Some people say spirits/souls can stay on earth after death


Yes, I have heard the belief that the ghosts (spirits) of people can stay on earth after death, and they need to be “calmed” and sent to the place they belong (Heaven or Hell.)

The belief in ghosts in very widespread. I do not believe in this, but I am just making sure that this theory is contrary to Catholic doctrine. It sounds like complete hogwash to me.


That’s not true in that form, but it’s entirely possible that ghosts are on earth as part of their purgatory time


I cannot cite you any doctrine, but there are spirits of the dead that do come back to this world. I know there was something in Ask an Apologist about such happenings and there may well, be a thread or two. I have seen my parents, dead for over a decade, at my son’s wedding Mass. My doctor tells me he knows of at least a dozen and a half instances where patients have told him similar stories. They seem to show up when one is sick and near death. Often the patient recovers as I did. I had suffered a massive heart attack after the wedding. By the by, my parents were no longer old as they had been when they died, but looked to be about in their mid thirties. :slight_smile:


There are spirits on earth. There are guardian angels and fallen angels on earth fighting for/against our salvation.


So let me get this straight, some of you have seen physical ghosts?

Also, this is more referring to evil ghosts, like one would expect in a “haunted” place. I’m pretty sure a guardian angel fighting for our salvation is gonna attack an innocent person and give them claw marks.


I have a friend who is a Catholic that comes from a Baptist background and had questions about some aspects of the Faith.
Shortly after her sister died, she saw her, and and her sister did not appear to be happy. Some months later, she saw her again, and she looked radiant and peaceful. Which convinced her of the truth of Purgatory. So maybe sometimes there is a purpose to some appearances, who knows?

I have never seen a ghost, and don’t care to, but once lived in an old house, and I could hardly go into the basement because of a very “weird” and fearful feeling, and I once heard footsteps on the stairs when no one was there. I would have chalked it up to my imagination, because I am a real skeptic, except for the fact that nothing could induce the dog to go down there, and if you brought him down, he became agitated and would run up the stairs as fast as he could. Very strange.


In my religion (Orthodox Judaism), we bury people within 24 hrs of their death…partly because of our belief that the spirit might try to return to the body out of a sense of confusion.

I recently went to visit the family of a former neighbor who had died; they are Buddhist. The Buddhist monks had been at their home the entire day of death, because their belief is that when a person is about to die, the monks need to be there to help calm the spirit, to make sure it understands it is time to die, and reincarnate into the next life, and so that it won’t try to get back into the body. In fact one reason why Buddhists cremate bodies is to keep the spirit from re-entering the body.

So it seems that several religions have a belief like that.


Many people who have died remain on earth. I usually refer to them as “earthbound spirits”. My encounters with these spirits can be found on my blog here:

A good book that details exorcism and earthbound spirits is “The Dark Sacrament”. I believe based on my experience that some who are troubled when they die and are without faith are in a “purgatory” state and can be helped out by “calming them” as you put it. I also believe that God allows some spirits to accomplish certain goals for people on the earth, allowing them to go back and forth as the Father wills it.




Some people can see ghosts, some cannot. I cannot see them, but I can feel them. It’s a fallacy to think that there are only demons and angels who are spiritual beings.




Souls do NOT stay on earth after death.
When a person dies their soul is immediately judged (This is called the Particular Judgement) and is either condemned and goes straight to Hell or is saved and goes straight to Heaven (or more likely through Purgatory first).


There is some good CATHOLIC information found here from the Ask an Apologist section:

Thistle, there is a different point of view than what you have offered from the Catholic perspective. And, my own personal experience is certainly different than what you have offered.




We know from the Bible that God sometimes allows a soul to be seen (or heard) Samuel was called back by King Saul (a definite no-no). PLUS Jesus Himself appeared to the Apostles and other. Also Mary and various other saints have appeared to others.

BUT we have to be careful that demons may impersonate people or even Jesus or Mary.

I believe that God allows some souls to appear to the living (especially when a loved one is close to death, relatives or friends may be allowed to comfort or even escort them), but in general ghosts or other spirits are probably indications of demonic activity.


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