Monday, October 26, 2009

BOO! Part One: About Ghosts

Halloween is almost here... 
... And millions of Americans have already prepared for this secular holiday. Sales of Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes are brisk, even though our nation's financial crisis is far from over.
has grown into the nation's second largest holiday. Only Christmas produces larger retail sales... ."
"The National Retail Federation estimated the average consumer in 2003 spent about $41.77 on Halloween-related items, including $14.41 on candy, $14.85 on costumes and $10.37 on decorations. Total retail sales in 2003 surpassed $7 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 1997."
"Consumers spent about $2 billion on candy last year, making Halloween the biggest season for sweets. And the $586 million spent on decorations makes Halloween second behind only the Christmas season."

I find these facts rather unsettling. From my perch, here at the "Academy," I have been observing the rising popularity in all things paranormal. For example, on the subject of ghosts and hauntings, I have found an abundance of television programs featuring ghosts, contact with the dead, and ridding homes of unwanted spirits. 
Here's a example of these ubiquitous TV programs:  
  • Celebrity Ghost Stories
  • Extreme Paranormal
  • Ghost Adventures
  • Ghost Hunters
  • Ghost Hunters International
  • Ghost Stories
  • The Ghost Whisperer
  • Haunted History
  • John Edward (the TV "psychic") Cross Country
  • Medium
  • Paranormal State --
-- and there might be more programs that I missed. (If you, dear Academicians, know of more, I'd appreciate your launching an e-mail to me with said information. Thanks!)

Why am I writing about these things?  What makes me qualified?  Experience! Statistically, I must be part of a rare subset of people: people who have had several experiences with ghosts and hauntings in several different locations and countries. All told, I've had at least 19 separate experiences of paranormal activity. My first experience came when I was five-years-old. My most recent one: last month.

Over the years -- because of my experiences -- I have read a lot of books, done a lot of research, and asked a lot of questions about ghosts and hauntings.   As a priest, I expanded my knowledge of things that go bump in the night -- by contemplating Scripture, examining Church History, and studying the Church's teachings to cast light on these phenomena.

I've decided to write a few Posts on this topic, because of the disturbing increase of TV and radio shows, websites, blogs, and books on ghosts and hauntings.  I'm concerned about our societal fascination with ghosts and contacting the dead. What concerns me are the ways that people are seeking out these phenomena with no regard for the inherent
spiritual and emotional dangers in these events.  Several metaphors come to mind: 
  • "Curiosity killed the Cat"   
  • "If you play with fire, you are going to get burned."
  • "What you don't know CAN hurt you"
  • "He who knows better has never tried it."
  • Or as Steven Wright  once said: "Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards.
    I got a full house and four people died.
    (Sorry! Just a little humor!)
You catch my drift.  I'm sure that, by now, you understand the direction my thoughts are leading you in.  People are tinkering with something seriously dangerous.  And videotaping it for all to see and be misled.

In a lot of ways, this fascination with the paranormal is increasing as our society distances itself further and further from God and true religion.  Ouija Boards. Seances. Psychics and Mediums. Ghost hunting with cool technology.  Clubs whose sole focus is to experience the paranormal. It's like having the dark version of Halloween every day.  

These constitute a "religion without God." And more and more people are being lured into it -- and dangerously deceived by it.

Who are all these ghosts anyhow?  What causes hauntings, really?   What is wrong with consulting a psychic or medium?  Or conducting a Seance?  Or using a Ouija Board? Or hunting for ghosts? 

I hope to  explore these questions with you in future Posts.  Until next time, here's a proverb to think about and apply to the subjects in our brief exploration of paranormal activities:   "Dead men tell no tales."

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.