Can we inherit ghosts and haunting?
Some families are known to pass down different, odd types of ghost experiences whose appearances seem to be precursors to family tragedies, even death.
These types of “family ghosts” may be ominous sounds that are heard such as knocking, ticking, etc. and, many times, they are apparitions -- but they are not always the ghosts of people. Some examples of the phantoms may be see-through appearances of animals (such as birds, fish, dogs, etc.), plants (e.g. ivy, trees, etc.), or even inanimate objects such as clocks, cars, or bells. Spirits of monks, drummers, nuns, knights, the white lady, the gray man, etc. can be noted, familial harbingers of doom.
It's certainly mind-bending to think that descendents of a certain haunted clan might have inherited such ghastly omens. And it is fair to say that there have been many ghost stories of haunted families found in a multitude of countries. What is behind the mystery of these ghost stories, we just cannot say -- but they exist just the same. But are such ghosts real?
Cases of Odd Ghosts
The following is an excerpt from the the 1933 book entitled, Family Ghosts by author Elliott O'Donnell who was intrigued by such stories he chased down around the world to bring to his readers:
"Family ghosts may be regarded as ghosts which, or peculiar reasons, are attached to certain families. Their particular function, it would seem, is to warn the families they haunt of some impending catastrophe, usually a death. In some cases there is either a something in the appearance of the family ghost, or in its mode of demonstrating, that suggests it is a species of a spirit quite apart from the spirits of dead humans; whilst in other cases, there may be something both in its appearance and in the past history of the family it haunts that leads one to infer it is actually the spirit of a human being, a being that once lived upon this earth.
I am of course assuming that the phenomenon designated family ghost is superphysical, that is to say, that it cannot be satisfactorily explained by any physical laws. I, myself, believe such to be the case. I do not, of course, expect everyone to agree with me, for after all belief in ghosts and the superphysical in general, which can neither be proved or disproved, must largely depend on one's own instinct and experience. Hence, with regard to my own views upon this subject, since they are so purely individual, to expect everyone to concur in them would be, on my part, most unreasonable and foolish; and yet, despite, to my mind, the obvious fact that concerning all supernatural matters one can, at the most, only speculate and theorize, many people do, presumably, expect universal acceptance of their dogmas andunqualified assertions relating to the existence of a spirit world and the origin or explanation of family ghosts."
"Belief in such phenomena is probably as old as belief in any creed or religion. The ancient Israelites and Egyptians believed not only in a spirit, sometimes celestial, and sometimes very much the reverse, attendant on individuals, but also in a spirit attendant on and closely associated with the destinies of nations, tribes and families. Moreover, this belief, which was held by Pythagoras, Plato and other eminents of ancient Greece, was not confined to any one part of the globe; it would seem to have been them, even as it is now, to a very large extent ubiquitous. The distribution of the family or destiny type of ghost, however, appears to be very unequal and quite unrelated to the size of population of a country; for we find many more family ghosts in Scotland and Ireland, for instance, than we do in France or Spain. In the last-named country, they appear to be extremely rare, though hauntings of other species of ghostly phenomena seem to be fairly common.
Why this is so I cannot explain, neither can I explain why a certain type of family ghost is peculiar to certain countries and races. For example, the dreadful hag-like thing with the scaly wings, popularly known as the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn or Hag of the Dribble, is not, so far as I know, to be found outside of Wales, where it is common enough; while Banshees are the exclusive property of those descended from the ancient Irish. The family ghost does not invariably take on the form of anything inanimate. As I have already stated, it manifests its presence in a variety of ways. In some families, for instance, it manifests its presence by a peculiar ticking sound that materialists attribute to the timber-boring beetle; in other families by the guttering of a candle suggestive of a shroud. Sceptics will say this phenomena is due to a draught (draft), but I have seen it occur where there has been no draught, and known it to be, in this instance, the precursor of a death in the family of certain of those who witnessed it.
Again, the family ghost is sometimes manifest in the weird noise made by the death's head moth, the hooting of the tawny owl, the howing of a dog in the dead of night, and also in the fluttering of a strangebird against a window, the falling, from no apparent cause, of a picture, and the sudden cracking, likewise from no apparent cause, of an ink-pot or piece of crockery."
Thoughts About Exorcism of Family Ghosts
"Apropos these inanimate objects, a few words about ghost laying. It may be gathered from the foregoing that the word ghost has a very elastic meaning, and that it does not, as is popularly supposed, refer exclusively to the spirits of those humans as well as animals who have passed over, but comprehends all kinds of phenomena associated with hauntings. Now, as such phenomena include projections or phantasms of the living, spirits of the insane, phantom ships and motor-cars, and all varieties of elementals, or spirits that one surmises have never inhabited any carnal body, the idea of laying them must appear ludicrous to any rational mind. There are many well-corroborated cases of phantasms of the living being mistaken for ghosts in the popular sense, that is in the sense that they are spirits of the departed, and it would be ust as sensible to talk of laying these phantasms as it would be to talk of laying shadows; for phantasms of the living are merely shadows, shadows of their flesh and blood bodies, and therefore they are just as incapable as any other shadwo would be of response to exorcism, or, in other words, of being laid.
It follows, of course, that it would be just as useless to attempt to lay the ghost of an idiot or a motor-car. The former would not understand what was being said, and the latter would be as incapable of hearing and comprehending as its physical counterpart.
Attempts have often been made to lay family ghosts, but there is no authentic recorded instance of any such attempt proving successful, nor, indeed, of any such attempt making an impression whatsoever on the ghost. Banshees, for instance, have been repeatedly addressed by those attempting to lay them, but no response has ever been obtained, which leads one to suppose either that they do not comprehend what is said to them, or that their haunting is ordained by some Power or Powers behind the scenes, and nothing mortal man can do or say will hinder or prevent it. And so with other family ghosts, phantom drummers, phantom riders, phantom birds. Priests and other would-be ghost "layers" have tried to lay them, but the result has been ever the same - nil and the hauntings have gone on. Hence, it seems fairly evident that family ghosts will continue to haunt, so long as any of the family they are, apparently, doomed to haunt, remain."