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Ghosts - FAQ

CC-BY-SA: bh. Jan Mares, updated and expanded since 2010

last update: April 11, 2016

"Whenever someone tries to convince me that ghosts don't exist, I challenge them to take a walk through a cemetery at midnight and they turn pale." (anonymous)

"The only cure for non-belief is the mystical experience." (Thomas Merton, mystic and theologian)

1. Who am I?
2. What is death? What happens at dying?
3. Who is ghost?
4. Who becomes ghost?
5. What ghosts do?
6. Why and which ghosts appear to us?
7. Should we be afraid of ghosts?
8. How to ascertain ghost's presence?
9. What is the prevention against ghosts?
10. How to get rid of ghost?
11. How to help ghost?
12. Protection from ghosts etc.
12.1 Simple protections
12.2 Mantra-nyasa
12.3 Protective mantras and stotras
12.4 Protective methods used by Vaisnava pujaris
13. What if nothing mentioned above helps and problems are getting worse?
14. What is black magic, how to recognize it and how to defend oneself?
More information (links)


This FAQ was compiled as a reaction to a growing disproportion between available serious information in Czech language and public interest in this phenomena. However, this interest is more of an entertainment or thrill nature. People - many well-equipped "ghost hunter" groups included - visit haunted places in the "safari mood" while they should visit them as hospitals where there are people in a need of help (point 11).

Warning: Many, especially young people, see ghost invocation and magic as an entertainment. When they find out that it is a serious thing it is often too late and the situation must be solved by someone experienced. But sometimes there are irreparable effects like permanent health damage and suicides. Therefore I strongly recommend to find another activities and avoid dealing with unknown. Parents, try to calmly but strongly persuade your children away from this.

An example: "We tried that once and I wouldn't do it again. We invoked the ghost and couldn't get rid of him. We realized it thanks to our dog who was looking into an empty space and backed off as if scared. We were at home so we went to another room and the dog ran there faster than us. Better not to do it."

If you look for a practical help, please read information below, apply it and report in email in contacts after several days how far you were successful. Best if you attach filled-in questionnaire and mention the method (or more) which helped you. It will help to update and enlarge the information in this text. You can also write questions, experiences etc. If you happen to come to Prague we can also meet for consultations, 'alternative history' sightseeings of Prague, etc.

As my main sources of information I use ancient Indic texts for their details and precision but lots of reliable information can be obviously also found elsewhere. Methods are chosen for their simplicity and effectiveness. If that diminishes profits of various professional New Age esotericists who in their chase for profit abuse the ignorance of suffering people, e.g. in the form of expensive courses for removing attached ghosts, then this FAQ fulfils its purpose.

1. Who am I?

I'm a living being (Sanskrit: jivatma), now situated in subtle, also called astral body (Sanskrit: linga sharira) and physical body (Sanskrit: sthula sharira). When the physical body grows old, I leave it in my subtle body (= death) and accept a new physical body similarly as I change clothes, as per my karma and personal choice (= reincarnation).
More: jiva and soul, Bhagavadgita, Vedanta sutra, Upanishads, etc.

2. What is death? What happens at dying?

When the living entity passes from the present body to the next body, which is created by his own karma, he becomes absorbed in the pleasurable and painful sensations of the new body and completely forgets the experience of the previous body. This total forgetfulness of one's previous material identity, which comes about for one reason or another, is called death. (Bhagavata Purana 11.22.39)
More: Dying

3. Who is ghost?

When I don't have physical body I'm ghost (Sanskrit: preta). I lose physical body at death.
More: Garuda Purana (the most comprehensive source on afterlife, ghosts are described mainly in 2.7, 2.20-23), Garuda Purana - part 2+3, chapters overview, whole ch. 2.20 - signs of ghosts's influence, Ghosts Demystified

4. Who becomes ghost?

A person who underwent violent death (including suicide), lived wrongly (i.e. against dharma, thus creating a negative karma) or is attached to its family, living place etc. becomes ghost so after leaving the physical body he can't immediately go to higher dimensions (Sanskrit: loka) to prepare for another incarnation on earth.
More: Dying, Garuda Purana

5. What ghosts do?

During the day they usually stay in their above-earth dimension (antariksha, also called bhutaloka) and during the night they descend to earth (some are present on earth permanently) and appear in places where they died or to which they're emotionally attached. They are very active during sandhyas (conjunctions of day and night) as well as during midday and midnight. According to Garuda Purana 2.49.11 they can enter (so-called possession) non-living objects, insects, birds, animals, people and devas. In some cases within days after death they temporarily possess a wild animal, a bird or an insect (e.g. a butterfly) which appears to their family members as if to say goodbye. This however doesn't mean they have peacefully left, rather the opposite.
Often they attach themselves to the subtle body of an incarnated being and live off his energy (prana) as parasites. They feed on impure substances (all kinds of garbage). They suffer because without physical body they can't fully satisfy their desires like hunger, thirst or sex desire. They wait until their karma-set time expires and they will be able to incarnate again.
More: Garuda Purana

6. Why and which ghosts appear to us?

Most people will not see them in their whole life. It depends on the sensitivity of a given person, the ability to perceive subtle reality. Sometimes they appear to relatives to whom they come to say good-bye shortly after their death or they want to tell them something, mostly in a dream.

