Do Ghosts Know They're Dead?

March 28, 2014
Originally posted at

 Chuck and Rachel Gotski

It's the way of live radio that things don't always go as planned. I've been co-hosting 
Paranormal Underground Radio with Rick Hale for years now, and occasionally all of our carefully laid plans go up in smoke minutes before the show is supposed to air. Heck, sometimes it happens when the show is already on the air - such as when a guest fails to answer their phone when we call them for their interview partway through the show. 

When these situations arise, what listeners hear on the air is mild dismay along the lines of, "Oh shoot! I was really looking forward to talking to him/her." 

What goes on behind the scenes, however, can only be described as all-out bedlam. While we sound calm on the air, we're usually in the midst of a full-blown panic about how we are going to entertain our listeners for the next few hours. Still, when these things happen, we know we just have to wing it, and so we do. Ironically, sometimes these panic-inducing shows turn out to be among my favorite we've ever done.

Such is the case of our show last night. Rick was off for the evening, and our guest canceled at the last minute. Fortunately the fabulous Chuck Gotski of In the Dark Radio filled in for Rick, and he brought his lovely daughter, Rachel, along as a guest (that's Chuck and Rachel, above). Rachel is 17 and gearing up for her first investigation with her dad's team. Chuck and I wound up picking her brain for over an hour, getting one teen's view of all of this paranormal stuff.  It led to some pretty thought-provoking conversation that continued after Rachel said good-bye. As Chuck and I continued our on-the-air conversation, listeners in the chat room had plenty of questions for the two of us that led to in-depth discussion about paranormal and metaphysical topics.

One listener asked a question I actually get a lot, and it's this: Do ghosts know they are dead? 

It's a good question. It's also one that's the subject of much debate in the paranormal field. I've formed my own opinion based on my years of experience communicating with ghosts, the metaphysical and spiritual understanding I have of the universe based on my education and studies, as well as activities in which I've engaged such as spirit communication and life-between-lives hypnotherapy.

I don't believe it is a question of whether ghosts know they are dead. I would imagine some do and some may be confused. In some cases, what we experience as "ghosts" are people who have already crossed over coming back to visit from the other side. These spirits definitely know they're dead, and they're just checking in on people or places they've loved. Other energies we experience as ghosts may not be dead at all. One theory suggests they could be spirits of people sleeping and traveling astrally in dreams. Others may be living people consciously engaged in astral travel. Other spirits we encounter might just be a recording of a life event - nothing more than a memory that plays itself over and over similar to a song on a DVD.

But what of those spirits who, for lack of a better definition, seem like they could be trapped here in this plane as ghosts, unable to cross over to the other side?

This is what I believe: These spirits aren't trapped. They can cross over whenever they wish because the doorway is always there, open to them. Instead, the issue many of these types of spirits have is that they continue to remain ego-identified with who they were in their last lifetime. It's not a matter of whether they know they are dead. It's that they don't remember who they truly are as a soul. Somehow, their identity has remained entangled with their past living self, and they've temporarily forgotten that who they really are is a piece of the Divine.

I believe when we come into each lifetime, we agree to forget who we are as souls. It's like going to a movie, agreeing to suspend disbelief, and immersing oneself into the world of the film for a few hours. In the case of souls, we do this for a lifetime. Some people may remember who they really are and identify with their soul state during their lives. Others remain engaged in the illusion of life until the point of their death, when suddenly they let go of their ego identities and merge with their Divine (soul) selves. Others struggle with letting go of the ego-identity a little more and may remain as "earthbound" spirits until such a time as something (or someone) helps them to recall their own Divinity.

Does that mean they don't know they're dead? It's hard to say. What it does mean is that, for the moment, they don't recall their own Divinity. Eventually they will, because we all do. For now, they don't.

There are many reasons a spirit may remain ego-identified after death, such as wanting to protect possessions, attachment to a place, trying to find lost loved ones, asking to have a story told, or fear that acts in life may lead to Hell in the hereafter. There are as many reasons for remaining ego-identified as their are souls in that state. 

My goal is always to help them find a way to remember their Divinity so they can make the choice to go through the doorway and re-merge with the Source of all that is. Sometimes this takes a quick conversation. Sometimes it takes hours, days, weeks, months, or even years depending on the spirit and the situation. I never demand they go or tell them they have to cross over, because I believe it isn't my place to tell any other soul - living or dead - what he or she should do along the path. Instead, I communicate with them just as I would a living person in an attempt to help them resolve their issues so they can move on to the next stage of their evolution.


