Created in the late 1930s by
Seymore Reit (concept) and Joe
Controversy: Was he a child that
died? (One origin says he was a
young teenager who died of
pneumonia after sledding all day).
Instead, ghosts = part of a species.
He was a ghost boy because his
parents were married as ghosts.
General concept: He doesn’t like
to scare people. Comes to the
world of the living to make
friends. Saves someone from a
bad fate, is accepted despite his
Daimons (daemons): Intermediary
spirits between humanity and the
gods. Could be good or evil; good
ones offered good advice to the
living (inner voice).
Socrates attributed internalized
premonitions of impending problems to
his daimon – though he complained that
it never told him what to do about the
problem. He was just warned about it.
Transforms into the “guardian spirit” of
modernity (guardian angel) via
Most commonly reported
phenomena are ghosts of
family; most active are
Smells: cigars, cigarettes,
cologne, perfume, cooking,
Visual: Family died before
family member was born; able
to identify them, seeing
Dreams: Crisis dreams,
Items manifesting (see image)
Animals, symbols, or songs
Rome: Lares, ancestor spirits who
guarded the family or household
Romans taught that the divine energy
survived death; men had the genius and
women the juno
Men = father flanked by his ancestors;
women = reception of the juno at her
wedding by the priest; gave her fertility
and help in childbirth
Becomes our prototype for the guardian
angel (Family Circus)
Started in Neolithic times; connection
to filial piety (family as sacred),
connection to past
Deceased family members had a
continued existence, watched the living
world, and could influence fortune for the
Afterlife much like this life; living
responsible for providing items for the
Keep the dead happy, helping the living
Starts with the funeral: Dead are given
necessities (towel, comb, toothbrush,
shoes, water, food, etc.)
Family shrines, used for oracles (get
Because the Chinese believed in two (or
three) parts of the soul, the dead could be
in more than one place at once.
Amadlozi: (“people of heaven”). Zulu. Family
members and ancestors who have passed. They
continued to aid their descendants by guiding them
in life. The living give gifts in exchange for help
making life better (or for help leading to a good life).
The ancestral spirits speak via a sangoma who has
trained to be a medium. They may also speak
through dreams, but it is recommended that the
person who dreams contact a priest for guidance in
interpreting the dream.
Domovik (domovoj, domovoy): A Russian spirit
that belongs to the ancestral founder of the
family. The spirit looks like an old man with
a gray beard and is only referred to by
pronoun (he) or as “grandfather”, never by
Live behind stove
Move with family from house to house
Keeps hostile spirits out
Does household chores
Guards the family
When unhappy, can cause trouble (worse: burn
Chlevnik is one who live sin the barn, bannik in the
bathroom, and ovinnik in the kitchen.
Koko: Spirits of the dead men (originally
drowned children) who come in the form of
ducks to bring rain and supervise hunts. Zuni
Shiwanna: Pueblo myth, spirits associated with
the dead; they live in various parts of the
universe or in the mountains, below a lake or
spring, or in a town by the sea. They are
represented by clouds and are impersonated by
kachina dolls/masked dancers.
Kachinas: (“Spirit father” or “life”).
Supernatural beings or the spirits of the ancestral
dead who are intermediaries to the gods.
They reside in the San Francisco Mountains, are
associated with rain and perform beneficial functions.
Used to take the souls of the dead back with them, but
got too cumbersome. They allow humans to
Hopi Butterfly Dance
The Gray Man of North Carolina (Cape Hatteras)
The Shadow/Black Man at Coquina Beach
Shows up when a hurricane is going to strike the
North Carolina: Couple had home insurance
cancelled due to a dispute. Hurricane Gloria
(1985) approached they were in some dire
straights; before the evacuated, the couple walked
the beach which was, at that point, deserted. They
saw a man up a ways away and as he approached
they prepared to say hello to him. Just as they got
near to him, he seemed to vanish -- they couldn't
find him; this was odd because they noticed
nothing unusual about the man. He seemed
solid, normal, and quite present on the beach
with them. The stress of the hurricane was
topmost in their minds so they finished the walk
and returned home, got their belongings and left
to stay with their daughter.
