Paranormal Activity - Do Cremation Ashes Invite Spirits to Stay Around Home?

by Maggie Thompson

    Keeping ashes at home

Losing a loved one is always difficult. Perhaps the most difficult part about loss is that it is different for everyone, so there is no clear set of steps for moving through grief. Cremation is an ancient practice found in cultures around the world with many meanings and rituals attached to it. Besides its spiritual connotations, choosing cremation can allow a grieving family the luxury of time to decide how to proceed with their loved one’s remains.

It is not uncommon for families to be uncertain about where or how to display, bury or scatter the ashes of a loved one. When there is no rush to decide, the approach of simply putting the cremains in a closet “for now” seems like the easiest choice. This indecisiveness springs from understandable emotions or circumstances, such as:

  • A desire for all surviving family members to come to consensus
  • Logistics that delay the opportunity for a formal family gathering to bury or scatter the ashes
  • Personal beliefs that the essence of the loved one is gone, so the ashes have little personal significance
  • A resistance to making further plans coupled with a strong desire to keep the cremains nearby because the survivors are not ready for a more final step

Sometimes the delay stems from being overwhelmed by the fact that there are countless ways to care for cremation ashes. But what happens when months, years or even generations go by, and the ashes remain in the closet?

Learning about how others have dealt with (or avoided dealing with) the disposition of cremains can help lessen the sense of frustration and overwhelming emotions. Find connection in these tales from real people, guidance from spiritual experts on understanding energy and options for creating your own sense of peace through the gift of time that cremation can offer.

A Tale of Two Closets: Feeling Energy Connected to Cremation Ashes at Home

In an unusual example, psychic medium Lisa Guttierez-Haley relates her story on Lisa was contacted by an exasperated family. They had been experiencing strange paranormal activity in their home: images of people walking by, a strong sense of aggression and feelings of bad energy in the house. Lisa reported that a pervasive, overwhelming meanness was coming from an elderly female spirit, dominating an elderly male spirit. This energy was strongest by the closet. When the family opened the door, they found two boxes of ashes on a shelf containing cremains of the wife’s great grandparents. Lisa advised removing the ashes from the house right away. The husband did so and immediately felt that the air had lifted.

However, Lisa could feel more spirits in the house. In another closet, they found two more boxes of cremains, those of the wife’s grandparents, who evoked a gentler presence of love. Lisa deemed it was okay to leave these boxes in the closet because the spirits were not causing negativity for the surviving family.

Basement vs. Altar: Waiting Too Long to Make a Decision

When Gail and Arthur were making repairs in the basement of their family’s beloved summer home, they found an old coffee can tucked away on a back shelf. Expecting to find an assortment of nails, nuts and bolts, they opened it only to realize the contents was cremains sealed in a plastic bag. Running through a mental list of deceased grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, the couple sadly had no idea whose remains they might be.

In another story, this blog’s author came upon a small locked door on the back of the free-standing altar in her church. Behind the door were several containers of cremains. This area was not a columbarium but rather an unofficial holding spot intended to allow families time to decide what they wanted to do with the cremains of loved ones. One box had been there 12 years, another for eight. The most recent had been there two weeks, with plans for burial in the church’s memorial garden the following month. Some cremains had been there such a long time that no one knew who the remaining family members of the deceased were or how to contact them.

These stories illustrate that while cremation offers time to grieve, a decision must be made eventually to honor the memory contained in cremains.

Does Cremation Sever Your Connection to Your Loved One?

This question is a relevant one for anyone considering cremation as an option. Jaime Licauco is a Pilipino expert on mysticism and the paranormal who has been researching, teaching and writing on esoteric knowledge for 35 years. He has written numerous books and articles on our connection with a higher consciousness and responded to questions like this in his article on the Lifestyles page. Here is what Licauco says: 

When a person dies, their psychic connection with loved ones is not immediately severed. It can remain for a long time. Because of this, their energy can still be felt by the living. In truth, the dead never leave us but are in another dimension of existence. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a loved one’s ashes in the house.

Options for Respectfully Dealing with Cremation Ashes

If you have a loved one’s ashes in a closet, what can be done with them? Here are some options for remaining respectful of both your memories and your family’s diverse needs, especially if family members want to keep the ashes at home.

