What to Do If You See a Ghost

Young girl sleeping in bed
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Chances are because you are visiting this website that you are interested in ghosts. Perhaps you have been on ghost hunts or are even a member of a ghost investigation group. But have you ever thought about what you would do if you ever really came face-to-face with a ghost? Or what you should do?

Here are 8 things you should do if you see a ghost:

Don't Freak Out

As much as many of us think we know how we'd react if we saw a genuine apparition, we don't really know until it happens to us.

Perhaps you like to think you would be brave, but you might just freak out. And that is not unusual. It's our instinctive fight-or-flight response in the face of the unknown kicking in. We have seen experienced ghost hunters scream and run out of a room at the slightest noise or movement.

Whether you are on a ghost hunt seeking spirits or you spontaneously encounter an apparition (how it most often happens), fight the urge to panic and flee. After all, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not many people have this privilege.

Although your heart might be pounding and your mind racing, try to remain calm and still. Ghosts, for the most part, are completely harmless.

Try to Communicate

Yes, you might be able to communicate with the spirit, if this is an intelligent haunting.

If this is a residual haunting — a kind of recording on the environment — then you probably will not be able to communicate with it.

The ghost will not even notice you. That would be like trying to communicate with a video recording; no interaction is possible.

If this is an intelligent haunting, however — a true spirit of a once-living person — you might be able to get a reaction. The spirit might look at you, possibly as intrigued by you as you are of it.

Calmly talk to the spirit, just as if you are talking to a person you just met. Introduce yourself. Ask its name. Be calm and respectful. There is no guarantee that you will get a response, audible or otherwise, but it's worth a try.

Take Pictures

If you have a camera in hand, by all means, try to discreetly photograph the spirit. Even if it's just your cell phone camera, get some shots. But use the best camera you have available.

Do not use the flash. The flash might wash out the figure of the spirit or cause unwanted reflections and glare. Without the flash, this will mean that you will have to hold the camera as perfectly still as you can as you snap the picture, especially in low-light situations, to avoid blurring. Yes, your hands might be shaking, but do your very best.

Take as many shots as you can while the apparition is visible. Also, take some shots after the ghost has disappeared for comparison purposes.

If you have a video recorder, either a camcorder or as a function of your cell phone, that's even better. Getting movement and sound would be great evidence!

Record Some Audio

If you don't have video, at least try to get some audio. If you have a voice recorder, turn it on. Many cell phones also have a recording function or app that you can switch on.

There are two reasons for doing this:

  • You want to document your attempted communication with the spirit.
  • You might at least get an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) from it. Even though you might not hear anything at the time of the recording, you might hear something on the recording when you review it later.

Call Others In

If you are alone but there are others nearby, in an adjacent room perhaps, calmly call them in. This will help confirm what you are experiencing. More witnesses to an event this extraordinary are better than one.

Again, be calm. Don't shout. And prepare them for what they will (hopefully) see; you don't want them freaking out and getting all hysterical. Keep them all calm and respectful. You want this to be a special, even reverent experience for all involved.

Having more people as personal witnesses will also mean that they can additionally document the experience with their cameras and recorders.

The more documentation, the better.

Wait It Out

Simply see what happens. The spirit might be visible for just a few seconds or, if you're lucky, for a minute or more.

Do not leave while the apparition is still visible — not even to fetch someone else. Watch it. Take note of what it does and how it reacts. Even if it disappears, wait around for a little while. Perhaps it will return.

Document It

Documenting this remarkable experience is important. Even if you have taken pictures, captured video and recorded audio, you should also make a written account. It will be important and interesting to see how your personal experience differs from the recorded experience.

Your written notes should include:

  • Where it happened (as specific as possible)
  • When it happened - date and time
  • Environmental factors - What was the weather, even if you were inside
  • The duration of the event
  • What the apparition looked like, again being as specific as possible, without embellishment:
  • Male or female
  • Estimated age
  • Height
  • Posture - Standing? Sitting?
  • Race, color of hair and other personal attributes, if discernable
  • Type and color of clothes
  • Facial expressions
  • Full-bodied or partial apparition
  • Other elements - Did it have a cane? Umbrella? Pipe? 
  • Its movements - Was it stationary or did it move about?
  • Where did it go? Did it simply vanish or did it move out of the room? Did it appear to walk or simply float?
  • Did it try to communicate? What did it say? Or what were the impressions or feelings you got from it?

Be as detailed as you can with your descriptions, and be completely honest. Encourage any other witnesses to do the same so that you can compare notes.

Return

It has been noted that ghost phenomena — whether they are residual or intelligent hauntings — tend to recur. So return to the spot where you encountered the ghost. Try to make it at the same time of day and under similar circumstances.

Perhaps you'll get lucky a second time. This time, however, you can be more prepared with your cameras and other equipment. There is no guarantee, of course, that the spirit will re-appear.

These phenomena seem to happen where and when they want to. But now at least you'll know what to do if you see a ghost.