Be Careful With Those Antiques

March 22, 2014

When someone contacts SSPR about possible paranormal activity they are experiencing in their home or business, we ask a lot of questions, both over the phone and during an initial walk through of the home.

One of the questions we always ask is this: "Have you purchased antiques, items at a garage sale, or other used items?"

In many cases, the answer is yes. And in many of those cases, we believe we can trace the activity to the purchase of a specific object.

The Masonic Sword

For example, two cli...
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The Ghosts of the Museum

March 22, 2014
South Sound Paranormal Research was the first team to investigate the Lewis County Historical Museum, and it has been one of our favorite haunted places ever since. The museum was closed to investigation for a few years, but has reopened for it now. Read Karen's blog for details.
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Understanding Spirits

December 1, 2013
by Karen Frazier

Every soul I encounter – whether attached to a living or dead person – has its own unique “signature.” This signature is easy to understand when you think of a living person. Take a moment to think of someone you love. Close your eyes and put yourself in that person’s presence. There is a “feel” to that experience that is unique. If you switch to a different person in your mind’s eye, then the feel of the experience most likely changes, as well.

It is my exp...
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Spirit Communication

November 18, 2013
by Karen Frazier

I have a lot of people ask me about the things they see on paranormal television. One of the common questions goes a little something like this: "Have you ever been possessed or attacked like you see on the television shows?"

I've certainly had intense contact with spirits, but I've never experienced anything that I would consider an attack or possession.

As paranormal researchers, we enter haunted locations with the intent of engaging any ghosts that might be there. We invite t...
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Top Eleven Pieces of Advice I'd Give My Younger Psychic Self

October 10, 2013
by Karen Frazier
Reprinted from Paranormal Underground Magazine

It used to be that the paranormal scared me. I’ve told the story before of my time in a WWII-era haunted apartment. It was my first apartment and it freaked the crap out of me. I spent the next 20 years running from my paranormal self. If I were to run into that young, skinny, scared 21-year-old today, I’d offer her some advice that would probably make things a whole lot easier.  

11. It’s okay to just know things, so you ...
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Reconciling the Paranormal with Hinduism and Buddhism

April 24, 2013
by Melinda Stum  

The religious faith traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism have significant, long-lasting roots in our human history. These traditions are remarkably similar. Yet, they differ significantly in their perspectives of the human soul (or essence), the process of reincarnation, and the experience of the disembodied spirit (e.g. ghosts). 


The theological anthropology of Hinduism states that the human person is composed of three components: the physical body, the ksooshma shar...
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Reflections of a Closet Metaphysician

April 22, 2013
by Karen Frazier 
Originally printed in Paranormal Underground Magazine

Karen with her husband, Techie McScienceGeek (a.k.a. Jim)

When I wrote Dancing with the Afterlife: A paranormal memoir, I originally thought about subtitling it, “Tales of a Reluctant Psychic.” Then I started to do some research and discovered something significant. There are a lot of paranormal, spiritual, and metaphysical books out there with the word “reluctant” in their titles or subtitles. It turns out many o...
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On Being Psychic

April 22, 2013
by Karen Frazier

I know a guy who has some pretty impressive abilities. He's used them for years on investigations without the need to label or categorize them. Instead, he follows his instincts, and it helps him be a thorough and careful paranormal investigator. Once the label of psychic is applied to him, however, something changes. Suddenly those instincts, which have always flowed so naturally for him, seem to disappear. 

I understand completely. I've used my own instincts on investigations...

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SSPR Welcomes John, Melinda, and Megan

April 20, 2013

John, Melinda, and Megan

SSPR is proud to welcome our new members, John, Melinda, and Megan. All three have completed their six months as members in training and are now full members of SSPR! We're lucky to have them as part of our team.

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Uninvited Guests

April 15, 2013
Tuning in to a spirit empathically

I recently spent a weekend at a lovely haunted B&B. It is generally known this inn is haunted, but the owner prefers the fact isn't advertised. In the past, she's had issues with thrill seekers coming uninvited to her property and running amok, disrespecting the gentle spirits who live there (she calls them permanents), as well as her living guests. One particularly busy weekend, she reports, a paranormal team came into the hotel without permission and scatt...