  • Traditional options: Memorial urns designed for display are an excellent aesthetic option for keeping ashes in the house. They come in a variety of designs made from ceramic, glass, marble, stone, metal and wood. Smaller keepsake urns and jewelry pendant urns that hold a nominal amount of ashes are also satisfying choices for sharing cremains among family members.
  • Scattering solutions: A garden, a forest and a body of water are meaningful places for scattering ashes. Although not always necessary, scattering urns are available to use during a ceremony before releasing the remains into nature. It is perfectly acceptable to keep a portion of ashes separately in a keepsake urn or ash pendant. Simply remove that portion before scattering the rest.

For those interested in less traditional ways of honoring a loved one’s memory, think-outside-the-cremation-urn options abound:

  • Having ashes blown into glass, such as a vase, paperweight or distinctive glass cremation keepsakes, offers a beautiful alternative to a somber urn.
  • Scattering ashes at the edge of space allows both children and adults to feel their loved one always watching over them.
  • Incorporating ash into a diamond gemstone provides a very personal piece of jewelry as a daily reminder of your loved one.
  • Mixing ash with paint for a portrait of the deceased can yield immense comfort.

Cremation offers the benefit of time. There is usually no urgency to decide what to do with the ashes. This allows families time to make plans and to grieve in whatever way suits them. Cremation is an option that offers that space. Keeping ashes in the home can be a comforting and meaningful way to still feel connected to a loved one for many people. The key point to remember is that you decide what feels right for you; there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Maggie Shopen Thompson, MFA, is a freelance writer and writing workshop facilitator in Montpelier, Vermont. She is a contributing author/artist in Healing Art & Writing – using creativity to meet illness, curated and edited by Patricia Fontaine, published in August 2016.


My grandfather who helped to raise me died in ‘87. One night I had fallen asleep on the floor watching a movie I woke up got up and into the kitchen and made a bowl of cereal looked at the clock and it said 12:30 I remembered that I just had a dream that my grandfather had come to me and reached his hand out while I was laying on the floor and said come on come with me. In the dream we walked and he talked to me I don’t remember what the conversation was about. But I remember that we came to a beautiful gate and he let go of my hand and open the gate and with the other hand he pointed his finger at me and said don’t you forget this dream. It was that moment that I woke up and got up and walked into the kitchen looked at the clock and made my bowl of cereal. Are it and went to my bed. The next morning I heard someone pulling into my driveway. So I got up and opened the door, and was by the sheriff. They came to tell me that my grandfather had passed away. I asked if they knew what time he had died. He looked at his paperwork and said , 12:15 a.m. the hair all over my body stood on end I feel he came to show me the gates to heaven. What an honor.

My husband died shortly from battling cancer…too fast, too soon. He and I had discussed about cremation for us; and keeping his urn with me in my bedroom. I do a little more—I put his favorite hat and the urn and the boots under the stand on which the urn is placed. I also put the ashes of his/our beloved cat by the urn. I am with them every night.

I don’t agree about my husbands’ keeping half of her mother’s ashes, well not even full of it and have them kept at our home. I don’t want for the memory of her mother, to end up being an ornamenta and have to lift her urn up in the air in order to dust around the coffee table, where my husband decided to place her. We have a son whose a minor and I’m concerned about his well being and mental stability, please help and share a wise advice.

I lost my soulmate and love of my life just 6 months ago and I’m still in shock…was so very unexpected. He was only 66…knew him for 50yrs. I have some of his ashes in my home and I feel that’s where they belong. I see him and speak to him all the time. He is always by my side. True love Never dies…miss him so much though. Tough times…prayer helps me get through each day and knowing that God will strengthen me gives me hope. Rest in peace my sweet love…xoxo

I lost love of my life after 43 years together through thick and thin . I was only 17 and fall in love this handsome macho 24 years old man . Best man on earth . I am so lost without hm our two sons are very supportive. I brought his earns home and We have them in beautiful corner chair under his life size picture . I always keep small light on it all the time and on going prayers 24×7 . I am going to keep it with me till I die and told my sons to put my ashes with my husband and put it together in running water . Till then I am keeping the remains with me and I talk to him every morning and evening and when I go out of the house I tell him where I am going and when I come back from work I tell him about my day . Many time I feel him around me and hear my name the way called me “Jassu” and it’s so real . Our sons feel the same his love and protection I am going to keep him close to my heart as always but not in the closet . This is his home too so why in the closet . Decent part of the house where he will feels like a king . He lost his life to Covid 19 he was 66years and I am 60 now .