One example is the movie Ghost (Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg) which as one of few describes the reality without speculations. It was allegedly inspired by Bhagavata Purana, one of the most recognized Indic sacred texts.

Some New Age movies may attract ghosts. Movie watching can be considered a form of meditation so concentrating on ghosts in a movie may catch their attention. Making of some movies about paranormal was beset with strange phenomena, accidents and untimely deaths of people involved (Poltergeist series, The Crow etc.).

Many ghosts who haunt various places to which they're emotionally attached don't even know they're dead. If they appear to someone they mostly want to draw attention to themselves and thus increase their chance that someone will help them from their situation. They can't get out of it any time soon on their own because to remain stuck in the form of ghost is a form of negative karma which often lasts pretty long time. In modern time when ceremonies for the dead are becoming less current, are replaced by spiritually inefficient secular ones or completely neglected, such ghosts are increasing in number.

We usually encounter these ghosts:

a. family members and friends
If they didn't die a violent death, they are only attached to their former dwelling and try to bring attention of their family members or friends to themselves to get help. Mostly they appear to the person from whom the help is the most probable. They appear repeatedly in an urgent sense. Since they don't have negative karma, they aren't easily repelled by prayers etc. The duty of living persons is to help them leave. Sometimes people know about the presence of their dead relatives and if they don't create problems to them, they get accustomed to them and consider them a sort of family protectors. Still their presence isn't proper and they should help them leave.

b. former apartment/house inhabitants or owners
They are attached to their former dwelling, dislike any intruders and want them to leave by making their presence known. But if they weren't too negative, countermeasures may not work well against them. If they died a violent death, they bring attention to themselves so that someone helps them. If the help doesn't come for a long time, they are frustrated and may turn revengeful and harmful. They have a negative karma and thus can be repelled by prayers etc., but that's not a solution for them. It's necessary to help them leave. For that it's helpful to know their name. Like the previous ones, their activity often increases around Christmas.

c. ,traveling' ghosts
They don't bring attention to themselves and soon leave on their own. They're usually noticed by small children or pets, whom they may scare.

d. pets
Even dead pets sometimes have a problem to leave their family. It's practically the same case as "a".

We can also meet these two types who are actually not ghosts:

e. poltergeist
It manifests by kinetic and sound phenomena. It's a psychic energy usually related to a person in puberty with boiling emotions.

f. a demonic entity
If it's an aggresive entity and esp. sexual attacks, it's most probably a succubus or incubus. They attack usually younger people who live alone without a stable partner and their karma (drugs, magic, self-harming etc.) opened them to these influences. It can also be the entity sent by someone thru black magic. See 13-14. In wilderness there're many other entities, some of whom can be dangerous (e.g. fen-fire or Wild Hunt).

7. Should we be afraid of ghosts?

Ordinary ghosts aren't directly life-threatening but to keep them in one's body or to live in their presence, esp. for a prolonged time, has a harmful effect on us. They should leave for higher lokas. But mostly they need help to do that - see 11.

8. How to ascertain ghost's presence?

Some persons are afraid to admit their perception of ghosts since many people (esp. in the West) would consider them crazy. This situation isn't as bad as it used to be just several decades ago. As crazy are often considered both people with an unsolved problem with real ghosts and those with hallucinations. Therefore it's necessary to find out if one's experience is subjective (in one's imagination only) or objective. If the given person is the only one in the household perceiving unusual phenomena but no one else including children and pets reacts on them, there's a high probability of hallucinations and one should consider finding a medical help. Yet it may still be a real phenomena, for some reason exclusive to the given person (e.g. sleep paralysis, see below).

Ghost can be present internally, attached to our subtle body, or externally, staying in our life space (house, apartment).

Symptoms of the attached ghost:

- permanent fatigue and lack of energy (ghost parasites on prana, bodily energy)
- inner tension one can't control by mind
- lack of concentration
- lack of self-esteem, insecurity
- disinterest in meaningful activities, apathy, boredom, procrastination, killing time
- negative and suppressed emotions - depression, phobia, anger, eating disorder, neurosis, self-harm, suicide
- problems with relationships with people (often substituted by above-standard relationship with animals), subjection to manipulation
- sexual problems (hypersexuality, autosexuality)
- sleep disorders and nightmares
- chronic pain in head, neck, back, shoulders, hands, legs, joints, belly, allergies, asthma, eczemas
- repeated problems, 'something' prevents their solution
- an increase of aggression
- one can't stand sounds like finger snapping (repels ghosts)
- tinnitus in one ear (when one, usually left, ear rings a ghost is trying to communicate, isn't necessarily attached, sometimes it can be temporarily silenced by a repeated finger-snapping)
- fear of spirituality (uneasy and unpleasant feeling in churches and other sacred places, in proximity of holy persons and objects, while listening to sacred music, prayers, mantras)

Listen to Bhagavadgita audio. If you can't stand it, there's a high probability of the attached ghost, often more than one.

Another possibility is e.g. a regression.

Garuda Purana ascribes these circumstances to ghosts.

