Is There Anything To Ghost Hunting?

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Title: Is There Anything to Ghost Hunting?

 

Text: 1 Samuel 28:11-16,

 

Time: October 31st, 2013

 

 

We’re near Halloween, so I’ll continue teaching on the dangers of the occult and related topics. Today, I’d like to talk about the so-called “ghost hunting” phenomenon that is sweeping the country. It’s hard to turn on the television without running into one show or another about paranormal activity, ghost hunting, and so forth. In fact, there are entire TV series devoted to searching for and finding traces of supernatural and paranormal activity, such as the famous series “Ghost Hunter” and similar copycat shows. The modus operandi for these paranormal shows is to assemble a team of so-called paranormal experts who then visit a supposedly haunted site and seek to find out what the source of the haunting really is, and then, ultimately to contact it and cause it to stop causing trouble. The whole genre of paranormal ghost hunting was made popular a few decades ago with the movie “Ghost Busters.” But that movie was supposed to be entertainment and comedy fiction. But today, people are taking the whole thing seriously, as if hunting for ghosts is possible. Well, is it possible? Can one track down, contact, and communicate with a ghost? And to get specific, what is a ghost anyway? Following the Ghost Buster movie script, a ghost is the spirit or soul of someone who died. That’s basically the assumption all the “ghost hunting” shows follow as well. But from a biblical Christian perspective we need to question this assumption. Instead of the departed spirits of the deceased, it’s more likely, and in fact, very probable, that these spirits are demons or fallen angels trying to impersonate the deceased. But we’ll deal with that later. For now, I just wanted to point out that more and more people are buying into the whole scenario that ghosts are the souls of deceased persons and that they sometimes haunt certain locations for their own reasons. So-called “ghost hunting” teams are able to detect the presence of theses departed souls, and more importantly, deal with them so that they stop bothering people in the here and now who want to get on with life without interruption from the spirit world. That’s the understanding that more and more are adopting today, as is evidenced by the popularity and multiplication of the paranormal TV shows. Well, the question we need to ask is, “Is there anything to the notion that ghosts can be detected, communicated with, and dealt with?” Is there any reality to ghost hunting? From a Christian perspective we must say that there is a mix of truth and false, real and fake to the whole “ghost hunting” fad. Yes, there is an element of the supernatural, but it’s not what most people think. But let’s explore further.

 

 

First, there’s the fake. 1 Samuel 28:11-14, “Then the woman (the witch) asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ ‘Bring up Samuel (the prophet),’ 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 spirit coming up out of the ground.’ ‘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.” Here is part of the most famous verse dealing with the occult in the Old Testament of the Bible. It’s the description of desperate King Saul of Israel visiting a witch or medium with the intent of speaking to the deceased prophet Samuel. Now what I want to point out today is the witch’s reaction to the appearance of Samuel. Supposedly, this woman was able to communicate between this world and the world of the spirit, between the living and the dead, because that’s what a medium claims to do. This woman was known to be a witch, so she was claiming to communicate with departed souls on behalf of the living. Now what’s interesting is her reaction to the old man Samuel. Why was she surprised by the prophet’s appearance? Wasn’t that what she was used to, that is, departed souls appearing or speaking to her on behalf of the living? Wasn’t she used to that happening. In other words, as a spirit medium, she was claiming to contact spirits, but when a real spirit showed up she seems to be surprised. Why was she shocked to encounter the departed soul of Samuel if she was a real medium? It might lead us to believe that she was really a fake medium all along, but in encountering the real departed spirit of the prophet she was experiencing the real thing – and it shocked and frightened her! God evidently permitted the real Samuel to visit Saul in this one instance, and the encounter frightened the medium who was the go-between who was communicating for both Saul and Samuel. So there’s the very real possibility that this so-called witch or medium was usually a fake. And there’s the real possibility that most of the so-called “ghost hunting” activity is fake also. The few times I’ve actually tuned in to these shows while channel surfing I’ve seen what looked fake. Guys and gals running around in the dark using night vision goggles acting hyper and scared, as if something real were happening. It seemed like a big acting job – and bad acting as well! It was all clearly staged for TV. So I conclude that probably must of the “ghost hunting” isn’t real; it’s fake. But that doesn’t mean something real doesn’t happen once in a while. Let’s consider that.

 

 

