In my view, emotions are an earthly construct. Thus, once one is dead, one no longer has emotions as s/he is returned to the great cosmic soup pot. What a sensitive person might pick up on is any sort of leftover emotional charge in an area (but not tied to a being--places where there has been so much energetic discharge that "the land weeps") or, more likely, the emotions of other living people who ascribe emotional content to an area. For instance, if I had a bunch of people in my house and told them that someone had been brutally murdered here (a lie), I'm willing to bet that if any of the people claimed to be empaths (or people with energetic sensitivities of any kind), within a few minutes, there would be people in the room claiming to feel the horror of the murder and having "psychic flashes" of that event that never actually happened. The power of groupthink is a pretty potent drug.
I usually do not feel the presence of a departed spirit. However, one elderly woman's dead husband did guide me one summer afternoon to mow her lawn. Here in Japan, a spirit contacted me by running through me to tell me some good news that happened at the same time as the contact. These experiences are personal and have proven to me beyond any doubt that I was interacting with people from the other world.
I am a reluctant empath and I have never experienced a departed emotional residue - as Jul pointed out emotion is an human character and I dont think the spiritual world will acquire such emotion, but rather talk or contact directly with you as an empath or not...
However I have been brought to my knees literally by the mass emotion from a group in Central London praying for the departed souls in japan during the Tsunami. My first fear was that there is a bomb somewhere in London as the cruelty and terror all around me was the after math of a bomb - it was only when I got home that I saw on the news that a group formed a prayer group literally a block from where I was and was asking for people to join in... co-incidence - I dont know - the world is mysterious...
I would like to just share an experience .. upon the last days of my Father being on this plain I had the joyious experience from within the veil.. not only do they have emotion they still have their similiar energies as well as smell... I think it's different for each individual. But to see and smell and feel out of the blue with no warning was a blessing.( Mom and Dad I love you both and keep close) And to know they are here with me when I need them.. ah true joy ...not dead.. just energies.I hope this helps.. Love and Light.Blessed Be
Thank you for sharing such a warm experience Happyeyes41 :) and thank you for adding your say as well
The first time I picked up the emotions left by death was when I visited an old barn that had been converted into a tea shop. Visiting Tea Shops in the British countryside are very popular on a day out with family & friends. Anyway a giant wave of negative energy nearly knocked me out as I walked into this place with my family. I had to get out right away. I asked the owner what the old barn had been used for in the past and he told me it was used for slaughtering the animals. From Chickens to Cows.
I have found that I can pick up negative, violent & unhappy emotions from both the dead and living. I feel that if a couple have had a row in a room, the room holds onto that energy for a very long time. A friend moved into a rental house and the energy in the bedroom was 'painful' to me. It also made me very unhappy to be in that room. We later found out that a man had regularly beaten his wife in that bedroom. I was picking up on her unhappiness and his anger.
So in answer to your question, some people can pick up the emotions of dead people/animals.