To bury the dead is a corporal act of mercy. It’s also a spiritual act of mercy to pray for the souls of the dead; those we know and love, as well as those forgotten souls who have no one to pray for them. The object of such prayer, of course, is not to contact the dead, but instead to pray for their entrance into the eternal beatitude of God—Heaven.
Before my wife’s Grandmother passed away, her husband had died. And she use to tell us that following her husband’s death, he appeared to her and comforted her in the living room of their home…
It shouldn’t have surprised me then, that on the night that my wife’s grandmother died in the hospital, I was awakened by the passing presence of a spirit through the bedroom my wife and I slept in that night. We were in my wife’s Grandparents bedroom:
I sat straight up in the bed, and thought to myself, ‘Oh, no, she’s died…’ And the phone rang in the dark moments later.
The hospital confirmed what I already knew…
This account of mine, as you’ll learn within the following article, is a ‘common experience many have of which can be described in technical jargon as a cataleptic somnambulism. a sensed or visual phantasmic perception. And I have no doubt that many who’ll read this post have had the same, or similar visitation experiences. Or perhaps, knows someone who has.
While such visitations appear true, without forgetting that (if authentic) they are a gift of God for the grieving, and call to prayer, there still remains the reality of powerful forces of an evil nature at the level of spirits. It’s not a good thing to be messing around with spiritism, in fact, it can be outright dangerous to both body and soul.
As the Halloween season approaches, I’ve decided to share this great article as both a spiritual warfare aid and call to remember the dead in your prayers. God is spirit, and we must worship in spirit and truth, and if you’re praying properly you yourself can be a great aid to both those you love and so too those wandering forgotten souls who have none to pray for them. Note: The most powerful prayer on behalf of souls on earth is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So, I encourage you this upcoming All Souls Day , November 2nd, 2010, to visit any Catholic Church for the purpose of helping souls attain Heaven… Links for personal prayers will be found at the end of the page following the article… jme
Seven Kinds of Ghosts (Revised)
by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OLSM
I. What the Bible Says about Ghosts
A. Seeking out Ghosts
We begin this discussion with an examination of some of the Scripture verses that give us clues on this subject.
Scripture does not have much to say about this and certainly God has made it clear that this is an area we are not to seek out:
*Lev. 19:31 tells us to not turn to mediums or to seek out spiritists.
*Lev. 20:6, 27 equates the seeking out of mediums with prostitution (doing so is an act of infidelity to God that is not just adultery, but involves a prurient interest in the occult things equating it with prostitution — a medium also is “hired” which is also an image of prostitution).
*Deut. 18:10-11 Gives a whole list of prohibitions involving the occult and spirit world.
Whatever Ghosts are or are not, it is clear that we are not to seek them out in any way.
B. What do We Know About Ghosts?
1. Composition of Ghosts
*What are ghosts composed of? Well, we have a little hint of that in Luke 24:39 where the Resurrected Jesus is mistaken for a ghost. Jesus says “a ghost does not have flesh and bones”.
Thus we can know that whatever ghosts are, they are spiritual beings without flesh and bones.
2. Ghostly Visitations during Sleep
*Is there an example of a ghostly visitation during sleep? Job 4:15 “A spirit glided by my face and the hair on my body stood on end”
This “spirit” was most probably an angel, but it does give us a clue of the human experience of meeting a spiritual entity and that such entities can and do come to us in that vulnerable time of twilight and dreams. This account is very close to the common experience many have of which can be described in technical jargon as a cataleptic somnambulism with a sensed or visual phantasmic perception.
Also in 2 Maccabees 15:12-16 is a passage about a dream (vision) of the Jewish leader Maccabeus. In this dream the ghosts of the high priest Onias and the great prophet Jeremiah appeared to him and encouraged him concerning the battle to come.
Maccabeus told this dream to his men which encourage his men greatly. Maccabeus and his men afterward defeated blasphemous Nicanor and his men who thought to destroy the Jewish people.
