Trybuna Slaska, September 2003
Wanda Pratnicka's replies are preceded by the Editor's questions.
1. I read your book "Possessed by Ghosts". I understand that what persuaded you to write it was your desire to help people who don't know why a misfortune has befallen them. You describe hundreds of such cases. But, in your view, are all misfortunes caused by ghosts? Can't we just simply be unhappy, sad, or ill - without any input from "the other world"?
It might seem that you've given me a simple and short question, but the reply to it is as long as the next book which I am writing at the moment. I'll say this - the responsibility for our misfortunes is down to ghosts every bit as much as to us ourselves, but I'll come back to that. You're right - we can be unhappy, sad, ill - but what for? Wouldn't it be better instead of being sad, unhappy or even ill to rest a little, or, if we don't have time for that, to simply ask ourselves in passing what information our body is trying to send to us through our illness or through the emotions that manifest themselves? If we always did that then we could find ourselves never suffering, let alone being ill. Of course we can regard every misfortune, every illness as something sent by God, a necessary evil, something that simply happens to us and over which we have no influence at all. On the other hand we can look on it as great gift from God which is given to us in order that we may notice that something is not quite right in our lives. For then we have a choice to either continue being a victim of the world around us and, as an unhappy victim reconcile ourselves to our fate doing nothing about it, or to take our life into our own hands and be happy, fulfilled. It only takes a little bit of courage to break out of the stereotypes in which the whole of our surroundings are living. The hardest to make is the first decision - after that the whole of the universe is willing to help us with it. And now let's go back to the question about the influence of ghosts on our lives. When we feel down, or we're sad, unhappy, or ill, then those ghosts which are suffering for exactly the same reason "hook up" to our emotional state, e.g. sadness. I'm talking about sadness here, but the same applies to every negative emotion - anger, sorrow, hatred etc. If this sadness were simply ours alone then we would have a chance to break away from it, e.g. the moment the sun shines again. But when ghosts hook up to this sadness, and we haven't the faintest idea that they have, we go deeper into it doing nothing about it. In time we get so accustomed to it that our chances to realize what is happening with us grow smaller and smaller, which effectively leads to depression. This state of affairs will last as long as we don't do anything about it. Naturally, we could take psychotropic drugs till the end of our lives but we might just as well turn to an exorcist to rid ourselves of the ghosts.
2. In what way does the world of people coexist with that of ghosts?
When we talk about the world of ghosts we must differentiate between the world to which the ghosts depart after their physical deaths towards the Light, and the one where, for various motives (more or less conscious), the ghosts have not resolved to pass through to the other side, past death's curtain, to the Light. The world of ghosts which have left, and our physical world, are two different realities, completely independent of one another, not interfering with one another. The world of the ghosts which have remained on this side of death's curtain, on the other hand, is a field which permeates our physical reality at every step. We wouldn't have any problems associated with ghosts if these two worlds did not meet with one another. However - whether or not the inhabitants of the world of ghosts will hinder us is down exclusively to us. I've given part of the answer to why this happens in the comments above, and more fully in my book. At present all I can add is that bad things start to happen in our lives if we allow the ghosts to enter them.
3. You write that when we come to this world we have to do a given "lesson". There can be many such "lessons", so does that mean that there can also be many incarnations? Are there people who remember their previous incarnations? Can these memories be "summoned up"? What is your view on reincarnation? What remains within us - here and now - of our previous "stays" on Earth?