I lost my husband about 6 wks ago he choked on steak and I tried to save him,I have a necklace with ashes in it actually two necklaces with his ashes in them, I also gave close family members that necklace with him in it and I’ll moves on my neck and that’s upside down wraps around my throat and it hurts a lot and I want to know what I could do about this it also follows me to the grocery store and in the car when I wear the necklace,he did die 2 times at the house and once at his arrival at the hospital he unfortunately died 10 days later of brain damage sincerely….im terrified at this point and he also slames doors. Christa Wagner

My father passed away in 2017
And 3weeks after that I stayed up late one night as I went to bed. And was just laying there it felt like someone sit right beside me I have a memory foam mattress. I sit up quickly looked at my husband who was sleepy peacefully.nextnight I felt same thing but was at the foot of my bed. And my grandkids won’t sleep in a certain bedroom because they. Here footsteps in the hallway .which I’ve never heard yet but my husband said he’s heard a car door shut but moo ones there.

my husband of 43 1/2 years died in 2018’’I have not been able to stop thinking about the last week before he died.. I cry every day for him.. I miss his hugs and his kisses and hearing his voice. He was my whole universe and I adored him. We loved each other in the same way. Never in all those years did I ever question his love. I could always feel his love even when was my whole world and I cannot say goodbye to him. I have his ashes in a beautiful urn I did not want to buy one from a funeral home, So I bought a beautiful vase at an upscale store. .I cannot even type this comment without crying, Ikeep his ashes in my bedroom and I put the Urn next to me every night, in bed, I touch his ashes every night .

My mom passed in 2015, her mom passed away in 2008. Both were cremated. When we brought my grandmother home, strange things starting to happen. My mom and I began to feel very tense and there was an over abundance of anger that my mom’s boyfriend and his autistic son also became angry. My mom dumped her ashes in a river that went a great distance across state lines. Everything calmed down. For the first five years after my mother passed, there were times that I felt great and other where the angry returned. It wasn’t until recently that a friend noticed my change and suggested removing the urn of my mother from the home. What confuses me is my anger has not been as bad with just my urn necklace of my mom around. Is it possible that my grandmother attached herself to her daughters urns as an attempt to stay around? They never got along for as long as I can remember and heard. I’m torn in between setting both of them in storage out of the house and just making a road trip to my moms birthplace and putting them both to rest.

My only child died April 25th. Bright sunny Saturday morning, going to the same store on a road we’d driven on 100s of times before. Left my house never to return. I’ve his urn and people want me to give it up. I can’t. Am I wrong to want to keep it?

So my dad died on the 16th. They didn’t find his body till the 19. He overdosed. My dad fought demons of addiction and many other things his whole life. I’m supposed to get his ashes in about a week or 2 but my question is, will there be any spiritual attachments to it.. like I love him I’m just scared, I lost my mom 4 years ago and see her in my dreams but I’ve never had anyone’s ashes.. I hate worrying about this.. but I can’t

It’s been 4 months since My son committed suicide on his birthday. He turned 31. He dealt with anxiety and depression his whole life. My husband and I had him creamated. We picked out a bronze urn with his full name, birthdate and date of passing. I have the urn in my living room on a shelf with his pictures around it. My husband and I can not part with his ashes yet. As long as his ashes are there we feel like he’s with us. For awhile I was wondering if keeping his ashes on a shelf was wrong and should I release his ashes or put him in a burial site. Reading these comments has helped me realize that keeping his ashes is ok till I’m ready to decide what to with them.

I am just now gettingy don who took his own life ashes after several years. My oldest don is bringing them to me. I am wondering what kind of affect it will have on me. I’m still grieving him. He had asked me to see that his children would be ok should he die. I came back from the Florida Keys to Indiana to find his kids and make sure they ok. He has 4 kids. The ,2 oldest were adopted and I finally found them. Although I haven’t saw them but know they are loved in s happy home. All 4 are fine
I fulfilled his wishes but I’m wondering if zi will have any connection with him with his ashes bring in the same room with Mr. Does anyone had any experience with this?