Presence of ghost in a dwelling usually reveal:

- mantic (divinatory) methods
- domestic animals: show fear, watch objects invisible by people, refuse to enter or run away from certain place without apparent cause
- children of mostly pre-school age: ditto, speaking about or interacting (talking, playing, etc.) with invisible persons
- subjective phenomena: unpleasant feeling ('negative vibrations'), feeling of someone's presence (of being watched), unusual (mainly unpleasant) dreams (when experienced by more persons present, subjectivity decreases)
- physical phenomena: drafts without apparent cause, cold places and a sudden increase of cold without apparent cause, losing and moving of objects to other places, finding small objects (e.g. coins) without apparent cause, blood spots which can't be removed, scents like cigarette smoke, perfumes or rotting flesh without apparent cause, unusually fast decomposition of foods and drinks, physical marks like handprints on mirrors, headaches, breathing problems, a touch of invisible hands on one's shoulders, tugging on clothes, bruises which don't hurt but in unusual places on one's body, physical stopping in tracks (a person, a car, etc., also in danger on at dangerous places)
- visual phenomena: shadows without apparent sources of light, lights without apparent sources, seeing an apparition looking like a living person (e.g. silhouettes in windows of empty houses) which disappears when called, approached, ghost seen by more people, esp. children, and domestic animals, to minimize subjective hallucination or autosuggestion, ghost's nature can be estimated by its color - white is positive (a victim), the more dark, the more negative (a culprit)
- audio phenomena: steps, knocking on walls, doorbell ringing, loud jolts, sounds of falling objects, sounds of breathing, voices (whispering, calling, crying, laughter), sounds of moving of heavy objects like furniture, etc. from empty, locked rooms
- kinetic phenomena: movement, falling and levitation of objects (esp. those related to the ghost's previous embodied life), opening and closing of doors and windows without draft (including well-closed or even locked ones) and related sounds, water taps going on and off; they can be also a result of psychic energy of incarnated person (so-called poltergeist), not necessarily of ghost
- photographic phenomena: mist, orbs, faces on wall and windows
(Although orbs are usually considered reflections of camera flash on wisps of dust, some are active. E.g. Encyclopedia of Haunted Places, New Page Books 2005, states on page 207: "Two investigations have produced EVP; electromagnetic field spikes; and images of ectoplasmic mists, orbs and an incredibly bright dancing orb. This energetic sphere of spirit energy chose to reveal itself on several frames during a late-night investigation on February 8, 2005... Textured contrails are long enough to reveal several loops taken in its speedy path.")
- electromagnetic phenomena: sudden reactions of compass without apparent cause (e.g. proximity of metal), lights switching on and off, non-function or malfunction of electrical or electronic equipment in certain places, batteries dying fast, working of unwinded clocks, unplugged phones and other electrical or electronic equipment, calls and texts (sms) to cell phones from non-existing numbers, text messages written on computer monitors in absence of humans (e.g. in locked rooms)
- coincidence of the above phenomena with death anniversaries of family members or acquaintances
- sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a well-known phenomena. From the point of view of teachings like yoga and ayurveda it's an attack of an aggressive ghost who tries to enter the body of a sleeping person (esp. one lying on one's back) while paralysing the pranas (life airs) which are part of the subtle body (Chandogya Upanisad 8.12.2-3). The sleeping person starts to suffocate and can move only his eyes. Simply said, the body didn't 'wake up' due to the ghost. These attacks usually last several seconds. The goal of the ghost is to use physical body for a parasitic satisfaction of his desires. The victim usually feels a great weight on his chest as if someone would sit or lie on him and chokes.

A lighter form of sleep paralysis is caused by a sudden awakening from deep sleep phase when the physical body for several moments doesn't function since pranas aren't active yet. (Even after a normal awakening we experience that bodily needs and symptoms of illnesses like running nose, cough and pain manifest only after some time.) After such awakening one is time-wise desoriented - doesn't know if it's day or night and how long time did he sleep. Spontaneous cases aren't usual in healthy people.

9. What is the prevention against ghosts? (more under 10.)

Clean the house or apartment and don't leave there any impure substances, esp. of bodily origin, and leftover food and drinks (ghosts feed on them like e.g. insects or microbes). Ghosts are attracted by a dismal family situation, weakened persons (children, sick - esp. mentally, old), drug addicts, violent, perverse, dabbling in black magic, ghost invocation, satanist rituals and magical objects. If they were buried without spiritual rites and if their descendants keep the urn with ashes at home, they stay there too.

Haribhaktivilasa 9.41-42:
pAdodakena devasya
ye kuryuh pitr-tarpanam
nAsurAnAm bhayam tasya
preta-janyam ca rAksasam
na rogasya bhayam caivan
asti vighna-kRtam bhayam
na duSta naiva ghorAksAh
svApa-dottha-bhayam na hi

The drinking of Lord Hari's caranAmrta amounts to offering oblations to the forefathers; removes the fear of demons, ghosts and RAkSasas; and destroys diseases, obstacles, and the fear of poisonous snakes and wild animals.

HBV 15.560 from Brahma-vaivarta PurANa?:
idaM sarva-purANeSu
rahasyaM parigIyate
saGgame vAmanaM pUjya
preta-yonau na jAyate

This secret is told in all the PurANas: Simply by worshiping Lord VAmana on this day (VAmana dvAdazI) one is protected from having take birth as a preta (ghost).

HBV 15.350:
preta-yoniM gatAnAM tu
pretatvaM nAzitaM naraiH
yaiH kRtvA zrAvaNe mAsi
aSTamI rohiNI-yutA

In the Padma PurANa it is said: Ghosts who observe the aSTamI when RohiNI is conjoined with the moon in the month of ZravaNa (KRSNa-janmASTamI) become free from having to be ghosts.

