Identification with a Dead Person © David J. Marsden 2003

Are you prone to melancholy?
Do you want to untangle your emotions?

Preface by Martyn Carruthers
David Marsden can bring mystery and magic into lives made sterile by technology. Many people claim to heal the symptoms that David describes here. Some intuitive healers, priests and energy workers claim this as their specialty. At every psychic fair are sellers of crystals and symbols who claim to offer protection against these symptoms. Psychotherapists can be territorial about this, and physicians and psychiatrists who supply expensive drugs to manage these symptoms may criticize natural medicine and alternative therapies.

Chronic Sadness, Melancholy & Death

Melancholy and chronic sadness (dysthymia) tends to cross generations in families. Many melancholic people experienced the death of a close relative – including relatives who died before their birth!

Dysthymia is less severe than major depression, but often lasts longer. People with dysthymia often describe having been sad as long as they can remember, or they feel that they constantly jump in and out of sadness. We find dysthymia often indicates identification with a dead person, vanishing twins or complex conflict.

Dysthymia is characterized by long-term melancholy. People with dysthymia may also be irritable, have weight problems, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, low self-esteem, attention deficit, indecisiveness and an ongoing sense of hopelessness.

People diagnosed with dysthymia are often medicated with SSRI drugs, including fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil) and citalopram (Celexa). So much for modern medicine. It is much more profitable to prescribe addictive drugs than to solve relationship problems. We offer relationship solutions rather than drugs.

Between Life and Death

People of most cultures honor dead relatives. According to traditions from all over the world, a dishonored or ignored dead person may haunt the living, either as an external or internal ghost. An external ghost is the common ghost of creepy tales. You may refer to an internal ghost as imagination, possession, obsession, or identification with a dead person, depending on your background.

Exorcists may be an endangered species. Modern science declares demons and ghosts to be unreal, existing only in the imaginations of the naive and childish. As priests are replaced by therapists, their blessings are being replaced by medication.

Identification with a dead person (DPI) exorcises medieval ideas of spirit possession. It is well described by Martyn Carruthers, who offers a systemic model for its causation, symptoms and healing. Carruthers frequently demonstrates lasting solutions.

According to Martyn , the symptoms of DPI follow systemic rules. Systemic identifications, he says, can be expected when family members die in a way that creates so much guilt for the family that the deaths cannot be discussed, rationalized or assimilated. Martyn said that the most common events leading to this unconscious identification may be suicide, abortion and vanishing twins.

Some Symptoms of Dead Person Identification (DPI)
  • Chronic seriousness
  • Fascination with cemeteries
  • Chronic sadness and melancholy
  • Preoccupied with death and dying
  • May seem to have psychic sensitivity
  • May have miscarriages
  • May try to live two lives
  • May fear that own children will die
  • May be sterile or avoid becoming a parent
  • Fascination with places where people died

(Personal notes from Soulwork Training presented by Martyn Carruthers)

I tested Martyn’ methods – and I confirm their validity. They work. I find that two challenges to helping people overcome this issue are the horror movies that they have seen as children, and ghost stories from childhood. Unresolved childish fears can grow into a full bloom of terror.

One symptom of dead person identification (or spirit possession) is may appear to have psychic sensitivity. Although Martyn seems to dismiss this as sensitivity to body language, I have observed people with these symptoms accurately describe secret past events, current events elsewhere, and accurately predict future happenings to people they did not know.

Protection against Undead Spirits

Some people attempting to play games with ghosts or spirits of dead people later find themselves obsessed or disturbed in ways that psychotherapy does not recognize and cannot remedy. Magical stories are full of warnings about entities that expect some payment for their services. (A therapist or healer may be wise to refer clients with these symptoms to more experienced helping professionals.)

People who seem to attract these spirits or ghosts often seem entangled with dead relatives, for example with a suicide ancestor or an aborted sibling. I find that most people can contact or communicate with dead spirits, but some people (by virtue of their enmeshment) provide a ready made conduit. Some people dislike their sensitivity and avoid spooky places, others seem to enjoy and even exploit it.

Where are the Happy Mediums?

Maybe go a psychic fair and talk to some self-proclaimed mediums. Many mediums seem to have exactly the symptoms and sensitivity that Martyn describes as typical of identified people. This ghostly archetype seems common … about 5-10% of people I meet appear to be entangled with dead persons.

Many mediums not only show symptoms of dead person identification – they may boast about the spirits of dead people who aid or protect them. Perhaps it’s wise to consider the consequences before consciously entangling with dead people. These consequences seem to include identification (possession), early death, chronic sadness, miscarriages and chaotic relationships.

