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Dreaming About Ghosts – Symbolism and Interpretation

Dreaming about ghosts can be terrifying, especially when they seem so real. Even someone who doesn’t believe in them can find these dreams unsettling. Some people believe that dreams are a way for ghosts, or deceased souls, to make contact with the living, while others believe that dreaming of a ghost could mean that there’s something wrong with the dreamer’s mentality.

Although this isn’t the case, seeing a ghost in a dream could tell you a lot about your state of mind or something about your personality. Ghost dreams can be interpreted in many ways and the best way to do so is by focusing on the details and what happened in the dream into account. 

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Dreaming of ghost meaning

Are Ghost Dreams Real?

Before we dive into a breakdown of your dream, let’s address whether dreams about ghosts are real. Some believe that when they dream about ghosts, also known as visitation dreams, they’re being contacted by paranormal beings. This is a view that has been held in many cultures since ancient times, where dreaming was viewed as a means of communication with the dead.

Patrick McNamara, Ph.D. and expert on the nature and function of dreaming, argues in Psychology Today that such dreams “might be one source of the widespread belief in life after death—a core idea for conceptions of the soul and religion. For traditional peoples who accorded equal or greater ontological weight to dreams as compared to waking reality, a visitation dream must have been utterly convincing evidence that a spirit world and life beyond the grave existed”.

Anne Reith, Ph.D. and founder and director of the Institute for Mediumship, Psychic, Astrological, & Reiki Training, states that it’s easy for ghosts and other such spiritual beings to communicate with humans when they are asleep. This is because our guards are down and we’re more receptive to such visitations in dreams than we would be in our waking life.

This view has also been explored in popular media – one of the best examples is the famous movie Sixth Sense, where the dead protagonist is able to communicate with his wife only when she’s sleeping.

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Whether you believe in ghosts or not, dreams about ghosts and other deceased persons can be interesting and tell you something about your subconscious mind.

Dreaming of the Ghost of a Loved One

A dream in which you see the ghost of a loved one doesn’t necessarily mean that the particular person will die or already has died. Instead, it may symbolize your unresolved feelings for that person in your waking life. Some believe that these dreams are a sign that the dreamer (and not the ghost in the dream) is in danger.

It’s also believed that the ghost in this dream could be trying to tell you something. For those who have lost a loved one without having had the chance to say goodbye, this dream could be a type of healing dream. The dreamer may feel relieved that they finally had the chance to say goodbye to the person they lost.  

A Bad Memory

Seeing a ghost in your dream could symbolize a bad memory that you may be trying to shut out of your mind.

If you see the ghost in the mirror, it could mean that memories of bad experiences have left a mark on you.

Though you may have tried to forget these experiences and move on, your subconscious mind could be triggering these dreams to remind you of them.

Trauma and Stress

Ghost dreams can often symbolize trauma or stress you have had to endure lately. It’s perfectly common for such nightmares to occur as a result of posttraumatic stress and these dreams usually tend to go away on their own after some time.

However, if you continue to see such dreams, it could mean that the stress may be too much for you to handle and that it may help to talk to a professional about it or someone close to you.

Fear of Dying

Dreaming of ghost of dead person

At a certain point in life, it’s normal for anyone to have fears about dying. If you’ve been seeing ghosts in your dreams, it’s likely that you’re having the same fears.  The fear of death you feel does not have to be about yourself. It could be about anyone in your waking life: a family member, a friend, a relative, a colleague, or even your boss.

Dreaming of the Ghost of a Dog

Dreaming about the ghost of a dog could mean that you’re having problems with someone you’re close to and you’re feeling guilty about it.

This feeling may be bothering you, eventually manifesting in your dreams in the form of a ghost dog. Perhaps you feel guilty about having these problems and you want to resolve them with your friend, but neither of you wants to take the first step.

In this case, this dream could be telling you that it’s time to put the past behind you and work on burying the hatchet. As a result, you may feel relief and even joy.

Dreaming of a Ghost Attacking You

Dreaming of a ghost is bad enough, but it’s a lot worse if the ghost is attacking you. If this happens in your dream, it could represent your vulnerability or that someone is threatening you and waiting for you to surrender to them.

This dream could also be a sign of defeat and surrender to pressure and negative forces. It could be warning you to keep your guard up and working on being more assertive.

Dreaming of Fighting with a Ghost

Fighting with a ghost in a dream has a negative interpretation.  It could mean that you have too many negative emotions building up inside of you and your energy is being drained as a result. You may also have lost or be losing your will to fight through the problems in your life.

This dream could be giving you a hint not to allow yourself to be overpowered. It’s also a sign that you might want to free your mind by releasing any pent-up emotions as soon as possible.

Dreaming of Chasing a Ghost

Dreaming about chasing a ghost can say a lot about your personality. It’s an indication that you are in control of every aspect of your life, both good and bad. You likely have the strength and the ability to face your issues and concerns, which you will eventually conquer using your own power.

On the other hand, this dream could also mean that there’s something you need to fix in your waking life. It may be telling you to identify what’s not right in your life so that you can work on fixing it.

Dreams as a Means of Communication for Ghosts

As mentioned earlier, dreams are often said to be a means of communication for ‘ghosts’ or spirits.  

In some cultures, it’s a popular belief that dreams are caused by ghosts who haven’t passed on and wish to communicate with the living. Some regard ghosts as a source of talent and wisdom, and that seeing one in a dream is lucky.

Wrapping Up

While dreams about ghosts may be frightening, especially if you’re someone who’s terrified of ghosts, they don’t always have negative interpretations. In fact, some dreams may help you to sort out certain issues in your life while others could point out something about yourself that you need to change.

Affiliate Disclosures

Apsara Palit
Apsara Palit

After completing her post-grad in Values, Ethics and Indian Culture, Apsara is sharing her knowledge of symbolism, mythology, history and culture through her blogs. Apsara lives in India and believes in getting a first-hand understanding of culture through travelling.