Afterlife was in different times discussed by many philosophers, but also by ordinary people, who wanted to answer the question: What awaits them after death? The illustrations of the heaven or hell vary depending on the culture and religion and more accurate picture are bringing us survivors of clinical death, respectively near death experience.
Individuals often talk about the light at the end of a long tunnel, death relatives, answering all the questions or about the radiant person who notify them, that they have to return. In addition, however, some people depict also the frightening aspect of life after death, and we can listen to the stories of the tunnel with burning walls, hopelessness, fear or grief. Thus, we can assume, that after death our soul shall move somewhere. However, not all of us are going to the "other side" and some souls are trapped for various reasons in this world. They are the victims of crimes where the perpetrators have not been found and punished, sometimes the souls do not know that they are already dead or they still have a task that must be carried out before they leave. In this case, we can talk about ghosts. But, who or what they are? As states Josef Jiránek: "For some people they are just our imaginations and dreams. They may be also the souls of the deceased, messengers of evil beings from other dimensions, our inner self, the deceased, who during his lifetime were not too honest or did not enter the next stage of existence. We can find also theories, according to which ghosts are representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations, thus distinct space form of life."
In some cases, we may assume that they try to say something or send a message, what can be more complicated as it seems. As we can read in The Tibetian Book of the Dead also known as the Bardo Thodol that means liberation by hearing on the after death plane:
"In third stage of the Bardo, the karmic illusions come to shine. It is very important that this Great Setting face-to-face of the Chönyid Bardo be read: it hath much power and can do much good. About this time (the deceased) can see that the share of food is being set aside, that the body is being stripped of its garments, that the place of the sleeping-rug is being swept, can hear all the weeping and wailing of his friends and relatives, and, although he can see them and can hear them calling upon him, they cannot hear him calling upon them, so he goeth away displeased.“
It may seem that we can not see ghosts or hear them even if they will stand right before us, although there are cases where witnesses claim to have seen the spirit as it passes through a corridor or a kind of specter, that after some time disappeared by itself, or in worse cases witnesses may testify meeting with noisy ghost - poltergeist, that is responsible for grinding, banging and flying objects and people. Anyhow, many people want to contact their deceased. Belief in communication with ghosts is technically called Spiritualism. It is important to recognize that whoever believes in Spiritualism believes also in afterlife, but someone who believes in an afterlife may not be automatically supporter of Spiritualism.
Overall, communication with spirits is not as new as it might seem. Attempts to contact the afterlife world can be find in Ancient Greece or Rome, where before communication with deceased individuals had to undergo ritual consisting for example of different diets, isolation in darkness or cleansing of the body. Next, the origins of modern Spiritualism are connected with sisters Margaretta and Catherine Fox, which bring intelligent communication between two worlds. This communication starts in homestead in Hydesville, New York State, USA, where the Fox family moved. After some time sisters heard noises, knocking, movements of objects and other unusual phenomena. When sisters talk on this phenomena, they found out that the mysterious noises respond and it seemed that all of these things were under the control of some invisible intelligence. According to a committee of investigators all things was making Charles Rosna, who was murdered and buried beneath the cellar of the homestead.
We can also mentioned Andrew Jackson Davis (called also as the John the Baptist of Modern Spiritualism), which is regarded as on of the forerunners to modern Spiritualism. According to Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis: "Young Davis showed signs of clairvoyance and heard voices very early in life (...) In 1843, a Dr. J. S. Grimes visited the city (Poughkeepsie) and gave a series of lectures on mesmerism (hypnosis). (...) Later, a local tailor named William Levingston helped induce upon Davis a state of mesmeric trance and found that in this altered state of consciousness, he (Davis) could accurately diagnose medical disorders. In this condition, Davis described how the human body became transparent to his spirit eyes (...) each organ stood out clearly with a special luminosity of its own which greatly diminished in cases of disease. (...) This simple, uneducated man, through whom so very much was given, should be noted as the prime forerunner to Modern Spritualism. From 1845 to 1885, he wrote over 30 books dealing on subjects from cosmological philosophy and dissertation, to health, to a descriptive analysis of the afterlife.“