There are many people who remember their former incarnations, particularly those with traumatic experiences, but not many of them realize it. One can, of course, summon up the those memories but one has to know what one is doing it for. If we want to return to our previous incarnation in order to heal something in it, then that makes sense. But if we want to do it out of sheer curiosity then that's not so good. I dissuade potential volunteers from it because they can be very disenchanted or may even bring a deal of misfortune down on themselves. It may disenchant them because nearly every one of these curious people wants to see themselves in the role of a significant, rich or wise personage, but more often than not they see themselves in an ordinary, average life, which can also be impoverished and stupid. Why does it happen like that? Because every one of our entrances into the world is a new lesson (or lessons) which we have to do. There are very many subjects for us to take and every one of us has been here on earth very many times, as a woman and as a man. Every one of us has had experience of what it is to be rich, and poor, wise and foolish, beautiful and ugly, etc. Nearly everyone has been both a thief and the person robbed, a murderer and a murder victim, a rapist and a victim of rape. Moreover all the people with whom we're more or less closely connected now on earth were with us earlier in very many incarnations except that we all played different roles. For example, our present father could have been in successive incarnations in turn: our mother, our daughter, brother, lover etc. Looking out of curiosity into our previous incarnations we may suddenly see ourselves in the role of the killer of, e.g. our beloved child in its present incarnation. I know many people who can't reconcile themselves to seeing themselves as the perpetrator of harm to someone, or as someone's victim. For instance, a young woman saw during a séance that in a previous incarnation her much-loved father was a villain who beat and raped her. When she came to me she was not just terrified and crushed, but she had also lost confidence in the sense of life altogether. Only after we had gone through another of her incarnations in which she had done something terrible to her father that she started to understand something of what had happened. However, she never managed to rebuild her confidence in her father. What remains with us from our previous stays on Earth? I consider that everything we've worked through in previous incarnations is our experience, our life's wisdom, and everything we still have to work through comprise our difficulties and challenges. How we cope with these challenges gives us a picture of how far advanced we are along that road.
4. I confess it was a big shock to me to read that after death a person may not realize that they have died. How then can they resolve to pass through "to the other side" and to make for the Light? And if they remain conscious that they are still "alive" then they must suffer very much being unable to communicate with their nearest and dearest. How, then, can those nearest and dearest help them pass through "to the other side"?
The reason a person doesn't realize they have died is because for them nothing has changed. Since they can see their body, hear and feel exactly the same as they could when alive, then what can indicate to them that they have died? What signpost could show them that they should go in the direction of the Light in order to pass through "to the other side"? It happens not only in the case of sudden death when it is a surprise for the ghost but also in every other case when the ghost comes across something it wasn't expecting. Let's assume, for instance, that someone believed that his life would end in the grave. Believing he is still alive, he continues to behave as before. He returns to work, to his home where he continues to live, go shopping, to his friends, to his club etc. He tries to communicate with those close to him, usually unsuccessfully. What he will do next depends precisely on what he would have done when he was alive. One person will wonder what he has done wrong that nobody talks to him, and will fawn and apologize, another will be irritated and become aggressive. She might even provoke the members of the family to mutual aggression, fights or self-harm. Arguments will become a daily routine in such families. Others will become truculent, trying at all costs to turn attention to themselves. For one it will be enough simply to haunt the home, or the place of work or that of its friends, another will conclude that in order to continue functioning it needs a body, so it will try simply to steal one. Whether or not it succeeds in this will depend on the emotional state of the person whom the ghost sees as a potential victim. Here I refer you back to my answer to the first question where I replied why we shouldn't let ourselves be sad, unhappy, sick, angry, jealous, drunk etc. There is only one way to help a ghost that doesn't know it has died - by constantly explaining to it that it is no longer alive.
5. I assume that someone who loves us doesn't wish to do us any harm even when they're no longer alive. After all, they haven't stopped loving us because they "remain" also with all their feelings, habits, desires etc. Why then do the ghosts of people close to us haunt us?
The ghosts of those close to us remain because our mutual "love" (in fact it has more to do with mutual fear than love) binds them to us as if with chains. Because of our great despair we won't let go of our "beloved" person, or they, seeing our despair, don't have the strength to leave, saving that for later. Time passes and the ghost starts to lack the energy to live. In order to go on it must draw on energy from people who are nearby. Most often these will be people who are close to it. This bond between a person and a ghost grows stronger and stronger and a ghost may then enter a person's body. After a while, all that remains is a struggle for the person's body and its energy. In the majority of cases the ghost starts to forget whose body it is that it has possessed and starts taking it as its own. It even believes that it is the human who is the intruder and has possessed it, and it starts to fight the person. It forgets about the relationship because that counts only here, on the earthly level. That's why we must remember that when someone close to us dies we must allow them to leave at the appointed time even though our heart suffers from despair. If we don't permit this then we will destroy its life and ours.
