A Rational Guide to Spirit Attachment Syndrome

The condition of spirit possession-that is, full or partial takeover of a living human by a discarnate being-has been recognized or at least theorized in every era and every culture. In ninety percent of societies worldwide there are records of possession-like phenomena (Foulks, 1985).

Baldwin , William J. . Spirit Releasement Therapy: : A Technique Manual . Kindle Edition.

Ghosts and unsettled spirits have been blamed for misfortune, and mental and physical illness since the beginning of recorded history. Rituals, spells and ceremonies designed to ward off the unsettled dead are found throughout our anthropological history. Today, ghosts, spirits and evil entities are portrayed by the media as angry and vindictive or endlessly grieving; lost in the loop of their own betrayal or loss. They haunt the scenes of their former tragedies, striking fear into the hearts of the living. Even more frightening are movies that depict the violent possession of an innocent from a malevolent entity. The image of a Catholic priest wrestling with a demonic force in a darkened church is well-established in our minds, although Catholics cannot lay claim to founding this practice; one of the most ancient rites of exorcism originates from the Dravidian Hindu tradition in India. Nearly every religious and spiritual tradition recognizes spirit attachment and possession as a legitimate spiritual disease, and provides a method for expelling the offending spirits.

According to Father Vincent Lampert, a Catholic exorcist who has spoken widely on his work, requests for exorcisms are on the rise and the number of working exorcists have quadrupled in the United States over the last half-century. But spirit attachment and possession are not just the province of religion, nor does the affliction strike only the religious; a common misconception. The concept of spirit attachment has been quietly expanding into the secular world over the last century thanks to the work of several prominent Psychiatrists and Psychologists such as Dr. Carl Wickland, who introduced the concept of spirit attachment to the scientific world through his book Thirty Years Among the Dead (1924), Dr. Edith Fiore (The Unquiet Dead, 1987) and Dr. William Baldwin (Spirit Releasement Therapy, 1995). Today, Spirit Attachment Syndrome (SAS) is now recognized by many clinical psychiatrists as a valid psychological and physiological affliction. Secular research has provided a more nuanced understanding of the issue and scope of spiritual attachment outside of the confines of religious orthodoxy.

“In the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (1992), a new category, trance and possession states, officially acknowledges the need for a distinct grouping, separate from multiple personality disorder on the one hand and from the psychoses on the other. Only after extensive debate was a similar category rejected for DSM IV.”

Spirit Releasement Therapy“, by Dr. Alan Sanderson of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Although Spirit Attachment Syndrome is gaining legitimacy due to the demonstrated success of treatment outcomes, traditional medical and scientific organizations have yet to fully embrace SAS. The idea that humans may be afflicted by ‘disembodied spirits’ is highly stigmatized through its prior association with religion and directly contradicts materialist science. For the open-minded skeptic (that’s us!) looking to research the practical reality of Spirit Attachment Syndrome, the field is unfortunately littered with a lot of new-age nonsense, bad or even dangerous advice, and religious prescriptions that simply may not work for non-religious people. So what does a rational person do when faced with the possibility that they or someone they love may actually be afflicted by an attached spirit?

Well, this is exactly the quandary we find ourselves in today. Our post is not merely a casual investigation into an unusual aspect of human spirituality, but inspired by the real-life concern of a commenter who fears that his brother may in fact be dealing with a spirit attachment after the recent and tragic death of their cousin. Before we dive into the fascinating and sometimes confusing world of spirit attachment, let’s read what commenter ‘PrattMatt’ has shared:

“The deceased was a cousin. She was not too close to our family due to material issues our parents had a long time ago (an inheritance problem which led to family differences). There was no open, violent conflict, but the family drifted apart and we lost contact with each other over the years. She died unexpectedly a few months ago, in a car accident.

My younger brother had felt closer to her, as she used to babysit him when he was a few years old, before the family inheritance problems. He could not make it to the funeral since her side of the family did not tell us about it in good time, and he was saddened a little by this. A few weeks after the cousin’s passing, he had some strange dreams in which she appeared to him and asked for food and water?! Not knowing what to do, he went to the local homeless shelter and arranged for a meal to be served to the assisted persons there.

