Spiritual protection for ghost hunters is an important topic. It’s so important, that I didn’t notice I’d added this article twice when I restored Hollow Hill (after a server crash) in 2012.
The longer version of this article is Spiritual Protection for Ghost Hunters – Basic Tools. The following is a shorter summary.
The most popular tools are garlic, salt, Holy Water, a variety of religious symbols and talismans, and — for a slightly different approach — liquor.
Fresh garlic cloves are available at most grocery stores. Garlic not only repels werewolves and vampires, at least according to folklore, it’s also supposed to keep demons at a distance.
You can carry it in a pocket or your backpack. Some people have a clove in a pendant and wear it as a necklace.
If you tuck a garlic clove in your shoe and it’s against your skin, expect “garlic breath” within a few hours. It will penetrate the skin, enter your blood stream, and carry the odor throughout your body. That’s actually a way some people use garlic as a health treatment.
Two kinds of salt are used for protection: white salt and black salt.
White salt is everyday table salt. You probably have it in your kitchen, and it will be in your clients’ kitchens, as well. Any table salt can be used, including pink salt and other specialized sea salts. In fact, I prefer sea salt, but others recommend Kosher salt and other specialized salts. In a pinch — pun intended — any salt can work.
People believe that salt repels ghosts and evil spirits. In fact, an old remedy from folklore is to lay down a line of salt… evil entities cannot cross it.
I’m not sure if that’s true, but it seemed to work the one time I tried it.
Black salt can be one of two kinds of salt. One is edible and the other isn’t.
One is a very dark, pinkish, sulphur-y tasting salt mined in India. It’s usually sold in upscale grocery stores, among the exotic and colored table salts. It’s also stocked by some ethnic grocers. Vegans and vegetarians use it to make tofu taste like egg salad.
The other kind of black salt is made by mixing table salt with something to turn it black, like ash or powdered charcoal, cast iron scrapings, or really black pepper. People buy it ready-made, usually at a shop related to witchcraft or a botanica.
In Voodoo and related traditions, black salt may lift curses and repel evil and malicious spirits.
Do not try to eat black salt. Do not give it to anyone to consume. Depending on what it’s made from, it could make them very ill or even kill them.
Holy Water is often used to bless houses that have very light (but annoying) paranormal activity. From what I’ve learned about demonic activity, I would use Holy Water only in situations where there is absolutely, positively no likelihood of malicious and demonic energy.
One of the things I learned from the late Father Andrew Calder is: If you’re actually dealing with something dark and demonic, Holy Water can make things far worse… quickly. Andy had more experience with demonology and exorcisms than most people, and I trust his advice. I wish I’d learned more from him while he was here, but that warning has stayed with me.
I used to routinely carry Holy Water with me and — at the main article related to this — you can learn to make Holy Water at home, or even on-the-spot at a clients’ home. (The actual Holy Water you’ll decant at almost any Catholic church is a little different, and more powerful.)
Now, I don’t use it at all. If the situation indicates the need for a house blessing, I tell the client to contact their preferred professional spiritual counsellor. Most priests and ministers will expect a small donation to help offset their travel expenses, but it’s always worthwhile when a blessing is needed.
SPIRITUAL SYMBOLS, SCRIPTURES, CHARMS, AMULETS, and TOKENS
Spiritual objects, symbols, tokens, and scriptures seem to serve as protection, even when the person using them doesn’t believe in the associated spiritual tradition. I have no idea why.
It’s possible that the object symbolizes a religion that the ghost believed in, or still believes in.
Whatever the explanation, I’ve seen surprising results and heard astonishing stories of people successfully carrying St. Michael medals, Holy Scriptures from their faith or others’, and so on. When other investigators were feeling a sense of discomfort, the person with the protective amulet or object didn’t have that same uneasiness.
In some folklore and spiritual traditions, pouring liquor on the ground as a gift is helpful if you’re requesting assistance or protection from the good spirits at the site.
On the other hand, offering liquor to some spirits in Vodun, Voodoo, and related traditions… that can bring out the mischief makers.
My ancestry and traditions are mostly Irish. When I really need help with something, I visit the grave of one particular ancestor, pour good Irish whiskey on the ground, and then have a one-sided chat with her, telling her what I need. It seems to work.
Every community, ethnic group and spiritual tradition recommends different kinds of spiritual protection. Whether those methods actually work or it’s “placebo effect” doesn’t matter to me, as long as people who are nervous feel that they are out of danger or less affected by it.
If you don’t believe in a particular religion but you’ve always wondered if one of their tokens or symbols might be helpful… well, it might be worth a try. That small “maybe” window might be enough to help you when you need it, in a stressful and frightening situation.
However, re-read what I said about Holy Water. In some situations, if dark or demonic energy is involved, a Christian symbol or token may put you more at risk.
Personally, I always carry a St. Michael medal that was blessed by the late Father Andrew Calder. For me, that’s a “don’t leave home without it” item.
I also keep other symbols and protective items in my car, but don’t bring them into a site until I’ve had a chance to evaluate what’s going on. If I feel certain that the activity is something not ghostly — for example, it might be demonic or poltergeist activity that puts my team at risk — I leave immediately and advise the client to consult a more appropriate professional, such as a priest or minister.
Spiritual protection can be important for some ghost hunters. That can be a simple prayer or circle before entering the haunted site, or something else. It doesn’t have to be an object (after all, what you’re dealing with probably has no physical form in our world), but these are things to think about before your investigation… not something to regret leaving out, once things get strange at a haunted site.
You may also be interested in these articles:
- Possessed? Need help?
- Exorcisms and Demons
- Psychics: Maintaining Your Boundaries
- If a Ghost Frightens You