Do Ghosts exist?


#1

Is there any validity to ghosts? There are many stories of strange noises, rattling, banging etc… I have not experienced it though. From the Catechism it seems there is no waiting period before particular judgement, which means you will go to heaven, hell, or purgatory immediately. This doesn’t leave much room for the theory of confused souls who are lost and have not “gone toward the light” yet. I do know that suffering souls have appeared to saints while in purgatory asking for prayer, but the supposed garden variety ghosts, where do they fit in? I suppose it could be evil spirits trying to cause fear or lure people into the occult. Interestingly enough, Jesus said this:

" See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."

This is the NASB translation, and some translations replace spirit with “ghost”. When Jesus said he wasn’t a spirit because they could touch him, does that mean that he was affirming some spirits could be seen?

Could a soul in purgatory “haunt” a location or people?, and could there possibly be a period before particular judgement where these souls could wander and cause trouble? Thanks for the help. I am a youth minister who gets tough questions sometimes. :thumbsup:
Dave


#2

There is a possibility that demons do some of the things that are attributed to ghosts…


#3

With God anything is possible. Ghosts are a mystery. I’ve never seen anything by the Church that says they absolutely don’t exist. I don’t really buy the confused soul bit and it doesn’t seem to make sense that a loving Father would send souls back to Earth to do evil as a punishment. I could see being sent back to Earth to resolve something from your life…but that’s 100% conjecture with nothing but my humble opinion to back it up. No one really knows…hence the mystery part.

Seeing that we believe the saints know about our lives I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to keep open the possibility that God allows for private revelations by a saint to the living. On the other hand, I know Satan will use every method at his disposal to lure you away from God.


#4

This question was addressed over in the “Ask an Apologist” forum recently. I personally thought that the apologist’s response was interesting and instructive.


#5

Anything not evil would identify it’s self and bring peace and comfort. Well maybe terror at first lol. Angels are no joke at all.

Is it just me or does the idea of human spirits walking the Earth sort of offer an alternative to our Christian understanding about what happens when we die?

Are we accountable in the world to come, or can we just elect to chill here for a few thousand years? Sounds like a lie to me.

-D


#6

[left]Matthew 14:26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
[/left]


#7

[quote=Dave13]Is there any validity to ghosts?
[/quote]

That depends on your definition of a ghost

There are many stories of strange noises, rattling, banging etc… I have not experienced it though. From the Catechism it seems there is no waiting period before particular judgement, which means you will go to heaven, hell, or purgatory immediately. This doesn’t leave much room for the theory of confused souls who are lost and have not “gone toward the light” yet. I do know that suffering souls have appeared to saints while in purgatory asking for prayer, but the supposed garden variety ghosts, where do they fit in? I suppose it could be evil spirits trying to cause fear or lure people into the occult.

As ghosts are sometimes said to “fade” after a few centuries, maybe a ghost is the psychic “imprint” or “trace” of a personality - especially since ghosts appear to be present in certain places rather than others. They would then be like “recordings” of people’s personalities - not the people themselves.

That’s sheer guesswork on my part. They’ve been photographed; which is curious, if it’s true.

AFAIR, wraiths are the “ghosts” of those who are still alive. ##

Interestingly enough, Jesus said this:

" See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."

This is the NASB translation, and some translations replace spirit with “ghost”. When Jesus said he wasn’t a spirit because they could touch him, does that mean that he was affirming some spirits could be seen?

I don’t see that in the text

Could a soul in purgatory “haunt” a location or people?, and could there possibly be a period before particular judgement where these souls could wander and cause trouble? Thanks for the help. I am a youth minister who gets tough questions sometimes. :thumbsup:
Dave

IMHO, “no” to both - for why would the spirits of those who died in God’s grace do such things :slight_smile: ? Except for such damned as there may be, all the faithful departed (a label which doesn’t apply to the damned, if one is being accurate) are in God’s friendship, and are holy. Why would holy souls behave so pointlessly ? If we, in this world, can see that some things glorify God while others do not, and that our being a nuisance is unlikely to glorify God - I’m sure they can :slight_smile:


#8

I believe the official Catholic understanding is that ghosts are actually “familiar” spirits, demons that know someone so well, they masquerade as the person as a ghost to deceive people into doubts about our faith and the afterlife. Sorta like a guardian angel, but from the enemies side, perhaps a “harassing demon” that stays with individuals through their life trying to derail them. Any way, I’ve always supported that view, which I first read in Father Amorth’s exorcism book.

Now, that said, I’ve read some things that do make me wonder if that’s the complete picture. It appears that Saul was actually able to call forth Samuel via a medium. Nothing there indicates that it was a familiar spirit. Did God allow some sort of exception to occur? Was that possible before the Resurrection and now isn’t? In Jesus’s story about Abraham’s bosum, Lazarus was not able to leave Hades to warn anyone, it seemed an inviolate rule. Surely if human spirits are ghosts, they would come from the ranks of those in torment, rather than those with God.

