher soul that has turned evil. The two opposing ghostly prototypes are the angry ghost, dangerous because it is angry about being dead, having been killed in an unacceptable way, having been treated badly by family and community, or just plain inveterate nastiness; or the emotionally neutral ghost, the spiritual essence of the deceased that lingers or returns in order to warn, comfort, inspire, and protect the living, making its rounds amiably and harmlessly.
It is not unusual to have a mixed concept of ghosts because the influence of both traditions persists in the twenty-first century in popular media. Ghosts themselves can have mixed feelings. There are lost souls who cannot find rest, and others, like Wagner's Flying Dutchman , who are condemned to a weary and aimless exile that can end only with the discovery of pure love.
Such sad ghosts are capable of either good or evil, depending on how they are treated. Funeral rites and prayers often have had the double function of providing safe conduct for the soul of the deceased while also preventing it from lingering or returning as a dangerous ghost.
Candles or torches, for example, help guide the departing soul and at the same time discourage wandering evil spirits from entering the corpse or its attendants. Elaborate precautions are taken when the person has died by violence.
An executed murderer, for example, might have all his body orifices sealed and his limbs amputated so the vengeful ghost cannot return to continue its evil career.
Ghost prevention remains a major concern in many world cultures. A Hindu ceremony conducted in Katmandu, Nepal , in June was intended to banish the ghost of the recently slain monarch. The ashes of the late King Birendra were mixed into the luncheon food, and a Brahmin priest, dressed to impersonate the king, rode astride an elephant as crowds of people chased him and the monarch's ghost away.
Encounters with Ghosts According to lore, there is more than one way in which a ghost can present itself. The visual visitation is most common.
Visible ghosts are often elusive, appearing only in glimpses, but some linger. Specialists in folklore and paranormal phenomena tend to speak instead of apparitions from Latin for "appearances" or "presentations". Apparitions include ghosts of deceased persons but can also represent living people who are physically absent, animals, objects, and unusual beings that resist classification.
Phantoms can also include visions of either a deceased or an absent living person. Specter and shade, terms seldomly used in the twenty-first century, refer to ghosts or spirits. Some ghosts are heard rather than seen. Poltergeists noisy ghosts are notorious for dragging their chains, dropping dishes from a shelf, or even hurling objects across a room. Unseen spirits that communicated by rapping on walls or tables became especially popular during the heyday of Spiritualism.
In reports of haunted houses, poltergeists are usually the chief perpetrators. A more subtle type of ghost is neither seen nor heard. One "feels" its presence. This sense of presence is perhaps the most common type of ghost-related experience reported. Most common among the recently bereaved, these visitations often take the form of a sense of the deceased's uncanny presence. Interestingly, the pattern found in the late nineteenth century is much the same as in current reports: the more recent the death, the more frequent the incidents in which a ghostly presence was felt.
The "felt" ghost was encountered in a wider variety of situations at the end of Christianity 's first millennium. Mystical experiences of an invisible presence were frequently reported and made their way into the historical record.
List of ghosts
A new liturgy for the dead had been introduced in which symbolism became inseparable from physical reality. Praying for the dead became a prime responsibility for Christians , and these intensified symbolic interactions with the dead seemed to attract ghosts. Dream ghosts have been reported in many times and places.
These nocturnal visitations often have been taken as revealing past, present, or future realities. Even in contemporary reports, a dream visitation from a deceased person is sometimes accepted as a "real ghost.
Was the prince only dreaming that the ghost of his father had appeared to him? And how could he be sure that this was a reliable ghost and not a demon or deceitful spirit who had impersonated the king in order to urge Hamlet to murder—and therefore to damn the young prince's own soul? Whether ghosts have appeared in dreams, visions, or daily life, they have often suffered from a credibility problem.
Are they a misperception, a trick of the mind, a hallucination, or the real thing? Ghosts are most commonly reported as solo acts, but sometimes they bring a supporting cast. The medieval mind occasionally encountered hordes of ghosts arising from their graves. Witnesses have sworn that they have beheld the apparitions of numerous slain soldiers arising from a battlefield such as Gettysburg.
By contrast, some people have met an entire family of ghosts ensconced comfortably in an ordinary home. Several women who reported having seen or heard domestic ghosts had this explanation to offer: As they see it, the events and emotions of former residents' lives remain locked in the form of "energy" or "waves" or an "aura" in the house where they lived.
If it is pleasant, the present resident can absorb and benefit from the atmosphere; the memories in the house will make those who live in it happy, healthy, and wise.
If the spirit is malignant, however, and the memories violent, the energy may transform itself into a force which can throw or displace objects or echo the events of real life by sighing, walking about, switching lights on and off, closing doors, flushing toilets, and so on. Bennett , pp. The conjured ghost is a commercial product, brought forth in return for a fee. After interest started to decline in spirit visitors, one could only hear ghosts. If the participants were sufficiently receptive and the ghost was in the right mood, they would be rewarded with the sight of a white ectoplasmic figure hovering, floating, or simply walking.