After that, he started to feel inexplicably tired all the time. He is devoid of energy, would lie in bed all day if possible but not always sleep, feels listless and unable to concentrate. It’s not something definite, more of a general malaise. It all seemed to start after he had those dreams and paid for the meals. He is in his mid-thirties, with no health problems whatsoever, plays tennis, swims, eats natural products, doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol. He has no professional problems either. He did not have any special emotional ties to the deceased, except for a few tender reminiscences from where she babysat him ages ago – so he is not depressed or anything. Could it be a case of the deceased’s spirit attaching itself to his aura? Is there a connection to his dreams? Should we look for other signs? Is there anything we can do to help him?”

by PrattMatt on August 20, 2021

Before we continue, I feel it’s important to note that mental health issues can strike anyone at any time, and sometimes for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent. Although Matt has suggested that his brother is otherwise healthy and would seem to have no reason to feel fatigued and listless, it nevertheless stands to reason that his affliction may have a non-spiritual origin. It is imperative that anyone struggling with mental or physical health issues seek out the advice of a qualified professional to rule out any physical or emotional issues first. Pursuing spirit attachment should not be done at the expense of traditional medicine or mental health services.

With that said, let’s investigate the practical problem of a spirit attachment and what can be done if one should find themselves in such a predicament. But to understand how such a thing can happen, we’ll need to do a little review on the subject of earth-oriented spirits, ghosts and other astral beings that are believed to hang around the earth.

Three Major Types of Spiritual Entities that Afflict Humans

Disembodied Human Spirits

The majority of spiritual entities are simply human beings that have physically died but their consciousness has remained oriented toward the earth. Their reasons for staying near the earth are as complex and varied as the human condition, so their motivations cannot be generalized. However, disembodied humans can usually be reasoned with as such. Psychologists may use spirit releasement techniques to remove these attachments. Most attachments are of this type, so we will investigate human spirit attachments primarily through this post.

Thought Forms

‘Thought forms’ are are beings who are believed to owe their existence to the continued and concentrated thoughts of other conscious beings. For example, it’s quite possible that the pantheon of Catholic demons are thought forms that have been willed into being through two thousand years of Christian focus. The same may be said for mythological demons from any religions, provided the population believes strongly in their existence and their ability to inflict harm on humans through possession. Given such long and intense concentration, such thought forms may embody the force of will and near-consciousness of any living being; indistinguishable except that their existence is dependent on continued human focus and energy. Christians who believe (even subconsciously) in the possibility of demonic possession may attract such an affliction onto themselves. However, humans have also developed the rules by which such possessions may be defeated. When a Priest endowed with divine authority to cast out demons prays the rite of exorcism, the demon eventually must submit as their incarnational design demands.

Seth (as channeled by Jane Roberts) discusses thought forms in Seth Speaks and their interdependency with humans:

Now at any of these various stages of consciousness, other phenomena may also be perceived – thought forms for example, energy manifestations, projections from the personal subconscious, and projections from the collective unconscious. Any or all of these may take symbolic form, and may appear beneficial or threatening according to
the attitude of the personality involved. They should be regarded as quite natural phenomena, often neutral in intent.
Often they are incipient forms given activity by the personality who encounters them.

The nature of their activity, therefore, will be projected outward from the personality onto the relatively passive materialization. The person encountering these has only to turn his attention away to “deactivate” the phenomenon. This does not mean that the phenomenon is not real. Its nature is simply of a different kind and degree. It has some energy of its own, but needs additional energy from a perceiver for any interrelationship to take place. If such a materialization appears threatening, then simply wish it peace and withdraw your attention from it. It draws its main activating energy from your focusing, and according to the intensity and nature of your focus.

Roberts, Jane. Seth Speaks, p. 160; 1972

Negative Entities and Astral Parasites

Some researchers believe that the non-physical world contains non-human entities that range from barely-conscious parasites (astral insects) to interdimensional entities that prey on human energy. I will admit that reliable information on the existence of non-human negative entities is scarce. They don’t come up often in spirit communications (Galen Stoller’s My Life After Life is a notable exception). They have rarely been encountered during OBEs and in near-death experiences. I feel more evidence is required before I can make a personal determination about non-human entities, but they are worth mentioning here in case this situation is a reality for someone. Robert Bruce is an out-of-body explorer who devoted an entire book to negative entities, whom he calls ‘negs’. His book, The Practical Psychic Self-Defense Handbook, contains practical advice for testing and defending against ‘neg attacks’. Since our post is primarily about the human sort of attachment, I won’t elaborate much further other to say that if you feel you are in a situation this extreme, then I would recommend picking up The Practical Psychic Self-Defense Handbook as a start.

Some investigators in this field estimate that between 70% and 100% of the population are affected or influenced by one or more discarnate spirit entities at some time in their life.

Baldwin , William J. . Spirit Releasement Therapy: : A Technique Manual . Kindle Edition.

