It’s a common complaint. After an intense investigation, many of us feel sick. In my case, a haunted location will manifest itself first as an intense headache, usually starting in the back of my neck and working itself up to the top of my head. If the spiritual energy is heavy enough, I’ll find myself dizzy and nauseated, and the floor will feel like it’s rising and sinking.
There is a long history of mediums dying young, fraught with various illnesses and diseases. To those who protest that they are investigators and not mediums, let’s look at the word “medium”: in this context, it means the conduit between one reality and another. That is what we all become, with enough experience and hours dedicated to turning ourselves into human antennae. We don’t need to fit the stereotypical image in the medium to actually function as one. We do not engage in dramatic displays of clairvoyance or dress like a member of Fleetwood Mac, nor do we gaze into crystals or pretend that Uncle Joe is talking into our ear with special messages for a paying customer; no, instead we devote hundreds of hours fine tuning our ability to connect with spiritual energies that pick up and respond to our willingness to make our conscious and unconscious minds available to them to use any way they see fit.
This meditative state we fall into on a ‘ghost hunt’ takes a toll on our health, both emotional and physical. The more negative the energy, the worse we feel. The only times I have felt invigorated by an investigation and not sick happened after spending many hours at spiritually active churches or ancient adobes. After investigating defunct state hospitals or prisons, I usually develop a blinding migraine, suffer from terrible nightmares or can’t get out of bed for a couple of days. That is why I limit those kinds of investigations now; what used to be exhilarating and sheer awesome excitement is now draining and overwhelming.
Some might object that it’s the physical environment that creates the illnesses, such as mold, dust and various toxic residues from the building’s past. While I don’t discount the dangers of old buildings, there is a difference between engaging in urban exploring and engaging the residual energies of a psychopath or mentally ill and angry spirit. When I wander through destroyed and abandoned sites without turning myself into a medium for distressed energies, I am fine afterwards. When I limit myself to taking photos or picking through debris looking for odd bits and pieces of someone’s life, nothing happens afterwards. However, as soon as I turn on my recorder and start asking questions, the headaches, nausea, dizziness and unsteadiness hit me like a wave.
It seems that the more ‘sensitive’ I am, the more my body falls apart. That, for the most part, explains why I’ve become so selective about where I investigate and who is with me. My protection rituals help, but they do not completely keep me from physical and emotional drainage. This all reminds me of a student I had years ago who confessed to having investigated New Orleans haunted buildings (of which there are many) years and years ago. At that time, I was a relatively new investigator, and I wanted to hear all about it. After class, she pulled me aside and told me that she doesn’t ever conduct investigations anymore. I couldn’t imagine why not. It made no sense!
“Because,” she said, “it became scarier and darker. And . . . because I started to get sick.” After that, she refused to discuss it. I didn’t understand what she was talking about then. I do now.
What truly scares me are the number of investigators I know who have developed serious illnesses during the few years I have known them. What’s happened to them seems far beyond the realm of coincidence. I can’t definitely connect investigations with the resultant illnesses, and I can’t say for sure if these diseases would have popped up regardless of their paranormal pursuits, but there is enough evidence for a connection that I have scaled back my outings, and when I do go out on an investigation, I tend to keep quiet.
It’s almost as if, after years of calling attention to myself in the spirit world, I don’t want them to notice me anymore.
–Kirsten A. Thorne, PHW/PhD