Are Ghosts Real?

A Pro Astral Traveler Explains Everything You Need To Know About Ghosts

BY Cyrus Kirkpatrick


ecently, a friend on Facebook revealed her crippling phobia of ghosts. Being the prankster I am, I told her to relax and sent a video to cheer her up—security footage of a poltergeist at a high school in Cork, Ireland. The footage hasn’t been verified as real, so I won’t be submitting it to the skeptics as final proof of ghosts; however, the school’s administration contends it’s legitimate. In the video, we see what appears to be an unseen force throwing a tantrum—slamming doors, slamming lockers, and kicking objects. Whether real or not, victims of poltergeist phenomena report that the same types of occurrences can plague a haunted-homeowner.

Of all the things to be scared of, ghostly occurrences make a lot of sense due to the dread of the unknown. It’s a fear that has captured the imagination of civilizations old and new, in every corner of the world. When I lived in Thailand, shop owners set up special shrines outside of every store or house—miniature temples to appease the spirits. Offerings of rice would be presented on a daily basis. When I suffered a bad injury at a restaurant, I was later told in the hospital it was because of foreigners tossing cigarette butts into the house of spirits. The angry ghosts exacted their revenge by causing me to trip and break my leg.

Perhaps the reason ghosts are the ultimate boogeymen is because of that mystique of realness. Even people with only a marginal understanding of metaphysical topics know that there’s a vague chance that the invisible monster could be real. Skeptics who admonish believers are at least aware of the anecdotal reports of ghostly occurrences, and, as few people are entirely stalwart in their beliefs, the biggest skeptics have to sometimes consider there are holes in their logic: What if the scariest creature on Halloween is not a sociological construct, but a real entity?

And then there’s the popularization of ghosts on reality TV. Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and numerous other media with the “ghost” moniker provides a fascination with the unknown and the possibility of fiction (the horror movie) meeting reality. Sometimes these shows step up their understanding of what ghosts are and try to be more productive, such as when a hunter prowls through a darkened house with a tape recorder asking why the disembodied entity has not “gone to the light.” Ghost Hunters on the SyFy channel, in the earlier episodes, would tell

distraught families that if the presence was not negative, the phenomenon may be more of a blessing than a curse. In later episodes, the fear was ramped up and the honest assessments reduced in the name of sensationalism.

Still, ghost hunters—the ones on TV and the regular ones—are usually educated enough to understand differences between the styles. There are residual hauntings, energy-based poltergeist phenomena, non-human disruptive spirits, and actual spirits of deceased humans. A major part of helping a family plagued by a haunting is to figure out which type of phenomena is occurring. Again, the well-meaning ghost investigators can do an excellent service of identifying what is being dealt with, and explaining that there is more than one type of “ghost.”

What We Know From Astral Experiences

As someone who practices out-of-body experiences (OBE), I’ve been able to discover a unique perspective about ghosts. This has removed a great deal of mystery surrounding what they are.

Going out-of-body is typically unpredictable. However, a percentage of all occurrences involve popping out into my bedroom. At some point when my astral body disconnects from my head and neck, the environment alters. While I may still be in my bedroom, I am now in the widely reported “shadow version.” Surrounding me will be a combination of physical matter (your hand passes through it like Swayze in Ghost) and astral matter (you can pick up and feel these objects). Basically, you are halfway in and out of dimensions. (FYI, the movie Ghost got this part wrong: Swayze wouldn’t have been in an environment with no astral matter. If so, he’d have just sunk straight through the ground.)

In my experience, this shadow realm is far from unpopulated. In fact, even my house is loaded with what I would call squatters. During an early OBE, I made it out of my bedroom and saw a girl with a backpack walk by. The halls are filled with foreign objects left by passersby, and sometimes even the topography changes (some rooms are bigger, or there’s new rooms that don’t exist on our plane).

From this plane, it’s possible to become a ghost. I’ve encountered both my hapless roommates as they slept. I’d see their bodies lying on their beds, and their astral bodies a few feet away—eyes shut, talking to themselves and immersed in dreams. I’ve attempted to get their attention to no avail. In addition, I’ve attempted to move physical (non-astral) objects, also to no avail—the densities are, after all, incompatible. I’ve already exhausted my attempts to become a poltergeist and I figure it’s a very hard skill to learn.

The concept of a person hanging out in this shadow realm for prolonged periods is evident. In a more disturbing incident, I went out-of-body at a hostel in London. It was then I noticed an older man crawling into the bunks of sleeping guests and furiously trying to sexually assault them. I imagine there was no detection by the guests and the assaulter could feel nothing; however, it was the ongoing process of trying to fulfill a lurid sexual fantasy. When the time came for him to crawl up toward my bunk, I told him to expletive off. This didn’t give him the clue, and I soon felt his body touching mine—which suddenly becomes possible when astral matter connects with astral matter. Disturbed and angry, I went back into my body and rolled over, swatting at the air. I sensed he was gone and (somehow) went back to sleep.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t exactly report to management that there was a man in the astral shadow realm assaulting guests. He was, after all, a ghost. However, this was not the reality. In fact, this assaulter was not a ghost. It was a flesh and blood human living in the very real, very tangible astral spectrum and exploiting an inconsistency between dimensional densities.

Ghosts Are In Fact Boogeymen—Just As Humans Are

My realization from this incident was that “ghosts” are in fact boogeymen. The thing is, so are humans—because I believe, the majority of the time, a ghost is just a human who’s invisible. It’s no more complicated than that. And, as we know, humans are capable of many dark things.

Fortunately, there is a flipside. This means for every weirdo living on the astral spectrum, there are also good people and deceased loved ones. The average deceased person does not stay in the shadowy “near-Earth” astral plane. Rather, they move on to amazing realms. But it’s not hard for them to come back and check on people, which is the closest they can get to their family members on Earth. From this vantage point, a deceased family member may try all sorts of ways to get one’s attention, including moving objects or trying to get a person to “feel” their presence.

And, yes, if one is capable of going out-of-body, you would encounter your loved one in the room with you and it’s possible to have an amazing reunion (as I and other travelers have done many times).

I believe that the majority of times, a “haunting” is merely deceased friends and family trying to make contact. We mistakenly believe that it’s a “ghost” trying to harm us, which doubtlessly causes pain for the people trying to reach us. And, when there’s a presence that really is malevolent (like the assaulter in the hostel), we give such a presence too much power by assuming it a demon or dark spiritual entity, when it’s simply a mean-spirited invisible human.

In Summary

While the relationship between our world and the invisible astral dimension creates a lot of spooky fun for the imagination, this Halloween it’s better to focus on breaching that barrier to make contact with our friends and family on the other side. The mere act of sending out a message that you’re open to their communication and presence makes it easier for them to connect, and motivates them to manifest. In these instances, a “ghost” becomes a wonderful visitation from a loved one in spirit that proves the continuity of life. And while your loved ones are visiting you in the near-Earth astral, they can chase away any of the unwanted visitors who may be lurking around or stalking.

Cyrus Kirkpatrick

Cyrus Kirkpatrick

Cyrus Kirkpatrick is the author of the 2015 book, Understanding Life After Death and moderates the metaphysical discussion group Afterlife Topics on Facebook. He lives in Culver City, California, and works in marketing and publishing. An avid traveler, Cyrus periodically returns to a nomadic lifestyle of backpacking to accumulate experiences and adventures. He recently spoke at the 2017 Afterlife Symposium in Phoenix on the subject of out-of-body experiences and making contact with the other side. Learn more at

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