6. Does every haunting bring evil? And if so, then why?
Every haunting brings evil with it, and its scale depends on how powerful it is. If the ghost is merely drawing energy then the person will feel constantly tired and irritated. When a ghost enters the body, the manifestations may be various. They range from those that are barely noticeable to those around, to various kinds of disorders and physical illnesses, all the way to severe mental illnesses. The visiting ghost is often someone's mother, father, much-loved granddad or granny. It's not caused by a ghost's ill-will, just by a battle for survival based on the ghost's erroneous understanding.
7. You write that if, after death, a person misses the moment of moving towards the light then he will stay on Earth. And in one of your chapters ("Mental illnesses...") you write: "Meanwhile, the great grandfather had decided to pass through to the Light". So who is it that "decides"? The ghost itself? Is it capable of making such a decision without the help of an exorcist?
A ghost will stay on earth up to the moment it becomes aware that it is no longer alive, that it wants to leave. However, the decision of what to do - to stay or to go to the other side - is always taken by the ghost. A ghost has free will and no-one has the right to decide for it. Naturally, there are many exorcists who aren't concerned for the ghosts, simply driving them out against their will. This, however, is always a short-term success since it's most often the case that the expelled ghost comes back to the person immediately, or at best will enter him or her after a while. If it doesn't succeed in doing that, it will find itself another person who might happen to be close by.
8. What are exorcisms?
If we look on exorcisms purely from the point of view of the possessed person then we're dealing with driving a ghost out of a person. As I've just said, in the majority of cases that is exactly how they are done. However, I approach it in a completely different way because I don't expel ghosts, I free people from them. How? Above all by making the ghost aware that it is not alive and explaining why it should leave. Often, this therapy works and then I help the ghost pass through to the other side. Nevertheless, accepting to leave can be difficult. One ghost doesn't want to leave because it doesn't feel sufficiently worthy, another fears punishment, a third is kept on earth by its attachment to, e.g., sex, and another one may be restrained by its family. Often it needs many sessions to help a ghost undertake what is a difficult decision for it. It's the same kind of therapy one uses with living people. It often happens that the same therapy one uses with a ghost has to be applied to one of the members of the family or, worse still, to the whole family. That happens when the ghost is ready to leave but the family won't let it go at any cost. As you can see, I free people from ghosts, and ghosts from people.
9. Why don't you need direct contact with the possessed person to free them from a ghost or ghosts? Isn't a telephone conversation or a letter not too little?
For me as an exorcist, just as for a ghost, time and distance do not exist. If I want to talk to the ghost of a haunted person then regardless of where they may be - in the next room, the next street, or a different continent, I have the same contact with them as if they were sitting the other side of the desk. Because I can perform exorcisms with the same effect, or even better, remotely, I have given up performing them next to the haunted person. My patients are people from all over the world and for many of them this way of doing things saves them huge stress, time and money. You have to understand that an exorcism isn't one visit, like to a dentist, though that can happen, too, but often a long-lasting and very unpleasant process (if it is carried out in the presence of the patient). Since I don't have personal contact with the possessed person I need their exact details in order to place them precisely when I start the cleansing. These details are sent to me in various ways - by email, telephone, letter or fax.
10. You warn people against spiritualist seances. Why? After all, many people, especially young people, treat them as a game, as a special kind of "emotional thrill".
I do warn against spiritualist seances. Many of my patients are the victims of just such "games". It often happens that they didn't provide the emotional thrill because no ghost appeared, but shortly afterwards something bad starts to happen in our bodies or our lives. Insofar as ordinary "ghosts" will leave sooner or later, those that are invited in during a seance not only don't wish to leave but torment their victim in a very perfidious manner. As often as not they are driven by the basest of motives, the ghost torments its victim on the basis that since you wanted to play games with me now I will play games with you. Since I am no longer living, you die: leading to suicides or murders, or - since I am already damned I'll make sure that you will be damned and coerce you to commit misdemeanors, robberies and rapes.
11. Please analyze this situation: an acquaintance of mine - when she was a student - liked to "play" at summoning ghosts. Once, when her brother and his wife went on vacation, the girls summoned up ghosts in their home. Apparently the ghost "came" but didn't want to leave. They couldn't "dispel" it so they "left it" in the home of the girl's brother. To this day he knows nothing about it, he's changed homes, he's getting on splendidly... As my acquaintance tells it, they have just one problem - he and his daughter both suffer from a strange form of eczema. That is an illness which has never appeared in their family. Can the "left" ghost be the cause of this illness?