Human Spiritual Attachments

Our commenter, Matt, offered some important information about his brother’s experience. Let’s review that now before we move on to looking at what the experts have to say about human spiritual attachments.

Matt tells us that the deceased was a cousin who used to babysit his brother as a child before the families drifted apart over an inheritance matter. She perished suddenly in a car accident and due to the family’s separation, neither attended her funeral. This caused sadness and regret on the part of Matt’s brother. Matt’s brother is now in his mid-thirties and is described as healthy. He doesn’t drink or smoke, engages in physical activity, and hasn’t had any recent issues in his personal life. Soon after the funeral, Matt’s brother had a dream where his cousin approached him asking for food and water. Matt’s brother attempted to reconcile this request by arranging for a meal to be served at a local shelter or food bank. Since this episode, Matt’s brother has been depressed and listless. Matt doesn’t see a discernable reason for his brother’s behavior and wonders if this could be connected somehow to the dream visitation.

In reply, I asked Matt if his family had any ties to Indian or Asian cultures, or if his family was particularly religious. Some of you may have already guessed that my question refers to a strong cultural belief in Asian and Indian cultures of the èguǐ, or the hungry ghost. I briefly elaborated on the Chinese hungry ghost in my post The Tourist’s Guide to Evil and Mischievous Spirits of Earth. Although Matt stated that his family is not affiliated with a culture that has a strong belief in the concept of hungry ghosts, I believe Matt’s brother’s dream is nevertheless symbolic in much a similar way.

Hungry ghosts in Asian cultures are symbolic of unsettled earth-oriented spirits. They represent spirits who die suddenly or tragically, and who feel strongly connected to earth and the people and activities that they have left behind, without the physical ability to affect anything or be perceived by the living. This is often a very frustrating situation for a spirit, which may be compounded by their confusion over their own death.

Very much like a hungry ghost, Matt’s cousin appeared in the dream requesting food and water. Matt’s brother may have perceived this request symbolically, translating her desperation into a universal physical need. However, it may be just as likely that Matt’s cousin was really feeling hungry and thirsty. Spirits who have died unexpectedly have initially complained of cold, exhaustion, withdrawal symptoms from drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, and especially hunger and thirst. They believe they should feel these physical sensations because they don’t realize they have passed into the spirit body. Their belief makes these sensations real.

The spirit of Author Ford, speaking through Ruth Montgomery in ‘A World Beyond’ (1971), describes this situation when meeting newly deceased spirits:

“He hungers, and we produce food. It is a thought-pattern, but is as real to him as that which he once used to sustain his physical body. He thirsts, and we give him drink. He is gradually making the transition, and has not yet accustomed himself to the idea that he will no longer need food and drink. (p. 34)”

Montgomery, Ruth. A World Beyond. Ballantine Books, 1971.

If Matt’s cousin does not realize that she has died or she has refused the help of guides because she doesn’t want to leave the people, activity and places of her life, then she may have reached out energetically to the people around her for help. Matt’s brother may have received the dream visitation because he happens to be particularly sensitive. Since Matt’s brother harbored some sympathy for her and sadness over her death, this may have provided the energetic match she needed to gain his attention after death.

How and Why Spirits Become Attached

Earthbound spirits, the surviving consciousness of deceased humans, are the most prevalent possessing, obsessing or attaching entities to be found. The disembodied consciousness seems to attach itself and merge fully or partially with the subconscious mind of a living person, exerting some degree of influence on thought processes, emotions, behavior and the physical body. The entity becomes a parasite in the mind of the host.

Baldwin , William J. . Spirit Releasement Therapy: : A Technique Manual . UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

Like Attracts Like

If there are laws that govern the spirit world, then surely the concept of sympathetic attraction or ‘like attracts like’ is one that governs both the afterlife experience as well as many cases of attachment. Although William Baldwin (Spirit Releasement Therapy) suggests that sympathetic attachments only occur in about half of the cases (with the others seemingly to be random), sympathetic attachments are easier to diagnose, particularly when they happen directly after the death of a friend or relative, which may be the case with Matt’s brother. Sympathetic attachments occur because there is some energetic link between the deceased and the living host such as a physical ailment or weakness, a similar situation or experience, and of course, familial bonds.