HBV 16.107:
kArttike dIpa-dAnena
yas toSayati kezavam
muktiM prApsyAmahe nUnaM
prasAdAc cakra-pANinaH

The ancestors say: When someone in our family pleases Lord Kezava by offering to Him a lamp during the month of KArttika, then, by the mercy of the Lord who holds the Sudarzana-cakra in His hand, we will all attain liberation.

This passage from Garuda Purana (2.23.*, English edition J.L. Shastri/A board of scholars. Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology 12-14. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1982.) describes specific dreams caused by ghosts. At the end is mentioned its result: ghosts will disappear from the proximity of person who will read it with faith (in Sanskrit).

shri garuda mahapuranam- 23
garuda uvacha /
kinkim kurvanti vai pretah pishachatve vyavasthitah /
vadanti va kadachitkim tad vadasva sureshvara // GarP_2,23.1 //

1. Garuda said: What do the ghosts do in their ghosthood? When do they speak sometime? Please tell me, o Lord of gods!

shri bhagavan uvacha /
tesham svarupam vakshyami chihnam svapnam yatha tatham /
kshut pipasardit aste vai pravisheyuh sva veshmani // GarP_2,23.2 //

2. The Lord said: I shall tell you about their form, signs and dreams. Being oppressed by hunger and thirst they enter their former home.

pratishtha vayu deheshu shayanams tu sva vamshayan /
tatra yacchanti lingani darshayanti khageshvara // GarP_2,23.3 //

3. Though possessed of airy forms, they give signs to their sleeping descendants, o [lord of] bird[s].

sva putra sva kalatrani sva bandhun tatra gacchati /
hayo gajo vrisho martyo drishyate vikritananah // GarP_2,23.4 //

4. They visit the place where their sons, wives and relatives sleep.

shayanam viparitam tu atmanam cha viparyayam /
utthitah pashyati yas tu tad vindyat preta nirmitam // GarP_2,23.5 //

5. If a person dreams of a horse, an elephant, a bull, or a man with deformed face, if a person awakened from sleep sees himself in the opposite side of the bed, this is all due to the workings of a ghost.

svapne narau hi nigadair badhyate bahudha yadi /
annam cha yachate svapne kuveshah purvajo mritah // GarP_2,23.6 //

6. If a man is fastened with chains in dream, if his dead ancestors demand food in dream,

svapne yo bhujya manasya grihitvannam palayate /
atmanastu paro vapi trishartastu jalam pibet // GarP_2,23.7 //

7. If one snatches the food from him while he is eating in dream, if thirsty, one drinks water,

vrishabharohanam svapne vrishabhaih saha gacchati /
utpatya gaganam yati tirthe yati kshudhaturah // GarP_2,23.8 //

8. If in dream one rides a bull or moves with bulls or if one springs up in the sky or goes to a holy place hungry,

sva vacha vadate yastu go vrisha dvija vajishu /
linge gaje tatha deve bhute prete nishachare // GarP_2,23.9 //

9. If one speaks aloud among cows, bulls, brahmanas, horses, elephants, deities, ghosts and demons - this is due to the working of a ghosts.

svapna madhye tu pakshindra preta lingany anekadha /
sva kalatram svabandhum va svasutam svapatim vibhum /
vidyamanam mritam pashyet preta doshena nishchitam // GarP_2,23.10 //

10. Many are the signs of ghosts in dream, o [lord of] bird[s]. It is due to a ghost if one sees his wife, relative, son or husband as dead.

yachate yah param svapne kshut tridbhyam cha pariplutah /
tirthe gatva dahet pindan preta daushairna samshayah // GarP_2,23.11 //

11. He who begs in dream oppressed by hunger or thirst should give pindas to the manes to ward off coming distress.

nirgacched va grihad vapi svapne putras tatha pashuh /
pita bhrata kalatram cha preta doshais tu pashyati // GarP_2,23.12 //

12. If one sees in dream his son, cattle, father, brother, wife, getting out of house, it is due to the working of a ghost.

chihnanyetani pakshindra prayashchittam nivedayet /
kritva snanam grihe tirthe shrivrikshe tarpanam jalaih // GarP_2,23.13 //

13. These signs, o [lord of] bird[s], call for atonement. One should bathe at home or at a holy place, give water oblation to a deity at the root of a fig tree.

krishnadhanyani pujam cha pradadyad vedaparage /
homam kuryad yatha shakti sampurnam vachayet sudhih // GarP_2,23.14 //

14. Or give black corn, perform worship, offer gifts to a Vedic scholar and do homa as far as his means can allow.

etaddhi shraddhaya yastu preta linga nidarshanam /
pathate shrinute vapi preta chihnam vinashyati // GarP_2,23.15 //

15. If, in faith, one reads or hears this discourse, the ghosts disappear immediately from his vicinity.

iti shrigarude mahapurane uttarakhande dvitiyamshe dharmakande pretakalpe shrikrishnagarudasamvade
pretakrititaduktitacchihnatadvimuktyupayanirupanam nama trayovimsho 'dhyaya

Thus ends Shri Garuda Mahapurana, Uttara khanda, second part called Dharmakanda, its subpart called Pretakalpa featuring dialogue of Shri Krishna and Garuda titled On activities and signs of ghosts and means of liberation from them, twenty-third chapter.