In fact it often happens that one person summons up a ghost and somebody completely else becomes visited. It does so when someone completely unaware of the fact, and therefore defenseless, enters a room which is full of summoned ghosts. The effects of that can be various. The one you describe is one of the more mild, unfortunately there are those which are far more severe in their consequence. I daren't assess whether or not the illness is caused by the visitation. Before that I would need to check, and to do that I need these people's details.
12. How does it happen that possessed people fall victim to the same illnesses that the ghost which is visiting them suffered?
If a person dies as the result of some illness, then death itself does not liberate them from the illness. For that to happen, they would have to pass through to the other side of death's curtain, where they will be cured. If a ghost remains, then its illness remains, too. After a while, it starts to lack a body and energy to continue functioning. It starts to look for the most appropriate donor in every respect. It very often happens that this turns out to be someone from the closest family since during mourning we are very open to the other world. When a ghost with a disease enters the body of a person then after a while the same, or very similar, disease starts to develop in that person. This phenomenon can best be observed when cleansing patients suffering from diseases which are visible to the naked eye like tumors, skin complaints, Alzheimer's, autism, epilepsy and so on. When the ghost is absent then there is no disease, when the ghost returns then the disease returns with it. Naturally, when the ghost departs once and for all, then the disease departs with the ghost. That's how it is with all illnesses caused by ghosts. If, when the ghost departs the disease remains then it is the patient's own disease. Nevertheless, leading a ghost away from a sick person is the same as taking a huge weight off his back. Now it's far easier for him to overcome the mental problems which are at the root of his sickness.
13. What are the signs that a ghost or ghosts are present in a home? What should make us uneasy? Can we "sense" the presence of a ghost?
If we can't sense the presence of a ghost then why wonder if it's there? If we feel that someone is haunting us, and there has recently been a funeral then it's enough to observe our emotions and thoughts, the changes at home and we'll know right away what a given ghost is trying to convey to us. There's no need to be afraid because, after all, this is a soul which is close to us. Most often the ghost wants to tell us that it continues to live, that it's fine and that it's saying goodbye to us for the last time. When we're afraid of that and close our eyes and ears to this kind of visit, then every ghost will react in a different way, but most frequently they will all depart shortly. It's different, however, when a ghost who is unaware that it is no longer alive and returns home like nothing has happened. It continues to function like it did when alive and behaves in the same way. One ghost will be acquiescent, avoiding conflicts and, living under the same roof we won't even notice that it is among us unless it draws on our energies too intensively. Another ghost will make a noise, won't let us sleep, will constantly be knocking on walls, moving objects, taking, destroying, knocking over anything it finds. Sometimes it will do this nastily as a revenge for the fact that it's addressing us and we don't listen. There are rapacious ghosts who won't let anyone live in their homes and anyone who steps over the threshold they'll throw out, terrify, and even try to kill. Ghosts like that inhabit houses that have been empty or almost empty for years because when someone does stay there then he or she will usually be someone who is tired by life, completely dominated by the ghost present there.
