Grand Rapids Press Article 10/25/11 Be respectful, but set boundaries with ghosts Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 5:46 AM By Julie Bonner Williams | The Grand Rapids Press If only they paid rent, having a ghost for a roommate would have advantages. Especially if they also did the dishes and other household chores. But they don’t pay any rent or do any dishes. They just drive homeowners like Darlene Eaves crazy. While living in a home on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side, Eaves says there were at least two ghosts living with her family. Once, she heard strange noises while sleeping on a couch downstairs. “I would hear walking, like swishing, like a woman with a long gown would swish when she walks,” Eaves remembers. Other oddities included an occasional strong scent of floral perfume, toilets flushing at night by themselves, the doorbell ringing with no one there, and the garage door repeatedly opening and closing by itself. Eaves said the spirit crossed the line one evening, when it slapped her. After that incident, a friend from the Catholic church she attended suggested she bring in the parish priest. He walked throughout the home sprinkling holy water and blessing the house. The ghosts were not impressed. “It didn’t stop; it just made it more intense,” Eaves says. “I don’t know if the ghosts were good or bad. (Their behavior) wasn’t anything harmful ... it was just strange.” What’s a homeowner to do when former residents refuse to leave? “The best thing you can do is find out who they are, why they’re there and what they want,” said Rosemary Lelieveld, a psychic medium and member of the Michigan Paranormal Alliance. Establish ownership Lelieveld, who has aided in evicting ghosts from homes in at least 45 cases over the past two years, advised talking respectfully to the ghost, establishing that the home is yours and letting them know there are rules that must be followed if they are going to remain. Insist they not frighten you or your children and not wake the family at night. “A ghost was once human,” Lelieveld said, “so talk to them ... with respect.” Lelieveld says it’s the responsibility of the living to help earthbound souls to move on to the next realm awaiting them. Samantha Harris, director and founder of the Michigan Paranormal Research Association agreed. Harris performs “house cleansings,” a process involving a hybrid of Native American and Catholic-Christian practices. She walks through every area of the house burning white sage (a Native American purification process) and anointing areas above doors and windows with olive oil, She also tells the spirit it can cross over without fear. “I’m a big advocate of cleansings,” said Harris, who estimates she done more than 60 of the procedures. “Help that spirit cross over. Everyone should be at peace in their home.” Spirits in the home can drain peoples’ energy and cause fatigue or migraine headaches, Harris said. Having a clergyman bless a home, as Eaves did, or doing a spiritual house cleansing (which Harris said anyone can do), works some of the time, but there sometimes are stubborn types. Lelieveld recalled one such entity who didn’t want to leave a certain bed in a house. “(He) was making people ill, pushing them, making them (nauseated).” As a psychic medium, Lelieveld communicated with the ghost, who she said was “an older gentleman and not a very kind person while he was living.” He was so reluctant to leave the bed that Lelieveld and other MPA members’ solution was to bless the bed, remove it and bury it. “A lot of people don’t believe this stuff is real,” said Lelieveld, who will return with MPA members numerous times to get a ghost or ghosts to move out of a house.