10. How to get rid of ghost?

Start the simplest way - tell him aloud that he's after death (many ghosts don't realize it) and he shouldn't be there anymore. You can support this by an appeal to look into a next room (behind closed door). Then wait a while and tell him that if he was there he had to go through the closed door which proves that he has no physical body anymore. Most of them will understand and leave. If not, other methods need to be applied.

First the apartment or the house needs to be thoroughly cleaned. In India they use water with admixed dry broken cowdung which has also antiseptic effect. Spread salt on carpets in the morning and vaccum it after sunset. Remove objects, esp. used ones (e.g. from a jumble shop) and donated around the time when problems started. Remove mirrors from bedrooms. Look for different suspicious objects being thrown around or buried near your house. They can be related to ghosts or magic.

10.1 Spill seasalt in a thin uninterrupted line along windows and doors and in room corners.
10.2 Place a plate with some coal under the bed.
10.3 Place a glass of water next to the bed, empty it out in the morning.
10.4 Place some sharp iron object, e.g. scissors, into or under the bed with blades pointing toward feet. Silver objects repel ghosts and elementals. Iron forged nails hammered into both ends of entrance door's threshold repel ghosts etc. 10.5 Sesame seeds repel ghosts (Garuda Purana 2.2.16, 2.29.7-16). Put dog rose (a symbol of Devi) into a vase. Hang peppers around the place.
10.6 Sprinkle the room with holy water and burn sage, archangel, rue or juniper. According to Welsh folk tradition a burning mixture of laurel leaves, sandalwood and lavender should dispel all negative forces.
10.7 Place preferred protective symbols on doors and walls. Every folk and spiritual tradition has some and they can be of varying potency. E.g. the 1st reiki symbol (reiki users can use it for their general protection).
10.8 Write with clay (best from a holy place, e.g. tilaka) preferred protective symbols, phrases or names of God on windows.
10.9 Keep Bhagavadgita or Bhagavata Purana (Shrimad Bhagavatam) in the room. They radiate pure nonmaterial energy which negative entities can't stand. Also Agni Purana and Narada Purana repel ghosts and other negative influences.
10.10 Blow a conchshell, ring a bigger bell. These vibration repel negative entities.
10.11 Play Bhagavadgita in Sanskrit for a long time (a form of exorcism).

Some of these methods work permanently but others need to be renewed (10.1-3,5,9).

Some professional exorcists offer temporary removal of ghosts due to their financial interests.

11. How to help ghost?

To get rid of ghost means that he will go elsewhere. We therefore recommend you to help him to leave to higher lokas.

It is necessary to find out who he is, why he remained here and lead him away. There're various methods like prayers, masses, sacrifices or other rituals done on his behalf. His descendants should do it. If they (or someone else) won't do it the ghost will continue to draw attention to himself and according to Garuda Purana 2.20.44 they themselves will also become ghosts.

A person who knows that there are ghosts around but does nothing about it, also becomes a sinner by contamination. In his next lives such a person is born poor, diseased, without a living and children. (Garuda Purana 2.20.46)

A person thus may spent even many centuries as ghost in case no descendant knows what to do, refuses to do it or the family dies out.

One of the simplest is the recitation of Bhagavadgita (only Sanskrit, at least one chapter, recommended are mainly 3., 7. and 8.). Donate the result in your mind to him. Thus he will get a pious credit (Sanskrit: punya) needed to leave. (It's a similar situation like when someone remains on a trip without money and relatives must send him some so he could continue.) It's dealt with in Gita Mahatmya from Padma Purana, ch. 1. (Once I used SB 1.2 instead of BG.)

Book distributor Gokula Lila dd met a young Nepalese business teacher who told her at their second meeting: "After I met you, my great Grandfather, who I've never seen nor met came into my dream and told me our family is becoming spiritually deprived, and it's your duty to do something about it, read Bhagavad Gita and go once a week to the ISKCON temple.
Upon relaying his dream to his mother he became convinced he had to follow the instruction as the description of his great Grandfather fit him exactly. (source expired:

12. Protection from ghosts etc.

General rules:

Keep clean.
Don't wear black colored clothes and shoes.
Don't wear clothes and shoes belonging to others.
Be careful on the new moon day. Drive carefully.
Women shouldn't go out late at night when menstruating since they're more vulnerable to ghost attack.
Don't eat at least two hours before going to sleep.
Bathe or shower in salty water or using salt or lemon instead of soap. (The purifying effect of salt is well-known. Garuda Purana 2.4.15 and 2.29.31 says that the salt originates from the body of Visnu.)
After washing before going to sleep dry your hands and feet well.

12.1 Simple protections against negative influences in everyday life, e.g. emotional vampires, in hospitals and other places with higher concentration of negative energy:

- in your mind create around you a barrier from sunlight and let yourself to be flooded by it
- when you speak with a problematic person, cross legs or fingers of your hands

12.2 Mantra-nyasa:

This is a tantric method protecting against all kinds of negative influences as per Haribhaktivilasa 4.238 from Garuda Purana spoken by Narada Muni:

grahA na pidanti na rakSasAm ganAh
yaksAh pisAcoraga-bhUtadAnavAh
lalAta patte khaga gopicandanam
santisthate yasya hareh prasAdataH

O foremost of birds (Garuda), by the mercy of Sri Hari, a person who puts tilaka on his forehead with gopi-candana becomes relieved from distress caused by the positions of the planets, as well as by Raksasas, Yaksas, Pisacas, serpents, ghosts, or demons.

