Why Spirits Become Earthbound

Earthbound spirits, commonly known as ghosts, are deceased individuals who remain on the earth plane after death. In essence, they become stuck in the physical environment. Moreover, these spirits still feel the emotions of pain, anger, and frustration.

When the body expires, the spirit of a person, along with their consciousness, usually moves into the astral realm to begin a new existence. This astral dimension, also known as heaven or the Light, is very close to our physical dimension. Sadly, some spirits don’t immediately cross over to the Light upon death. These spirits are commonly referred to as Earthbound Spirits.

Why Spirits Don’t Cross Over

Earthbound spirits are individuals who either consciously or unconsciously, don’t make the crossing to the other side. These spirits may or may not be aware they have died. Perhaps they are so traumatized by the death experience; they literally cannot see the light.

Spirits that remain earthbound often linger in familiar or happy places such as homes or workplaces, a beloved library, or even wander property. Additionally, a spirit might stay behind because of someone they deeply cared for. Their deep love and concern for that person binds them to the earth plane and they want to remain at that person’s side. They do this not knowing how detrimental this can be  for the object of their love.

Earthbound spirits usually spend an isolated existence. These spirits continue consciousness ensconced their own little world. They choose to remain in the locations where they once felt the most comfort and safety regardless of how lonely they feel.

Some earthbound spirits are extremely hostile. For example, if electing to stay tied to their former home, the spirit may be highly resentful of subsequent owners. These hapless individuals, unaware that the former owner is still hanging out, may experience its wrath in the form of outward physical and sometimes violent spirit activity.

Woman Spirit Playing Piano

Why Benign Spirits Remain Behind

Many harmless earthbound spirits find themselves stuck. They’ve chosen to ignore spiritual guides and loved ones from the spirit realm who’ve come to escort them to the other side. The reasons for this conscious choice also vary. Significantly, some souls can’t bear to be separated from family members. Or, they’re highly concerned about a particular family member–such as a spouse left behind. Ultimately, they instead, elect to stay until the grief has lessons.

Many earthbound spirits have an agenda. You might encounter these spirits in a previously owned home, a place of business, an old battlefield, or even seen wandering around a property. In other cases, spirits might inhabit a space somewhere in our reality but are not consciously aware of where that is.

Some Spirits Don’t Know They’re Dead

Some spirits don’t even know that they’re dead. As thinking beings, it’s hard for us to understand this condition. However, this state of consciousness for the spirit can happen.

Unaware spirits can be benign and harmless. Others may feel angry and attempt to lash out at the living. These kinds of earthbound spirits, or ghosts, will stay in a location. They might even lurk in a particular place for centuries.

Failing to make the natural transition at death can happen for any number of reasons:

  • The death may have been sudden and traumatic causing a highly confused state.
  • There’s a refusal to acknowledge death.
  • A spirit exists in a dazed twilight condition and doesn’t realize they’re dead.
  • A spirit may think they have important unfinished business.
  • Significantly, they want to impart an important message.
  • Furthermore, they have an emotional attachment to those left behind.
  • They’re ashamed of committing suicide.
  • The spirit may feel rage at being robbed of life.
  • Moreover, a spirit may fear how they’ll be treated in the afterlife if they were criminal or neglectful.
  • Stay for the sake of curiosity or even revenge.
  • Sadly, a spirit may be always searching for a lost a child or lover.
  • Finally, some spirits want to attach to someone living to continue bad behavior vicariously.

The Spirit Attachment Phenomenon

Spirits that attach their consciousness and energy to a living being are called Spirit Attachments. There’re many reasons a spirit attaches to an individual. Surprisingly, the motive for clinging to a particular individual could be anything from enjoying the person’s smoking habit, having sex, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, to experiencing the act of murder through a killer.

Most Earthbound Spirits Eventually Cross to the Light

Eventually, earthbound spirits will find their way to the light. They will either make the conscious decision to cross and mentally ask for help or find themselves in the astral plane without having done anything. The most stubborn of earthbound spirits may cause so much havoc, a paranormal team or medium is called in to investigate. A crossing over ceremony can be initiated when an earthbound spirit is discovered. (Learn how to cross earthbound spirits in our Mediumship Home Study Training.)


Ghosts and Earthbound Spirits, Linda Williamson,

Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal, Loyd Auerback, 2004

The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide, Michelle Belanger, 2011

Spirit Rescue, Wilma Davidson, 2006

by Carol Nicholson, Ph.D., and Certified Psychic-Medium

Hi! I’m Carol Nicholson and I hope you enjoyed this post! I’m dedicated to providing helpful, valuable, and fascinating blogs on a wide range of spiritual and psychic arts topics. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss out on my most recent posts and announcements of new courses!


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