In some cases, the spirit had good intentions when they became attached. In other cases, the attachment is selfish and abusive. For example, drug and/or alcohol addicted people are often rife with attachments of the spirits of addicts and alcoholics. The earth-oriented spirits who continue to crave their object of addiction will often clamor into the energy field of the living addict in order to satisfy their craving for the substance. These spirits will often encourage the living addict to continue their addiction and avoid help, so selfish is their desire to continue their addiction. I always shudder to think of this example, described by Judge David Patterson Hatch in his afterlife communication to Elsa Barker. Here is an excerpt from Stafford Betty’s book Heaven and Hell Unveiled:

A young [living] man … was leaning on the bar, drinking a glass of some soul-destroying compound. And close to him, taller than he and bending over him, with its repulsive, bloated, ghastly face pressed close to his, as if to smell his whiskey-tainted breath, was one of the most horrible astral beings … I have seen in this world since I came out [died]…. The hands of the creature were clutching the young man’s form, one long and naked arm was around his shoulders, the other around his hips. It was literally sucking the liquor-soaked life of its victim, absorbing him, using him, in the successful attempt to enjoy vicariously the passion which death had intensified. But was that a creature in hell? You ask. Yes, for I could look into its mind and see its sufferings…. this creature was doomed to crave and crave and never to be satisfied. And the young man who leaned on the bar in that gilded palace of gin was filled with a nameless horror and sought to leave the place; but the arms of the thing that was now his master clutched him tighter and tighter, the sodden, vaporous cheek was pressed closer to his, the desire of the vampire creature aroused an answering desire in its victim, and the young man demanded another glass.

Betty, Stafford. Heaven and Hell Unveiled: Updates from the World of Spirit. (pp. 64-65). White Crow Productions Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

A Misguided Attempt to Help

“Like attracts like” can be also occur simply by a vulnerable spirit being in a situation that attracts the attention of an earth-oriented spirit who attaches to a living host in an misguided attempt to help. In an example from the book “Earthbound Spirits are Attached To You – How You Can Remove Them” by George Schwimmer, Ph.D., the therapist is addressing the attached spirit through hypnosis.. The spirit described himself as a young man who escaped from an abusive home to a life working on a ship. He died at sea but remained on the shoreline because he felt ashamed and unworthy to go into the light. A little boy was playing near the water when his father began abusively yelling at him. The spirit felt sorry for the little boy, remembering his own abuse and vowed to ‘protect him’ from the abusive father. The spirit became attached and remained with the boy until he became a man himself. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:

Oh, I’ve been wandering the ocean, wandering the sands. . . .I couldn’t leave the ocean. . . .I came to help George. He was such a sensitive child. It hurt him to be yelled at. I came to help him, to protect him from being yelled at. I knew what it was to be yelled at—the mates always yelled at me. . . . [Deep sigh.] My father always yelled at me. That’s why I went to sea. I went as a cabin boy, when I was. . .nine. I ran away from home. My father beat me, and yelled at me. He yelled at my mother. . . .My father was George’s father, and he yelled then, too. I came to protect George—I knew what it was like. I came to protect him. And I’ve helped. . . .When I died in that life I felt guilty and avoided beings of light who came for me. I didn’t feel I deserved heaven and was afraid of hell. My last thought was, “I’m worthless. I’m dangerous when I have power—I misuse power. I don’t deserve any help—I just want to hide.” So, I tried to hide somewhere. Then I saw a little boy who was being mistreated and decided to hide in him, and help him: “Nobody will find me, and I’ll help him to protect himself.” I went into the boy.

SCHWIMMER Ph.D., GEORGE. EARTHBOUND SPIRITS ARE ATTACHED TO YOU – How You Can Remove Them . Phoenix 11 Productions. Kindle Edition.

William Baldwin sums up this regrettable situation in Spirit Releasement Therapy: A Technique Manual:

The entity is aware of its motive for attaching to the person. The aim might have been helpfulness, which is noble but impossible. The newly deceased spirit of the mother of a young child might want to stay to take care of the child in a valiant but fruitless effort to protect and nurture the little one. She only interferes.

Baldwin , William J. . Spirit Releasement Therapy: : A Technique Manual . UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

Confusion and Disbelief in Death

Dr. Carl Wickland was the first psychiatrist to publish a book detailing his spirit release techniques. In the book Thirty Years Among the Dead, he details many cases where the attached spirits were simply unaware that they had died and attached themselves to a living human’s energy in the resulting confusion. Once Dr. Wickland could prove that the body they were in wasn’t their own, they would often relinquish their hold and go with the guiding intelligences that were waiting to take them into the light. However, many spirits remained stubborn due to a lack of belief in life after death. When subjected to Dr. Wickland’s questioning, they blamed their current circumstances on a variety of other issues. Dr. Wickland often asked the spirits to look at their hands or their dress. Once the spirit recognized that the hands did not belong to them, or they were dressed unusually, they began to understand what had occurred, although some still did not believe that they could be in the body of another human, and accused Dr. Wickland of some trickery or hypnosis.