If you don't have tilaka clay (available from Vaishnavas) it can be substituted by pure water. ("Where situations forbid it, Prabhupada said that it was not absolutely necessary to wear tilaka, although a devotee should at least put water tilaka on his body in the morning and consecrate his body with the names of Visnu." Satsvarupa das Goswami, Srila Prabhupada Nectar 3.6; see also Pancaratra Pradipa 1.9) Before application take a bath. The procedure is described in handbook V.E.M., p. 34-36.

12.3 Protective mantras and stotras:

They should follow the tilak application, i.e. in a clean state:

1. The simplest way is to remember the holy name of the Lord - Shri Narasimha - and say it.

2. Narasimha mahamantra:

om hrim kshraum
ugram viram Maha-Vishnum
jvalantam sarvatho mukham
Nrisimham bhishanam bhadram
mrityu-mrityum namamy aham

If one can't say it aloud, e.g. while sleep paralysis, it's enough to say it in the mind. Its explanation is given in Narasimha tapani Upanishad. You can write it on a paper and hang it in a room or keep it with you. In India people write this or other protective mantras (generic term: kavacha) on a paper roll and place it into a small round amulet (also called kavacha) worn on neck or right hand. Long-term playing of this mantra is a form of exorcism.
More: Narasimha#Mode_of_worship

3. two Narasimha kavachas

4. Narayana kavacha

5. Dashavatara stotra

6. Panchamukha Hanuman Kavacha

Chant one or more chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam, esp. 10.29-33, and pray to be relieved of all negative influences surrounding you or specific persons, places or situations. This recitation has an immense positive impact.

12.4 Protective methods used by Vaisnava pujaris:

(Pancaratra Pradipa (ISKCON Deity worship manual) describes three successive methods used by Vaisnava priests before starting their worship. They are mentioned here only to supplement the information, as a proof of existence of these subtle technologies in Vedic tradition. Their effectiveness when used by a person without Vaisnava diksa and not worshiping a Deity (i.e. not initiated into the Deity's mula mantra mentioned here) isn't guaranteed.)

"BhUta-zuddhi may be preceded by dig-bandhana and vahni-prakAra, literally "closing the ten directions" and "encircling [the devotee] with subtle fire." These functions, which use sound, mantra, and meditation, build a wall of protection around the devotee to insure concentration for worship.
The mind, especially if distracted, may be influenced by various subtle negative personalities. But a person who is sufficiently fixed in devotion may not be subject to these influences, and therefore for him these functions are optional."

Dispelling Inauspicious Influences (bhUta-nivAraNa)

Chant the following mantra:

(oM) apagacchantu te bhUtA ye bhUtA bhuvi saMsthitAH
ye bhUta-vighna-kartAras te gacchanty AjJayA hareH

May all inauspicious subtle beings that may obstruct our service be gone by the order of the Lord.

Chant oM astrAya phaT and strike your left heel on the ground three times to dispel subtle beings from earth.
While chanting the mUla-mantra of the main Deity you will worship, from the corners of your eyes glance angrily over the paraphernalia and upward. This will dispel subtle beings in the higher realms.
Chant oM astrAya phaT and snap the fingers of your right hand over your head in the ten directions (east, south-east, south, south-west, etc., up and down) to close the ten directions.* This is called dig-bandhana.

* Alternative method for this and the previous steps: 1) Chant oM astrAya phaT and show the cakra-mudrA (making a clapping sound as you bring your hands together), first down (to the Garbhodaka Ocean) then up (to the VirajA River). 2) Chant oM sarGgAya sasArAya huM phaT namaH (or oM sahasra rAM huM phaT) ten times while tossing flower petals in the ten directions.

[cakra-mudrA: Spread all fingers wide, place the right hand on top of left hand with palms touching each other, and little finger of right hand touching the thumb of left hand and vice versa.]

Protecting Oneself from Subtle Influences (dig-bandhana)

Chant oM astrAya phaT and strike your left palm three times with your right forefinger and middle finger. Raise your hands as you do this.

Show the cakra-mudrA, and then snap the fingers of your right hand in the ten directions, beginning from the east and going clockwise.
Alternatively to this and the following step: 1) Snap the fingers of your right hand three times - one time each at the area of your right knee, right shoulder, and above the head. Then strike your left palm once with the fore- and middle finger of your right hand. 2) Snap the fingers of your right hand in the ten directions, and then show the cakra-mudrA, meditating on a protective cakra coming down around you.

Protecting Oneself by a Wall of Fire (vahni-prakAra)

Chant the agni-bIja (rAM) and meditate on a wall of fire spreading all around and over your head, protecting you and the Deity room from all bad influences. At the same time show the agni-bIjAkSara-mudrA. To show this mudrA, keep your right forefinger straight, clench the remaining fingers of your right hand into a fist around the thumb, and move your right hand clockwise in a complete circle around your head.

