three times in the last three days someone has approached me with questions regarding what to do when the dead make their presence known. one person reported not realizing the dead were dead, one (my stepdaughter, no less) reported knowing they were dead but not knowing what to do about them once she saw them. the third person was just "freaked out."
so here's what i do...having lived for years in a haunted house and having dealt with the dearly departed in various places i've either entered or stayed at.
first of all, most intelligent spirits respect boundaries. if you tell a spirit to stay away, or not to scare you, generally, in my experience, it will. when i was packing up my grandmother's house, the presence of numerous family members was very clear to me, but after catching a few human-size shapes out of the corner of my eye standing uncomfortably close, i told them all they could follow me around and watch whatever i did, but to please not scare me. and they didn't, even though i continued to be very aware of them in other ways.
in the same way, the ghost of the original owner of Pond House frequently used to make his presence known by methods that were downright theatrical at times. however, after making it clear that while none of us minds sharing the space, we do resent being intruded upon given that we all live here now, we have reached a state of mutual cooperation. the only times i've encountered steve the ghost recently is if someone inquires about him...and the results can still be quite spectacular at times. (like the time my friend susan mentioned him, and all of a sudden, a guitar that had been leaning on the back of a chair lifted up about five feet in the air and landed on its back about ten feet away.)
one thing i think it is absolutely critical not to do is to react with fear. fear is a very low-vibration energy, and when someone is beset by fear, it can attract energies of similarly low vibration. these energies are not always formerly human entities, and this is where i feel people can run into trouble with a "haunted" house.
in this case, calling in someone who specializes in cleansing properties and people of low-vibrational energies could be necessary. however, before one resorts to calling in an outsider, it can be very helpful to cleanse your property yourself with salt and a high-vibrational smudge such as sage, sweet grass or cedar. various indigenous cultures have their own methods and ceremonies and one can find many suggestions by doing a little research. if you're confused by all the suggestions, remember that here in north america, the cultures of the indigenous peoples are acutely attuned to the energies of this particular part of the world, and so you might find inspiration among native american practices. on the other hand, if your lineage is asian or african or northern eurpean, among others, you may find that you resonate with the practices of your own ancestors. do what feels most natural to you.
however, i have found that generally a ritual cleansing, involving salt water, a white sage smudge, rocks or crystals and a firm and clear intention to fill a given space with love and light is sufficient to raise the energy so that lower-vibrational entities won't remain. the key, in either case, is to remain strong in one's own space, and to refuse to give in to fear. it can also be helpful, in truly disruptive situations, to take a look around at any situation in one's life or in the lives of family members that might be fueling such energies.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.