3. Human spirits in Ghostly Form?
*Can a human being’s spirit be transported? We know from accounts of Padre Pio that bi-location is possible, but those are yet unverified — But what about in Scripture. Well, there are a couple of verses that indicate this. One is in Rev. 21:10 (17:3) where John was “carried away in the spirit”. But the most direct notion of this is in 2 Corinthians 12:2 “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know — God knows.”
From this we know it is possible for man’s spirit to be apart from even his living body at God’s discretion. In the occult world this is called Astral Projection.
*Can a person’s body be transported spiritually? Acts 8:39, after Philip was miraculously running up along the chariot of the Ethiopian, and after Philip baptized him, Philip then disappeared. “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again…”
This episode appears to be a bodily transport in the spirit, but I suppose it could also be a corporeal bi-location too. Who knows?
4. Other examples of ghostly visitations
*1 Samuel 28 The Witch of Endor. In this story Saul goes to a medium asking her to contact the dead Samuel. She apparently succeeds and Saul talks with Samuel and Samuel prophecies. The Scripture specifically states that “Samuel said”. There is no indication at all that this was a demonic impostor.
*Sirach 46:20. Again Samuel prophecies from the grave.
*The Transfiguration Matt 17:2 Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus to Peter, James, and John
*The Rich Man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31 In verse 25 Abraham says that there is a great chasm between him and the Rich Man that cannot be crossed. This is not talking about a chasm between the earth and hell; it is a chasm between Abraham’s bosom (which, in principle can be likened to heaven), and that of hell. Those in hell cannot come to the place of the saved, and the saved cannot reach down with compassion to those who are lost. It is in the next request from the Rich Man that we have a possible clue. The Rich Man wants Lazarus to go to his brothers to warn them of hell. Abraham says that there is no point in doing so. v.31 “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”.
This passage implies the possibility of at least Lazarus being able to go to the living (it implies the Rich Man in hell cannot), but Abraham refuses the request not because it is impossible to do so, but because there is no point in doing so.
C. Conclusion *So what do we have?
- We know that ghosts do not have flesh and bones. (Luke 24:39)
- We know that the dead can communicate with the living. (1 Sam 28; Sirach 46:20)
- We know that at least in some context allowed by God, the dead can be conjured in some fashion. (1 Sam 28)
- We know that it is possible for the dead to appear on the earth (Matt 72; 1 Sam 28)
- We know that is may be possible for the dead to not only appear on the earth, but appear to people and talk with them (Luke 16:27-31; 1 Sam 28)
- We know that it is possible for the living to bi-locate (Rev. 17:3; 21:10; 2 Cor 12:2)
- We know that it is possible for spirits to communicate in dreams and the person to have a bodily reaction to the visitation (Job 4:15)
II. Comments from Peter Kreeft
Now, let’s take a look at what Peter Kreeft says about this. He wrote at least two books that mention this subject, “Angels (and demons): What Do we Know About Them?” and “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven”. His comments stem from his study of Thomas Aquinas, Philosophy, and other Catholic saints and observers on this subject.
Kreeft makes mention that many very reputable people, such as C.S. Lewis, have reported seeing a “ghost” of their wives. There are many instances from reputable sources of experiences that do not have ANY flavor of the demonic.
Based upon these anecdotal accounts Kreeft and others talk about identifying three kinds of ghosts. I would add a fourth and a fifth category (from Kreeft’’s material that he talks about but doesn’t categorized) and a sixth and seventh type from my own thoughts and observations.
III. Seven Kinds of Ghosts
1. GHOSTS OF THE FIRST KIND: The first kind Kreeft calls the “sad ones” or “wispy ones”. These Ghosts seem to be working out some unfinished business of some sort, or suffering some purgatorial purification.
He says that these Ghosts would seem to be the ones who just barely made it into Purgatory, who feel little or no joy yet and who need to learn many painful lessons about their past lives on earth. God, in his compassion, may realize that to allow the person to get through Purgatory that it may be useful for them to learn some lessons on this earth.