I wonder whether the “psychic imprint” theory someone mentioned earlier may be true to some degree or another. I’ve also encountered a few bizarre things over the years that don’t fit with a demonic activity nor human activity, more like a human spirit, aka ghost. So I guess I’m saying I leave open a small possibility that there’s more to it than my foundational understanding of familiar spirits.
David


#9

I studied the occult for years, trying to reduce what I read to a comprehensible set of rules.

My suspicion is that most “ghosts” are not ghosts at all, but rather a version of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”…

**7 … Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. ****8 ****Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, ****9 **but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.

We see these “beating” spirits in the occult. Whitley Strieber confesses in Communion to being struck at various places by night time beings. A girl from Tennessee whose home was haunted by a night time entity told me that she was struck on the hip. I can’t remember where, but I have read about the hip-striking at various points in my occult reading. My suspicion is that it is demonic humor. The ancient Hebrew equivalent of the modern cliche “as dead as a doornail” was being cut down “hip and thigh.” Before the Old Testament Committee “elegantized” the language of the Book of Judges, Judges 15:8, instead of…

**8 **And with repeated blows, he inflicted a great slaughter on them.

…the original Hebrew read something like the classic King James language…

8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter.

So, in Genesis 32, when Jacob wrestles with an angel, the text makes great hay of the fact that Jacob is struck on the hip. “Uh-oh,” ancient Hebrews hearing the story would have thought, “Jacob has been struck ‘hip and thigh.’ He’s going to be ‘deader than a doornail’ in this story.” And yet, Jacob survives, and even wins. Being struck on the hip actually marks jacob as the “dead one” who would defeat death – Jesus.

Modern folks being struck on the hip by a “thorn in the flesh” demon would be an ironic use of Genesis 32:26 for an UN-holy purpose, to say, “This one is dead in the sense that he is Hellbound.”

God lets the individual be haunted by a demon to tell him, “Look oooouuuuuut – you’re one heartbeat away from Hellllllll !”

Whereas Paul may have begun to encounter his thorn-in-the-flesh demon due to his own sins, God apparently declined to remove his evil spirit, to keep him humble.

There is one true “ghost” in Scripture. Saul asks the witch of Endor to conjur up Samuel’s “ghost,” and she does! See 1 Samuel 28:7-25.

Probably, Samuel was successfully called from that un-Heavenly place where the souls of the deceased waited for Christ to release them when He “descended into Hell.”

Would that still be possible today? Who knows?


#10

Where is
SPACE GHOST
when you need him ?


#11

…put me down for a Yes vote…

http://mediasoftware.free.fr/index.1.jpg


#12

…even this guy believes in spooks…


#13

SG do you believe you exist ???:whacky:


#14

There is a book about a lady in eastern Europe who is said to have visits from the souls in Purgatory. They ask her for prayers or have loved ones say masses for them etc. I suppose some souls can communicate with some of the living.

As far as hauntings, my guess is that they are more likely to be demons than souls of actual folks. I think you get Heaven, Purgatory or down below, but not anything in between. BUT maybe some person’s personal H*** is being forever tied to whatever it was that they were attached to in life. :crying:


#15

As many people here have said, the question is not so much “do they exist” as it is “what are they”. That is anyone’s guess.


#16

My thoughts:

The devil is tricky, he can pretend to be anyone. He can appear wise and good and a benefactor, distributing oh so sage advice like he did to our parents in Eden. He can also show more of his nature as a dragon intent on destorying us. He is bad. It would not be unreasonable to think they would appear as familiar spirits or unfimiliar ghosts.

If pugatory is about being cleansed it also makes sense it would be about letting go of your attachment to pointless material things. Ghosts could possibly be souls in purgatory, although this is just conjecture.

They could be people in hell trying to destroy the living, however this seems doubtful given Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man.

In any case it is not good to mess with ghosts. We could pray for souls of our bretheren who have gone before us, and pray that we will not be haunted by ghosts, whatever they may be, but I think it would be best to pray to God and the cannonized saints and stay away from things we don’t know about and let people who have more spiritual armor deal with the matter.

Edit: Based on personal experiences, I have no doubt loved ones in heaven are sent by God to help us out when He so deems it. I am not talking about these. However Satan can appear as these. Test everything againist faith and scripture.


#17

The Holy Ghost is enough proof to me.:slight_smile: Oh! the paranormal apparition type?Yes,those also exist.I read a lot about them.:nerd:


#18

From an earlier post, this is the passage…

Luke 24:39

Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

Thanks for all the input and comments.
God Bless,
Dave :smiley:


#19

Jump to this thread, it is totally sweet, and the Chesterton quote was the cherry on top.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=14715

-Dave :thumbsup:

#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.