(in the spirit of the handbooks for various superheroes like Superman, Batman or Spider-man, I’m writing my own handbook for hunters in a shameless self promotion attempt to get a real one from Kripke)
One of the most common problems hunters have to deal with, spirits a.k.a. ghosts a.k.a. restless souls result from a human experiencing a sudden death. Spirits might also be summoned by rituals, bound to the will of the caster.
Spirits often harm innocents by direct contact. Unbound by normal laws of physics, they are able to bypass a body’s normal defenses and affect organs or the mind directly; inducing heart attacks, madness or worse. Others become powerful enough they can kill with limitless strength using ordinary methods.
Recognized as a purifying agent throughout history and cultures, salt remains the most potent tool against spirits. A concentrated dose of the seasoning at the center manifestation of the spirit will disrupt it for a short time. How long depends on the spirit’s strength. Also note that summoned spirits are given power from their masters so you should never count on a reprieve longer than fifteen seconds. The most rapid and effective deployment is a shotgun shell with the pellets replaced with salt.
[salt shell diagram here]
There are also some “cloth grenades” used by some hunters when encountering large numbers of spirits.
[diagram of a cloth filled with salt and a small explosive in the middle]
The only effective barrier against spirits is a line of salt though they will be able to cross even the tiniest break so care must be taken.
Iron (not steel) may also be used to disrupt spirits and enough of it concentrated is as effective as salt. Because of its nature, iron is not easily used as a barrier but can be prepared into a safe room.
Due to their unnatural nature, spirits must be anchored to the mortal realm to exist, thus it is the hunter’s task to sever their anchor. The most common anchor for spirits is their earthly remains. Once you have determined the identity of the spirit and where their remains are located, you should pour salt over the remains then set them on fire. If this is ineffective or the body was cremated, a hunter should seek alternative locations for the remains (such as if the person’s hair was used a wig or on a doll). Even some “unnatural” body parts (peg legs, hook hands, etc) can be anchors for spirits if they possessed those additions for a significant time while alive.
There are alternatives to “salt & burn” as well. A Catholic priest has been known to put some spirits to rest with last rites (though the total effectiveness of this is unknown). Giving a spirit the target of its hatred works as well, though this should only be attempted if the target is already dead (you can summon the target yourself). If the spirit is anchored to a cursed object, you can just destroy the object. If the spirit has been summoned, then a talisman or the ritual caster acts as an anchor so you have to destroy or disrupt one of them. There are some rituals that banish spirits, however these often require unusual ingredients and you will be vulnerable to the spirit(s) while you perform the ritual, this method is only advised if you have allies to protect you.
NOTE: Some “universal solution” weapons (such as the Colt) should not be employed against spirits as they have total control over their cohesion. The likelihood of a bullet or blade strike them is nil and thus should be saved for more challenging targets.
[I have finally moved into my apartment and as yet have internet set up, so expect sporadic posting until I’ve worked everything out.]