By Andrea Adair

Lynda Quirino admits that what she does in her spare time might not appeal to everyone. In fact, it might actually seem a little odd. But she doesn't mind. She loves what she does and gets to meet lots of really nice people. Really nice living people, although she meets a few dead ones too. It comes with the job.

Quirino, from Keswick, Ontario, is an amateur para psychologist; or a sort of therapist for ghosts. She helps people who are experiencing problems with spirits by determining what is going on with the entity and offering suggestions on how to get it to leave.

"Ghosts are just like people. They will leave if you want them to. Most of the time, ghosts are troubled. My mission," she says with a laugh, "is to find out what's wrong. They will likely leave clues and you have to pick up on it. I look at the job I do and try to piece things together and try to get people to look at what might be happening, what might have significance.

The 36 year old, stay-at-home mother of two, says people are often terrified when they call her with a haunting experience and aren't always rational about what is happening.

"My husband would laugh to hear me say I'm rational," she jokes. "But often it takes somebody else removed from the situation who can be rational, who can sit back and ask questions. For instance if someone is hearing footsteps, asking when they hear them and whether they are adult or children's footsteps could help. If you pay more attention there is some kind of thread or reason why the ghost is there."

For instance there is the situation of an elderly woman she knew from a local theater group. Her husband had passed away and she was starting to wonder if he was trying to communicate with her. Things would happen such as dishes rattling or a dish cloth swaying on the faucet.

Quirino asked her what time of day this happened, what was she thinking of when it happened and then suggested she write down when the disturbances occurred.

As it turned out, this would happen around 7 p.m. every night; the time the couple used to go outside together and drink their tea. Quirino suggested that he wanted her to go outside, sit and think about him.

"She did that and it worked," Quirino said. "But it can still be scary when it happens."

She herself has been scared sometimes but not terrified, noting that most entities aren't mean spirited although some can be mischievous.

"Really," she said, "Spirits are in death as they are in life."

She once was in a room with a woman sitting at a table. Six feet away was a buffet containing dishes. Through the course of their conversation the buffet kept moving, inch by inch, closer to them. In the end, it had stopped just a foot away from them. The woman told her that sometimes the furniture "just seemed to move."

"I haven't figured that one out. The entity wasn't malevolent but it just wouldn't go away," she says.

Quirino often takes a tape recorder or paper and a pen to the place of the "haunting" in case the entity wants to leave a message. Although she has never seen the writing happen, she has seen a room filled with written messages on a wall after a pen has been left inside. She notes, however, that it takes a lot of energy for a spirit to do that sort of thing.

Sometimes they will do things at certain times of the day or put a thought in somebody's head.

She had one woman who called her wondering why every time a red truck went by, she went outside.

"I simply asked her if she knew anyone who drove a red truck," Querino says. "She said her ex husband and I suggested she call him. She finally did and discovered he had died a week before she started to go out to see red trucks."

Apart from her own interest in the paranormal, Quirino said she likes to do this because she really believes she is helping people.

"There are so many things we don't understand out there, and I get the biggest kick out of helping people. This stuff really disrupts their whole lives. It makes me feel good that I'm helping."

Quirino is also writing a book about her experiences in dealing with entities as a way to get people to understand what may be happening to them and so they know they aren't alone.

Sometimes the entities realize they are dead but are afraid to move on because they have become so attached to things in life that they can't leave.

"Somebody has to say to them, and it has to be the person who lives there, to move on, to give them permission to leave," she said. Quirino has never met any malevolent or mean spirited entities and believes if she thought something was overtly sinister she wouldn't do

She once received a call from a woman in the town she lives in who said she felt there was something evil in her house. She kept hearing a male voice that was raspy and evil sounding and Quirino asked her to tape the voice.

She hadn't heard from her in a couple of weeks so she called her back. The woman was more afraid reporting that more things were happening. "I thought I had to get her to tell me something about what was going on and kept asking. 'Well,' she said, 'I came home from work and the gas was on and I knew I hadn't left it on. And I woke up one night and there was a small fire in my bedroom.'

I told her straight away it was not something I should be dealing with nor something she should try to handle on her own. I suggested she needed a priest or something. There are some things I won't walk into. If I can't handle a situation I just won't do it," she says, noting that she can usually assess if its an evil presence or someone who is just stuck.

When she was in grade school she used to read books about ghosts and hauntings and used to visit relatives in a big, old, rambling house in Maine where she would see some odd and unexplained things happening. Her mother used to tell her it was nothing but she says "I just knew there were things there."

From that, she says, she just fell into the para- psychologist stuff. She started helping people when she was 18, mostly through word of mouth. At high school, when she was with other students and friends they would talk about paranormal things and then someone would say to her "My friend has a problem and can't go into a room, can you talk to her?"

"It's not an ooga booga kind of thing. I don't show up in funky boots and flower skirts burning sage. Although I actually do believe in the sage part. It is a purification herb that helps to clear the room of a lot of entities though I have no idea why," she says.

Quirino believes that people should value life and that the people you live with should be told everyday that you love them.

"We need to pay attention and be mindful of how we live our life," she says, noting that many spirits are racked by guilt over how they lived their life.

There was one incident which really bothered her that happened to a family with a little baby in the town where she lived. The family had found an antique radio at a dump and started experiencing some weird things soon after bringing it home. Realizing it had something to do with the radio, they got rid of it but the emanations remained.

One night the couple was sitting in the basement with another couple and heard cooing noises coming through the baby monitor. They didn't respond right away because the baby was only cooing, not crying.

Suddenly they heard an evil, male voice saying "Oh shut up will you." They looked at each other in horror and all raced up to the baby's room.

The baby was fine but behind the crib there was a negative image of a little boy, cowering then crawling into a corner until it slowly disappeared. They suspected it had something to do with a child being abused there. "It wasn't a nice room. I felt really unsettled in there and you donít have to be a rocket scientist or anything to pick up on it. They moved the baby out of it and it's been O.K." Quirino says.

Often she is able to help people just by doing research: finding out who lived in the house, when they were there, what habits they might have had. She said houses keep a lot of emanations and vibrations of people who have lived in them.

Her chiropractor had a problem with a TV being turned on every night in the middle of the night. They knew a woman used to live there and one day the chiropractor's wife asked a neighbor about her. She discovered the former owner loved her house and used to like to watch TV in the middle of the night.

The next time the TV went on the wife spoke to the spirit saying that the house was hers now, thanking her for it and telling her she loved the house as much as the spirit had.

I believe the consciousness lives on and in some cases its up to people like me to go in and tell it to move on," Quirino says.

"There really is so much about this stuff that I don't begin to understand it all. I just go with the flow," she said.

For the frightened people she has helped, I'll bet they're glad she does.

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