Ghosts ... do they exist?


This topic has been discussed here a number of times and I’ve been on BOTH sides of the discussion convinced of my answer. Now, I’m a bit confused.

On the one hand, there is no place in Catholic doctrine for a belief in ghosts. When we die, we go to either heaven, hell or purgatory. Those in hell are trapped there forever and have no capability to wander the earth. Those in purgatory are also trapped there being purged of the stains their sins and waiting for their release. Those in heaven are happier beyond their wildest dreams (* " … eye has not seen and ear has not heard [1 Corinthians 2:9] … "* ) and have no reason to be wandering around the earth.

Thus, the logical conclusion is that ghosts are really demons pretending to be our departed loved ones for some evil purpose.

On the other hand, the bible is also filled with examples of ghosts. Saul was able to summon Samuel’s ghost through the power of a witch. A number of times Jesus assured the apostles that He was NOT a ghosts (when He walked on water, when He appeared to them after His death, etc.). If there are no such things as ghosts, there would have been no reason for Jesus to tell them that He wasn’t one.

So, what is the conclusion? Ghosts … do they exist?


IMHO I think it is demons trying to lure people away from Christ and belief in witchcraft etc.:shrug: :frowning:


I believe the official position of the Church is that they do not exist. Any such activity is should be attributed to demons.


Could it be some aspect/stage of Purgatory?


This is what I go with. There are far too many credible reports of Ghosts.

The idea that it is the devil tricking people sounds like the idea that God made fossils to test man’s faith in 6 day creationism.

And always remember Hamlet’s words to Horatio:

“There are far more things in heaven and earth than can be dreamed of in your philosophies”

The point is, I think the RCC teaches us the bare minimum required to get us into heaven, not a comprehensive explanation of everything in existance.



[/list]What about Saul speaking with Samuel’s ghost?


[/list]That’s what I’m thinking … is there some aspect of purgatory that may not be understood by us?


i think “envoy” mag answered that one.if there is a soul and a spirit ghost could exist. ain’t necessarily witchcraft to believe in their existence- and being a necromancer(like witch of Endor) is not the same as seeing and experiencing a ghost.Besides many people are said to have seen the dead asking for prayers for their souls in purgatory- .So I’d say -yeah ghosts exist


Call me doubtingThomasmyster for now, but show me ONE single shred of evidence for ghosts as they are defined by current culture.

not one, not a crumb, not ONE iota of evidence for their existence. lots of cute stories that appeal to the senses…

Ghosts exist in the human mind, the brain creates what it wants to experience.

i believe in the supernatural world 100%, heaven, hell, purgatory… absolutely…

but I have to admit, after dozens of trips to Salem, MA… visits to haunted houses all over the east coast…visiting haunted castles in london, scotland and ireland… ghost trips to new orleans and reading and seeing thousands of stories of their existence… not once was my spidey sense piqued and did i think ghosts exist in reality… demons and angels, yes… ghosts, well, i don’t think so. (my wife and I always do the ghost stuff as a goof… halloween hijinks, not serious ghost hunting)


1 Samuel 28 - Saul Talks with Samuel’s Ghost



show me two… TWO pieces of evidence i say! :stuck_out_tongue:


That actually made me laugh. Good job.



…the word ‘ghost’ is an unfortunant one to use…may guidian angel might be closer to the Truth…and I dont believe the blessed departed ones just give up trying to help we still mere mortals…the movie…with some flaws…'Its a wonderful life" was pretty close to what I believe in…all of us touch other lives in so many ways and in the next world we will find out how we did…and in special cases we are sent back to help others…after all the demons are here and we gotta have someone over our shoulder caring for us not wanting to just ruin us…Nino


I read Peter Kreeft’s Angels (and Demons), and he mentioned ghosts in passing and differentiated them from demons…and angels. Unfortunately, I don’t have it with me, but I will make a post when I get home in a few hours.



I think we first need to define exactly what we are talking about when we are talking about ghosts. Are we talking strictly about a visual manifestation of the souls of the dead? Do we make any allowance that the “ghost” might remain unseen and yet still interact with the natural world in some fashion (as by moving physical objects)? Would this ability to interact with the natural world include more subjective phenomena (audible whispers or, perhaps, the cliché of moaning)?

It seems to me that in stories of various apparitions and the experience of many a saint, we have confirmation that all these phenomena are possible, even if extremely unlikely. I therefore conclude that a ghost, as I have speculated here, is very much capable of existence based on what we know.


Okay, from *Angels (and Demons); What Do We Really Know About Them? *by Peter Kreeft (Ignatius Press, 1995) - It’s an enjoyable book, which I recommend.

Question 22 (pg 50-51): Are angels human souls without bodies? Are they the same as ghosts?

Ghosts are the spirits, or souls of human beings whose bodies have died. They may hover around the earth “haunting” material places, usually houses. There seem to be four possible reasons for this:
*]They don’t yet realize they are dead.
*]They were so attached to their material places or possessions that they can’t detach themselves from them and leave.
*]They are working out some purification, penance, or purgatory, some remedial education or “reform school.”
*]They are consoling their loved ones who have been bereaved.[/LIST]Angels , in contrast did not have human bodies in the first place and never will. Ghosts once had human bodies and will receive new resurrection bodies in heaven if they go there.

So, that is one Catholic theologian’s perspective. There is no *nihil obstat or impramatur, *so take it for what it’s worth. Here is how wikipedia describes him:

Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King’s College, and author of over 45 books including Fundamentals of the Faith, Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven, and Back to Virtue. Some consider him the best Catholic philosopher currently residing in the United States. His ideas draw heavily from religious and philosophical tradition, especially Thomas Aquinas, Socrates, G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis. Kreeft has writings on Socratic logic, the sea, angels, Pascal, and Heaven, as well as his work on the Problem of Evil, for which he was interviewed by Lee Strobel in his bestseller, The Case for Faith


*]They don’t yet realize they are dead.
*]They were so attached to their material places or possessions that they can’t detach themselves from them and leave.
*]They are working out some purification, penance, or purgatory, some remedial education or “reform school.”
*]They are consoling their loved ones who have been bereaved.[/LIST]

That’s interesting. All of those points are worthy of discussion.


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