Dr. Edith Fiore, a Psychologist who spent much of her career assisting persons with SAS describes the situation as well:

“Communicating with these spirits through hypnotized patients, I have learned that some people were so convinced, during their own lifetimes, that there was nothing after death, they simply refused to see the family members or spirit guides who came for them. instead, they drifted aimlessly in a state of confusion and ignorance that often lasted for years. When questioned, they usually denied that they were dead all, saying something like, “When you’re dead, you’re dead! I’m here now, so I’m no more dead than you are!” If under hypnosis I moved them back to the time of their deaths, and then asked them to look at their own lifeless, physical bodies, they refused to, or claimed that they were asleep or that they belonged to someone else. (Fiore, 28)”

Fiore, Dr. Edith. The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologists Treats Spirit Possession. Ballantine Books. 1971

Symptoms of Spirit Attachment

The symptoms of spirit attachment are varied. What they do have in common is a suddenness of onset and no other physical or mental cause that can be identified. In Matt’s brother’s case, his brother was approached by the spirit of his cousin who was displaying desperation and confusion. Directly after his encounter, Matt’s brother began feeling acutely listless and fatigued. If an attachment has occurred, Matt’s brother may be sensing the depression and fatigue of the attachment along with sadness and confusion belonging to his cousin. In many cases, the initial symptoms are physical in nature – an ailment or physical symptom that seems to have no cause and resists normal treatment.

Here is a short list of potential symptoms and causes from spirit release expert William Baldwin:

They use the energy of the host, and chronic mild fatigue is sometimes the only symptom. The host often feels invaded, soiled, violated. The host experiences no amnesia except in cases of total possession and takeover. The sudden acquisition of a skill such as diesel-engine repair or facility in a foreign language may indicate a newly formed attachment. A sudden change in personality, especially after accident, surgery, heart attack, organ transplant, trauma, grief, loss of loved one, combat, or use of mind-altering drugs may signal a newly attached spirit.

Baldwin , William J. . Spirit Releasement Therapy: : A Technique Manual . UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

Other symptoms may include those traditionally associated with psychosis or disassociative identity disorder. Victims of attachment may begin to hear voices or sense thoughts that don’t seem like their own. Discerning between spirit attachment syndrome and mental illness comprises a whole chapter of William Baldwin’s book. In cases where the attachment is severe enough to cause symptoms of psychosis, it is best to seek the help of a professional.

Permission Issues

“Permission” in Spirit Attachment literature is controversial. Some researchers believe that our free will is inviolate, and therefore no spirit can attach to our energy without consent. If consent wasn’t explicitly given by our conscious selves, it may have been given by our higher selves in order to provide a learning experience or through some karmic or reincarnational agreement. Others believe that spirits can attach like parasites, with no permission required from the host. However, both agree that once a living host is aware of the entity, they can revoke permission and request that the attached spirit leave. With an explicit declaration, the host’s guides may then assist in the detachment and depossession process.

Dr. Edith Fiore, in her chapter on ‘Depossessing Spirits” (The Unquiet Died) makes this recommendation to those attempting to remove spirit attachments themselves:

“With loved ones, it is necessary that you make a prior firm commitment to let go of them emotionally. Sometimes the factor that allowed the possession to occur in the first place was your own emotional dependence upon them, which may have continued after their deaths. (Fiore, 125)”

How to Treat Spirit Attachment

The internet is rife with terrible advice for people seeking to remove attached spirits or entities. Obviously the best course of action is to see a professional trained in spirit release therapy. However, in some cases, such a practitioner may not be available. There are things you can do to assist yourself or someone else with removing attachments in a safe manner. But first, let’s go through the list of things that will likely not work, or may be dangerous.

The internet is full of advice such as burning sage, performing complicated rituals, or chanting incantations. Unfortunately, these are as likely to drive away an attached spirit as they would a living guest who has overstayed their welcome at your house. These rituals can strengthen the belief and intention of a practitioner skilled in energy manipulation and may assist with cases of non-attached spirits, but attached spirits are entrenched in the energy field of a living human, which shields them from such environmental irritants. Dangerous options include inviting the attached spirit to attach themselves to someone else (sometimes done in desperation from a well-intentioned martyr), or attempting to channel the spirit, invite the spirit to manifest physically or bargaining with the spirit (you can stay if..).

