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Sioux Falls Ghost Buster
Oct 28, 2011
Ghost-buster Donna O’Dea gets a lot more business as nights become longer and Halloween draws near. “I get people who are just hysterical,” says the Sioux Falls psychic. “They don’t all have ghosts when they think they do. You know how that goes. People hear something, then their imaginations get going, and they don’t have anything more than the wind blowing.” But, according to O’Dea, not all ghosts are in people’s imaginations. O’Dea says that ghosts are all around us. In public businesses and private homes, in the country and in towns. She has seen and communicated with spirits since she was a young girl. “They’re not evil,” she says. “They’re just lost.
When Ann Grauvogl wrote an article for South Dakota Magazine several years ago about O'Dea's ghost-busting experiences, she accompanied O’Dea on a visit to a haunted cafe in Canton. “We’re taught the spirit lives on,” O’Dea told Grauvogl. “It’s hard to comprehend, but it actually does.” She sees ghosts as earthbound souls. “The body died, but for whatever reason they don’t go to God, go home, go to the light, whatever you call it… They have a life to get to on the other side. They should do it."
While some ghosts don’t know they’re dead, some are willfully stuck, she said. “Denial is a strong force. They can be in denial for quite a long time.” That’s where O’Dea’s “ghost busting” skills come to play. She simply tells spirits they are dead, and encourages them to move on to whatever is waiting for them next.
Staff at the haunted Canton café had reported that a deep fat fryer, a grill and coffee makers were often "on" when staff were sure they had turned them off. One employee heard a girl laughing in the basement when no one was down there. A young man who rented a room in the basement saw a bottle tip over, a CD drawer open and the TV shut off. He heard scraping noises and voices, and felt as though someone was watching him.
O’Dea had made an initial trip to the 125-year-old main street building to make sure ghosts, not imaginations, were at work. She returned again with Grauvogl to ask the ghosts to leave. They headed for the basement steps, but O’Dea stopped in a long living room. “There’s a young boy right here,” she said, pointed to an empty chair. “He’s about 17. He’s looking at me like, “Do something about it.” O’Dea sensed that he'd had marijuana and alcohol abuse problems when he was alive. “He doesn’t know he’s dead,” O’Dea says, putting her hands through him to show he’s not alive. “He’s crying now,” she reported. She tells the teenager to go to the light. She watched, then said quietly, “All right. He’s gone now."
She found four more ghosts in the cafe — two ghosts in the basement were casualties of Indian wars; a U.S. Cavalry soldier killed at Little Big Horn and a Lakota warrior killed at Wounded Knee. She tells them the fight is over and to work for peace on the other side. She called on angels and White Buffalo Calf Woman to lead the men to the light. The most noticeable change in the building, according to the cafe workers, was that the smell in the room, a nasty smell that had lingered for years, was not as strong.
O’Dea has “busted” ghosts who made their presence known by turning on TVs, radios, faucets and lights. Or by flushing toilets and causing electrical disturbances. She also met the ghost of a short man with curly hair who knew he was dead but didn’t want to go to heaven if his wife was there. “Ghosts are every bit as human as you and I, and their stories are as rich and varied as life itself,” O’Dea says. “I just know what I see. The result is when it stops.”
O’Dea has grown a pretty thick skin over the years when it comes to people who don’t buy into the spirit world. “I know they [don’t believe] until they have a ghost of their own,” she said. “Then it’s not so funny anymore.” If you have need for a ghost-buster this Halloween, you can reach her at (605) 361-9774. You can also get updates on her ghost hunts and see photos of haunted houses she has visited at her Facebook page.