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The Day We Banished
A Ghost from Our House

Ghosts really exist. My wife and I have encountered a few, and in one case, had to banish a mischievous spirit from our house.

That particular event happened in Michigan. We believe the ghost was the spirit of my wife's mother, Gladys. She refused to leave her home after she died there.

Gladys spent most of her life on that one little plot of ground in a rural area north of Detroit. She never learned to drive a car so friends and family took her to town each week to get her groceries and other things she needed. She lived in a one-story, two-bedroom house that her first husband built for her. She rarely left it for more than a day.

In later years Gladys became obviously possessive of the things she had, especially that house. She was nearly 90 years old when she died in the living room.

We inherited the house. Doris and I did some extensive remodeling. We installed a new furnace, new plumbing and wiring, switched the kitchen and bedroom around, closed off some doors and opened others, and then moved in. You would hardly recognize it as the same place.

We had a Shih Tzu, who simply went by the name "Dog," even though we made various attempts to give him a better name. The name "Dog" just stuck. Anybody who knows about Shih Tzus knows (1.) they are extremely intelligent creatures, and (2.) they are very aware of spiritual beings. These dogs were originally bred and raised by Tibet Buddhist monks, who liked them for these very reasons.

Dog didn't like living in that house. After we moved in he became unusually nervous and spent most of his time as physically close to us as possible. When we went to bed at night, if we closed our door and did not allow him in the bedroom, he spent the night sleeping at our door. In his own way he let us know that there was something in the house that he did not like.

I joked about it at first. I remember telling Doris that if ever there was going to be a haunted house, it was going to be this one because of the way her mother cling to it in life. After a while, things got more serious and it was no longer a joke.

Important papers involving the property, including an easement, began disappearing. Dog's anxiety increased. Finally convinced that we had a haunting, we consulted an Indian friend named Dusty who seemed to always know how to handle things of a spiritual nature.

Dusty was not surprised that we had a ghost. He said they were more common than most people realize. He gave us instructions on how to banish it. We found a flat stone, put some dried cedar greens on it, and then burned the cedar like incense. As the smoke curled up into the rooms, we used an eagle feather to fan the smoke, while walking through the house and ordering the spirit to leave.

This all sounds a little bizarre doesn't it? Well, as any of our Native American friends will tell you, it works. At least it took care of our problem for a while. Our dog settled down, and we began living like normal people again.

But our peace didn't last very long. After a few weeks, Dog began acting strange again. The spirit was back. We talked to Dusty and learned that we didn't do a thorough enough job. The ghost went up into the attic and now was starting to come back down into the main part of the house again.

Out came the stone, cedar and feather. We went through the ritual once again. This time we included the basement and the attic. We opened every little nook and corner. Because it was difficult for us to climb into some of the nooks in the attic, we sent our teenage daughter into those areas with the smoking cedar and feather. Every inch of that house got smoked. This time we did it right. Dog lived in peace. Lost papers were found. All was right.

There was one odd incident after that. We had a visitor, a woman whom we were told was very psychic. In fact, she claimed to be a seer. I think she might have had some kind of special powers, all right. She knew nothing about us but after we invited her into the house, she asked if we knew we had a bunch of spirits hanging out over the roof. Gladys had been banished from the house, but she was still refusing to leave the area. She apparently had some friends up there with her.

The Navajo will not live in a house after someone dies in it. They believe the spirit of that person stays in the house. They might just have something there.

We have since sold that house and moved on. But I think about poor Gladys once in a while. How sad that she loved her worldly possessions so much she could not leave them, even in death.

The Monroe Institute near Faber, Va., experiments with sound frequencies to cause the brain to simulate the death experience. The technique has been used by some of the world's top psychics to study life after death.

Among the discoveries made by these experiments is that wayward spirits like the one we dealt with are very common. Many times people don't realize they are dead. Instead of going into the light where they belong, they hang around at the place where they died, sometimes even reliving the death experience over and over again. For them, it is a virtual existence in hell.

The moral of this story, I suppose, is that when someone tells you they think they saw a ghost. Don't laugh. They probably did.