Question from a Reader: How Do You See Ghosts?

Hi Anna,

I am currently living in Shanghai with my wife. There are a lot of spirits here!

I had an odd occasion a few months ago. I woke up to find a Chinese girl pop out of my wife while I was turning over in bed. The Chinese girl turned around and walked out of the bedroom. The bedroom door was closed as well.

She looked like a real person. I think I’ve gotten to the point now where I know they exist in the real world and I can hear them all the time in the room (creaks, and what not) and see them – my brain creates a special construct to view incoming input. Why should I not see them too?

I was wondering if you see spirits, and if so, how are they represented to you? Why are all these spirits stuck in this world? I figured I try and help the ones I can to move on, but I just wanted to get your thoughts.

Thanks. Love the site!

~ Shannon

Hi Shannon,

Some people, like you, are especially sensitive to ghosts (FYI here on my website I also call them earthbound spirits.)

Here is my experience of them:

When I see Spirits, I see them in my mind’s eye (the mind’s eye is what you see when you shut your eyes.) I don’t see them in front of me, as I would see a real person.

When I’m very relaxed I can get faces pop into my mind’s eye – faces that I haven’t seen before. This can happen when I am having Reflexology, Craniosacral therapy or some other bodywork which is putting me into the alpha state.

These faces look just like the faces of normal people who are alive, except I don’t always know who these people are.

So I run through my mental checklist when that happens –

Is this my Spirit Guide? If yes, there is usually some benevolent energy there, it’s not neutral, it’s kindly and nice and focused on me.

Is this my guardian angel? This energy to me feels more otherworldly, extremely loving, and it evokes emotion in me.

Is it a deceased loved one? If it is, there is usually someone close by who the “face” wants to talk to.

In a few cases, the spirit could even be an unborn child in which case it will present as a child and have some message for you. But that’s less common.

If it’s not any of those, it’s usually a ghost.

Be aware that when you first wake up, you can ‘see’ things which are a sort of carry-over from the dream state or astral plane, so they are not always ghosts as such if they disappear as soon as you are fully awake.

Why Spirits Get Stuck Here

When a person dies, they will either cross over fully, cross over to some degree or become earthbound here in the physical.

When a person crosses over fully, they wave goodbye to the earth plane, and continue on their soul’s journey with no ties left over to their last life. This is more likely to happen if the soul has no unfinished business here.

Sometimes a soul may cross over fully but will ‘keep an eye on’ this plane. This can happen for example if a parent with a young family dies. It is highly likely that such a person will keep one eye on their family and will come through during mediumship readings as a result. Other emotional attachments can cause the same thing to happen. This means that a portion of the soul’s emotional body is still here. This is not the same as being completely earthbound and the soul will eventually move on.

Then sometimes a soul will not cross over at all and leave their emotional or mental body behind at death. This can occur in circumstances where the death is really traumatic. It can happen to people who are afraid of hell or the judgment of God when they die. It can happen when there was a murder. It can also occur with people who are addicted to some earthly substance and cannot move beyond this.

When this happens, the emotional or mental body is not taken with the soul upon death but instead is left here. It does not literally mean the soul is completely stuck and unable to move on forever, but it does mean the soul is missing a piece of their ‘puzzle’, and so lessons and traumas from their lifetime are not fully addressed or integrated and this may affect the soul upon its next incarnation. Some souls may have ‘pieces’ of themselves which are still woven into past lives and times. And for those who are sensitive, they can show up as ghosts in certain locations, repeating the same actions, stuck in the same patterns.

What I do when I find a ghost is I ask the ghost to move along. Ghosts do hang around people, and it’s not an ideal situation, engaging with ghosts does not help them particularly – it’s a no win situation.

If ghosts are bothering you, I would recommend getting a house clearing. Smudging with sage also makes ghosts leave. Make sure that certain “paranormal” phenomena aren’t something more down to earth. For example, mysterious draughts and cold spots can often be explained by something more mundane.

If you are picking up on a lot of ghosts it may be that you are particularly sensitive to them. If you are and you don’t want to be, I recommend requesting the following:

“Spirit/God, I intend to close my aura off to all random earthbound spirits, and stay connected to only my Higher self, Spirit Guides, Guardian angels and all those high-vibrational spirits that are with me at the choice of my soul.”

You also have to want to close yourself off. As a professional intuitive, I have an incentive because otherwise I would be “tuned in” too much and my energy gets wasted.

I used to try and help every earthbound spirit who came to me and I was sometimes busy with these “clients” who showed up at night. Don’t feel you have to help just because you can sense them. There are angels and guides who are ready to escort these souls to the other side when they are ready.

I hope that answers your question.

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Sarah

    Ive been told to look in per phial vision. I see spiders when I open my eyes sometimes and some times have to check my bed for them. What does that mean?

