Halloween “ghost hunts” are on the rise as more people try to catch a glimpse of the paranormal.
According to A&E’s website, “In this chilling special, five fearless investigators will lock themselves inside the legendary asylum for two weeks to document unexplained reports of paranormal activity. With reports of full-body apparitions, physical attacks, mysterious noises and more, the owner has granted the team unprecedented access to the entire 110-acre property, including areas that have never been investigated, in the most ambitious investigation Pennhurst has ever seen. The team will use cutting edge technology and their varied expertise to investigate the institution’s haunted grounds for television’s longest ghost hunt yet.”
While it may seem like a harmless way to get “spooked,” in reality ghost hunts are extremely dangerous and can open someone up to the sinister world of the demonic.
Catholics believe that ghosts do exist, in the original definition of the word. For many years the Latin word “spiritus” was translated into English as “ghost” and the word was primarily used in a neutral sense. The English word was simply a name for “spirits.” In this sense spirits could be good or bad, angels or demons.
The problem with ghost hunting is that it is aimed at finding malevolent ghosts, often thought to be the spirits of the deceased. These ghost hunters believe the spirits are there to “haunt” a specific place and get angry when they are disturbed.
From a Catholic point of view, these types of ghosts could be the spirit of a deceased person, but more likely is a demon seeking to frighten humans.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, “[Satan’s actions] may cause grave injuries — of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature — to each man and to society” (CCC 395).
This appears to fall into the definition of the ghosts that are featured in paranormal reality shows. Reports of such ghosts always revolve around something that scares an individual. It might be a moving object or a haunted house. Sometimes it is a report of a terrifying figure. Often the person who believes they saw a ghost only catches a glimpse of it but the experience is chilling.
This tactic is certainly reminiscent of what demons want to do to us: they want to scare us. Demons want to trick us into believing that they are more powerful than God and gain our submission. The devil wants to lure us away from God and entice us with a fascination with the demonic.
Even worse, a paranormal investigator could be come possessed by a demon if they open the door of their soul to it. When you become obsessed with such spiritual realities, it doesn’t take long for your soul to desire the power you witness and invite it into your life.
The best “ghost hunter” would be an exorcist, who is well versed in the ways of the demonic and has the training to expel whatever presence there is within a place. Our aim should not be to try to film these demons, but to cast them out and send them back to where they belong.
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