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 wife passed away from cancer December 13, 2017 and I still have her ashes in a Urn on a dresser by the front door. We were soul mates, married for 32 years. We talked about death and made promises to each other in the ways we would get each other’s attention should one go before the other, She Joked in many ways how she would get my attention. To my surprise, honestly it all has come to light. Sometimes I find myself laughing and other times I find myself stimulated, cause I absolutely know it’s her as she is the only one that could know. It’s peaceful to have her ashes still with me.

My mums ashes were scattered this week. I pitcure was taken. In my mums ashes been scattered over a bridge into the water. I was looking at it very upset due to her ashes been shown on facebook. While i decided to look at the photo and talking to the pitcure. My mums face appeared in the ashes. Being excited i sent the photo to family members thinking maybe im just hopeful and seeing things. They saw mum too but she appeared in a few spots. Her profile. Also one She was sitting as my mum was permantely on crutches or a wheelchair when needed. We found a few. Then man appeared aswell we believe this possibly is her dad. We thought it was our dad but they were not together. Also it didnt look 100 percent like our dad where mums was differently her. Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else.

my doggie rosy one of a kind passed away from mass cell tumors i didnt everything to help her but they spreaded on the inside i had her cremated alone to make sure i got my rosy they put her in bag and in a box with a little lock when i got her home i put her over my head board on a shelf with a huge pic of her and her collar and her toy and then i noticed the lock started shaking i looked around nothing else was shaking so i locked the box i do feel like she is with me

I am curious and I am surprised I got my grandfather’s ashes in a necklace I’ve been having it for a while around my neck I bring him home to have them on me everywhere that I go for the first time last night a open up by himself and I want to know what that means if he’s telling me something

My boyfriend was friends with my sister before she introduced me to him almost 7 years ago and he had passed away this month of cancer .when he passed away i was asked by my sister if i wanted to hold on to his ashes till summer so we can scatter them .but my sister wont let me hold on to them now cause my boyfriends friend told her not to

I’ve been in a relationship for 2yrs. Now. And the person I’m with has had her past lovers ashes in her room for 15yrs. And it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. Can

for Linda 10 march my mom tell me that a friends mother was cremated and her ashes wen to his house everything wen sour no matter how until he decided to take the ashes to the church where remain till this day and everything change since that day the best of luck and God Bless

Was so helpful to read the article and the comments , thank you !
I lost my husband in July 2018 and my pain, my sorrow would be getting deeper with each passing day , I didn’t know how to go on. Couldn’t bring myself to columbarium to pick up his ashes , I thought I’d freak out… But when I did and placed him at home he built and loved I started healing. I love having his ashes at home.

My mom pass just days ago and was cremated , the ashes will be turned over to me I was her caregiver and get confidant always . I have four brothers and one sister who were not there for her for what ever the reason . I plan to get a fund created to get her ashes in the same cemetery her mother’s is at and I told her that , she was ok with that, now one of my brother who was not there for her is asking for some ashes and I feel like he doesn’t have the right to ask for them because my plan is to bury her intact ., I’m I being difficult my mom suffered a lot due to my brother being in jail for 15 years .

My husband passed away last May. I’m struggling as we were together 37 years and had a lovely marriage. I spent all the time with him while he was ill but wasn’t with him when he died. I woke up at six in the morning and didn’t go to the hospital at that time. The hospital phoned at 7.30 saying my husband wasn’t too good. When I got there he had died at 6.32. I feel heartbroken I wasn’t with him at the time when I feel maybe he was calling me at six and he really needed me.

My husband mom pass away in may 2018, her ashes is in the house. Now he wants to go there and live and we be staying in her room. He dont seem to wan to get rid of the ashes and am scared very scared.😣 tell me what i could do please

I lost my brother-in-law April 2018, we all have a small urn of his ashes which he wanted us to have.
I enjoy reading others comments on their loved ones, but I want to say since I have had his ashes I get strange feelings in my home. I don’t say anything because I don’t want my daughter to freak out, she would be scared.
But I like knowing others have some of the same Experiences I am having. Again I love reading the comments.

