What should we(Catholics) make of haunted houses and ghosts?


Just today I watched the Nat. Geo. T.V. show Is it Real which consisted of ghost stories. Even though many ghost stories and “haunted houses” could probably be proven to have some scientific or psychological explanation, many of these shows on the Nat. Geo. channel and Discovery channel seem to be authentic ( and almost everyone of them consist of a priest performing an exorcism or a blessing of a house, and then he ends up running out of the house like a scared child after he hears a noise or an object gets thrown at him :shrug: )

So whether or not those dramatilizations/actors are too “dramatic” by having the priest frantically run out of the house, they get to the point by getting the real “spooky” stuff: the apparitions of little kids, old people, etc… And even the more frightening things like objects being animated, people getting hurt and pushed down the stairs.

I understand that even demonic possessions occur today, as they did in the bible, but these can’t account for all of the haunted houses and such…(if ghosts are truly among us)

I guess the main thoughts that really bug me with the whole idea of ghosts is WHY would there be ghosts. At this point, let’s assume they do exist. Is it purgatory? hell? Or are the apparitions of people totally different from the soul(for example my great great great granpa’s soul could be in heaven, but something else on Earth).

I actually did believe ghosts were living their purgatory here on Earth, but then I hear some of these stories on T.V. that explain that this guy died in the Old West 200 years ago. (and boy that’s a long time in purgatory). And I’ve heard of ghost stories about people who lived horrible lives, killing people, so they probably wouldn’t be going to Heaven–so why would they be living their purgatory? This led me to the idea of hell-separation from God, right? But then I’ve hear of stories of little children’s ghost…etc…

Thanks for your posts!


The Catholic Church categorically denies that ghosts are human souls. We are judged immediately upon our deaths (the particular judgement), which means our souls go to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. None of those possibilities coincide with Earth. If these ghosts are not simply hoaxes, then they are demonic influences.

As for why Demons would want to cause such mischief, I think that is self-evident.

Pax Tecum,


That sounds pretty convincing. Thanks for the response. I had always wondered that, but never looked it up.
Where can we find a source for this teaching? Would it be in the catechism?



This is not true. Check out this answer from Michelle Arnold:


There are well documented cases of souls in purgatory who God had permitted to return to earth and visit specific individuals. This is usually to petition the person for their prayers and indulgences and on occasion to convey information that God wants to reveal about purgatory or things that are relevant to God’s plan for the individual. Some also have a general charism for seeing souls from purgatory(St. Padre Pio ). But understand that these are NEVER cases of “hauntings” however.

Only demonic influences are responsible for hauntings and possessions. And it is highly unlikely that a priest would run from such an encounter if he was there to bless the house and had knowledge that there was something evil associated with it. But priests are very human also and if they are not personally experienced with confronting demonic activity can be taken off guard and startled just like anyone else. All priests do not have the charism and constitution required to perform the most difficult exorcisms but any priest in good grace (free of mortal sin) can easily use his divine priestly authority to confront a satanic influence to make it stand-down and flee from his immediate presence. But it may take a priest or bishop who has the specific charism for exorcism to cast it away permanently.

Be suspicious of the drama in the TV programs and especially those that try to make a mockery of our priests or our faith.

If you know of specific cases of hauntings or suspected evil influence then you should get a priest to come bless the house and advise him that there have been supernatural events or activities associated with it.



I have experienced a so-called “haunted house” first hand. I can’t explain it. I don’t even want to try. I just placed my trust in Jesus and packed up my things and MOVED.

There is, however, one fantastic sort of scientific theory about ghosts. Note how the majority of ghostly sightings happen at night, or during an electrical storm, and how the same scene plays over again and again–like the ghost ship at sea, or a ghostly battlefield reenactment, or “the lady in white” who is always seen walking down the same lonely road at the same hour.

When conditions are right, a scene or a sound is replayed from the past, like a tape recording or a movie reel. The catalyst that starts the recording is usually emotional or violent, such as a war or a suicide or a mother losing a child. The scene or event itself seems to be “recorded” somehow in its surroundings, which is why these “ghosts” always hang out in the same place and engage in the same activity.

So these are not real souls, but merely pictures projected on a wall. One theory is that these recordings are being played externally for all to see, but only those with the right “antenna” will experience them.

Of course, all that could be bunk.