When determining how to approach a spirit attachment, the first step is to consider why you might be attracting a spirit and become unattractive to them. In the case of a spirit who is attached to an addict, the living host will become unattractive to the spirit as soon as they stop engaging in the drug the attached spirit craves. Some people may inadvertently keep a spirit attached because they themselves cannot let go. In such cases, it is the living host who must come to terms with releasing the spirit themselves.

Attachments by spirits who are confused and do not realize they have died, or those who feel entitled to remain (such as an over-protective family member) must be dealt with through reason, firm command and with the help of guiding intelligences in the spirit world.

Most literature on spirit attachment syndrome has been published by Psychiatrists and Psychologists who use the clinical techniques of their field to release spirits. Therefore, spirit releasement therapy is performed through hypnosis, talk therapy, and guided imagery. In Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore presents a technique for the afflicted to treat their own attachment, which is what we will be using as a guide today, along with a few recommendations found in other sources.

This is a method that I believe is safe enough to try without a Spirit Releasement Therapist. However, if you discover that you are not dealing with something benign like a confused (and likely well-intentioned) cousin, but a malevolent spirit, then professional help with definitely be required. In other words, if you feel like you are getting in over your head, stop. Never approach an attachment with anger or try provoking a spirit to demand they leave. This will not work, and may cause the spirit to become more afraid and entrenched. This must be done in a spirit of love but firm resolve.

Record the Session

Dr. Fiore recommends recording the session. If the spirit doesn’t leave the first time, replaying the session multiple times can help. Dr. Fiore says that sometimes spirits ‘hide’ or it takes a while from them to get the message. The afflicted host should also watch for feelings of resentment when the recording is being played. If there is a feeling of not wanting to hear the recording, this could be a clue that the spirit is resisting the detachment.

Ask for Help from Guides and Revoke Permission

The released spirit will need to be guided into the light by a guide, a family member or a divine spirit of some kind. Begin by asking spirit guides who can assist draw near to the space for the purpose of helping the attached spirit cross. The afflicted must then say something like, “If permission has been granted in this life or another, by any portion of my identity for any entities to become attached to my energy, it is now revoked. I do not permit any spirits to remain with me – in my consciousness, in my energy, or in my physical vicinity.”

Imagine a light above you opening up. This is a portal that will be used by the spirits to help the attached spirit cross. The visualization is important – what the host sees in their mind will greatly assist the attached spirit to perceive the real portal and the guides who will assist in their transition.

Explain what has Happened to the Spirit and Provide Reassurance

This is the most crucial part of the detachment process. In the case of Matt’s brother, he would lovingly and calming talk to his cousin. He should approach this in the same way that he would in life, but with the understanding that she may be scared and confused. During this portion, he (or Matt) can call on deceased family members, religious figures and use whatever imagery may help. Does the deceased have a grandmother who can come help? Think about what would make them most comfortable and willing to trust the guides and loved ones who will be there at the portal.

Dr. Fiore suggested the following when addressing the attached spirit:

Summary of General Points to Make:

  1. You are not (possessed’s name)
  2. Your body is dead
  3. You joined (possessed’s name)
  4. You are harming yourself and (possessed’s name)
  5. Your loved ones are here
  6. You will be in a perfect body
  7. There is no such thing as hell
  8. You will have a wonderful, peaceful life
  9. Go in peace with my blessings

Reassure the spirit that they will be able to return once they’ve gotten settled to check up on you and the rest of their family. Use whatever reason you can to convince the spirit that there is no need to be afraid to go toward the light with the guides, friends and family members who are there to help.

A quick note about certain violent and disfiguring deaths:

In the book “Afterlife Interrupted”, Father Nathan Castle assists stuck (but not necessarily attached) spirits who have become earth-oriented after an unexpected or violent death. In two cases that involved automobile accidents, the bodies of the spirits were quite disfigured in the accident. The spirits were horrified about the condition of their bodies, and embarrassed for anyone to “see them” in that condition. Since Matt’s cousin also died in an automobile accident, I wanted to mention the possibility that her refusal or inability to cross may have ben exacerbated by the condition of her body. She may have sought shelter with someone whom she felt wouldn’t judge her (or didn’t see her body). For this reason, I would recommend to Matt and his brother that they include a statement reassuring their cousin that she will be whole and young again in the light, with no injury or illness.

