How to Talk to Spirits of the Dead

Ghosts are probably both the easiest and the hardest types of spirits to have conversations with. Partially because we expect so much and get so little.

Talking to ghosts is one of those things a lot of people want to do. I have a quick guide on how to talk to ghosts and spirits of the dead. This may not get you evidence of the paranormal but it may help you make contact.

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Protective tree entrance to historical cemetery.

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How to find a ghost

First, you’ll need to go to a liminal place. A liminal place is somewhere between worlds. A cemetery might be a good bet but you probably have just as much success there as an old crossroad or site of death. Don’t just pick a place that looks like it should be haunted. Pick a place that has rumors of being haunted that you can legally enter. That last bit is important. Don’t trespass just to spot a ghost.

Liminal places aren’t just locations but also things. Doorways are liminal spaces. As are windows, gates, mirrors, corners, and staircases. Rest stops, crossroads, hotels, parks, and gas stations are other liminal places. You can spot ghosts and spirits there at times.

Activity will also increase when spaces are becoming liminal. So houses that are undergoing renovation, for example, will see an increase in activity.

You can, of course, ask for a ghost to come to you. If you’re doing a seance or summoning a ghost, make sure the cleanse the space first and set up protections around yourself.

Remember to sit as quietly and calmly as possible. As much as you might want to wander around in a space, you’re probably more likely to run into activity if you just sit there and are quiet. It’s not as much fun as hunting the ghost but it’s friendlier. It also allows you to get in tune with the environment so you can start noticing the unusual. Cold spots, odd sounds, that sort of thing.

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Another image from the lake yesterday.

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How to make contact with a ghost

Bring an offering to the table. An offering of something to the ghost is a good way to show that you mean no harm. A shot of alcohol, especially clear alcohol is good. Rice, bread, tobacco, incense, and water are also good choices. A ball is good for children and animals. Leave the offering nearby and within sight but out of arm’s reach.

You can also light a candle in their honor and memory but remember your fire safety too. Don’t leave a candle unattended.

Using a calm but confident and sure voice is ideal. You might be a bit scared, especially if you’ve worked yourself up with anxiety. Talking calmly will both calm you down and show that you don’t mean any harm. You can’t do much to spirits anyway but they’re less likely to appear when you’re angry.

Feel free to ask questions and listen for answers. You can use electronic devices, divination techniques, or just listen. You can ask for responses. Avoid demanding answers. That’s not a way to start a conversation. That’s just going to anger anyone around and draw the wrong kind of attention.

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The Necromancer has appeared!

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Open you mind. Take a deep breath and remain calm. It’s easy to get caught up in emotions not your own. Allow yourself to drift, as if daydreaming, and let instinct and intuition rule. If you feel like walking out of a room and up a flight of stairs, do it. Don’t try to control yourself overmuch unless you’re in danger or risk hurting yourself.

The key here is to allow your mind to seek out the otherness of a spirit. You’re not looking to be possessed or even to commiserate with them. You’re looking for a conversation. Pay attention to weird thoughts not your own. They may be just passing thoughts that we all have but if they’re followed by emotions not your own or there’s a lot of thoughts, someone might be trying to communicate with you

If you feel like you’re losing control or get scared, take control of yourself completely, coming to attention. Pull away, thank the spirit, and take a few moments to ground yourself. Have some water, drink some coffee, eat some chips. Talk to someone, get a hug, or leave the area. Don’t stay connected too long or you risk partial possession and energy draining.

Mediums and other sensitive people have somewhat of an advantage here but pretty much anyone can have a conversation in this manner if given time and the right circumstances.

Divination is a popular tool to speak to the dead. You can use whatever divination method you have on hand. I tend to use pendulums or cartomancy but use a method that you’re skilled in. This isn’t the time to break out a tarot deck if you’ve never read with cards before.

Look for surface meanings. Digging deep for symbolism isn’t going to mean much to a ghost since the chances of them knowing the divination method well is unlikely. The Death card is probably going to mean death. You might want to stick with the Major Arcana if you’re using tarot cards.

Pendulums are great tools for talking to a ghost because you can get “yes” and “no” answers pretty easily. You may even be able to use the pendulum to track or find a ghost. Make sure you keep your arm and hand steady.

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Scenes from Gettysburg

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Working out a communication system is always a good idea, especially if you’re planning on long-term communication.

Having a ghost knock once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’ is a common means of communication. Passing by a light or fussing with a light is another good one. You can do active communication by asking a question and rewinding to listen for an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) response.

I’ve even used a method of having a spirit tap my right shoulder for “yes” and left shoulder for “no”.

It may take a while to work out which system works best for you, especially if you’re limited with equipment.

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Behind the scenes: recipe researching

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Finally, remember to document everything. Whether you update a blog, write in a journal, or jot a note down on your phone, make sure you document everything. It’s unusual to have activity in one night. Instead, focus on tracking that activity over the course of a few days to determine the type of spirit around.

Spirits exist in various manners. Even ghosts are not a singular “type”. Poltergeists are more vicious than a ghost and a residual haunting is tends to be less aware than a ghost. Memories or fragments are barely conscious and tend to be something of a one note kind of haunting.

You can do research to figure out what kind of ghosts there are but you’re not going to be able to hold a conversation with a fragment or residual haunting. You’re looking for an active and aware consciousness.

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Mushroom, mushroom

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Overall, the best way to talk to a ghost is to remember that they were once people. They had lives, loved ones, and jobs. They existed and, despite being dead, they’re still people. People without bodies but still people. Be respectful and patient.

Have fun!