“There is an afterlife. I am convinced of this.”
You wake up one day and realize you’re not awake at all. No one can seem to hear you or see you. Yep, Death has come to your door but seems to have forgotten to take your spirit with Him. Understandably, besides being bloody inconvenient, this may leave you with some issues to work out, and your psychologist can’t hear you.
The living are lucky; They have all manner of self-help books that tell them what to do for happiness, love, luck… well, for everything! A Ghost’s life (if you can use that term) isn’t like that. No one hands you an ancient tome when you get to the other side. And even if they did, you have no corporal hands with which to turn the pages!
Nonetheless, if you can see this post or you read it while alive, you’ll know how to handle the stages of your death with a little more dignity. Better still, there are some perks to being a ghost, like being able to scare the heck out of the annoying, snippy little dog next door. So, by all means, keep reading (you have plenty of time on your hands).
Afterlife Theory: What Kind of Ghost Are You?
So you’re dead. Might as well make the most of it. First, however, let’s test your post-mortem IQ. How much do you really know about death and the afterlife? Do you know why you’re a ghost? If not, it’s going to be daunting to figure out how to break free of that cycle.
The first step in self-actualization in the spirit world is answering the question of what kind of ghost will you be?
Ghost Options and Spirit Types
Most ghosts are little different after death than they were in life. Curmudgeon old Roy will still be grumpy and impatient. Happy as a lark Lilly remains blissful and perky trying to make other people merry with her haunting activities. So what kind of person were you? Here are some of the common personality types among your fellow spirit dwellers:
- Pesky Ghost: The pesky ghost is irksome to the living. They don’t “hex” they “vex.” Think of the guest who would never leave no matter how many hints you gave them. Or, that kid in school who was intent on poking you in the hall all the time. That’s a pesky ghost.
If you still have your humor intact after death, being an annoying ghost can prove fun. You finally get to act out all those pranks you thought of while alive, but never acted upon.
- Gloomy Ghosts: Gloomy ghosts are the drama queens of the afterlife. Everything is, “woe’s me.” This forlorn figure sulks around their haunt making the whole place feel dreary. These were the people in life who felt everyone was out to get them. What they didn’t realize is everyone WAS because they were so damn aggravating. Unless you like being miserable, this isn’t the best choice for a long stay.
- Story Ghosts: These guys and gals are great for parties. They’re the bards of the spirit world, always ready with a song or a tale. Mind you to the living both come out sounding like moans. And, the spiel is always about what happened that caused all their issues. There is one advantage to the Story Ghost: If you happen across a good medium who relates your epic issues to the living, you may very well move on to your next existence.
- Fetterd Hauntings: Ghosts with fetters want their stuff, like the kid that says, “hey that’s mine.” The guy who builds his house isn’t leaving it for any amount of Angelic singing. The gal who loves that special ring (which, of course, the family forgot to bury with her) stands watch. Only certain people are worthy of that bobble, and she’ll see to it everyone else stays away. Fettered hauntings can be personally satisfying but also a tad boring. You’re stuck in one spot unless you’re lucky enough to have a mobile home to which you’re hobbled (or is that hitched?).
- Angry Ghosts: Just stay away from these guys. They’re like never-ending bullies. Now if you have a good reason for anger, great! Go for it. Just direct all that malcontent where it belongs. Angry spirits are somewhat like story ghosts in that once the reason for their ire disappears, so do they.
- Helpful, Watchful Ghost: These folks become what humans call guardian angels. This is an excellent choice for the undead soul who has strong relationships in the real world and wants to make sure everyone is ok.
Well, you get the idea. Know who you were, know what you are now and then do your part with flair.
You thought there were no rules for ghosts? Well, there are a whole bunch of psychics, mediums, and other sensitive folk who might disagree with you. For example, its considered terribly bad form to keep bothering a channeler when they’re at the office. It’s bad enough that co-workers will think they’re quirky or senile, but if you happen to take over their body, it’s incredibly confusing. By the end of the day, that poor sensitive will likely have a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder.
So, let’s think “miss manners” for the disembodied.
- Don’t show up if you’re not invited: Would you just walk into anyone’s home without knocking? Well maintain that courtesy when visiting living relatives or getting a medium’s attention.
- Do keep your messages short and sweet. You living channel will thank you for it when there’s no residual summoning headache.
- Know who’s calling. Remember telephone number identifications? This is similar. There are people out there hunting around for any spirit for kicks. Not all of them are nice people. A ghost has to look out for themselves, ya know? Just cause someone jingles, doesn’t mean you have to answer.
- Levitation and moving objects are all well and good, particularly around young children, but try not to break anything (that’s the angry ghost’s job).
- All that pacing! Give your humans a good night’s sleep from time to time.
- Don’t slam doors. Just don’t. That’s a poltergeist’s domain, and they don’t like other spirits horning in on their show.
- If you show up to a séance late, don’t expect to get on the proverbial dance card. Take a number and hope for the best
- Wipe your shoes: don’t bring weird energy or tag-along spirits with you to a psychic fair. Ok, it can be funny from the outside, but not overly cool nonetheless.
That’s really only a short overview, but if you remember the kinds of things mom nagged you about doing, and apply them to the undead world, you’ll be doing pretty well.
Co-existing with the Living
Well, you’ve found a cool hang out, have you? Want to stay? Well, then you have to find ways to co-exist with warm bodies peacefully. As a ghost, you have some things that drive you, and you have to follow that instinct. The key is in HOW you handle those prompts. Say you’re a neat freak and every time a picture hangs awkwardly you have to straighten it. To be honest, your living companions probably appreciate this. On the other hand, the ghost who wants to re-arrange the pantry regularly – not so much so. Basically, refer back to Undead Decorum and keep those things in mind.
Ghosts Moving Onward (and upward?)
It is true that some of the Undead simply prefer the idea of remaining right where they are (after all, it’s comfortable and familiar). But this isn’t for every spirit wandering the earth.
For some, being a ghost has lost its thrill. Unliving just isn’t what it used to be. Seems like you’ve been there, done that, and still don’t have a new body to wear. What’s the next step? How can you start moving toward your new incarnation, heaven, or whatever you envision when you think of eternity?
For the most part its all about putting those nagging questions and issues to rest. Come on. How many decades (or centuries) does it take just to forgive, forget and move on? Grieve for your former life if you must. Get angry about being left out in the cold as a ghost if you must. But eventually, you must come to that grand point that psychology calls: acceptance.
From there we can only wish you good fortune on your journey (but hey, remember to bring this post with you – it could come in handy).