  2. Hello

    Is clairvoyance and clairaudience the best ways to sense spirits? It is not common to hear of people with claircognizance sensing spirits.

  3. isabelle

    spider..for years i was seeing them from the veils..1 morning 12 years ago around 4 :45 a huge one big like an apple was over my head, i said..come on..if you are a sort of totem animal you have to be that big ? its not serious and i chose not to give any fear and energy to this..i felt asleep. the following week..a neighbors vacuuming is floor share something surprising , a great info not knowing it was more from just sharing a story. he said..last week..i made a curious where in you’re bed sleeping and a huge spider was over you’re head..– i toke it and killed it. i patrol in you’re dream..helping and just prove me..there is not wall in the astral..this physical plan is and illusion and not structure like it appear to be. i don’t see spider like i use too..after that.. the phenomena vanish. my totem animal is the whale.confirm and i am living it. for seeing ghost..not to much..i have seen animal ghost..i feel more the energy..and implants and all, transfer being done from one to and clean in the nature and clean automatically now..working on a conscious way not to attract to many similar memories or help i do practice forgiveness meditation..and so many people are..we are changing this world. bravo to us..seing us achieving mind from bad programs far from sacred self instead of feeding vision of failure is one way!!!

  4. emma

    i always feel spirit around me and hear noises all the time but i can’t see them, although i used to see them when i was younger but not anymore

  5. Danielle

    I see one ghost it was a dog ghost I did not get fear from it so I did not tell anyone about becouse it was happy to see all the people that was there and I can see it like it was real it was so cool but I can’t see ghost now I used to see it when I was younger too. It was a golden retriever I think it was my spirit animal and I look to see if anyone was see what I see but no one was looking at the dog so I look back it was there and I wave my hand to see if the dog will move it don’t but it did after I wave my hand the 3 time it leave and I never see it again.

  6. Mary

    Only recently do I feel like my sensitivity turned “on”. I lost my mom last year, and during the time prior to and following her death, strange things really started happening – or I just became more aware maybe. From number patterns (333, 444, 1010, 1111, etc.) repeating to sensing/hearing things. Once before my mom passed, after performing the never ending job of picking up my son’s room, I walked through some kind of “field” when leaving his room. I do want to be more in touch with my intuition and guides/angels but do feel uneasy at times when not knowing quite “what” is going on/who is there. This article was so timely, it’s amazing. Thank you for including the request to close one’s aura.

  7. Jess brown

    Hi, yes I see spirits all the time. I see them in different forms, sometimes they might be a colored mist, other times an orb, I’ve seen a man walk past and he looked exactly like a human but other times I see Angels in their full form hovering above me.. I’m fortunate enough to see the angels daily but get a much more detailed vision of them in my dreams and my minds eye then when I see them externally.. I hear them speak to me can smell them and the other she blewon my cheek…

  8. Jess brown

    That’s blew on my cheek 🙂

  9. Wayne

    I have seen what you could call ghosts, figures that are gone the moment I look directly at them.
    I am more likely to see energy that flashes into my sight then it is gone again they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, sometimes they come into human form like the blue man I have seen a couple of times.
    First time I saw him he was right in front of me I walked past him as I said G’day the second time he was off in the distance watching me.
    I have seen large Orbs they where transparent almost shaped like a bean seeds and I have seen them in many colours they reminded me of an unborn children. I watched one for about half hour one night it floated from front door to chair and back again it was like it was nocking on the door then to go and sit in the chair when there was no answer.
    My dead cat turned up one day as a ball of light.

  10. Elaine

    My son 25 years old died on 5/8/2012 a week before his 26th birthday 12/8/2012.
    Two months prior to his dead, he came to say goodbye to me in a dream that seemed so real. I called him that morning, because he lived in another town and told him to be careful when driving because soon he will be in a car accident. I checked up on him everyday since the dream. For two months I was in terrible state and it felt like there was a dark cloud hanging over me.

    He died and there was nothing I could do about it.

    I don’t see my son but I hear him around me all the time. My granddaughter sees him and call him on his name. I showed her his picture since she was born. She is now one year and eight months.

  11. David

    Well put, Anna. When I was young, I was aware of “ghosts” but found them fearful. I was told they were just my imagination and eventually learned to turn it off. When I began a spiritual path later, the perceptions came back but again I didn’t have the right information and had not learned to discriminate. I again turned that off. Finally, I learned what you describe here and came back to it again, only now knowing how to discriminate. All too often, I see people wanting to connect to their “guides” but being clueless about this. Some entities feed on attention so will happily engage you in whatever way you wish, but they’re not supporting you in any way. Tuning into how it feels is so key.