2. GHOSTS OF THE SECOND KIND: A Second kind may be some of these purgatorial ghosts who might have been so material minded in their earthly life that they can’t detach themselves from these Material places or possessions. God may allow them to remain attached as they work out their need to “let go”.
3. GHOSTS OF THE THIRD KIND: A third type might be those who don’t yet realize they are dead. Again, in God’s compassion, I can see why He would allow a spirit to linger for a short while so that they may realize their fate before leaving this world completely. In both the “second kind” and “third kind” God could, of course, force the person to let go of the material place or to come on through the “gate” and not linger. But a compassionate Father can also allow for a “little” tolerance to help the person to adjust.
4. GHOSTS OF A FOURTH KIND: A Fourth type are the malicious and deceptive spirits. These are the one who probably appear at séances and the like and are most likely from hell. And most likely are demons disguised as dead loved ones and not the human persons themselves.
5. GHOSTS OF A FIFTH KIND: A Fifth type are the bright, happy spirits of dead friends and family who appear unbidden at God’s will, not ours, with messages of hope and love. They seem to come from heaven. These type may come to a loved one to say goodbye or to comfort them after a funeral, for example. Or these type may come to a relative or friend in “great” need. God may allow these dead relatives to come to the bedside of a loved one just before death. This would be an act of compassion to comfort the person as they pass from this life to the next. There are very trustworthy empirical and psychological evidence for these phenomena.
6. GHOSTS OF A SIXTH KIND: (updated: 9/4/08) A sixth type involves the ghost performing a certain scene repetitively. For example, a ghost of this type may go from the top of the stairs to the bottom and then disappear. This may happen over and over again. It never changes. The Ghost never interacts with anyone, and we cannot interact with it. It never changes facial expression nor does it ever acknowledge anything around it.
There are many theories to explain this phenomenon, but no real explanations. A popular notion is the concept of a “Residual Ghost”, which I originally posited in 1999. Since that time, after a more careful study of physics changed my position on this. The notion of a Residual Ghost is well expressed recently by Jason Hawes of the Atlantic Paranormal Society: that “A residual haunting is like having an impression made in time. The entity may seem to be lost in a time warp. The spirit really isn’t even there, only the energy is.” The Glossary on their website gives a more formal definition:
Psychic imprint of a scene which is repeatedly played out, where the witness of such phenomenon essentially is peering into the past. The ghostly participants of these time-displacements often seem unaware of their living observers.
There are significant problems with this theory. The physics of matter and energy makes this theory nearly impossible. Cody Polston, Founder and President of the Southwest Ghost Hunter’s Association, gives a very good and succinct scientific explanation of why the Residual Haunting is implausible in his article, Residual hauntings, a flawed hypothesis.
Ockham’s razor (“All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best”) advises us to avoid complex explanations. The theory of Residual Ghosts creates all sorts of problems that must be resolved before it can be plausible. A more plausible and simpler explanation is that “residual ghosts” are actually demonic in origin.
We know from cases throughout the history of the Church that one of Satan’s tactics is to instill an unhealthy curiosity into things concerning the paranormal. To experience a “residual ghost” usually creates an interest and curiosity on the part of the experiencer in the paranormal. Sometimes the experiencer will further explore contact with the spirit world or other dangerous explorations into the paranormal. God warns us of the danger to our soul by trying to contact the dead. Our Lord calls these activities an abomination (Deut. 18:9-12). Satan would love to inspire such curiosity and to lure a person into his sandbox.
7. GHOSTS OF THE SEVENTH KIND: Some “apparent” ghostly apparitions or effects may be the bi-location of the living…the Astral projections of living people. This can be postulated from scriptural evidence (Rev. 17:3; 21:10; and 2 Cor 12:2), and from verified reports of bi-location of people like Padre Pio.
IV. What should our demeanor be toward “any” ghostly event?
READ THE REST FROM THE SOURCE: St. Michael’s Scriptorium & Library
Catholic Online: Prayers
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