I lost my 11 year old Eugene 7 years ago due to spleen rupture. He passed in under 12 hours. I had him cremated and his ashes are in a cedar box urn sitting on a small table in our hallway. When I brought his remains home a bright streak/orb shot out of the box when I sat him down and said, “Here you go Eugene. You’re home now.” Over the course of several years we could randomly see his shadow lay in his bed or walk by. I saw him standing by 2 different doors looking at me, so I said hello and he disappeared. It was always and still is a positive feeling. A few years later our Kitty passed. I got her ashes back also in a cedar box urn. She is a cat. I put her ashes in her cat tree in our living room still in the cedar box. You would hear her run and jump onto her tree and it would sway but nothing was near it. You could hear her nails popping the carpet fabric as well, and her dangling toys would move all around on their own. She would play at our dogs and they would chase her into thin air. It wasn’t an issue really. My mom didn’t get to say goodbye to Kitty so I took Kitty’s ashes to my mom’s house in a different state and accidentally forget them there when we left to drive back home, and they’ve been there since. All Kitty cat activity has stopped except a random “meow!” being heard when she walks into the room. Now I recently lost my 11 year old son, Gus, to aggressive nasal sarcoma/cancer. He was gone in 18 months. He was actually beating was in his blood and bones it was so horrible. He gained a bacterial infection in his mouth that occurred separately from the cancer, but it was so much for his already compromised body that his heart was shutting down and couldn’t handle it. It was devastating. We held him as he passed and well after. I walked with his body to the back to be stored and he looked like he was asleep. It was unreal. We left and as we got in the vehicle to go home I held the back door open and told Gus to “get in baby…lets go home.” I paused then shut the door. Got in and we drove home. I realized about half way home I was driving as if someone was sitting in the back. The back of the vehicle felt weighty. My husband noticed it as well. Turns out Gus came home with us that very moment. Gus’s ashes are here in our home now as well as Eugene’s. Our house felt whole again upon receiving Gus’s remains. We both, my husband and I, have seen Gus in all of his favorite spots in our home and outside in grey shadow form. I’ve seen him too standing or walking around. Gus passed January 20th, 2020 around 6:00pm in San Diego, CA. Everything has been peaceful beyond words. 5 days ago it all flipped around upside down in such a horrible way. I came to this post after googling in my research of a few things I wondered about. Some times “outside” spirits can latch onto us. We feel that one came home with one of us sometime and it grew and grew until I verbally lashed out at my service dog for not going into his bed. I felt like I wanted to seriously hurt him, but like I was looking through glasses or a tv screen. I instantly realized it wasn’t just me and stopped. It was so trivial. There was zero provocation to become enraged at this little guy for simply not being in his bed. It wasn’t grief either. I started going room from room giving our home and and everything in and out of it to God. I was drawn into our walk in closet and it was suddenly dark. I said things again and I heard movement from where no one was. I followed it into another corner and said things again. Items moved on their own, it ran behind me unseen and into our kitchen..whatever it was it made wind that rustled the calendar on the wall and such. I heard the sounds move into our kitchen, moving small items, clinking, taps, thumps and followed it repeating things to help it move on and be positive. When I was done I realized the front door’s screen door was open after letting a dog in, so I opened the wood door and a horrible rotten, sulfur scent hit me in the face like a stink bomb. I grabbed the screen door and closed both doors, then hopped in the shower to wash anything away. EVERYTHING and everyone left including Eugene and Gus unfortunately. Or so I thought. For 48 hours it was dead peaceful. I went from tossing and turning at night to I suddenly got 10 hours of sleep! I started seeing bright orbs and wisps of orbs 2 days later where I use to see shadows of Eugene and Gus. It has now been 5 days since I cleared the house and the shadows are slowly coming back, but there is zero aggression what so ever. Yesterday I heard a thump in the dinning room when it was only me awake. It dawned on me it was my husband’s lunch box for work that got thumped on the side, when nothing was near it to touch it. The thing is that my grandmother gave it to me to give to my husband to use. The lunch box was my grandfather’s. He passed in March 1996 and never met my husband. Him and my husband were in the navy and I know for certain he would have liked my husband. There are times I use to see my grandfather in our home as well, but his ashes aren’t here. He was buried actually in AZ and has never been in our home here in CA. It’s crazy to know how those with ashes in this home are passive and positive, yet those who I don’t know were the ones causing aggression in both me and my husband. At one point we were even having disagreements that made zero sense to argue over. It was odd. Having ashes of positive people in your home can create a positive atmosphere for sure. The reason for my search also had to deal with….Gus’s ashes are in a silver bag. It is plastic. We haven’t gotten his cedar box engraved back yet, but he’s here. We keep his ashes in his favorite spots for now, including on the couch next to me. The thing is I had his ashes laid on my chest while watching tv, and the amount of warm love and peace and calm that came over my heart felt so comforting. I wasn’t even thinking about it. A while later I laid his remains in the bend of my neck and rested my right ear/head on it. I felt sad. Um, the bag started to become colder and colder all of a sudden. It got to a point where I couldn’t take it, but not as bad as ice or anything, so I laid him in my lap. The sadness went away. I watched tv and I noticed my heart, it felt like I was going to have a panic attack or heart attack. The rate went up and I got worried. I moved Gus’s bag aside away from me 3 feet. In 10 minutes my heart rate returned to normal. When Gus was passing away his heart rate was up because it was giving out fighting infection. He was going into cardiac arrest. I fully feel as if that sadness was an emotional imprint left behind from him and me both being sad over him having to pass away, then depending on where he touches my body will vary what I will feel. On my chest on my heart it felt loving and peaceful. Gus was my service dog as I am a heart patient. To me this tells me heart to heart connections are what he is still about. He passed away in our laps having heart rate issues, so I assume his ashes put those heart rate issues in me because that is where it occurred when he was last in my lap. The ashes will remain in my home. I hold no ill will, and will continue to help keep the peace in our home.