13. What if nothing mentioned above helps and problems are getting worse?

In quite rare cases it's a very negative ghost (murderers, etc.), other entity (demoniac - e.g. succubus, incubus), curse, magic, satanism etc.
Noel Taillepied, 16th century Capuchin monk and a Doctor of Theology, listed several points distinguishing between a ghost and a demoniac entity. The latter is characterized by:
- a violence against persons or belongings
- a flattery or a temptation
- a loud, harsh, arrogant, offensive voice critical of spirituality
- an appearance as a beast of prey, a snake, a toad, a dark figure

Further phenomena:

- smell of a burnt flesh
- headaches
- red albuginea (the white of the eye)

Curse is a sequence of words spoken with a harmful intent. It can be compared to a subtle arrow which hits the subtle body of the victim. Curse can be detected or confirmed by mantic methods. The first step in removal should be to try to convince the cursing person to retract the curse by explaining how harmful it's for him. The heaviest curses are within one's family. Curses don't work in sacred places (tirtha).

There're many types of exorcism. It's officially performed e.g. by Roman-Catholic Church. It's also done in Orthodox Church. The simplest Catholic exorcism is a so-called release/liberation prayer which helps in easier cases. Every priest knows it. When it fails, a professional exorcist has to be approached. Catholic exorcists are experienced and provide their services free of charge. Every diocese has one and a local priest should be able to provide contact.
Exorcism should be preceded by diagnostics by reliable mantic methods which clarify if a chosen method will be effective (it saves money and time, often also health and sometimes even life). One of these methods is prashna, a system of Vedic astrology (pdf).

Book on exorcism: Malachi Martin: Hostage to the Devil - The Possession and Exorcism of five contemporary Americans (HarperOne 1999)

Its chapter "The Virgin and the Girl-Fixer" gives an interesting account of a reaction of one skeptic psychiatrist confronted with the possession phenomena:

Finally even the psychiatrist stopped, his professional calm ruptured. He had the half-annoyed, half-hurt look of someone interrupted in the middle of a sentence. He looked quickly at Gerald and the others, alarm spreading across his features. For the first time in his professional life, Dr. Hammond was face to face with something he knew was far beyond his reach to categorize as a verifiable known or unknown. What he was then beginning to perceive, he felt, he had always known but never acknowledged, even in the deepest moments of the eight years of analysis through which he had successfully passed.
But his scientific mind was his only ready defense, and he kept up the protest in his mind: Verify! Get the facts! Test them! But he knew. There was no verifiable fact. There was a reality made transparent to him. Before this moment, he would have labeled this a product of the irrational. But it now appeared to be real beyond all reason. And he had always known it.

14. What is black magic and how to recognize it?

Brahma gave the original asuras as their share of sacrifice the powers of darkness and illusion (black magic) as related in the Satapatha Brahmana

atha hainam sasvad apy asura upasedur ity ahuh. tabhyas tamaa ca mayam
ca pradadav asty ahaivasura-mayetiva pasabhuta ha tv eva tah prajas ta
imah prajas tathaivopajivanti yathaivabhah prajapatir vyadadhat.

"Thereupon--so they say--the Asuras also straightway approached him. To them he gave darkness (tamas) and illusion (mAyA): for there is indeed what is called the illusion of the Asuras. Those creatures, it is true, have perished; but creatures still subsist here in the very manner which PragApati ordained unto them."

Arthur C. Clarke, author of '2001 — A Space Odyssey' and the inventor of the telecommunications satellite, is often quoted as saying “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. (21C Magazine—Scanning the Future, 1996, 60.)

Black magic (Sanskrit: abhicara, lit. an intense movement) is a gross, tamasic process of manipulating matter - both physical and subtle - used by asuric persons. This point is important to keep in mind: the magic can't harm you as the jivatma, only your externities (upadhi). From this is clear that the less attached you are to matter, the less influence it can have on you.
Usually it consists of sending subtle negative entities to harm the victim. They can be compared to subtle attack dogs which bite the subtle body of the victim or to a liana strangling it. Another analogy is an infection, which has to be prevented or fought by an increase of immunity.
It can happen only to victim whose karma allows it due to doing some harm to the person who now retaliates. (Therefore it's ignorant to try to return it back to him or to revenge in another way since it will only make things worse.)
It creates a horrible, self-destructing karma for the practitioner. It can be overcome by yoga siddhis and by spiritual influence. One shouldn't use occult methods to combat occult attacks. The sure way to dispel them is to invoke their exact opposite, the pure spiritual beings beginning with God. See 12.3.

Abhicara blocks a person's intelligence and all efforts to solve the problem go fruitless. It causes a loss of protective talismans or an urge to get rid of them. Obviously don't do that.

There were magicians who were attending her for a time, wanting to help. But every time something failed: The handy-phone didn't work anymore, one of them had to leave the country suddenly, phone-numbers got erased mysteriously. And things like these went on for weeks, so that no contact could be established. When these attacks first happened to her, she did want to dismiss it as unreal, because she didn't believe in it, but that has not helped her.

One feels a mental block, gets disturbed sleep with bad dreams and negative thoughts. There is heaviness on the heart and constriction in the throat. Sometime blue marks appear on body, fast and erratic heartbeat and breathing without any physical exertion, quarrels in the family without any reason, feeling of the presence in the house, feeling permanently suffocated and restless, worsened health, esp. chronic diseases not responding to cures, lack of sleep, debilitation, depression with lack of enthusiasm or desire to live and grow in life. Ominous signs (omens) can be experienced but one needs to be able to recognize them. They are actually warnings, not causing the harm itself though (aside fear due to the ignorance of their nature).

What to do in such cases?