Strengthen and Shield the Energy Centers

As a last step, It would be a good idea to have the newly-freed host strengthen their energetic shield. They should visualize their energy body as glowingly brilliantly and evenly around the body. If there are remaining darker areas or patchy areas, they should be fixed. The person can picture light pouring into the body, or taking their hands (in their mind’s eye) and closing holes and smoothing out the energy. Once the energy looks like it’s fixed and flowing freely, the person can imagine a shield surrounding the energy. The imagery doesn’t have to be exact, it should be whatever makes the most sense to the person performing the visualization. If the person isn’t very visual or doesn’t have a strong mind’s eye, this process can be done kinesthetically by sensing the energy around the body or even musically by imagining tones coming from the body and listening for where the disharmony is. Belief and intention are important – not the visualization technique. You can also use a guided meditation for this step – there are plenty on YouTube available.

Be Free!

During the process, you or the person you are helping may experience a variety of intense emotions, including grief, anger or fear, but when the possessing spirit finally leaves, there is almost always a deep sense of well-being. Sometimes the person’s tense body relaxes, with a sign of relief and a big smile of joy. When you see this happening or when you feel this happening to you, you can be reasonably sure that a successful depossession has taken place. (Fiore, 133).”

Once the process is over, it’s vital not to think about the spirit who has left, especially for the first few days. You may only call them back. The best thing a newly freed host can do is go out and do something fun. Engage in hobbies, meet up with some friends or watch a funny movie. Stay positive and try and move forward with your life, keeping your energy as positive as possible. Confused, sad or angry spirits have a much more difficult time attaching (or re-attaching) to a person whose energy is strong, hopeful and optimistic.

I hope this post can help Matt and his brother, and anyone else who may feel they are the victim of a spirit attachment. If someone reading this feels they are dealing with a spirit attachment, I would highly recommend the books listed at the end of this post for further reading.

Lastly, I will leave this post with a personal experience that I had with two lost souls to illustrate the profound joy that spirits will feel when they are finally released from the prison of their earthly concerns. This is a labor of love that often is best performed by the living if they choose to see spirits with compassion instead of fear. Often, a little understanding and respect can be all that is needed to guide them to freedom.

Teddy and Elizabeth

I was renting a room in a 160-year old house that was known to be haunted. The young daughter of the home owner frequently was observed speaking with an invisible child who called himself ‘Teddy’ and appeared to her with no shoes. Teddy told the little girl that his mother was named Elizabeth and that they had lived there together. We had no way of confirming this information, as the home was a boarding house for a while and had many tenants over it’s century and a half history.

One day, as we were exploring one of the three attics in this massive Victorian home, I came across an old Bible sitting on one of the floor beams. This particular part of the attic had been used previously for storage, so it was a mystery how the bible appeared there without being noticed before. Inside the front cover of the Bible was the name ‘Elizabeth’.

After the Bible was found, poltergeist-type activity in the house became more intense and the energy seemed very unsettled. I’m not sure what possessed me to do it, but one day when I was alone in the house, I sat down in the oldest room that was once used a the main living room. I put my hand on the Bible and over that, a sheet of paper with a pencil in my hand. I had never before been successful with automatic writing, but something encouraged me to try. I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen, if anything.

I sat for a while with my eyes closed and didn’t sense anything. As I drifted into a trance-like state, I felt a flood of emotion come over me. I felt fear. Desperation. Extreme worry. I saw Elizabeth in my mind, a young woman in a white dress reminiscent of the late 1800’s, and then separately, a little boy in pajamas with no shoes on. They were lost and looking for each other. I could sense their desperation, as if the house had caught fire and they simply continued to search for the other until they both perished in the smoke and flame. I was vaguely aware that my hand was writing something on the paper over the Bible, but I was too lost in the emotion of the moment. I could feel the desperation of their search and in the moment, I called out to them in my mind to come the room I was in, which was right next to the original front door of the house and the only original point of exit.

Tears flooded down my cheeks as I saw Elizabeth finally find Teddy in the hall near the front door. She scooped him up into her arms and I became witness to the most joyous, emotional reunion. The love and relief was indescribable. It was so intense that I was overcome with choking sobs. Finally, as Elizabeth was holding her little boy in her arms, gently swaying as if to comfort him, I felt their energy slowly recede. The emotions became less intense until they were gone and I was left with a sense of profound peace.

I slowly opened my eyes, surprised to see long shadows from the late afternoon sun streaming through the room. It had been bright and sunny when began this journey. I looked down at the paper to see that I had scrawled, ‘Mom’ or ‘Mama’ several times and ‘Love You’ along with some indecipherable words.