  • Westy


Well I read the Michelle Arnold thread.
Total yikes! :eek:
This is too freaky.

**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. **

I do not want any of my dead loved ones visiting me. What if my dad sees me undressed! :eek:


What about God watching you undressed? He sees all things…I don’t think a dead person who sees you undress would get anything out of it…


If that’s what you believe and you are comfortable with that belief fine. But I have had other experiences and have another theory. I believe that free will exists until we meet our maker. If a soul refuses to be part of that “process”, then whether you believe it or not they have made a choice that most likely was not based on good information. Nonetheless, I have prayed for souls to move toward the “light” of God and do His will and not their own. Out of respect for your beliefs I will not go into it further. My advice for all is to not dwell on what you perceive to be ghosts but instead dwell on the Holy Ghost. Be more concerned with the salvation of your soul, but praying for “lost” souls whether living or not is an act of love and charity.
Also praying for souls in Purgatory is a sign of faith.


**There’s a lot about the non-physical spiritual world that we do not know or understand. But of what we DO know, we know that once one dies, there is a ‘gap’ between the two, as the Bible points out, and if anyone comes back, it is because, for some reason, God allows it. But they do not come back through mediums or anything having to do with the occult.

Usually, when God allows it, the departed may bring a message, offer protection, or even a healing (as in the case of saints). The departed do not hang around old homes or areas in the sense of ghosts.

There is a part of the nonphysical creation that is inhabited with spiritual beings, such as fallen angels and demons. There is a lot of deception that is posed by these entities and it seems as though the element of surprise is relished by them.

They are not experiencing purgatory, and they definitely are not in Heaven.**


The Bible would disagree with you read 1 Samuel 28, a medium brings up Samuel’s soul. Though this of course was allowed by God so that Samuel could condemn the actions in doing this, and normally if anything is brought up by mediums (normally it’s all fake) then it would be demons, so clearly something not to go near


2 Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (unless someone is going to be seperated from God… eg:hell)

I don’t believe in ghosts or anything like that anymore… I do believe that apparitions and “ghosts” are demonic influences also. Anything to get people’s eyes off Christ.


I see from your profile that you list yourself as a Christian. I am assuming (and if incorrectly, please let me know) that you are not Catholic. The OP was directing this thread and its answers toward Catholics, who understand the concept of Purgatory, and are guided by more than our own personal set of beliefs.

A debate about Catholic/ non-Catholic views on the nature of ghosts would make a great new thread.


How does Mary, directing us to Christ, assist in taking our eyes off Christ?

Are whales demonic? I like to go whale-watching when I can. While whale-watching, my mind is not necassarily on Christ (although I do marvel at the beauty of creation).

I miss the logic of this often used argument.


And obviously ghosts are easily better accepted to the Catholic faith than the Protestant faith because of purgatory. :wink:

I don’t understand how people(Christians) can hear of Padre Pio and such and not believe in Purgatory…which would lead to the true Church!


What the Bible Says about Ghosts

1 We know that ghosts do not have flesh and bones. (Luke 24:39)

2 We know that the dead can communicate with the living. (1 Sam 28; Sirach 46:20)

3 We know that at least in some context allowed by God, the dead can be conjured in some fashion. (1 Sam 28)

4 We know that it is possible for the dead to appear on the earth (Matt 72; 1 Sam 28)

5 We know that is may be possible for the dead to not only appear on the earth, but appear to people and talk with them (Luke 16:27-31; 1 Sam 28)

6 We know that it is possible for the living to bi-locate (Rev. 17:3; 21:10; 2 Cor 12:2)

7 We know that it is possible for spirits to communicate in dreams and the person to have a bodily reaction to the visitation (Job 4:15)


Seven Kinds of Ghosts
Seven Kinds of Ghosts (article)
By Bro. John-Paul Ignatius


I don’t understand how anyone who knows how good and perfect God is, and has read about Heaven in God’s Word, that there is no sin or unrighteousness present there, would not believe in the necessity of a place of purification.

I know a lot of born-again Christians who have never confessed their sins, after they got saved. But they think they are going straight into the presence of God. I think a good “bath” in purgatory would be necessary before entering God’s presence.


What should we make of them?

We should make haunted houses into low-cost housing, and ghosts into diaphanous window treatments and intimate apparel.


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