Whatever we call the spiritual world or the spirit world, we are all aware that something around us exists, because there is probably no man who has not had a very unusual phenomenon or event at least once in his life. From childhood we could listen to various legends from our grandparents about the unusual apparitions of ” kudret-fenjera”, ghosts of fallen soldiers, the mysterious bird “Meknjachi” or “Placho” which represents the soul of a dead child, about “Prepastima” and “Prikazima” met by night travelers at intersections, abandoned houses, or some other places. Of course, there are other beings in Balkan mythology, to whom the human imagination, intertwined with real events, has given a special look and stamp. Gypsies were especially prone to beliefs, but also to encounters with supernatural beings, due to their nomadic life, therefore in their culture we find a lot of similarities with our local traditions.
Of course, first of all, we are talking about the old Illyrian-Slavic spirits that have nothing to do with Christianity or Islam, since these religions have a very simple division into good spirits, ie. angels, and the evil ones ie demons. The paganism of the Balkan peoples retained a diverse spectrum of natural energies embodied through numerous beings, in fact manifestations of nature itself, and its miraculous forces. The most famous are, of course, the fairies.
According to Islamic belief, spirits or demons were created a thousand years before the creation of the first man. While the planet Earth was just cooling its crust, when humans and demons were just created they lived together. But as our ancient ancestors became more and more afraid of the terrible forms of spirits, they were dying of fear, God decided to put a curtain between them and thus forever separate the spiritual and material worlds.
However, even before the emergence of monotheistic religions in ancient pagan cults it was emphasized that there were two worlds; the first is this one in which we live and the second is the invisible sphere where our souls go after death. In short, the belief in ghosts has been present and innate since the earliest times of human existence.
But, although seemingly separated, these two worlds are constantly intertwined, since people are constantly being born and dying, and the interaction is very lively, even though it doesn’t seem that way to us at first glance. Individual spirits in a fit of rage or violation of their territory, where they gather and rest, have a habit of taking revenge on a human attacker in a painful way very. Also, spirits who are subordinate to a witch or some wizard, at their request, attack certain individuals and bring magic into their body and mind.
Individuals possessed by demons are thought to have the ability to see them but only they, while other people or family members present are exempt from that possibility. Those who are possessed by demons often stare at one corner of the room and keep saying, “There they are!” or “There he is!”, pointing a finger or making a horrified grimace on his face, but no one sees anything but him. Arab spiritual teachers explain this ability by saying that the veil that divides our human world from the spiritual one has been removed from that patient. The same ability is possessed by drug addicts, alcoholics or murderers, who more or less often happen to see a being from the other side or hear it while addressing them.
In addition to people, ghosts like to haunt certain places in nature, but also houses, whether they are old and abandoned or where someone lives. It is believed that in the house where someone committed suicide or murder, due to a sudden interruption of life, which is an exceptional shock for the soul, the spirit of the dead stays there for a short or long time. Many Hollywood series and movies have been made on the subject. But this is certainly not just fiction, but real paranormal events. The inexplicable floor creaking, knocking on the walls, falling mirrors or pictures from the wall, breaking glass, knocking after midnight, either in or around the house, are all signs of the presence of a foreign entity. Another reliable sign is when a candle is lit and its flame suddenly turns bluish.
The spirit of the dead can occupy the house with a combination of some random events. In northwestern Bosnia, in the area of Cazin and Velika Kladuša, there is a belief that if inadvertently, when taking the corpse out of the house with some part of his body such as his head, arms, or legs, he stumbles against a wall or door, his spirit will remain in the house and the hodja must be called upon to say certain prayers for the spirit’s departure.
It is interesting to note that ghosts or spiritual entities can be summoned into the house unconsciously, such as when incense or red candles are often lit in the house, when someone in the house constantly cries or swears, where the space is dirty, where there is animal feces, blood, or where a person lives who swears and curses a lot, or practices black magic. It is also believed that ghosts are attracted to small children and old people. Namely, they arouse the curiosity of the afterlife: small children because of their beauty and tenderness, which causes envy in evil spirits and the desire to harm them, and old people because they are literally one foot in the grave, and on the border between two worlds, and the spirits want to take them away as soon as possible.
