Living Ghosts

The classic definition of a ghost is the apparition or manifestation of a dead person that appear or manifest to the living. But what if I told you that it’s possible to witness the ghost of someone who is still alive? You’d probably think I’m crazy or you may even leave this page. But give me a chance to convince you because this belief has been around much longer than you think.

from giphy

Since early times, recorded in fictional and anecdotal writings, there have been countless accounts of people seeing the soul of a living person. In Japanese folklore, this type of spirit is referred to as an Ikiryō, or shōryō, which simply means “living ghost”. This spirit is believed to have the ability to haunt places, people, and sometimes travel across a large distance. In Buddhist writings, ikiryō are able to inflict curses upon others if that living person is angered or holds a grudge.

But these wondering souls don’t always seek vengeance or revenge as many believe they have other motives such as love and can actually possess another living individual to carry out their desires.

Ikiryō illustration by Sekien Toriyama

Most assume that when a soul leaves the living person, that it often resembles who it left. And the in the Edo period, many also thought of an ikiryō as being an illness commonly called ‘shadow sickness’ or ‘soul separation sickness’. Others think that they can take the shape of a ‘soul flame’, the spirit of an individual that escapes a dying individual within a short time near their death.

Now while this phenomena is similar to out of body experiences and doppelgangers, they are not the same. Out of body experiences don’t usually refer to hauntings or possession and doppelgangers are known to be more of a negative omen but more on both of those topics later.

I hoped I opened your mind a little or even taught you something. The paranormal is a mysterious journey, full of topics and eye-opening reports across the world. And I hope you’ll continue to join me every week to uncover and dive deep into other spooky subjects!

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