15 June 2011

Ghostbusting - How to Banish a Ghost

I’ve had a lot of questions lately on what to do if your house is haunted and you want the ghost to leave.  My first reaction to this is almost always to ask what the ghost is doing that’s so bad.  In most cases ghosts are completely harmless.  They often just want a little acknowledgement of their presence – imagine being lost, confused, and no one being able to see or hear you; you’d be distressed too.  Unfortunately, it’s very easy to see a ghost’s attention grabbing behavior as threatening.  If the people involved are all adults, I like to make sure that a ghost is actually being threatening before I tell anyone how to get rid of them.  (See my previous post on the ethics of banishing.)  It’s extremely rare to find a haunting that really warrants banishing – I’ve seen maybe two cases in the last five years – but if people are really afraid or if people are getting hurt then here’s what you do.

How to banish a ghost

The simplest form of banishing is to simply ask the ghost to leave.  As I said before, most ghosts don’t want to scare anyone, they just want attention.  If you talk to it and explain that it’s frightening you (your child, etc.) and ask it to leave it will usually go if it’s able.  If asking nicely doesn’t work then you need to be a bit more commanding.  Speaking firmly and confidently, you must tell that this is your house and that it is not welcome and must leave.  If you are unsure of yourself or hesitant the ghost will know it and will probably not take you seriously.  If you are nervous, get other people to stand with you as you do this, a united front always gives extra strength to your words.  Take a deep calming breath and say: “You are unwelcome here. You must go now!”

Always trying this simple banishing before performing any stronger banishing.  The only entities that will actually leave as a result of this kind of banishing are going to be relatively friendly, or at least non-malevolent, because they are leaving of their own free will and are therefore unlikely to be nasty enough to cause harm to someone else or to return angry.  Stronger or more malevolent entities will be unmoved and will probably find it funny rather than insulting.

Ghost Banishing Ritual

Here’s a stronger, more involved ritual for ghosts who won’t or can’t leave on their own.  It is appropriate for use in most haunting scenarios, but not those where the ghost has caused any significant harm (it will be most effective against neutral or benign ghosts and could be potentially dangerous if the ghost is malevolent because you will be calling it into the open – if the ghost has not made its nature obvious, by being obviously friendly or harmful, then err on the side of caution and do not perform this banishing).  This ritual will be most effective if all the owners or primary users of the property participate, as long as they firmly want the ghost to go away and are not overly afraid.  Young children or anyone who is particularly afraid of the ghost should go elsewhere for the duration of the ritual.  The same applies to anyone with mixed or friendly feelings towards the ghost; we don’t want it getting mixed signals.

If it's at all possible, try to do this during the waning moon as it will enhance the effects.

You will need: an offering of food (e.g. nuts, an apple, milk, etc.), a small white candle (an electric tea light or even a small flashlight can work in a pinch), your favorite smudge or incense (an oil diffuser or strong sachet can work if you cannot burn incense), and a banishing essential oil such as peppermint, rue, or pine.

Begin with a thorough physical cleaning of the house – it gets the energy moving.

Identify the area where the ghostly phenomena are most common.  Is there a particular room where the ghost is most often seen, heard, or felt?  Does the ghost appear to one person or to many?  Place the offering of food in the area where the phenomena are concentrated, or next to the person on whom activity is centered. 

Have everyone who is participating in the ritual ground and center.  Have them take three deep, slow breaths.  Have them visualize breathing in bright energy and strength, and breathe out negativity and fear.  If you haven't yet, make sure you explain to any other participants what you intend to do and give them a chance to leave or stop the ritual if they don't want to proceed (particularly if it's their house having the banishing).

If the ghostly phenomena are concentrated in a particular area you should smudge the house beginning with the area next to the concentrated area and move counterclockwise throughout the space – not smudging the area of concentration.  If the activity centers around a person, have that person stay in one place while you smudge the outside area, moving counterclockwise until the only space remaining is wherever that person is.  Do not smudge the area where the phenomena are concentrated...Yet.

Get all the participants into the area of concentrated activity.  If necessary (if people seem nervous or frightened), repeat the centering (breathing in strength and breathing out fear). 
Anoint the white candle with the banishing oil, but do not light it yet, and call the spirit forward.  If the activity is focused in that room then you should say the following, if the activity is focused on a person – that person should say the following:

“I/We call forth the spirit that haunts this place/me.  I/We do not mean you any harm and give you this food as an offering and a show of goodwill.  I/We do not believe that you mean us any harm either.  Unfortunately, your presence here has become a problem. 

[Explain the reasons the ghost needs to leave, eg. frightening the owners/children, disrupting sleep, breaking things, etc.  Be thorough, but neutral.  Do not accuse the ghost of stirring up trouble. Just state what it has done and the problems it has caused.  If at all possible, have the people affected make this statement.]

I/We mean you no harm, but your time in this place has come to an end.  It is time for you to move on; you no longer belong here.  Move forward to the next phase of your existence.  Leave this place behind.  Follow the pull of your soul on to the next life and be at peace.  We offer the peace and love in our hearts to aid you, to help you move on.”

Have everyone hold positive thoughts in their minds, thoughts of peace, serenity, and love.  Have everyone tone the syllable “Ah.”  Let the tone shift and harmonize.  Fill the sound with as much positive energy as you can.  Let the tone crescendo, growing louder to fill the room.  Lead the sound to its peak and then let it fade.

Light the white candle.  Smudge the final area and all the participants.

If you think it necessary, re-smudge the whole house with incense and then go around the whole house ringing a bell or beating a drum.  This probably won't be necessary, but it doesn't hurt.

Have all the participants sit down for a hearty snack or small meal afterward.


  1. What is smudging?

  2. Smudging is a native american practice where you let herbs (usually sage, cedar, and/or sweetgrass) smoulder and use the smoke to energetically cleanse a room/person/object. http://sageandsmudge.com/

    I tend to smudge my house at least once a week.