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What to Do If You Are Quarantined With a Ghost

a ghost makes eyes at christina ricci in casper

It was inevitable, really. Americans are stuck in their houses and apartment, and some of those residences are haunted, so some of you are sheltering in place with ghosts. Honestly, if the New York Times is reporting on people who believe they’re quarantining with spirits, it’s definitely a thing and maybe even a growing problem. Ghosts are a lot like cats: they are often nocturnal, like to knock things over for no reason, and their modes are mysterious. Also like cats, they’re probably extremely annoyed that their house is no longer empty of pesky living humans. They’re just going about their afterlives and now we won’t leave!

So, if you’re stuck in a place with a ghost, what are you supposed to do, especially if your spectral roomie is acting out thanks to the fact that you’re just always there now? I can’t imagine how awkward and frustrating it must be for a ghost to spend serious time and energy manifesting “GET OUT” in blood on the walls only for a tired mortal to reply, “Buddy, I wish I could.”

The first step, as in any tricky situation, problematic or otherwise, is to assess the situation. What kind of spirit are you dealing with? Ghosts, being the spirits of dead people, are of course as varied as the living in terms of their disposition. Is this a friendly ghost or an angry one? And it might be hard to tell. Sure if the ghost is tormenting you, it’s probably an angry spirit, but some disruptions might just be the ghost going about their daily routine from their previous life.

Also, do your research. Look into the history of your home or area. Find out who lived or possibly died there before you and who your spirit might be. Do you have a ghost that walks through walls? That’s probably them following the old floor plan of your house for instance, which helps you determine when they died. Research is a good way to fill those empty quarantine hours. And this will help you figure out how to get in touch or live with them—because just like with people, you need to understand ghosts’ pasts to really connect or help them with their issues.

If you determine that your co-quarantiner is a malicious or angry spirit, it’s important to protect yourself. You can’t call the Winchesters since they’re probably socially distancing too, so this is up to you. A great tool is of course salt, which can protect you from spirits and general evil, but it’s up to your judgment if you’re willing to use a precious commodity that might also be useful for stress-cooking to protect yourself. Or, worse, you might have to go to the store? No thank you.

No salt? No problem. The internet is your friend and you have nothing but time on your hands, so maybe find a good YouTube video or blog on cleansing a home or even an exorcism, but be warned, if you go into this unprepared and unfocused, this can go very badly and you may end up stuck inside a television or an evil tree or something.

The real key here, whether your ghost is “good” or “bad” is communication. Now, this would be the spot where a medium or other paranormal professional would be useful, but again, not possible. You’re on your own (kinda) and you need to figure out who and what’s sharing your space. Ouija boards are okay, but again, like home exorcism, they can be dangerous and invite in even more unwanted guests.

A good substitute? A pendulum. You can make one out of any sort of string and heavy hanging thing (a crystal or silver would be great here, but not required). Make your pendulum and dangle it over a circle of answers, where you’ve written each answer option across from one another. For instance, if you want just yes and no, imagine a compass star and write “Yes” on the east and west, and “No” in the north and south. And chat away.

Or just … talk. Let’s be honest here, your friendly ghost might be your only option for company and ghosts can be great listeners, since a lot of them haven’t had a decent gossip session in a long time. So open up your heart and when the words “girl, dump him!” appear written on the steam of your bathroom mirror, listen. But don’t be a one-sided conversationalist either. You need to listen too, which might be the key to helping your resident specter move on (if you want them to, by this point you, probably appreciate the company).

Of course, maybe you have a ghost that wants to be more than a friend. Perhaps … a lover? Well, spectrophilia–the sexual attraction to ghosts–is totally a thing and we are not here to kinkshame. For some people, it’s a fetish, but it’s certainly a thing that has happened to many people many times over the centuries. At first, the idea may seem crazy, but think about it: this is actually great. When it comes to sex with a partner, there is no safer option! You get intimacy and pleasure with none of the emotional baggage or health risks! So, yes, if your ghost is up for it, get your phantom freak on!

And finally, a note. While ghosts are a common presence in homes, there are other entities that can also set up residence in your crib. If things get really intense, there’s always the possibility you’ve got fairies or a demon on your hands. Fairies are mischievous but will be nicer and even maybe help with the housework if you leave the presents like cream. If you have a dangerous or demonic presence in your house, well … move.

Happy haunting!

(via the New York Times, image: Universal Pictures)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.