If you think this problem relates to you it is helpful to get diagnostics done by some mantic method from an expert. If unusual obstacles appear during this effort, it suggests the presence of negative influence. The solution depends on how grave the situation is. In lighter cases the victim can help oneself.

You can do on your own:
- thoroughly clean your living space, including your workplace, car and other larger objects you often use - computers, washing machines, fridges etc. The magic aims at them as well so they need to be protected, too, e.g. by written prayers or mantras.
- remove objects, esp. used ones (e.g. from a jumble shop) and donated around the time when problems started. Remove mirrors from bedrooms. Look for different suspicious objects being thrown around or buried near your house.

- clean the space with salt (spread salt on the floor, leave for 24 hours, sweep the salt and throw it outside the house so that no one can come in touch with it, e.g. bury it)
- use dark kopal, sage, archangel or rue as an incense
- burn blessed candles
- keep holy objects at home and worship them (see quote about Bhagavad-gita below)
- bathe yourself with salt and lemon juice in a cold water
- in a place where it won't be found and where it won't be broken bury a glass jar filled with broken glass, iron nail and other sharp objects and add your own urine, saliva, hair and nails. Women can add their menstrual blood. Renew this protection once a year - the jar can break, etc.
- pacify your mind, get rid of negative thoughts by prayers or meditation
- pray aloud for being liberated from the negative influence; if you know the source person, pronounce three times: "Person /name/, you have no power over me." You can also address and repell all negative influences afflicting you, your family, friends or anyone else in this way. This is the opposite of surrender to a higher power (which is another way how to get rid of a negative influence: the one we surrender to protects us as far as able.) and also write your wish down on a paper
- when the negative influence is stopped, the effects don't disappear immediately but gradually {as if you stop the car's motor, the car will still move for some time)
These items you can get from me or from a Vaisnava temple:
- sprinkle the body with Ganga water or holy water and drink it
- eat a Tulasi leaf and Krishna mahaprasad
- use tilak (12.2)
Listen to and recite (sorted from the longest):
Bhagavad-gita 700 verses
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.29-33 172 verses
Hanuman chalisa 40 verses
Narayana kavaca SB 6.8.4-6.8.42 39 verses
Uddhava's Radha stotra BvP 4.92.59-88 29 verses
Mahalakshmi sutra
Durvasa's prayer from Sama Veda BvP 4.25.93-106 13 verses
Nrsimha kavaca and other kavacas or protective prayers from other traditions

(Bhagavad) GItA MahAtmya from ZrI VaiSNavIya-tantra-sAra states:

abhicArodbhavaM duHkhaM vara ZApA gataM ca yat
nopasarpati tatraiva yatra gItArcanaM gRhe

The misery caused by a curse or black rites can never enter into that house where the GItA is worshipped. (29)

[Worshipped, not just kept. And it should be an edition with original script (most of them have only verse translations).]

tApa-trayodbhavA pIDA naiva vyAdhir bhavet kvacit
na ZApo naiva pApaM ca durgati narakaM na ca

In that house, there is never any suffering from the threefold miseries, nor is there ever fear of any type of sickness, curse, sin, misfortune and hell. (30)

Another examples of holy books are the Bible, Quran or Buddhist sutras (Lotus sutra, Bhaisajya-guru-sutra). For more effect they should include original verses, not just translations. You can also carry them with you and keep them in your car and at your workplace.

Following EkAdazIs like JayA, PApamocanI or KAmadA gives relief from negative influences:

Lord ZrI KRSNa replied: "Oh YudhiSThira, I shall gladly tell you about the EkAdazI that occurs during the light half of this month of MAgha. This EkAdazI obliterates all kinds of sinful reactions and demoniac influences that may be affecting the spirit soul. It is known as JayA EkAdazI, and the fortunate soul who observes a fast on this sacred day is relieved of the great burden of ghostly existence. ..." (from Bhavizyottara PurANa)

Lomaza RSi replied: "The EkAdazI that occurs during the dark part of the month of Caitra is named PApamocanI EkAdazI. For the faithful devotee it removes the influences of ghosts and demons. Oh lion among men, this EkAdazI also awards the eight perfections of life, fulfils all kinds of desires, purifies one's life of all sinful reactions, and makes a person perfectly virtuous. ..." (from Bhavizyottara PurANa)

Lord ZrI KRSNa continued: "Oh YudhiSThira, best of kings, anyone who hears this wonderful narration should certainly observe holy KAmadA EkAdazI to the best of his ability, such great merit does it bestow upon the faithful devotee. I have therefore described its glories to you for the benefit of all humanity. There is no better EkAdazI than KAmadA EkAdazI. It can eradicate even the sin of killing a brAhmaNa, and it also nullifies demoniac curses and cleanses the consciousness. In all the three worlds, among movable and immovable living entities, there is no better day." (from VarAha PurANa )

In grave cases, when the victim can't follow the above advice, another person can chant prayers and mentally donate the result to him. Consultations on request.

More information:
Questions about suicide and ghosts
Ghost stories
Ghost stories (from JTCD)
Ghost -
Ghosts -
telepathic cats
stories with ghosts - Frank (1.)
The Metaphysics and Logic of Ghosts (Plato - Phaedo)
Ghosts versus Hare Krsna
Dion Fortune - Psychic Self-defense (pdf)

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© 2001 - 2016 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, authors. CC-BY-SA Jan Mares