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 boyfreinds grandpa passed in june they made neckalces out of his ashes and its in my house along eith his ring and a few shirts ive i caught otbes on my video on christmas and ever since then have heard foot steps lights that never work all of a sudden work and turn on in tbe middle of the night if we remove these things well it get better or is it best to keep them . its scareing me alittle

In response to Logan: Thank you for your comment, we are so sorry to hear about your dad’s loss. We can’t make any recommendations or offer any advice, but there are resources you can find to help children with the coping of a loss. This link is to one such resource:
There are many resources out there that can help you. We are sending you good thoughts.

My father recently passed on the late night of 4 January early 5 January 2018 this year, my 3 yr old daughter has been experiencing some odd behavior over the last 4 weeks since her grandpas / dads passing, anything to Help my daughter get past this please

My ex- husband died in my arms. It was very spiritual and beautiful. I keep a small amt. In a glass reckless and the rest in a small urn on bedside table and I do talk to him. I am Roman Catholic and am I going against my religion? It feels right to me but I worry about what God feels about it .

I have urns of my mom & sisterI actually feel guilty about wanting to release them into a out going tide (ocean) yet w/my mother’s urn I definitely pick up on her behavior’s and though I love her its unhealthy for me to allow this.any thoughts on what i should say while releasing both together into the beautiful ocean &making sure they know how much i live them and i want its more my mom i feel to ne happy and free….

My fiancee passed almost two years ago. Within a couple of weeks of his passing I heard his guitar strum twice. I was woken up by my name being called, and a few other things. This happened before I received his ashes. Now that I have his ashes I am lucky if I have a dream about him. I talk to him every night and I kiss his urn every morning. Could his signs have ceased because his ashes are with me now?

My husband died unexpectly at age 62. He had never wanted to be buried. I have his ashes in a red rock urn. In a back bedroom. Not sure what my children will do when I die, I hope they will have me creamated and then bury both of us, mixed together in a cemetery plot I already have. I have never been uncomfortable with Mike’s ashes in the house, and none of my friends ever seemed to be either. Mike has been gone 7 1/2 years, until this summer I had the rock with his ashes in living room, but finally decided to move him.

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