A Haunting?

Have you had experiences with spiritual events such as a haunting?

I’m asking this out of sheer curiosity only.


I’m sure that many of us have. But if you want a really, really good book on the subject, buy the book, The Dark Sacrament. You can find it easily on Amazon. There are cases of hauntings and possession in there. Also, visit my blog.



I am a 51 year old no-nonsense male and I don’t consider myself clairvoyant or “spirit sensitive” in any way whatsover. I have never had any experience with “ghosts” until about 10 years ago – in Gettysburg. While walking around some of the battlefield ridges (especially about what they call “the devils den” where a particularly horrid slaughter took place), the presence of somebody – to be exact, many somebodies – was unmistakeable. Mostly what I felt was their emotion: very strong, but sad and resentful, like they just wanted to be left alone. Much like when you are in the room with someone who you know is experiencing those emotions. It wasnt spooky, I just felt intrusive.

I had never felt anything like it before that, or have not since. I have since learned that others have had the same experience there and other places where massive death occurred among strong emotions of fear and despair.

What is the position of the Church on ghosts?

It would seem to me that if there are only 3 locations in which a soul can wind up - heaven, hell or purgatory - that:

  1. ghosts, if they exist, are purgatorial souls, and perhaps part of the “purgatorial sentence” is to wander the earth, or

  2. the ghosts people see are really angels - heavenly, or otherwise (i.e., demons)

As far as I can tell, the Church does not have any official teaching on ghosts. Fr. Armoth, the chief exorcist of Rome, says in his book “An Exorcist Tells His Story” that in his experience the way that you can tell a ghost from a demon is that ghosts simply “appear” – that is, they just kind of stand there til somebody sees them and then they disappear. Demons are always active: moving things, making noise, etc, etc.

His opinion of it is closest to your option #1 above. He thinks they are perhaps souls from purgatory that God has for some reason allowed to return to earth in the hope that someone will pray for them.

As far as I know, there is no official teaching on “ghosts,” though most texts I’ve read say that “ghosts” are demons.

Angels have preternatural abilities–abilities that are beyond our own yet not divine/supernatural, since angels are part of nature–and demons retain the same abilities even though they fall. We also know that sanctified souls have preternatural gifts to do certain things that, to us, seem miraculous. I don’t see why it’s not possible that damned souls might have a similar ability to work evil the way saints have to work “good.”

Similarly, if the BVM or a saint can appear to someone in a private revelation, why can’t a non-canonized “saint”, a loved one who has died?

All of that said, there are a lot of phenomena that fall under the category of “ghosts.”

“Hauntings”, in the sense of “haunted houses” do have an official place in the thought of the Church: it’s called Infestation, and it definitely involves demons, whether or not it involves “souls.”

Another aspect: we believe, as Catholics, that certain places can become blessed by the presence of a Saint, or by a miracle that occurs there, or whatever. We call these places shrines. Objects and places can be blessed; they can also be cursed.

A few years ago, on Nov. 1, my wife and I were watching the History CHannel at her parents’ house, and they had two documentaries, back to back. One was on “incorruptible” saints and the other was on Vlad the Impaler. And it struck us how, on the one hand, they were talking about sacred relics and the blessings that go with them. Then the next show was about this evil man and all the alleged “curses” attached to his own “relics” and the places where he lived and was buried.

When I was young, I had an encounter with a devil (when I was about 8) and when I was 16 on a Tsunami relief mission in India, I saw an exorcism take place (which was extremely frightening).

(Addendum: A ghost, in my opinion, is a holy soul whose purgatorial sentence may be that it must wander the earth for a while. On the other hand, it seems ghosts sometimes stick around not for purification, but because they left something unresolved, or they had been killed violently. I remember an Anglican priest telling me once that a place where horrible sins occured, such as murder, may become cursed.)

There seems to be three different things to consider as far as demonic influence:

Demonic Oppression: A demon influences and drives a person to commit evil acts and say evil things and commit sacrilege, but they do not fully possess the body. A blessing may break the oppression, but if not dealt with quickly it may develop into a full possession.

Demonic Possession: The Demon is in control of the body of a person. Holy water and the blessed crucifix, and the prayer to St. Michael are the best means of opposing such a possessed. The best thing to do, though, is get a priest-exorcist quick!
Demonic possession can occur in animals too.

Curse: A place may have an oppressive spiritual force on it. It could also be on a person. Usually, a witchdoctor or someone involved in the occult could cause someone to be cursed. A sinless life and constant sacraments and prayer would most likely render one inpervious to a curse.

Infestation: A place may be haunted by evil spirits, fallen angels of God, or sometimes a lost soul (ghost) or a violent, murderous ghost that may act in accord with demons. From the exorcisms I’ve read, it appears that an evil soul may sometimes become just like a demon after death, and even possess someone. A priest blessing the place may weaken or cause the infestation to stop, or if it is lost souls, a Mass for the dead. If a blessing does not fully stop it, an exorcism is in order.

I have experienced seeing a ghost. I have experienced feelings of evil presence. No, I have not experienced a hauting, however a friend of ours is experiencing something right now, and I have advised him to leave it alone.

I’ve supplied him with Holy Water and prayers. If that doesn’t help, I am going to help him find a priest to help him.

I read this book in one night. It was good…kind of spooky, but is an interesting read.

So what is the dark sacrament?

The book is about exorcisms. There, of course, isn’t truly another sacrament.

And…most of the cases in the book involve Anglican Priests and if memory serves me correctly, one or two cases a Catholic Priest wouldn’t listen or do anything and they went to the Anglican Church.

I wish more Priests would take the need for exorcisms more seriously. Even Fr. Amorth stated that in his books.

Thank you for posting that…I didn’t think about mentioning it. I got the book out of the “Catholic” section and it was just the one Anglican priest. That was disappointing. It seems that Catholic priests aren’t taking exorcisms seriously as you say.

If you want to read an absorbing book on this topic, read “Interview With An Exorcist” by Fr. Fortea:

**Interview With an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance **


I don’t know how much stock I put into Ghosts and such, but I have heard and saw a program where the most haunted places here in the U.S. are Civil War battlefields…

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