    I’d also note that when people first pass over, they often hang around for a few days, saying goodbye and letting things go. Being able to support them and say goodbye is a blessing. But if they’re confused about what has happened or as you say, bound to their past, they’re not willing to let go and so can’t make the transition. Those are the ones you go on to describe. Suicides are another group that also tends to be bound.

    Again, it’s the energy they’re attracted to. Like wild animals – don’t feed them and they won’t hang around.

    And to the question about Clairs, any of them will work, as well as some other faculties. Each of us tends to have a dominant sense and undeveloped skills so each of us will experience such things a little differently. If we have expectations about how we’re “supposed” to experience subtle things, that will get in the way of the honest experience. Just allow it to show up as it does.

    For the other question, I’d Google animal totems for suggested meaning, but use your intuition. What is the meaning for you? Also, you want to discriminate between symbolic experiences and more direct ones. The astral is a dream-like level where beings may communicate using symbols when more direct means don’t work. But don’t take the symbols literally. Explore what is being communicated. Plus, Anna’s advice about dream transitions is good. Discriminate and go for the highest.

  12. Veronica

    No i dont see ghost, i may see a deceased loved one in dreams but i think everyone does. I have had a bit of strange experiences since i moved in to this new apt. The first couple nights i dreamed i was saying this is a nice apt. Too bad theres a ghost here. During that same day my roomate said can you imagine if there was a ghost here? And then i remembered my dream because i had forgotten it lol and i was thrown off when he said that and i asked him why he said that he said no reason, it just occurred to me. Then weeks later i dreamed someone was telling me there was a ghost in the room next to my bedroom uh there is no room next to my bedroom but i could see it clearly in my dream there was a little hall outside my bedroom that lead to a room and in there i was told there was a ghost. The only thing next to my bedroom is the next apt so maybe they have a ghost lol
    I had another strange experience, i had one of those dreams where you know your asleep and you can see your bedroom and your body sleeping, well i was hearing 2 men talking wanting to reposition my body and move it and they were arguing. I got scared and i didnt want to hear their voices anymore in my dream so i started singing a song in my head but it wasnt a song i like or hear frequently it was like a 50s 60s classic oldies song lol and i tried so hard to wake up as i sang the song in my head. Let me tell you it hurt to wake up i dont know how to explain it, it was just painful coming out of that dream like feeling a severe headache or something.

  13. hello

    Thank you David.

  14. Shannon

    I used to see spirits with my physical eyes when I was younger. It scared me so bad I tried to shut it down. It sort of worked. I didn’t see them after a while but I could still feel their presence. At my age and in my situation, it was terrifying! As an adult, I have trained with several Mediums because I feel like it’s part of my calling, but I start to go back in time and I get scared all over again! It has been quite the journey. Every time I start training I start having nightmares. Like attacks in my dreams, things moving by themselves, etc. It’s like everything that used to really terrify me comes back in full force and I have to stop my training. I don’t think it’s earthbound spirits, though. I think it’s more that my guides are trying to get me to face my fears so I can move forward with my souls plan. But…that doesn’t make it any easier! My daughter sees them now but she isn’t scared at all. She has even had them show themselves after a horrific accident (blood, gore) and it doesn’t even phase her (she’s 9). She says they have never been mean to her and they don’t try to scare her. They just like to spend time with her. I’m really grateful that she is having a different experience than I did. Even more grateful that she chose me as her mom…not only because she’s totally awesome but she doesn’t have to grow up feeling like a freak because I’ve gone through it and I totally understand.

  15. Wayne

    PS. Seeing, Feeling & Hearing is the True State of Being Human. One Day it Will Be Normal. Thank You All I Feel I AM not alone.

  16. Mary Jane Allen

    I don’t see entities or earth bound spirits fully but I find I see their imprint, that’s the word that comes to me. I basically see them out of the corner of my eye sometimes or going around a corner, like they had been lurking there and because I’m coming they’re off. I find I feel things more and I know that I have some fears around “seeing” things. Even my guides. As much as I talk to them and get guidance I haven’t been able to see them yet and I’m going to clear around that so I can be more clairvoyant and see my guides and whatever else I could be seeing that would be helpful to me.

    Great post Anna and interesting subject, Shannon! 🙂
    Blessings to all,
    Mary Jane 🙂

  17. David

    Hi Shannon
    You may find it useful to study energy modalities. Learning to ground energetically and to be aware of our internal energy dynamics is very useful with this stuff. For example, many people run with their lower energy centres largely closed. This has the effect of amplifying negativity (negative energy) around us. Inversely, running wide open (as many kids do) is indiscriminate. Open allows the energy to flow through and away, like being transparent. But we also want to learn to discriminate what we give our attention to and how to clear energy “hits” that do land.

