Do they exist?

Ah, what the question! We have the ghost stories from very Catholic countries, especially the great Irish stories. Then we also have them from all sorts of Christian countries… Many Protestants believed that ghosts were apparitions tempting them to sin, or demons. This is plausible, but the traditional idea is “a deceased person” (which is also present in our ancestors’ pagan religions).

A person’s soul is immediately judged after they die (Hebrews 9:27). Some Catholics have had views that it is a soul in Purgatory:

You are also correct that there are not “lost souls,” in the sense that there are not souls that are caught between death and eternity unable to “cross over” to “the other side.” After death, a soul is judged and is either saved or damned. A damned soul is in hell; a saved soul is either in heaven or in purgatory.

That said, it may be that purgatory might in some way involve the life one lived here on earth. It is not incompatible with a belief in purgatory to believe that our purgation might include “revisiting” places that were significant during our earthly lives. It may be that occasionally God allows people to see such souls in order to inspire prayers for them or in some way to teach a lesson to the people who see them.

This is an old thread from the Ask an Apologist forum in 2005:

And another from a good Catholic source:

My personal views: The ghost may be a demon disguising itself as an “angel of light” or lost soul (2 Corinthians 11:14); it may be some sort of left behind physical energy from the person and yet not a spirit, somewhat of a time-loop that we do not know of.

I do have a belief that the souls in Heaven can visit us because they are triumphant, and the saints pray for us, so they are active enough. Again, God being sovereign above all else, we need not fear that which we cannot understand.

Yes, I think ghosts exist. My family has had a lot of experience with them.

Absolutely…YES, they do exist, but what they are, is the real question.

When Jesus first appeared to the apostles after his death, they initially thought he was a ghost, note that they had a word for such a thing and knew what a ‘ghost’ was, so people were seeing the same thing as people do today.

Im not sure what they are, I have seen one once, many years ago, and it was not in human form, just a transparent greyish ball floating around a stairwell, it cast a shadow, so it was something real that had substance, however I did not feel peace or evil, so it was neutral in that regard.

I think its likely, whatever they truly are, we probably cannot comprehend the definition.

There’s a cultural understanding that ghosts are often disembodied spirits who are in some way tied in with a location, and that they’re basically there to make some sort of atonement for past sins.

You might be surprised to learn that there are exorcists who share that view.

Pray to the Holy Ghost and ask Him. :tiphat:

Met a man outside a supermarket who was quite inisistent that his long dead cat was following him around when he moved house, snuggling into bed with him …

But spirits? Yes. Not seen but having an effect. Happened too often to me not to. House I lived in in Ireland… I was outside and so were the cats. Heard a lot of noise from inisde and when I went in a large bag of potatoes had been thrown all round the room especially i one corner… when I asked around, they told me that the daughter who lived there who had been desperately troubled and had finally committed suicide ( not in the house) had always sat there.

This kind of thing happens too often to discount

If they exist we can say with certainty what they are not. They are not lingering souls that have not passed over due to unfinished business or messages to give.

The Church clearly teaches infallibly that when a person dies their soul is either immediately saved if they die in a state of grace (Purgatory first or straight to Heaven) or immediately condemned if they die in a state of mortal sin and go straight to Hell.

Ghosts, as an image of someone, certainly exist. Even our LORD’s friends believed in them. They thought He was one.

The question is whether these images are genuine beings, and I’d say most of the time, they are not. Our human minds are great at finding patterns where none exist, particularly those of human beings.

In the cases where things are happening outside one’s mind, I’d go with the “deceptive spirit” theory over the “dead human being.”


No one can say or no. That is a belief. What does the Roman Catholic Church teach on ghosts? I actually do not know. I do think ghosts exist - I think they are souls trapped in purgatory.

No souls are TRAPPED in Purgatory!

Thank you all for your replies.

So, I think there probably are ghosts, then.

The fact that so many people truly believe ghosts are ‘roaming spirits’ of past loved ones or living people, I think this proves how successful the enemy has been in his deception, that is a pretty big accomplishment, deceiving someone regarding one of the main beliefs of christianity.

Plus, that is pretty much how ghosts in general are defined in popular culture today, look at movies, tv shows, books, etc. they are ALWAYS depicted as roaming spirits of once living people, or spirits who have something to finish before they can ‘go into the light’.

My now-deceased friend, who was a Baptist at the time, came to believe in purgatory because her sister, after her death’ “appeared” to her and looked unhappy, and then a while later “appeared” again and looked happy and radiated peace and love. I don’t know what these "appearances " were, but from that she came to believe in Purgatory. She later became Catholic, but I don’t think these visions were the actual cause–she was married to a Catholic and raising the children as Catholics and so became one.

I know a middle aged lady who is a manager at one of my stores, she can see spirits of the deceased, she proved this beyond doubt the first day I met her, she said she has always see these things, even as a child.

Im not sure what she is actually seeing, but it is strange that she says all these spirits appear to be going about their daily lives, like they were not aware they were dead, one man in particular, she said his spirit was doing the same duties he used to do when he was alive in and around the store, but they dont seem to recognize or pay any attention to the living.

Its strange to me that someone would be given a gift like this in the first place, what is the purpose of her being able to see these things?

No she can’t.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”

Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

“Bring up Samuel,” he said.

When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a ghostly figurea coming up out of the earth.”

“What does he look like?” he asked.

“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

1 Samuel 28

I don’t know but some really unexplainable things happen on Ghost Adventures.

Then what are they?

I think that perhaps some people just have the ability to see things that others aren’t able to see. :slight_smile:

Some of the saints were able to see and were able to communicate with souls who came to talk to them, and ask them to pray for them so that they could be released from Purgatory. St. Faustina was one of these saints.

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