It looks like you aren’t to call Ghostbusters anymore. This is fine by me, as much as I love the movies and theme song I tend to be a bit nicer with people who lack bodies than Egon and the rest. Two stories from different sources have recently come across my desktop and engaged me, both for different reasons, so time to share.
First off there is an undertaker in Medellin, Colombia who has decided to launch a “ghostly census.” He calls it a census but from the description it sounds like he’s just documenting cases and mild investigations, sadly I can’t find much more information on this yet. What I’m curious about is down the line is the book and the explanation of their project and why they aren’t doing it as documentaries or anything like that. I wonder what he hopes to get out of it. He sounds like he thinks he is doing something different, but I wonder if he is. I especially like my mental image of undertakers in uniforms with clipboards walking around apparently haunted places ticking off checkboxes for the census. “How many deceased in this household? How many under the age of 18 at the time of death? How many have been haunting for less than 18 years?” Here is the question for the census, if you died a minor are you always a minor? Perpetual puberty seems as good of a hell as any.
The second story I found really curious. A spiritualist group in Havana, Cuba is performing therapy for the dead. As someone who has half-jokingly called part of my spirit work as talk-therapy for the otherside I enjoyed reading the story.
What has me fascinated me is the two birds with one stone approach. By inducing some form of medium trance possession (it isn’t my system so I don’t feel I can properly label it without observing it) and then offering their counselling to the deceased they believe they are helping both the disincarnate and the host. I can actually see the merit there, it ties into some of the Buddhist practices I have regarding assumption of suffering (literally compassion) and joint healing this makes possible. Fortunately my university library gives me access to the article but without such privileges it will cost you $34. I do not understand pricing with academic journals at all. I’m saying this so people understand where my information is coming from that isn’t on mindhacks.
I enjoy seeing a group that holds the same (silly?) idea I do that just because you don’t have a body doesn’t mean you’re not a person…or with slightly less of a triple negative- dead people are people too and if they are a conscious entity they can and most likely will have most of the same issues as anyone else. If you’re angry and scared in life it can easily transition to the otherside. Often there is a mellowing-out I find, but the issues and personality are still there. My grandmother became far more agreeable when she passed on, but she’s still cranky and paranoid. The full article introduces some interesting ideas that I disagree with, but enjoy entertaining as hypothetical.
An example is that the protective spirits are part of your identity, they aren’t you, they were living people, but they compose a part of you, so in order for you to maintain health you must maintain theirs. I have my own personal issues with protective/guardian spirits, I don’t deny their potential existence but have seen no evidence of them within my life, with the exception of spirits I put into my service which is different. While I disagree with the idea of them being a part of you (unless you take a loose or expanded idea of what “you” are, which is fine), the idea that guardian spirits should be maintained for your health is something I can get behind. The spirit environment around you tends to “bleed” into you so if you have dead things around you it is possible to pick up a lot from them. So helping them out benefits you, plus if they are protective spirits if they’re at their best they’re more efficient, a security guard is no good if he’s drunk or afraid of confrontation.
One of the group’s leaders, Servando Agramonte, said “often to solve your own conflicts you must attend those of your spirits first” ((251)) Yet in contrast to this the mediums aren’t necessarily working on their spirits, but someone else’s. This I find a curious turn of events. Why? Well if I were to model this all as psychological (1) my first instinct would be to assume that someone’s “spirit” is really a mental projection and reframing of a personal issue and when possessed by the spirit/issue you can work on it. Having someone else host your issue though makes less sense here. How would your fear of the dark trauma work itself out when someone else is housing the spirit that represents the issue? I can see some merit from having other people roleplay your problems but I wouldn’t have considered it as affective.
Now let me add another issue into this. I’m taking a very literal one-for-one language of problems here, but I understand it isn’t probably one-for-one and more complex and subtle. Assuming either the spiritual or psychological model enter the assumption that the spirit causes or represents an issue like fear of the dark. Now if you are possessed by your own protective spirit, and work on their problem, it helps you too, either by actually helping the guardian out if they’re an objective spirit (whatever that would be) or helping yourself by dealing with an issue through projection, or a bit of both. Now someone else plays host to the spirit and this helps you out apparently, what about the host? If said host also has a fear of the dark, by being possessed by your afraid of the dark spirit and helping them out, will they be helped too?
My mind is having fun running circles with this, but I currently have no need or time to explore this in any practical way, it is just something I find interesting. I’m sure it will come up in a post somewhere but I do psychological spirit work, treating mental processes as I would spirits, so it’s an idea I’m used to. I just wonder if this group is doing that, actually helping disincarnates, a bit of both, or even neither. My take is assuming they’re doing one and not the other is a mistake. It’s probably a complex combination of self-created “demons” and spirit’s with problems.
Part of their objective is something I would never have thought of, but it is to help people “metabolize” their own issues when they’re alive, so that when they die they are better functioning ghosts. Pre-emptive ghost therapy! Sometimes this world is just fascinating. From the article it appears like this organization seems to keep records and is very professional, I would love to see follow-ups and how effective this practice this.
Sorry for the ramble there, but the idea of an organization tackling this is just neat to me.
(1)I don’t necessarily believe it is, but I believe there is a value from interpreting magickal phenomena from different models