What does the Catholic Church say about ghosts and haunted houses?


It creeps me out, but I’m interested in it.


As a Catholic I believe in ghosts and spirits. There is the Holy Ghost afterall :). As for hauned houses, I believe them.

But I too want to hear what the Church has to say about it.


I don’t think the Church has made a pronouncement yet, but my personal opinion is that most “ghosts” are demons.


Same here. Ghosts don’t fit into my theology.


I believe Ghosts and such would fit under Spiritism which has been condemned by the Church. Here is a snippet from New Advent

"As Spiritism has been closely allied with the practices of “animal magnetism” and hypnotism, these several classes of phenomena have also been treated under the same general head in the discussions of theologians and in the decisions of ecclesiastical authority. The Congregation of the Inquisition, 25 June, 1840, decreed:

Where all error, sorcery, and invocation of the demon, implicit or explicit, is excluded, the mere use of physical means which are otherwise lawful, is not morally forbidden, provided it does not aim at unlawful or evil results. But the application of purely physical principles and means to things or effects that are really supernatural, in order to explain these on physical grounds, is nothing else than unlawful and heretical deception.
This decision was reiterated on 28 July, 1847, and a further decree was issued on 30 July, 1856, which, after mentioning discourses about religion, evocation of departed spirits and “other superstitious practices” of Spiritism, exhorts the bishops to put forth every effort for the suppression of these abuses “in order that the flock of the Lord may be protected against the enemy, the deposit of faith safeguarded, and the faithful preserved from moral corruption”. The Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (1866), while making due allowance for fraudulent practice in Spiritism, declares that some at least of the manifestations are to be ascribed to Satanic intervention, and warns the faithful against lending any support to Spiritism or even, out of curiosity, attending séances (Decreta, nn. 33-41). The council points out, in particular, the anti-Christian character of Spiritistic teachings concerning religion, and characterizes them as an attempt to revive paganism and magic. A decree of the Holy Office, 30 March, 1898, condemns Spiritistic practices, even though intercourse with the demon be excluded and communication sought with good spirits only. In all these documents the distinction is clearly drawn between legitimate scientific investigation and superstitious abuses. What the Church condemns in Spiritism is superstition with its evil consequences for religion and morality"


The Church teaches that when a person dies his soul or spirit leaves this world and enters Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. From that I deduce that the spirit of a dead person does not inhabit or “haunt” a physical place such as a house - this belief is a carryover from paganism. The Church and the Bible forbid us from attempting to communicate with the dead in order to find out the future (necromancy).

IMO the vast majority of “haunted houses” and “ghosts” are either hoaxes, or gullible misunderstandings of natural phenomena, though no doubt some are actually demons.

If you sense something resembling a “ghost”, first make the Sign of the Cross, then say clearly “Who is there?” If it is a demon or an angel it will identify itself as such. If there is no answer then it is a natural phenomenon (a trick of the light, wind etc. or a human playing a trick on you) .

In the unlikely event you are directly confronted by a demon, pray to St Michael and command it in the name of Christ to leave you. If it continues to bother you, see a priest.


How do you know this? I mean to say, why would a demon or an angel have to identify itself as such?


DO NOT engage the demons!!


Calling on Christ and St Michael to command demons to leave you alone is NOT engaging them, it is DISengaging yourself from them. Demons shudder at the mention of Christ’s name.


but asking who is there is engaging.


Spirithound was referring to this advice by Petergee:

Originally Posted by **Petergee **
If you sense something resembling a “ghost”, first make the Sign of the Cross, then say clearly “Who is there?” If it is a demon or an angel it will identify itself as such.

That definitely IS addressing demons.


No it’s merely what it says, asking who is there, and as I said it’s almost certainly a perfectly natural phenomenon. As I said, if you get any response which indicates it’s a demon, you should immediately call on Christ’s name to order it to depart.

Are you telling me that if you had thought you were alone, and you saw or heard something that suggested someone else was there, you would **NOT **first ask “Who is there?”? Would you instead say nothing but run out of the house??


lol…well, if i’m encountering such an entity, either I’m somewhere I shouldn’t be (a haunted house), or someone else is somewhere they shouldn’t be (my house). Either way, I don’t really want to make my presence known.
Basically, I was working under the understanding that the “thing” was not human…


You might want to read the books of Gabriel Amroth (spelling?). He writes a lot about the exorcisms that he has done. They should be in just about any Catholic bookstore.


The apostles believed in ghosts… they thought Jesus was a ghost when He was walking to them on the water.

I like saying Requiam Aeternams (sp?) “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord/ Let perpetual light shine upon them/ May they rest in peace.” For all the holy souls in purgatory. If it is a demon then a prayer to St. Michael the archangel won’t hurt. If it is a demon his manifestation would have brought aide to a soul in purgatory… demons don’t like that. If it wasn’t a demon you still brought aid to a soul in purgatory.


I work in a catholic book store and I have people that come in all the time looking for answers and do not know who to turn to. I have a priest that I know that goes and cleans the house. Sometime they are souls needing prayers. Read any thing on Padre Pio there was always souls that appeared to him needing prayers. I love a good ghost story. Matter of fact the church that I go to is supposed to be haunted by a nun who knocks on the door of the priest in the morning to say Mass. Sometimes you have to do your purgatory doing what you did not do when you were alive. Makes sense to me. :wink:


Whenever I feel something dark and ominous around me, I always say a few prayers to God and the Hail Mary until the darkness goes away. I know it sounds weird and irrational, but I won’t enter buildings or areas if I get a bad intuition or if I see a darkness around a person within that area. My intuition is usually correct, so I believe it is either God or my guardian angel directing me to go somewhere else or to avoid a certain person.

I wonder how often we see angelic manifestations and how many times it was actually our guardian angel looking out for us. I believe mine is with me and has protected me during situations that could have been tragic.


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