Ouija Board

My boyfriend died in an accident … my friends and I bought a Ouija board to see if he would come through and he did. We talk to him almost every night and he is always with us. He said he would never leave me and he will always wait for meAtlanta
Martyn’s Comment: An entanglement with a dead partner will likely influence future partnerships. Also, a future child may identify with the dead boyfriend … attempting to bring a beloved person back into the mother’s life. We can help people prevent and change such unhappy consequences.
Which Witch is Which?

My studies into “Can the dead communicate?” brought me to spiritualism, parapsychology and psychic research. Most people were well-meaning with good intentions. For some people, however, you are prey. Shamans of many cultures claim to use the spirits of the dead to harm the living, and solving such attacks can be wild rides. (If you have difficulty leaving an occult group see Exit Coaching.)

All over this planet, people use similar ways to honor and communicate with the quiet dead – and have similar unpleasant stories about the unquiet dead – the undead. Central European vampires, werewolves and Egyptian mummies may reflect Hollywood movies, but my talks with native Canadians and with immigrants from Cuba, Africa, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan included eerily similar ghost stories.

While Martyn says that preoccupation with death and dying is a common symptom of identification with a dead person, there are other, less scientific explanations. What is the difference between a dead person’s spirit and a ghost? Or between dead person identification and possession? Between dissociating a dead person and exorcism? Or between a systemic coach and an exorcist?

Here are a few of my experiences …

Haunted House . Curses . Black Magic . Ghosts . Demon . Possession

Death and Dying

As I investigated the lives and family histories of people who had symptoms of identification with dead people, a deep concern arose. These unpleasant symptoms provide doors between the world of the living and a world of the dead. Some of these doors can be easily opened – and not so easily closed.

The symptoms of dead person identification may predispose people towards chronic sadness and depression. I met people with these recognizable symptoms who tried psychiatry, spiritualism, psychotherapy and various religions, but found lasting solutions in Martyn’s Soulwork.

Ghosts, Ghosts & More Ghosts

Since I retired, I collect and research ghost stories. I have many first-hand descriptions of ghosts – and my memories of the people who told the ghost stories. A ghost-story teller archetype might include wide-open staring eyes, dark skin under the eyes, slack facial skin, lowered shoulders and down-turned mouths. Strangely, these are all signs that Martyn associates with dead-person identification.

To go beyond second-hand stories to first hand experience, I needed a bridge; and I found it in lucid dreaming. Martyn teaches ways to join people in their dreams that he learned from Hawaiian shamans while living in Hawaii (see Hawaiian Spirituality).

It seems that shared dreams can overlap onto objective reality! Changes made in the dreams seemed to cause, or at least be related to, rapid changes in the reality in which we live. My question became, “Where do dreams stop and reality begin?

Entertaining Demons

Our human world includes never-living entities that were once worshipped. Can something die that was never born? Would a dead god be different to a dead person? How can we recognize groups or organizations of people identified with dead people or undead entities?” Could Martyn’s symptoms represent belief systems?

Dead Person Identified Symptoms

Dead Person Identified Cult

  • Chronic sadness and melancholy
  • May have psychic sensitivity
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Fascination with cemeteries
  • Fascinated by places where people died
  • May avoid becoming a parent
  • May fear that own children will die
  • Suffering and melancholy are sacred
  • Supernatural sensitivity is holy
  • Preoccupation with death is holy
  • Cemeteries are sacred
  • Places where people died are sacred
  • Celibacy is holy
  • Childhood deaths are sacred

Do these rules only apply to the darker esoteric cults and occult societies? Can whole cultures be influenced by dead people?

My answers to these questions open some strange ghost stories … how the dead influence families, organizations and cultures! A CEO who died of a heart attack in his office. An office over an abortion clinic. Religions based on dead person identification. The edge of death is a busy place.

Haunted House . Curses . Black Magic . Ghosts . Demon . Possession

Comment by Martyn Carruthers
Your willingness to walk across a cemetery at night may show how close you live to a world where not all dead rest in peace. Trespass into other realities may be fun at first – but the consequences can be unpleasant and lasting. Enmeshment with visitors from other realities can upset your equilibrium – and that of your family. We can show you how to safely manage the phenomena so well described by David Marsden.

Online Life Coaching & Counseling for Chronic Emotions

I am a retired psychotherapist living near Toronto, Canada. I investigate ghost stories. You can email me at , or you can ask Martyn for help with these and similar issues.