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A Real-Life Ghost Whisperer Tells Us Which Ghost Movies Are Most Accurate

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Most of the great mysteries of life will never be explained: Where do we come from, why are we here, how does Carrot Top make a living?

But as a special favor to you, readers, we've managed to clear up one of the big ones -- what really happens when we buy the farm?

We talked to author/psychic Mary Ann Winkowski -- a consultant for "The Ghost Whisperer" and the woman Jennifer Love Hewitt's TV character was based on.

Mary Ann filled us in on which movies get it right and which get it dead wrong.

(We also learned there's a ghost hanging out in the NextMovie office, but that's another story.)

Verdict: No Way in Hell

'What Dreams May Come' (1998)

DreamWorks

"Entertaining, wishful thinking, but the bottom line is: just because some people commit suicide doesn’t mean they're actually going to Hell. They may not go to Heaven on the same level as Mother Teresa, but I don’t think that they're going to Hell.

"If [Robin Williams' character] was actually in Heaven, he wouldn't have had a problem with it. If he thought that was a big thing, he wouldn't have crossed over. He would have stayed Earthbound."

'The Lovely Bones' (2009)

"Oh, that was just a big mistake, that whole thing. I didn't care for that at all. And she wouldn't have crossed over if she was trying to protect her family."

'Defending Your Life' (1991)

"Quirky, humorous, no truth."

'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' (1991)

"If I had to watch it, I would puke seven times. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I just can't even go there."

Verdict: Close But Not Quite

'The Sixth Sense' (1999)

"That was actually very accurate. I don't know who their consultant was, but it was really good. There were a couple things that were wrong: ghosts don’t puke under beds, ghosts don't hang off of ceilings. The cold spots were accurate. Of course, the kid blew frost in the air; it doesn’t get that cold, but they Hollywood-ize things and it's entertainment.

Paramount

"The one thing that I was most disappointed in is that Bruce Willis didn't know he was dead. A ghost person always knows he's dead."

'Ghost' (1990)

"When you actually die and take your last breath, there's a bright white light there for you. And people have a choice not to go into it, which is exactly what Patrick Swayze did, because he had unfinished business. He wanted to know who killed him. So that was actually very, very accurate.

"In the very end , when his issues got resolved, the white light showed up again. Once your issues are resolved, then you're free to go forward.

"The one thing in there that was totally crazy was him jumping into Whoopi Goldberg's body. No, no, no, no. I'm not gonna let anybody jump into my body, that's never happening."

'Flatliners' (1990)

"There is such an easier way to astroplane than trying to kill yourself. You can just leave your body and astroplane any time you want. You don't have to go two seconds before death to do it."

'Beetlejuice' (1988)

"Actually, a ghost could interact with a family like that... and try to cause problems. Again, based on a little bit of truth but it was, I think, more for entertainment."

'The Others' (2001)

Dimension Films

"This was the only movie that reminded me of the ghosts in Europe. Ghosts in castles in Europe rattle the chains, walk the halls the same time every night, rattle the same doors. They like their ghosts in Europe, they make money off of their ghosts.

""The crazy part was is that ghosts aren't vampires -- they're not light-sensitive, so they could've definitely been in the sunlight, it wouldn't have made a difference.

"But it made it spookier."

'Field of Dreams' (1989)

"Loved it. The only thing with this is that -- if this was true and could really happen, look how many famous sports figures we could see any time. And we wouldn't have to pay the big prices for them. I've done work for ball players that actually have wannabe ghost spirits attached to them, ones that always wanted to play football or always wanted to be a baseball player, but they were never big league.

"I have never run across a big league ball player that did not cross over. So again, everyone that they would've found in this would've been Earthbound and I can't believe that many of them wouldn't have found peace and crossed over. Unlikely."

'Heaven Can Wait' (1978)

"An Earthbound spirit can get into a just-deceased body. They're called "walk-ins," where a person that is Earthbound happens to be in the right place at the right time. It happens a lot with suicides. When you hear somebody say, "we saved him in the nick of time" -- I guarantee you, within a month, the family is saying, "But he's so different. He hated strawberries but now he loves them. He hated classical music, now all he listens to is classical. He acts like he doesn't even know who his girlfriend is.

DreamWorks

"That's because it's not his spirit in that body anymore. It's a total stranger.

"Yeah, so that can happen, but I don't think Heaven or angels make too many mistakes."

'Just Like Heaven' (2005)

"Yeah, it could happen. People can get attached to spirits -- but it's usually very sexual. There are two kind of Earthbound spirits out there that are pretty cruddy. They're called an incubus and a succubus and these are Earthbound spirits that were probably sexaholics when they were alive, and they do try having sex with living people and they're creepy.

"A woman that has a male succubus/incubus trying to do this to her wants him gone, because it's like you're being stalked in the most personal way and you can't even see the person. If a man knows what's doing this to him, he really doesn't want it to go.

"So go figure."

Verdict: Dead On

'Stir of Echoes' (1999)

Paragon Arts

"This one got it completely right. When you get regressed like that, you can definitely bring back spirits with you if you don't go to a person that knows what they're doing.

"Yes, a ghost can follow you that way, can come back from something like that, absolutely."

'Witchboard' (1986)

"It's an old one, but it's all about letting ghosts in on a Ouija board. Which is one of the biggest reasons that I do houses, because people call the ghosts in on a Ouija board.

"And they'll go, 'Oh, but I only asked good ones to come.' Oh Hell, if they were liars when they're alive, they're going to be liars when they're dead.

"And here are these little girls full of hormones, all this energy, which is exactly what an Earthbound spirit needs.

"So that is actually a very scary movie."

Mary Ann Winkowski is the author of "When Ghosts Speak" and the co-author of novels, "The Ice Cradle" and "The Book of Illumination." She has worked with federal agencies as a paranormal investigator.

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