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Respect for the Living & the Dead

March 25, 2013

One of the things that concerns me as a paranormal investigator/afterlife researcher is how our work might make the living feel. I often worry the relatives of the spirits  with whom we communicate might feel our research is disrespectful.
After all, I'm not sure how I'd feel if someone told me they believed my beloved grandmother haunted popular paranormal "hotspot," and people came through there every week to poke and prod at her in an attempt to communicate. My wish for everyone I love woul...
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Our Best Equipmen

March 18, 2013

One of the side effects of paranormal television is the influx of super cool new investigation gadgets. I admit it - while I don't watch a lot of paranormal television, I do occasionally. When there's a shiny, cool new gadget on a show I happen to be watching, I can hear the angels singing. I love gadgets because they are pretty darn cool.

Which is why many of our clients are surprised when I walk into their home or business with a pen and a piece of paper. 

It's not that I don't have a lot of ...
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Is it Time for a Paranormal Investigation?

March 17, 2013
We hear from potential clients all the time who are unsure whether they should be calling us.

Admittedly, calling in a paranormal team is a big step. For many people, making that phone call is the first time they've admitted aloud they may be dealing with a haunting. That can be scary because despite the influx in interest in the paranormal in popular media, there's still a large and very loud segment of the population telling you just how nuts you are if you believe in ghosts.

You're not nuts....
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SSPR's Karen on Paradigm Shift Radio

March 12, 2013
Did you miss Karen's appearance on Paradigm Shift Radio? Listen to the podcast here.

Podcast Powered By Podbean
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Scenes from the Oregon Ghost Conference

March 12, 2013
SSPR attended the Oregon Ghost Conference in Oregon City, and we had a great time! Here are a few photos.

Karen, Melinda, Megan, and John with author Joe Teeples and the guys from SyFy's Ghost Mine

Jenny, in awe of her Heavenly Donuts.

John, Melinda, and Megan hanging out

Karen, signing books and selling her jewelry

Karen, giving a talk about afterlife research

Patty and Rocky

Patty with Patrick Doyle of Ghost Mine

Patty the Rebel, running with scissors

Patty comparing mustaches with Ghost Mine's Jay...
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Intro to Religion and the Paranormal

February 27, 2013

People of religious faith have traditionally confessed the belief in the human soul, as well as the after-life. A significant number of religious practitioners continue to hold these beliefs in the 21 century. Meanwhile, paranormal investigation and afterlife research has been launched into the 21st century popular culture. This intensified fascination with the paranormal may be attributed to television, including Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and The Dead Files, among others. Yet, 21st...
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The Things My Inner Voice Makes Me Do

February 22, 2013

Karen on a recent SSPR investigation
Researching the afterlife (and the paranormal) has taken me in directions I never imagined my life would go. I tried to get it down on paper in my latest book, Dancing with the Afterlife, but it's difficult to explain just how profoundly it has all affected every aspect of my life.

After reading the book, one of SSPR's good friends, Ashley, contacted me to tell me how great it was to see how far I'd come from a woman who was afraid to identify a German shep...
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Filling in the Blanks: How a Quirk of the Brain Can Cause Perceived Paranormal Phenomena

February 12, 2013
You've probably heard of pattern recognition - the ability to recognize faces, objects music, or other sensory inputs with only a few pieces of the whole. For example, if you're old like me, you'll remember a game show from the 70s called Name That Tune. In one of the show's segments, contestants would "bid" against one another, betting on their ability to name a tune in a certain number of notes (to be fair, they also typically had a clue that provided some obscure fact about the song). The ...
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Brain Science and the Paranormal

February 11, 2013
This article is part of the SSPR Blog's ongoing look at physiological and psychological factors that may be misperceived as paranormal phenomena. 

Many cases of reported paranormal phenomena can be explained by common biochemical or psychological events. One such factor is the way human beings store memories in their brains. 

Brain scientists have found that the way we store and retrieve memories makes it easy for us to misperceive or misremember events. The brain doesn't store memories in enti...
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Sleep Paralysis - Old Hag Syndrome

February 10, 2013
The human mind is an amazing thing, and it's surprising how little science really understands it. Brain scientists have made some headway into understanding the brain's remarkably complex physiology, but many important concepts still elude them.

