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Ghosts


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#21 Andrew

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:46 PM

I don't know if it's good for me to speculate on this but...

In CS Lewis' The Great Divorce, he describes hauntings a bit; his explains it as a particular experience of hell for some people - they are unable to break passionate holds on certain events, places, people, etc., and stick around for a long time. Their passionate estrangement from God brings them torment as they obsessively cling to their life on Earth.

I don't know if this is what ghosts actually are, and I probably will never know.

#22 Mary Horey

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:20 AM

@ Byron who asked: "This may seem like a silly question, but I wonder if anyone knows whether ghosts in the folk tradition of Roman Catholic countries are supposed to be souls of the deceased which return to earth from purgatory to undo wrongs?"


This is a big topic on which many books have been written. I'll try to answer briefly.

In the 5th century A.D., the term "communion of saints" was added as an article of Faith in the Apostles' Creed, though it first appears in the explanation of the Roman baptismal symbol by Niceta of Remsiana (after 380 A.D.) Christ willed that those who believe in Him (whether living in this world or in the next) should form an inner moral unity with one another, whose model is His Own Unity with the Father (John 17:21). Charity, a gift of the Holy Spirit, is the unifying bond which binds the members to one another, and to Christ, the Head of His Mystical Body, the Church.

This charity does not cease after death ("love never dies"), but can still be practiced by souls undergoing purification. We, living on earth, pray for them; they pray for us, and may, at times chosen by God, appear on a visible mission willed by God to do good on earth. The prophet Samuel, certainly a holy man, appeared as a ghost to the witch of Endor in the Old Testament, via the power and permission of God. True ghosts can only appear by God's power and permission, and they do not cause fear. They usually deliver a message or render some aid.

For instance, there is this incidence told in the book Purgatory Explained by a Jesuit priest, Fr. F. X. Shouppe, in which a young girl who worked as a maid lost her job. She had only a bit of money left, and used it as an offering for a Mass for the souls in purgatory, for whom she had a prayerful devotion. As she exited the Church, an aristocratic young man, whom she had never before seen, told her to go to a certain home, for they needed a maid there. When she knocked on the door, the owner of the home was surprised by her application for the job, for the former maid had just quit. Inside the house, the new maid told the owner she was sent there by the young man whose portrait hung on the wall. The owner said that young man was her son, who had died some years before. His being sent to help her is certainly a result of the young girl's many prayers for the souls in Purgatory.

Father has documented many such incidents, which he judged of sufficient credibility to publish in his book.

To reemphasize, "ghosts" of souls in Purgatory are not fearsome, harmful or even mischevious. If a sight is "haunted" by fearful apparitions, then it is time to call a priest for a blessing or exorcism.

#23 Jeff Johnson

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:24 AM

This is a subject I'm most curious about, thus my revival of this ancient thread. I have a friend who lives in an old farmhouse and has a "ghost" or "spirit" that visits regularly, mostly during the summer. He hears noises, lights get turned on, doors open, apparitions of a teenage girl occur. He and several of his friends have experienced such occurrences. Needless to say when I come for a visit every few months and spend the night, I'm kind of on edge because of all the stories I've heard about this "being." From an Orthodox perspective, is this thing evil? It's never hurt anyone as of yet and has been seen and heard for years now. I know other people who have experienced "spirits" and "hauntings" and such. Most of the stories are pretty bland--the cliche things-that-go-bump-in-the-night sort of happenings, but some are quite frightening. If an Orthodox Catholic should encounter something like this in his/her own home, heaven forbid, how does one deal with it?

#24 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:21 PM

Jeff,

If an Orthodox Christian has had an experience as of a ghost in his house, then he should tell an Orthodox priest about it, and have him come to do a house blessing. Other than that, he should ignore it. The enemy uses such things to distract us.

#25 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:36 PM

It's hard to say what such things are - but we know what they are not. They are not the "ghosts" or "departed spirits" of people. They might be demons masquerading as such, they might simply be a spiritual hallucination caused by demonic forces to deceive or distract. They might simply be the power of suggestion or any one of a multitude of phenomena. It doesn't matter what it is the best course is to ignore it, however, if you do anything at all, simply make the sign of a cross and say the prayer "Lord have mercy" (or some other variation on that theme such as the Jesus prayer).

Fr David

#26 Jeff Johnson

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 03:40 PM

The friend in question is not Orthodox but Protestant. At this point he's not afraid of it at all though it startles him at times. I on the other hand am very afraid when I go to his house although nothing has shown itself to me so far. My faith is weak, God help me. Thank you for the advice.




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