WHEN PEOPLE COMMUNICATE WITH GHOSTS
Since prehistoric times, among the first humans, there were individuals born with the gift of communicating with invisible beings called shamans or sorcerers. These mystics came to the spirits in a trance, using stimulants such as hallucinogenic mushrooms, about which Carlos Castaneda wrote in detail. Sometimes they achieved this by using a drum, rhythmically beating the drum to bring them into a trance, or by a ritual where several musicians beat the drum and an ecstatic dance is performed. All this served one purpose and that is to adapt the human vibration, on which our body exists in space and time, to the spiritual one.
A certain rhythmic movement of the body, and the humming of magical formulas or invocations, is necessary in the act of bringing man closer to spirits, especially those who help in healing. This practice was once held by those “stravarke” (wise women) to whom the gift of healing was discovered in a dream by fairies. And here we finally come to one positive side of contact with spiritual beings, which as we see, does not always have a negative context.
Interestingly, often the helper spirits brought the chosen person, the future medium or prophet, into great physical torment, causing him long-term illness, torturing him in various ways, in order to strengthen and purify his body. Only then would they appear in a phase of complete mental and physical exhaustion, which often acted like a hallucination, a special state of consciousness, or in a dream announcing her task to her or him.
In the Bulgarian cult of magic, many witches had similar experiences. One of them told the following to the well-known ethnologist Iveta Teodorova: “A woman came to me in a dream. A real woman, like you. And I lay sick for a very long time. And a lot of time has passed since then, certainly over thirty years. So she came to me in a dream and stood beside me. I looked – it’s a man. I got scared so I cried out scared that she had come for me to take me somewhere. “Don’t be afraid,” he told me, “don’t be afraid. What I am going to tell you now, you must not reveal to anyone, and if you tell someone, then you will die. Why? I do not know. That’s what she told me. When asked by an ethnologist what this mysterious woman sorceress looked like, she said: “In black clothes, but she was not an ordinary woman. She was a saint and she came to tell me I had to heal with magic formulas, you understand? She told me everything and showed me everything. She was in a black dress and had long hair. She told me to go to church in front of the icon of the Mother of God, to leave a gift for her there.”
Another witch, a Bulgarian Turkish woman, said that in the night she was addressed by Allah himself, dressed in a white shirt with a black cap on his head, and illuminated by a strange green light all over his body. Then he told her that from this night she would be able to perform the ritual of healing with lead for everyone and foretell destiny with beans. In addition to the above, among the Bulgarian Turks, it is believed that God appoints a helper spirit called “peri” (pl.periler), to an individual, which in English means a fairy, with whom a witch communicates every night. The fairy then reveals to them who will come to the door tomorrow to ask for help, what his problem is and how to treat him.
However, initiations into spiritual work, as well as the very encounters of man and spirit, do not always have to be the result of the choice of a higher power, but individuals of great heart and good soul can initiate themselves. In Egypt, it is believed, among the sorcerers of the time, that spiritual helpers can be obtained in various ways, some of which are black-magical and serve to attract and ally with evil spirits, while others are completely benevolent and directed towards those spirits that will lead a person to heal and help others. One of them is the repetition of the Ya-Sin prayer very many times, and by that we mean several thousand times, until at some appropriate moment before the man, or in a dream, the guardians of the said prayer appear in the form of light outlines. From that moment on, they reveal to him fascinating information about people’s treatment, such as referring a patient who will come to him tomorrow morning at eight o’clock to a certain doctor or revealing to him which medicine should be recommended. The same helpers will assist in reconciling husband and wife, improving work, removing black magic, but they will never do anything against man or what is contrary to God’s law. Likewise, these same helpers are believed to illuminate his path at night and keep him from being attacked by evil spirits.
To conclude, it would also be interesting to point out that sometimes encounters with spirits and initiations occur completely unconsciously and without any communication or agreement. Therefore, they are the result of the will of only one side. Namely, Gypsies have a common belief that their wives become excellent witches and fortune tellers only when some of them are visited during the night by water and earth spirits known as Nuvashi and Phuvashi. That night mystical visitors sleep with her, without her knowledge and consent, and in the morning, when she wakes up, the woman discovers that she has some new and specific powers such as predicting future events.