Responding to AK about your biological mother: I am sure that your mom’s ashes will give you peace and protection. No one is perfect. No, they will not bring you bad vibes.
I’m Catholic too, and I feel my dad around me all the time. To everyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, they just want you to know that they are always watching over you and praying for you from Heaven. They want you to succeed, be safe and happy, and go farther than they did. God Bless You all!

My daddy died this past year December 26, 2019 one day after Christmas. I was by his side all night and never slept. I listened to every last breath. I watched him take his last breath. My family had a church service for him while we were waiting for his crematory remains. One month later a military funeral. I asked for a couple of teaspoons of his ashes to spread over his property, as this was his most important wish. I purchased an Urn for daddy. The morning of the military funeral I received a call from the funeral home, telling me they had two cups of remains left and asked if I wanted them. Of course I said yes I definitely wan’t them. I brought the ashes home planning on scattering them with my siblings and other family that wanted to attend. My family can never get together at the same time. I have the ashes in my living room and I am now getting attached to them. I feel he is with me. I have strange dreams but it doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I feel like I see something out of the corner of my eye which does not scare me. I don’t feel any bad vibes. Now I wan’t to keep some in a necklace or small crystal glass to carry with me. 8 feel if you keep them to long you will grow attached to them. I love you daddy. See you soon.

My grand father passed away 7months ago a few month after his passing the ashes remain with my grandmothers on display in a glass cabinet that never gets opened it is on the highest shelve my mother went in to look at her fathers. Belongings and notice white snow like substance on top of the ashes box of my grandmother and then a few weeks later another clump next to my grand fathers. This substance I have never felt and I can’t relate it to anything like little grains of foam but not has hard as foam very light weight almost like flour

My beautiful daughter passed 4 years ago , an eternity for me but at the same time it feels like if it was yesterday. I keep her ashes in her bedroom on top of her night stand in a beautiful box with her picture on it. Every time I walk in her bedroom you can feel such a beautiful peace, always smells clean and so good I just can’t explain it. She was only 20 . An evil man decided to take my little girls life a beautiful angel my beautiful angel. I have to keep her room the same way as if she still home .

We brought home the cremains of my in-laws. Two days later a small container of sewing needles suddenly fell off a bookshelf. It was not near the edge. Last year we brought home the cremains of our recently deceased 17 year old cat and placed the urn in my daughters bedroom. For weeks we heard her bed creaking as if the cat was on her bed. Nothing since then.

Prior to my husbands death on Aug. 8, 2017, I had prayed a very very powerful prayer. To my surprise, my pet cat went wild crying looking up towards the dining room ceiling, I decided to pull out my smart phone and video tape what she was looking at because my own eyes couldn’t pick up what my phone could. Lo and behold my smart phone picked up at least 60 to 70 orbs of all sizes some as small as grapes to grapefruits flying at me and appeared through me. Two shot thru the dining room curtain into the living room where my husband was sitting watching Tv. I immediately showed the video to my husband. The next day I showed it to 3 other realitives. Later on by accident I erased the video. I was very upset over that. Over the years I tried to make sense of it. Till this day I wonder if those orbs were angels preparing to take my 64 year old husband. My father just passed 1-27-19. I have both their ashes in my home. My husband sits on my mantle, my dad is in a shelf in my living room. Strange occurrences have taken place in my home even before their passing. My home was built in 1936 and I believe its because of all the energy from previous occupants. Since i was young I have witnessed strange sightings, sometimes with witnesses. I have seen demonic creatures to angelic beings. I have even witnessed UFO’s-all I can say is “these unexplained things do exist”. Recently in my home I have had visions in my “half awake and half asleep state” of a young man who is very angry, which has disturbed me to the point that I decided i will scatter both my husband and fathers ashes. I believe and sense this spirit just might be attracted to their remains.I pray this spirit leaves my home. Some people chose to have remains of a loved one in their home.As of today I changed my mind.

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