14. Now I'll give you two examples from my own experience: My friend died when she was 30 as the result of a brain aneurysm. It was a great blow to me. For a long time I felt as if she was next to me, in my apartment, in my dreams. When she appeared in my dreams she'd explain to me that it wasn't true, she hadn't died. She was joyful, beautiful. She explained that she had gone away for a while somewhere and will come back, that we'll meet soon and then I'll believe she hadn't died. After waking I wondered for quite a long while if I really had been to her funeral because the dreams were very realistic, truthful, persuasive... In the end I had to go to her grave and "have a heart to heart talk" with her. From that time on Gabrysia no longer appears in my dreams, though I do remember her occasionally. Can I "summon" her with these thoughts and memories? The second case: within a matter of four months of each other my two grandmothers died. The first, with whom I was very close, told me she didn't want me to see her death. During her illness I stayed with her day and night. Only one day I had to go to my college to collect some documents. When I returned I saw her neighbor at my grandmother's door. I knew that my grandmother was dead. Does this mean that a person can choose the moment of their death? When my other grandmother - Agnieszka - died, I was late for part of the funeral in a chapel. So I didn't see her when the coffin was open. The day after the funeral I was sitting on the sofa, reading a book. I can't remember the moment I fell asleep, I didn't feel like I was going to drop off at all. At a certain moment both my dead grandmothers and grandfather walked into the room. They sat down on the chairs and started to tell me what "the other world" is like. They said that silence doesn't reign in the cemetery, quite the reverse. It's very "noisy" there. They said that "they" are among us but that we don't see "them". At a certain moment the grandmother who didn't want me to be at her death said: "We have to go because there is a woman in the hospital who is dying of the same disease that Agnieszka died of (cancer of the colon). She is suffering a great deal, we have to be with her." They didn't "vanish", they simply left the room. And I jumped off the sofa onto my feet. My sister-in-law is a doctor. I called her and told her my "dream". She confirmed that my granny Agnieszka had a small trickle of blood in the corner of her mouth when she lay in the coffin. She called the hospital. It was true, that day a woman had died of cancer of the colon. Was it a dream? And if it was, what did it mean? Why do ghosts occasionally want to make contact with us? Why don't they do it more often? I mean, it would be so simple - we know what's "on the other side" so we're not afraid of the "passing through". Why do we have to constantly ask what will come after death? Why has God condemned us to such a state of ignorance? Maybe there is some reason for it... What is it?
The ghosts you're talking about came to you to give proof that life doesn't end in the grave, that though they're dead physically they're fine, or better even than they were when alive, and to say goodbye. There's nothing unusual in that, nearly every ghost does this. Not every one has the good fortune your grandparents did to be seen and heard. Your grandparents' visit was motivated by concern for you and its purpose was to generate a state of fearlessness in you. After all, since we live on after our physical deaths, then what else is there to be afraid of? Your grandparents said goodbye and left for the other side. Unfortunately, your friend didn't do the same. She did not leave and when she comes up to you, you think about her right away. If you hadn't bid her farewell when you did then you would undoubtedly now have a brain aneurysm and wouldn't know what to do about it. Indeed, it is the soul that decides when and how to die. That's why people often die at the moment when we let them out of our sight for just a second, even in the most modern of hospitals. That always occurs when there is a danger that when a given person wants to die then everyone will try to save them. They need to do that to let the soul leave. As you can see yourself, God hasn't punished us with ignorance at all, it's just that when He tries to tell us something then there are usually very few people wanting to listen. Even when some information is conveyed to us, then other, "wiser" people will drum it out of our heads and say that it was most probably only a dream.
15. In your view, does the Catholic Church transmit the truth about this and "the other" world?
I do not consider that the Catholic Church transmits the truth about this and the other world. This isn't because it wants to knowingly deceive us but because its dogmas are based on pillars that have been changed through the ages according to the needs of the currently reigning heads, not just the church's. I've written more widely about this in my book. Besides, one doesn't have to go that far back. It's enough to go back a few years to see that what used to be a sin and what had to be confessed is not one now and vice versa. In my practice I have dealt with ghosts who were afraid to leave for the other side because, for example, they used to eat meat on Fridays and it was hard to explain to them that it's not a sin and that God is waiting for them with open arms. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply just to lay people, there are among ghosts who are afraid to leave many priests, too.
16. If the explanation of many misfortunes, diseases, family problems is as simple as it says in your book, why isn't it universally applied? Why, despite the experience of many people, almost nobody believes in ghosts?
That's simple - the majority of people are practicing believers and they believe what their church believes, and churches want to consider every visitation to be a psychiatric disorder or the work of Satan. The present state of affairs exists because during the time of the Inquisition the church of the time forbade the performing of exorcism even to priests. It was only 300 years later that the ritual of exorcism was reinstated, but there are many priests who believe it to be only an unnecessarily exhumed superstition. In the face of such facts, people's faith in ghosts cannot be popular. Yet let this testify to just how essential this knowledge is: I have in the course of five months this year sold ten thousand of my books and I have dozens of queries concerning possession by ghosts every day.