    The last part is also how we let go of old traumas. I can bet that your fear is not rooted in your childhood but in prior experiences that caused your early innocence to respond to similarly. Sounds like your understanding is correct. It can take a little time to unwind the big ones. Glad you have a daughter who exemplifies how it can be.

    Finally, being grounded in the divine puts us in a place of safety and produces “sattvic” energy that is not attractive to users. As they say, love is the answer. 😉

  18. anon

    I sometimes see clouds of dark energy in the air about 40-50cm wide and see through. I don’t like it. I ignore them and they go away.

  19. Lori Bauer

    Always great to hear from you Anna!!!! In the past I have caught things out of the corner of my eye. I have been touched before, I see people through dreaming from time to time and have heard my name called, turn and there is no one there. My Husband saw ghosts “all of the time” He passed away about a year and a half ago and now I find that I can hold a short internal conversation with him, almost like a phone call. I don’t believe I’m crazy either! When he does come for a talk, I know when he is there because of this instant absolutely overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness. I feel it’s a wonderful gift. What’s really interesting is there are others with him, from time to time…but I don’t carry on a conversation with them. I don’t know them…maybe someday they will introduce themselves????

  20. Fateema

    My little sister, who died after she was born, is an earthbound spirit until today. My whole family and even my fiance can see her linger. Objects in house often moved mysteriously, and she could even picked up a phone call on the family’s cellphone!! 😀 But we never considered her a parasite or sort.

    Also in my old home there were a looooooooot of spirits as well, and in our tradition we call them “genies”. My father is a medium and often had conversation with them, he even told them to guard our house :D. they’re not always bad after all. But their presence is scary, I’m sensitive to ghost presence and leaving the house then is a breath of relief!

  21. Kenya

    Love your blog! Thank you. Namaste

  22. Kristen

    Hi, Anna. I really love your site, and you inspire me greatly. Your personal story is strikingly similar to mine, and though that is a tale for another time, I would just like to say that you are a source of encouragement.

    Almost everything you have said resonates with me, and I respect your experience and wisdom. I have to ask about your approach to ghosts, though, as I am a bit confused.

    Mediumship has been my strong suit since before I could talk, although I didn’t always know that, and I have always been strongly aware of, communicated or interacted with, or chased off various entities.

    This is a very small part of my spiritual journey, but relevant to the question I would like to ask. In high school, I used to escape from an overwhelming life and a lot of depression by going for long walks or drives by myself, and one of my paths took me past a cemetery everyday. I would see spirits regularly, so I wasn’t surprised to see them there either. One day out of nowhere I just walked right in, sat down at an arbitrarily chosen grave and started pouring my heart out to them, crying, and I must have talked for like 3 hours. Then it got dark and I walked home, and of course a number of the spirits stuck around me.

    Here is where I start to get confused by your explanation of interacting with spirits of people who used to be here. (And this may just be my own misunderstanding of the terms)

    Some of them were empty, wandering souls. Some of them were downright antagonistic, and some of them were too focused on their own pain, but most of them were compassionate and got rid of those few soon enough. (Good people don’t spend too much time around bad ones in life or in death.) After a while, I didn’t feel like my energy was drained, even though you write about unnecessary spirits being around as a “no-win” situation. I really do think we helped each other. I was so much more at peace, working through my problems and getting my priorities straight. And I learned all their stories, all the reasons they were still here, and some of them eventually crossed over. Some of them went back to the cemetery, and some of them just got fainter over time until they weren’t really there anymore.

    Since then, I have sought out on multiple occasion the nearest “dead person” for various reasons. Once I needed them the scare the everliving daylights (as my grandmother would say) out of a guy who was harassing me on the downtown train. Another time I was really lost and alone in the middle of nowhere and a kindly old farmer helped me with directions. I have also asked them to send messages to people for me (worked every time except once. He didn’t take directions well.)

    Perhaps I have always considered anyone who was previously alive and is no longer alive but still here a “ghost” and I like some of them more than others but none of them bother me. Even the eternally drunk ones can help sometimes if you know how to ask them. So I am very confused as to why you are so insistent that they should always be asked to leave.

  23. Anna

    Some interesting experiences here, thank you everyone for posting.

    Sarah – I am not sure what seeing spiders means for you. When I’m stressed or anxious I dream about spiders all over the bedroom ceiling and walls and when I wake up I think they’re in my bedroom still. So I see that as a stress/panic dream. It all depends on what you associate spiders with.

  24. Maria

    Anna, this is a very timely article. I have had several encounters with ghosts in the past couple years. I used to think it would be fun or romantic to encounter a real ghost, but the ones I have encountered have been extremely creepy. Is the closing off of the aura procedure something you do once and never again, or does it need to be done on an ongoing basis? And how often does it need to be done to be effective? Thanks.

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