After that day, Teddy no longer visited the little girl. The unsettled energy in the home was replaced by a new stillness and serenity. Although I replaced the Bible in the attic where I had found it, it eventually disappeared. Some didn’t like that I had ‘released’ the spirits of Teddy and Elizabeth. They thought the house was more interesting haunted. But from that day, I could never look at ghosts or spirits the same way again, and certainly not as ‘entertainment’.

All earth-oriented spirits deserve kindness and understanding. As Dr. Fiore points out, in cases of spirit attachment, the concern should be for the possessors, even if a great toll is being taken on the living host. It is by caring most for the welfare of the spirit that we can summon the compassion needed to send them into the loving light.

References and Recommended Reading:

The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologist Treats Spirit Possession. Fiore, Dr. Edith. Ballantine Books. 1987

Spirit Releasement Therpay: A Technique Manual. Baldwin, Dr. William. J. 1995

Thirty Years Among the Dead. Wickland, Dr. Carl, 1924

Earthbound Spirits Are Attached to You – How To Remove Them. Schwimmer, Dr. George. 2013

The Practical Psychic Self-Defense Handbook: A Survival Guide. Bruce, Robert. Hampton Roads Publishing. 2011

The Soul Rescue Manual: Releasing Earthbound Spirits. Rodriguez, Patrick. 2013

Afterlife Interrupted: Helping Stuck Souls Cross Over. Castle, Fr. Nathan. Fluid Creations. 2018


5 thoughts on “A Rational Guide to Spirit Attachment Syndrome

  1. A well-researched and interesting piece, Jenn, covering lots of situations commonly reported.

    Recently I was writing via private mail to an individual experiencing similar problems. After I had suggested reasons for her own problems and what she could do, I particularly advised she should stop writing on forum boards about her unwelcome visitor. I said if she didn’t then that continued interest would also continue to attract him to her. I suggested she should try to focus on her family and the regular things in life and put him out of her thoughts.

    I realized that advice hadn’t worked when I saw more of her long pieces online, still talking about her unwanted visitor. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very wise advice Mac! I might suspect that the person in question may not really be ready to give up the spirit presence just yet. This issue was mentioned in the sources I used for the post and it has to be the first step. It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend then calling and texting them constantly. Wasn’t it Seth that says “We get what we concentrate on, there is no other main rule.” (Paraphrasing). Thank you for your support, Mac. I always appreciate your insightful responses and respect your opinions. So few of us focus on life after death topics and dig as deeply into it as we do. I’m just so grateful that anyone bothers to read my stupidly long posts. I working on making them a little less novel-length!


  2. Dear friends,

    Let me comfort you.
    Being a medium, myself, and communitcating with my dear husband on a daily basis ( he passed over exactly 7 years ago, on september 7th 2014) I can assure you that NO low spirit is able to read your thoughts, contact you or ( the idea…!!) possess you!
    It’s impossible!
    No spirit can contact people, who are on ( and of) a higher vibrational level, than itself.
    Even my own parents, who do reside on the 4th level…, can only contact me VIA my husband, who is on the 6th…. he is their intermediary….so how do you think spirits, who were criminals or creeps while on earth, can ever harm yóu??
    They could, in the case that you, yourself, also do belong to their level!
    Only then!



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gielah,

      Thank you for your thoughts and experience on the matter. I know that the concept of spirit attachment not something that enjoys a lot of consensus in the spiritualist community. There are plenty of people who don’t believe that spirit attachments are possible, and many who do. Dr. Edith Fiore who worked with clients on spirit attachments for several decades even writes in her book that she wasn’t 100% convinced that these were real spirits, but treating these cases as such worked extremely well to treat her patients. I think there is good evidence for spirit attachments, particularly since so many Psychologists over the last century have published case histories of supposed spirit attachments with verifiable personalities. However, we must also consider thought forms, soul fragments and many other complexities of consciousness that could be at work here. The final answer may not be so black and white. One of the sources even stated that he believed in some cases, the attached spirit was a fragment of energy that was separated from the main energy that was already in the spirit world. I appreciate our ability as a community to discuss the evidence, offer our personal experiences (like you so kindly did) and come to our own conclusions about what we believe. Thank you so much for sharing. I always appreciate a counterpoint experience.

      Take care,


  3. Ahh Jenn, you have so much class. Loved your response. Each person has to come to their own conclusions but we come to sites like yours to gather as much information as possible so we can make informed decisions. Thank you for all the research you do and your willingness to share it with us. Your site is exceptional!

    Liked by 1 person

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