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 scattered like roaches. They knocked on guests' doors and entered areas restricted to guests and the public. The innkeeper was forced to chase them all down and remove them from her property.

In another case, someone shared a Facebook status of a paranormal team bragging about how many times they'd been arrested or removed from private property with police intervention. 

These are a few of the many stories I hear about paranormal thrill seekers thinking only of what they want and very little about the locations, spirits, and living people they violate with their antics. 
I can't believe I even have to say this, but apparently I do. Things like this are not okay. Ever. 
If you're part of a team who respectfully requests permission to investigate haunted locations, stays away from places that don't grant permission, and ensures members are on their best behavior whenever you investigate a property, you might be surprised to hear all the stories people have told me about just how disrespectful some paranormal thrill seekers can be. Heck - I even have my own story, in which I allowed a paranormal group to come investigate my house. While some of the members of the team were, indeed, very serious and careful investigators, others apparently had joined the team as a way of satisfying their craving for a paranormal thrill. When they left, many went to a nearby restaurant and talked about my house to the staff there. I live in a very small town where it doesn't take long for word to get around, so the story came back to me quickly. Not only that, but when the team left, a Buddha statue I kept in my yard went missing. I never saw it again.

I understand the curiosity that drives many paranormal thrill seekers. I can even relate to the eagerness behind that curiosity. It can be exciting to interact with spirits, and haunted locations can be spooky fun. Here's the problem I see with paranormal investigation as a form of thill seeking, however. This type of behavior may not just be annoying to the living (and sometimes flat-out illegal). It can also be harmful to the dead.

I am empathic. I feel the emotions of human souls (both living and dead) viscerally as if they are my own. I recently encountered the spirit of a very wounded woman who had been through some horrible things in her life at the hands of her fellow humans. Although she is long dead, her wounds remain fresh, raw, and emotionally painful. In her presence, all I wanted to do was hold myself, rock, and cry. Not just cry - but wail. As I described it to someone else, the only word that comes close to what the spirit was doing was keening (definition: intense, mournful wailing after a death - often at a funeral or wake). The extent of her grief and pain was overwhelming. 

Now, imagine this poor, fragile soul in need of kindness, caring, and compassion (which she is getting from the current property owner, by the way) experiences a group of living thrill seekers, racing through uninvited. They aren't thinking of her. It is likely they aren't even aware of her presence, fragility, and angst. As they evade being captured for their trespass, the thrill seekers try to elicit quick reactions from spirits, probably knowing their time at the location is limited. They make threats, swear, and behave belligerently in order to provoke a quick response from any spirits who might be present. 

Meanwhile, the fragile soul, who is overcome with overwhelming anxiety even in the presence of benevolent strangers, can only curl more deeply into herself. She experiences every action, word, thought, and emotion of the thrill seekers as an assault. She is paralyzed with grief, fear, and the gut wrenching recollections of all that others did to her when she was living.

Is that the intention of the thrill seekers? I hope the answer is no. It is difficult for me to imagine people deliberately causing anyone such emotional pain. Even if that isn't their end game, however, it is the unintended result of their behavior. Imagine if this happened to someone you love. Imagine if it happened to you.

It may sound cliche, but ghosts are people, too. Many are still caught up in the spectrum of human emotion and are capable of feeling all that you feel just as deeply as you feel it. Often, when I am trying to demystify hauntings for clients, I tell them ghosts are people without bodies. They are made up of the same stuff as you and me, only their form appears to be pure consciousness rather than flesh and blood. 

I can't imagine anyone wanting to hurt another soul. That's why I make this simple request: Whether you are a serious investigator or simply assuaging your own desire to thrill at the experiences of the unknown, please do so with kindness and compassion for your fellow souls. As I have told my sons in the simplest terms since they were very small, treat others the way you want them to treat you. That is the essence of compassion, and it is what the spirits -- both living and dead -- with whom we interact deserve.