If you’re a paranormal or horror writer, an actual ghostbuster, or just exceptionally unlucky, you may need some creative ideas on how to banish ghosts and poltergeists, or exorcise or kill evil spirits and/or demons. Here are a bunch of ways I’ve read about to get the job done!

Because there are so many different versions of folklore out there, you might come across conflicting information. You may decide to combine a few of these in a badass banishing spell, or one of these may inspire you to come up with something you like better. Good luck!

Ask the ghost nicely to leave.

Tell them they’re dead (they might not know), explain that they don’t need to do anything else on earth, and encourage them to forget their mortal worries and move on.

Grab the salt.

A few different religious traditions ascribe purifying and protective qualities to salt. Scatter some outside the door for protection.

Splash some holy water.

This can be sprinkled in the home, or even on food before you eat it to protect you from within.

Use some herbs.

Scatter angelica or boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) in all four corners of a house for protection, or to get a malevolent spirit to clear out.

Burn St. John’s Wort and/or sage to help clear out demons and evil spirits. You probably know that with sage, it’s common to distribute the smoke all around the house, maybe using a sage stick–this is called smudging.

Pick your poison.

If a demon is possessing a human, getting it to consume food or drink laced with St. John’s Wort or boneset may get the demon to leave the human’s body.

Hang a wreath.

A blackberry or garlic wreath or garland on the front door will keep demons and assorted evil spirits away.

Wear an amulet.

Crosses, crucifixes, pentagrams, ankhs, and Saint Benedict medals are common ones. St. Christopher medals are usually used as good luck for travelers, but I’ve heard people mention them as supernatural protection. There are hundreds of protective symbols people have used over the centuries.

Have a good old-fashioned exorcism.

If someone’s possessed, you’ll probably want to do this. Obviously, you can hire a Catholic priest, and you can read all about the rite here.

But why should Catholic priests have all the fun? Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism all have traditions of exorcism, and I don’t see why people who follow other traditions couldn’t do it as well.

Burn black candles.

Black candles look spooky, but in a few different magical traditions, they actually drive negativity and evil forces away.

Turn to crystals.

Black stones like obsidian, onyx, jet, and black tourmaline are often credited with protective powers from all kinds of negative energies. I’ve also read that amethyst can help.

Wield a magical weapon.

One of my very favorite shows, Supernatural, features several examples of demon-killing weapons: a magic gun, an ancient Kurdish knife, the scythe of Death himself, an angel’s sword or blade, and the blade used by Cain to kill Abel.

Use your supernatural powers.

Maybe your character has the power to banish or even destroy a demon with their mind.


Just to be clear: I don’t actually believe in demons. I do believe in ghosts, but only because I’ve met two, and they weren’t that scary. Anyway, happy ghostbusting/demon hunting/writing!