History is fraught with ghostly interactions.
One of the earlies ghost stories appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh,
A poem from ancient Mesopotamia.
Ghost stories are found in all cultures and all times,
And the accounts of how ghosts look and behand are remarkable consistent.
In the ancient world, ghosts were oftenn seen as foglike figures,
made of subtle material like the white mist exhaled in cold climates.
Perhaps this is why the Latin word for "Breath" is spiritus.
An Ancient Belief In The Afterlife.
There have been many reports of ghosts appearing to be so substantial that they are indistinguishable from living people until they disappear into thin air or walk right through a wall.
What are we to make of the frightening apparitions that appear as dark, darting shadows,
which bring a sense of dread and despair with them?
Are these Ghosts?
According to eminent paranormal researcher Colin Wilson,
there are differences between nature spirits or elementals and true hauntings.
Wilson refers to nature spirits as ghouls and human apparitions as ghosts.
In most ancient cultures, ghosts were believed to be the restless spirits of the dead, seeking vengeance or attempting to complete unfinished business.
Although they no longer had physical bodies, they could still manifest themselves,
not only visually, but also through other sensory phenomena.
They were able to move furniture, throw projectiles though walls,
and create loud noices and other discruptions.
Amulets and tailsmans have been used for millennia to protect the wearer from
evil spirits, Sorcery, and other harmful paranormal phenomena.
Depending on the culture, theses wards can take many forms.
Horns, Evil Eyes, and Scarabs are still in use today!
Eastern And Western Ghosts..
In the traditions of India, where it is widely believed that souls will reincarnate after death.
Bereaved relative sometimes followed an ancient ritual.
At night, in a corner of the room where the deceased had slept, a saucer of water, rice, and ashes were placed on a sheet of white paper on the floor.
No one was allowed to sleep in the room, and any kind of noise was forbidden.
It was believed that an imprint would appear on the ashes to foretell what would become of the deceased, If the imprint was of a human baby's foot, the person would be reborn as a human.
An Om imprint meant the person had gone to heaven and would not be reborn.
An animal imprint, meant the person would be reborn as an animal.
If there was no imprint, it meant the person's spirit had not moved on.
As the Garuda Purana, and ancient Hindu scripture, states,
"All these are sure to be born as ghosts-a man misappropriating a trust property,
A man treacherous to his friend,
A man fond of another man's wife,
A faithless man and a deceptive wretch".
Ghosts in Ancient Egypt, Greece, And Rome..
The ancient Egyptian belief in the afterlife is described in The Book of Going Forth by Day,
which is more commonly known as The Book of the Dead.
It contained all the instruction that Egyptian royalty would need to make a comfortable transition to the afterlife. Those Egyptians who could afford the rites of beatification were assured an extenuation of their normal life on earth, full of banqueting and socialising.
The dead could receive letters from the living and could visit them in dreams or visions to impart their own wisdom.
Part of what we know about ancient Egypt's beliefs in ghosts is derived from a historical text that describes a conversation between the first King of the twelfth dynasty.
Amenemhet I, and his son and successor, Senusret I.
The instruction of Amenemhet primarily takes the form of a testament.
The author is the ghost of king Amenenhet I, returning to tell his son how to govern well and to urgently warn him to trust no one in the court.
The Ancients believed that Elemental's Called Dryads were the spirit of trees.
Ghosts of Ancient Greece.
Ghosts appear in may stories that have come down to us from ancient Greece,
through such renowned storytellers as Pliny, Homer, and Virgil.
Interwoven with tales of mythical gods and heroes, the ghosts of ancient Greece were very much a part of its culture.
The odyssey contains a long passage that describes the hero, Odysseus, going to the underworld to talk to the shades of the dead, to figure out the next actions he should take to return home. Circe tells him that he should travel past the groves of Persephone, where he will find the house of Hades, which is described as a place where the light of Helios (the sun) never shone.
Circe instructs him in the rituals he must perform to fend off the shades of the dead until he is able to get the answers he seeks, From
Virgil's Aeneid, Book VI,
a sybil (a sort of seeress or medium) tells of ghosts who wander because they did not have a proper burial.
"The ghosts rejected are the unhappy crew
deprived of sepulchres and funeral due:
The boatman, Charon; those, the buried host,
He ferries over to the farther coast,
Nor dares his transport vessel cross the wave
with such whose bones are not composed in graves.
A hundred years they wander on the shore,
At lenth, their penance done, are wafted o'er."
There are stories of ghosts who wander eternally because their mortal remains aren't properly interred.
It is a recurrent theme associated with haunting's.
The ancient Romans celebrated Lemuria, a nine-day festival in May,
The festival was designed to soothe the harmful spirits, Or Lemures.
According to a passage in Ovid's poem "Fasti, the festival was instituted to appease Remus,
Whose spirt haunted early Rome.
The Romans apparently had three classification for spirits.
They were called lares if they were good,
Lemures if they were evil, and manes if their disposition was yet to be determined.
Often referred to as "The Night-Wandering shades of the prematurely dead,"
The Lemures may have been souls who could find no peace,
Either because they had met with a violent death or had unfinished business.
They wandered among the living,
Tormenting people and sometimes driving them to early death or madness.
That rather sounds like the entities we call poltergeists.
Parentalia and Feralia.
During the festival of Parentalia and the feast of Feralia,
Held on the eighteenth and twenty-first of February,
The living descendants of benevolent and beloved spirits shared a meal with their honoured ancestors, Often called manes or di parentes.
At first, manes was used as a generic term of the family,
It was believed that they watched over the welfare of the family along with other household deities.
What Is A Spirit Guide?
A Spirit Guide carries communications between a medium and the spirits of the dead. Many mediums claim to have specific guides who regularly work with them and contact the departed entities. The spirit guide acts as a moderator and keeps low-level spirits at bay..