Looking to meet a ghost

So, I’ve done a lot of research and have come to believe what I find in the vast majority of cases is that the ghosts, hauntings or apparitions are one of two things either evil spirits or more often than not souls in purgatory serving out their time or at least some of their time here on earth.

The purpose of this post is not to argue the above statement, here is the question…

The first statement being true, then is it against God’s will that someone should search out these souls that are serving their time in purgatory here on earth in an attempt to help them, pray for them and expedite their entrance into heaven.

I know God says we should not seek out the spirits of the dead and try and communicate with them but the instance in which I recall this commandment it was when King Saul was trying to find out what the future held for him if I’m not mistaken.

So the question is, does God forbid us from trying to find these spirits who are on earth and who are interacting with people and attempt to help them.

Yes, God forbids us from speaking to the dead. You don’t need to speak to the souls of purgatory or find them in alleged haunting’s to help them. You can pray for them now and do good works to help them.

Yes but if I knew their names I could offer Masses for them…

The book, End of the Present World, and The Mysteries of Future Life by Fr. Charles Arminjon, was by St. Therese considered on the “greatest graces of my life.” Fr. Arminjon discusses in detail Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. The fascinating thing is that he said there were 2 theories on purgatory, one of which sounds very much like what could be called ghosts. He said there were some souls who had to serve out their sentence on the site of where they committed their crime. You can actually get the book for free on archive.org.

As Catholics, our relationship with the deceased is to pray for their souls. Pray for those is most need of mercy. That’s truly the only names we need, outside of those we know personally.

The possibility that God may allow a deceased individual (or Ghosts - if you wish) to somehow contact the living does not contract our faith.

But as Country Steve noted… what is a problem is to actively try to contact the dead. This we are forbidden to do.

The Catechism explains this,

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

Pax et Bonum! We do offer masses for the dead - announcing this in different ways -

Mass for all the souls in purgatory (sometimes referred to as the Holy Souls - during Nov)
Mass for the deceased
Mass for my mother, Elizabeth Smith


More to the point, if we go looking for a ‘ghost’ believing them to be a life-challenged human being in Purgatory, we are far more likely to find a demon waiting to mess with our head.

To seek trans-death communication is necromancy and God forbad this for a reason.

You don’t need a name in order to pray and do penance for someone.


My sister had ghosts in her house. She didn’t mind. She just kicked back and let them do their own thing except she didn’t like the fact that they played with her perfume bottles and their baby cried during the night, waking her up.

I thought it sounded like hogwash, but she said it was true.

Several years back, someone I’m close to was concerned by an experience they’d had, and told me about it. They’d been visited by “someone” claiming to be someone who had passed away long ago. I don’t particularly remember the details, but the long and short of it was, that someone was still suffering. I suggested having a series of Gregorian Masses said for that individual, and my friend said that was a good idea. They didn’t know about Gregorian Masses themselves, but they had gotten a feeling like someone was standing close by, and sort of an excited gasp when I had made the suggestion. I made the arrangements the next day, and I was happy to be involved in helping someone who had been allowed to reach out.

Anyhow, fast-forward a bit later, and my friend discovered that the individual who had visited them was not in a position to benefit from the Masses. :frowning: Instead, it had been an experience provided by God to be an exercise in prudence. Don’t believe everything you hear, even if it’s an unusual source. Don’t mess with things that aren’t your domain. That sort of thing. Looking back, there had been clues, but both of us had taken things at face value, and had excused away the discrepancies.

I learned my lesson as well. I’ve prayed for the souls in Purgatory as long as I could remember. I’d always wished I could know whether I was helping anyone at all. I’d always wished I could be more aware of what effect I had, who benefited, how much of a difference my efforts made… I learned that it’s not my business. I need to do my work, without trying to be proud that I helped so-and-so this much. God will tend to the details; I just need to mind my own business and offer my offerings and pray my prayers to the best of my abilities.

I think one may be open to the possibility of encountering a spirit, but one should not try. No amount of human effort can make such a thing happen. It will happen exactly when, where, and as God wills it.

I wonder why God would permit a spirit, from either Heaven or Purgatory, to visit the earth again. I imagine that God would allow it if it were the best way to bring about our conversion and salvation, or perhaps as a form of penance for the soul in Purgatory. Only God knows what is best for us in this regard, and so I am happy to leave it up to him.

Reminds me of a true story from island history,

A carpenter/boat builder and his wife were kept awake night after night by hammering adn banging from his work shed…
Never anyone there…

One night he finally cracked and yelled, " IN THE NAME OF THE TRINITY WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

There was an incoherent waiting and shouting then silence and never any more trouble

For that you don’t need their names. Just offer a Mass for the suffering souls in Purgatory.
Leave to God the judgement as to which souls benefit from the graces of that Mass.

It is also permissible to name your own deceased relatives or friends and ask that the graces from your prayers, or from Masses you offer, be given to them.

It is *not *permissible to try to seek out the dead to speak with them.

Nosiness and getting worried by stuff that is not our business - those things are not a virtue. They are often used to trick us.

Praying for the unknown dead is an act of mercy, however, and you will someday know them as friends in Heaven and in the resurrected life. Having Masses said for the dead or saying prayers for them does not require names.

OP, You’re playing with fire. Nothing good can come from it.
Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and rest assured that you are doing the ONLY THING that can help them on their journey to heaven.

Just too dangerous attempting to communicate with spirits. As others have said it’s against church teaching…and you will likely have a unclean spirit messing with you.

I’ve had numerous unwanted paranormal experiences childhood so i get the allure, but it’s a domain that we are told to stay away from.

If i think a spirit in purgatory is making noise and trying to get noticed, i just pray for the repose of their soul.

Didn’t Padre Pio talk to a soul who was in Purgatory?

Every time I see a graveyard I pray for the souls in Purgatory and I ask them to pray for me.

I once had a dream where I saw a soul who was in Purgatory and she was on her way to heaven. She thanked me for my prayers and said to remember I had friends in heaven praying for me. I may not know them but they are praying for me.

I know what you intended this thread to be about, but imo, going into this, assuming they are souls in purgatory, or somehow related to once living people, is a huge problem, if they are something other than this, it changes everything, if they happen to be beings that exist in a parallel world, or something even more complicated, it may not be wrong to try and contact or communicate with them.

There is much in this world and about this world that we do not understand.

I’m glad the Church has those rules in place about speaking with the dead since we like children easily duped when the dark side gets an opportunity to trick us.

if they are something other than this, it changes everything, if they happen to be beings that exist in a parallel world, or something even more complicated, it may not be wrong to try and contact or communicate with them.

Actually, it changes nothing. This would really be playing with fire. How exactly would you know what they are? I think the very fact that we are not supposed to try and seek out spirits is partly because we humans are easily deceived and we know that the evil one is always looking for willing prospects.

It’s much better to simply follow the Church’s teaching and be safe.

I found this up in the Ask An Apologist forum that may help you.

*]Do ghosts exist?
*]What’s the Catholic theory behind such phenomena as ghosts?

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