Ectoplasm is what ghosts wear or become when they allow themselves to be materialized; investigators discovered that the ectoplasm bore a remarkable similarity to the bladder of a goat. The Bible is almost devoid of ghosts.
The strongest candidate for a ghost is the apparition that was conjured from the grave of Samuel by the necromancing Witch of Endor. These ghosts appeared to the living to ask for prayers to end their suffering. Other dead souls returned to urge the living to confess their sins before their own deaths.
Some were less solid, and could move through walls. Often they were described as paler and sadder versions of the person they had been while alive, and dressed in tattered gray rags.
The vast majority of reported sightings were male. Living knights were sometimes challenged to single combat by phantom knights, which vanished when defeated. This series of "visits" lasted all of the summer. Through his cousin, who spoke for him, the boy allegedly held conversations with anyone who wished, until the local priest requested to speak to the boy directly, leading to an extended disquisition on theology.
The boy narrated the trauma of death and the unhappiness of his fellow souls in Purgatory , and reported that God was most pleased with the ongoing Crusade against the Cathar heretics, launched three years earlier. The time of the Albigensian Crusade in southern France was marked by intense and prolonged warfare, this constant bloodshed and dislocation of populations being the context for these reported visits by the murdered boy.
The ghost is wearing stylized plate armor in 17th-century style, including a morion type helmet and tassets. Depicting ghosts as wearing armor, to suggest a sense of antiquity, was common in Elizabethan theater.
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits
Renaissance magic took a revived interest in the occult , including necromancy. In the era of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, there was frequently a backlash against unwholesome interest in the dark arts, typified by writers such as Thomas Erastus.
He cannot marry her because he is dead but her refusal would mean his damnation.
This reflects a popular British belief that the dead haunted their lovers if they took up with a new love without some formal release. Soon after, he gains a companion who aids him and, in the end, the hero's companion reveals that he is in fact the dead man.
Modern period of western culture Spiritualist movement By , when the popular song Spirit Rappings was published, Spiritualism was an object of intense curiosity. Main article: Spiritualism Spiritualism is a monotheistic belief system or religion , postulating a belief in God , but with a distinguishing feature of belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world can be contacted by " mediums ", who can then provide information about the afterlife.
The religion flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion by periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums.
Most followers supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. Spiritism has adherents in many countries throughout the world, including Spain, United States, Canada,  Japan, Germany, France, England, Argentina, Portugal, and especially Brazil, which has the largest proportion and greatest number of followers.
Pareidolia , an innate tendency to recognize patterns in random perceptions, is what some skeptics believe causes people to believe that they have 'seen ghosts'. According to Nickell, peripheral vision can easily mislead, especially late at night when the brain is tired and more likely to misinterpret sights and sounds.
Nickell says that ghosts act the same way as "dreams, memories, and imaginings, because they too are mental creations. They are evidence - not of another world, but of this real and natural one. He writes that it would be "useful and important to distinguish between types of spirits and apparitions.
Until then it's merely a parlor game distracting amateur ghost hunters from the task at hand. Richard Lord and Richard Wiseman have concluded that infrasound can cause humans to experience bizarre feelings in a room, such as anxiety, extreme sorrow, a feeling of being watched, or even the chills.
People who experience sleep paralysis often report seeing ghosts during their experiences. Neuroscientists Baland Jalal and V. Ramachandran have recently proposed neurological theories for why people hallucinate ghosts during sleep paralysis. Their theories emphasize the role of the parietal lobe and mirror neurons in triggering such ghostly hallucinations.
Just because many people believe them to, they do.
There is also the concept of "historical evidence" - recorded claims by people who seems to have witnessed ghosts. Apparently, these people are to be taken at their word: which means one can never disprove any ghostly phenomena!
That said, for a fan of the weird and the spooky like me, this tome is a treasure-trove which one can dip into at leisure and choose a juicy morsel. It broadly details three aspects of supernatural lore - various kinds of "ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things which go bump in the night"; people and movements associated with ghosts and spirituality; and historical hauntings and haunted places.
I liked the third category especially - I have marked down some places in the UK as worth a visit the next time I go there.
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits
Some stories which intrigued me:.Main article: Spiritualism Spiritualism is a monotheistic belief system or religion , postulating a belief in God , but with a distinguishing feature of belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world can be contacted by " mediums ", who can then provide information about the afterlife.
People who experience sleep paralysis often report seeing ghosts during their experiences.
site Drive Cloud storage from site. Refresh and try again. Sep 16, Gherity rated it it was amazing. His conclusion: most ghosts do not do much of anything. The genuine counterfeit. The Encyclopedia of Saints.
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