Second, there’s the fake real or real fake. 1 Samuel 28:15, “Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up. . . .’” In the famous Old Testament passage on the occult world, evidently Samuel really did appear to the medium, and she was able to facilitate a conversation between Saul and the prophet. This shows that even if the witch was a fake ninety-nine percent of the time, in this one instance at least, she was experiencing the real thing. This might have been the only instance in her career as a medium that she actually performed what she claimed – to be a medium between the living and the dead. And from a Christian perspective we can’t totally rule out that even if the vast majority of spirit mediums today are fakes most of the time, there’s always the possibility that a small percentage of their claims to mediumship are actually true. God can always speak in any way he chooses; even by permitting on occasion departed souls to speak to the living through spirit mediums. But there’s a better explanation, though. Even if most of the claims of mediums are false, and even if there is a small percent that actually is supernatural, probably most of the supernatural is not involving the spirits of deceased persons, but instead demonic spirits. We know from the Bible that the spirit world is full of both good and bad spirits. God and angels exist in the spirit world, but so do the devil and demons. There are, of course, the spirits of souls that have died, but God doesn’t normally permit them to speak or interact in any way with the living. So that leaves mostly the angelic realm left with whom to converse with the living. But even here, God’s angels are usually forbidden to speak or make themselves visible to the living, because their work involves working behind the scenes. Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” That leaves demonic spirits or fallen angels as the only ones left for a spirit medium to converse with. In all probably, it’s to fallen angels that most spirit mediums interact with, and who cause most of the paranormal activity that attracts the curiosity of so-called “ghost hunters.” It’s not difficult for demons to make some noise and cause a disturbance. So-called instances of “poltergeist” are examples of things evil spirits can do to frighten people. Paranormal researchers and “ghost hunters” are probably chasing the activity of demonic spirits who are masquerading as the spirits of the departed. Demons have access to all the information they would need to convince the living they are dealing with a departed soul, when in reality it’s not. So in one sense, what’s taking place is fake, even though it’s real in another sense.

 

 

Third, there’s the genuine real. 1 Samuel 28:16, “Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy?’” Again, here is a description of a genuine departed soul – the spirit of Samuel the prophet – speaking through a medium to King Saul. This is the one real example of mediumship, and communication between the living and the dead. Now we don’t know if this is the only instance of it actually occurring in all of history, or if it happens on occasion as God permits. God obviously permitted it in this case, but whether he’s ever allowed it again, we just don’t know. But what we see today is almost always fake. There is no connection between the living and the dead, and no medium is connecting anyone in the material world with anyone in the spirit world.  And of the instances where there really is some supernatural or paranormal activity going on, it’s usually involving demonic spirits, not departed spirits. God forbids contacting the dead (or even trying to contact them): “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” Christianity has always taught against using a medium for the purposes of contacting departed spirits. This modern fad of hunting for ghosts and searching for so-called paranormal activity is forbidden by God. What self-styled “ghost hunters” don’t realize is they are chasing after the devil and demons. They aren’t detecting departed spirits. They aren’t dealing with benign wandering souls needing release. They are not investigating the spirits of the dead trying to get our attention in this life. No. They are picking up on the activities of demon spirits who can lead people astray by impersonating departed spirits. Yes, there really are haunted houses, not many, but a few. But they are haunted by demons, not departed souls. Yes, there really are mediums who contact the spirit world. Even after you throw out all the fakes who are in it purely for the money, and even the sincere who are sincerely self-deceived, you still get a few who actually contact the spirit world. But it isn’t what they imagine, because demons deceive them and their clients and ghost hunters and paranormal investigators – and anyone else who buys into this whole perspective. Why do demon spirits spend time deceiving people in this way? Probably in order to weaken faith in the true teachings of Christianity by providing an alternative worldview in respect to the spirit world. Most people who buy into the occult world – and that’s what it is, the occult – also depart from orthodox, historic Christianity in important ways. The devil loves to confuse people.

 

 

If a person truly gets interested in the “ghost hunting” fad, or paranormal research, or the other related fields, he or she usually begins to questions the accepted doctrines of biblical Christianity. In other words, following after the popular occult understanding of reality usually undermines faith in the truth of the Bible, because most importantly, the Bible forbids such activity. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” James 4:7. We’re commanded to reject demons, not research them, or converse with them, or interact with them in any way. Of course, a lot of the popular ghost craze is just pure silliness. For example, so-called ghost hunters supposedly have electronic instruments to pick up traces of spirits. But this is totally nonsense because spirit is of another substance than matter or energy, therefore, there would be no instruments picking it up. If it were so, then angels or even God himself might be detectable using the instruments of paranormal researchers – which is ridiculous. Demons perhaps might move or affect electronic instruments to mess with our minds, but that would just be another form of demonic activity. There is no certain way of detecting spirit; that’s just fake. As the ghost-hunting fad grows we can see that it’s leading people away from the Christian faith. In the countries where these ghost activities are popular, church attendance and regular Christian activity is down. People are turning to these occult activities in place of faith in Christianity. This makes total sense from the perspective that most of this activity is demonic. If the devil sees that by making a little noise and causing a few disturbances here and there, he can lead people’s attention away from simple faith in Christ, and into the occult world, he’ll continue in it. The devil has created the useful fiction that persons called mediums can put people in touch with departed loved ones, so he’s playing that con game for all it’s worth. But he’s branched off into all kinds of areas in the world of the occult. He deceives through Ojai Boards, Tarrot Cards, Fortune Telling, Black Magic or White Magic, Esp, Crystal Ball, and so forth. The whole realm of the occult is just riddled with demonic deception. That’s why, when it all comes down, it’s better for people to stay totally clear of things like “ghost hunting” and paranormal research. These are things that are in the realm of the occult, which is displeasing to God and harmful to our soul. The truth is, we don’t need the occult. Everything we need God provides for us through healthy channels. There is no reason why anyone needs to play around with the world of the occult. It’s totally unnecessary.

 

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