Faceless Gray May of Pawleys Island: Similar to
above, but in South Carolina. Some think he is
the ghost of Percival Pawley, the first to settle the
Madame Pele: Hawaii’s goddess of the volcano,
shows up in ghostly form; prior to eruption, she
descends to warn islanders of coming danger.
In ghostly form, she appears as a young, beautiful
woman in a brilliant red muumuu, accompanied by
a small white dog.
Travels at night, sometimes alone. If seen, offer her
a ride (ignoring her makes her unhappy and
Clairvoyants See Good Fortune in
Capitalist Vietnam (Wall Street
In Vietnam, there is great belief in
the supernatural world
Little division between worlds;
blessed and nature, animals, spirits
help; cursed and they all harm.
Spirits help fortune tellers to
understand people’s lives, offer
predictions and guidance
Ghosts can be appeased with “ghost
money” burned to give them cash in the
Words conjure power; spoken word is
incredibly powerful; more helpful,
more spoken, more dangers, less
Blue-cap (Blue-bonnet): British mine spirit
who helps miners. He does expect to be paid
for his labors, usually with gifts left in a corner
every two weeks.
Had enormous strength, capable of long work hours
Manifested as a blue flame that floated about the
shafts and, as a flame, it could move any object it
Knocker: Cornwall, England, friendly and
Tommyknockers in American folklore.
One Colorado mine claimed that they had friendly
tommyknockers, though they could be practical
jokers. Miners honor them by leaving spaces for
them at the bar.
Bucca: (Buvva-boo): Cornish folklore, sea spirit
that lives with and helps fishermen. Fishermen
are expected to leave a fish from their catch on
the sand, toss a piece of bread over the left
shoulder, and spill a bit of beer on the ground. Hidee Gold Mines, Colorado
Martha, the nurse ghost: A woman who died 30
years ago continues her duties as a nurse;
assisted a newly graduate nurse on her first
night of work. Appeared to her as she made
rounds and notified her first of a patient in room
8 (climbing out of bed) and one in room 6
(respiratory distress; doctor called). Checked on
patients as woman worked on these cases and
reported by others. Known at the hospital and
reported by patients as helpful and checking on
Mysterious supernatural black dogs
Operate under their own interests;
some the size of calves with blazing
eyes; don’t talk to these or they can
attack and cause madness, loss of a
Guardians: Stories of a traveler
walking alone when a black dog
appears from nowhere. Talking to it,
trying to shoo it away do nothing.
After a while, the dog vanishes and
cannot be found. Person discovers that
a group of bandits arrested and tell the
story that they were going to attack the
traveler, but were afraid of the dog.
Another story says a man went to
board a boat but was blocked by a
giant black dog. He couldn’t get past
it. The boat left. The next day the man
discovered the boat sank at sea.
Lost motorists sometimes end up at
Manor House in Cold Ashton,
Gloucestershire. They go to the house
and knock on the door to get help with
directions. A butler answers the door
and gives them directions. However, no
one lives in the house and it has been
“derelict for decades” (Helpful Ghosts).
At the Pier Hotel, DT St. Petersburg, a
former manager of the hotel (who once
was a butler) continues to clean up after
the guests. He lived and died in room
206; people who stay there find items
moved (personal account told to me), or
they feel the urge to clean.
Silkies are female spirits named for their rustling silk
dresses. They are found in the border area between
England and Scotland.
Perform household chores and are valued by people
living in large houses.
Can be a guardian figure – may kill intruders out to
harm the family.
Can be a bit naughty – make a messy house orderly, or
an orderly house messy.
Guiley, Rosemary E. The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and
Spirits. New York: Facts on File, 1992