Still, we do know enough about the human brain to understand that there are a number of physiological and psychological factors that can influence perception of paranormal events. Some of these are quite common and some less so, but all can lead to exp...
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SSPR's Karen Frazier Releases New Book

February 3, 2013

 The story continues.

In the follow-up to Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington, SSPR's Karen Frazier picks up where she left off, expanding her recent experiences at Wellington into ongoing research about afterlife.

Even as a child, Karen found herself drawn to topics of the soul. Throughout her adulthood, she's sought answe...

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Paranormal Investigation Safety

February 3, 2013
In 2012, Sara Harris died from an acute lung injury. Her husband, Shane, started the Sara Harris Foundation to educate the paranormal community about respiratory safety. Sometimes we explore old buildings were a number of hazards lurk. It's an issue many in the field don't think about in our eagerness to explore the mysteries of the afterlife.

Shane seeks to educate the paranormal community so no one loses husband or wife, a parent or child. Health and safety is an important aspect of paranorm...
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Why I Investigate

January 28, 2013

Patty at SSPR's recent "Whistling Ghost" investigation

When I tell people that I work as a paranormal investigator, I am often asked why I would want to do such a thing as going out to chase ghosts. It's a common question, but for me the answer is one that is filled with wonder.

I saw my first ghosts when I was five years old. They looked like real people standing in my room, but they weren't. That sparked my interest, and it seemed as if wherever I went I was finding things about ghosts. "Casp...
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The Whistling Ghost

January 16, 2013

Patty taking readings during our Puyallup investigation

In mid-December, Patty, Billi, Melinda, and I (Karen) investigated a private residence in Puyallup, Washington. The homeowner had been experiencing so much activity in the house she was staying elsewhere. She invited SSPR to investigate, and we took a small team in to do so.

The homeowner's reports of activity included:
  • Items being moved around the house, including a pair of scissors, which wound up being stuck in a countertop
  • Garden statues...

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Afterlife Research: The Whole Enchilada

December 28, 2012
by Karen Frazier
I wind up in a lot of conversations with people about why I am involved in paranormal research. While everyone's answer to this question is different, when I talk to the guests on my radio show who are involved in paranormal research, the answer often centers on searching for an explanation for anomalous experiences in childhood or young adulthood.

Having such an experience can certainly trigger the quest for understanding about the paranormal. It did for me. While the story I...
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Ouija Boards

December 27, 2012
by Karen Frazier
We get lots of questions about Ouija boards. There's a great deal of fear and mythology surrounding them. Many people feel they are "evil" and should never be used. This idea arises, ironically, from the iconic 70s movie, The Exorcist. In that movie, young Reagan opens herself up to the evil that eventually possesses her when she begins conversing on her Ouija board with Captain Howdy. 

I started researching Ouija boards several years ago. Always the skeptic, I just couldn't i...
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SSPR Member Profile: Melinda

December 26, 2012

Name: Melinda

What is your role with SSPR? I am currently a member in training or probationary member, which basically translates to SSPR test-driving me for about six months.

How long have you been with the team? How long have you researched the paranormal? I've been with the team for about three months. SSPR is my first paranormal research group, although my husband, John, and I have participated in paranormal research privately a few times in the past year.

What is your profession? Currently,...
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SSPR Member Profile: Jenny

December 21, 2012

Name: Jenny

What is your role with SSPR? Satellite member

How long have you been with the team? How long have you participated in paranormal research? I think I've been with the team for about a year- time flies when you're having fun. I've been researching the paranormal since 2010.

What are your hobbies? Reading, knitting, crocheting, learning about the paranormal, occasionally baking cookies for the Cookie Monster

Why the paranormal? I saw my first shadow person when I was about nine and that ...
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SSPR Member Profile: Rob

December 20, 2012

Name: Rob

What is your role with SSPR? I am a satellite member (not a full-time member but lucky enough to be able to join when needed). 

How long have you been with the team, and how long have you participated in paranormal research? I've been with SSPR for under a year and investigating for about six years.

What is your profession? Hotel, guest peon (Editors' Note: Rob also writes a terrific monthly column for Paranormal Underground Magazine)

What are your hobbies? My kids, hockey, fishing, act...
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