My husband of 16 years passed away November 7th of 2017. He shot himself infront of me n our daughter n died in my arms. Theres not a day that goes by that I dont feel my husband. He was cremated n sits on a stand in my bedroom. I’ve also had vivid dreams where I can hear him, feel him, smell him, n kiss him. I would trade those dreams. He was my soulmate, my bestfriend, my heart, my everything. I lost my heart the day he left me. I wont lie I still hurt everyday n it’s hard to sleep n I ask why is it fair my daughter has to live with this image for the rest of her life. I’d do anything to take it from her. I miss my husband so much n I know hes around keeping us safe because that’s what he did when he was alive. My husband was 34 years old when he passed n that stings that I didnt get more years with the love of my life. He will always hold my heart. Theres nobody else that I could love like I love him.

My 30year old daughter died suddenly this past August. I had her cremated and at first I was so freaked out about having her ashes in the house, I kept her in the cabinet for a month. Then I took her out and put her behind the TV. Then before I knew it I had purchased a beautiful urn and a glass curio cabinet and made a whole memorial corner in my living room. It really is beautiful. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My husband passed violently 5 years ago this May. I still wear my wedding rings, and have always worn a locket of his ashes and a locket of his hair around my neck, literally never took them off. Until today. I’m experiencing such heaviness and depression and oppression that has become unbearable and I’m wondering if this has anything to do with it

My oldest son passed away 28 days after his 15th birthday. There was no way I was going to bury him. I told him I’d never leave him. I have his ashes on my dresser surrounded by some of the things he liked. I talk to him everyday. Sometimes we her things, sometimes see things out of the corner of my eye.
It could be nothing but I like to think it’s him. Everyone mourns differently, take you time. I think it’s horrible to have someone’s shes in a closet or basement though. That’s sad.

I just went through my biological mom passing 6 days ago and I do not have her remains yet. I got 2 urns one for me and one for my moms sister. My mom left me at age 7 for drugs and men then came in and out of my life until 3 years ago she came and stayed..she was very sick and onky 46 years old. I am going to keep her remains in ny bedroom next to my bed..I dont want any bad vibes or things to happen and not sure if I will have any issues but it is concerning. Although I forgave her I believe that it would make her happy to be by my side again until I pass because I know she was sorry for the life she chose. She was my mom and will always have a special place in my heart. Does anyone think or believe I would have bad vibes or bad anything from keeping part of her with me?

I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read. I learn new information from your article related to Cremation Ashes, you are doing a great job . Keep it up!!

My best friend and soulmate died the day after Christmas 2017. We were planning a life together. We were best friends growing up and after so many years apart we reconnected and ended up falling in love and planning to be married. He was a man of God and we prayed and fasted together. He had a heart attack and died and I was left to have sum kind of service. I ended up having him cremated and I have a beautiful special ordered urn on my dresser next to my bed. I’m also gonna order these hearts for his mom, son and me too. I talk to him everyday! I have a few pictures of him on my dresser too. I feel close to him. I know he is gone and in heaven but I still feel his presence !! I am a Christian and this goes against what we believe but this love was truly God given! He would say he loved me because God first loved him. He had never been “IN” love before and this what we had was so different!! We would talk about this connection we had that was so deep!! It’s unexplainable!!! I’ve only had a dream of him talking to me and another dream of him sleeping by my front door waiting for me to come home!! I really wonder if there is some meaning behind that because that dream was so vivid!! I know there is more to come. I’ve had his ashes 2 weeks now and I feel our strong connection! He would always say if he died before me that I would be able to feel him all over me because he would be on me everyday all day LOL! Man i could never let his ashes go this man was my soulmate and so much more and my kids already know to bury his ashes with me!!

Mom died lady May. Her bother November before last since placing their urns in my ho.e we have experienced nothing but chaos on a consistent bases.ostly fire yly at me. Nothing I try to do goes smoothly there are always incredible hurdles thrown in my path or the project duffers miserably. My behavior has be one uncontrollably buzzard. This is and has never been like me. Everything I touch turn to crap. Are the remains a manifestation of evil imaging from these boxes. I think I’m going insane sometmes. I want to get them out of my house for goof

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