Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ghosts, Demons and Deliverance

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Do you believe in ghosts ? C.S.Lewis said he only met one woman who had ever seen a ghost and she said afterwards she didn't believe. It illustrates that perceiving is not believing. This article tells us that sightings of ghosts, demons, werewolves, black beasts and monsters of all kinds are higher than ever in modern day Britain.

When I worked as an Anglican priest in England I received regular requests to cleanse houses of spooky stuff. The article in question is rather ignorant of the different types of paranormal activity.Ghosts and demons are not the same thing, although the journalist sort of lumps them together.

A 'ghost' might be any number of things. It could be the unquiet spirit of a dead person who is still roaming this physical world. If this is so it is theorized that this might be because the person was too attached to this physical world and can't let it go. Others think that there is no objective reality to the ghost. In other words, it's not really a departed soul, but a kind of psychic 'memory' of the departed person which is imprinted on a particular place--maybe through a violent or unprepared death.

Other ghostly manifestations seem to be slips in time--where a particular event is replayed over and over again. Whether this slip in time is real or simply perceived as real by persons who are sensitive to it is an arguable point. The fact that only certain people can see it may indicate that it is only in the person's mind, or it may simply be the case that it is there, but only some people have the receptivity to see it.

Poltergeist activity should be distinguished from ghostly manifestations. Poltergeists may be a physical projection of energy from a vulnerable person--often an adolescent. Others think the young person may be a kind of psychic channel for mischievous spirits--not possessing the child, but acting through them in a way to frighten and disturb.

Other manifestations like black beasts, dragons, sea serpents, aliens, werewolves, incubus and succubus etc are unlikely to be physical. Instead they are more likely to be demonic impressions on the receptor's mind. Others think the collective unconscious produces monsters which become quasi that the receptor can 'see' them but they are not so physical that they will ever be captured or killed.

However, demonic temptation, oppression, obsession, infestation and possession are real enough and are a much more objective phenomenon than the other paranormal experiences. Many of them have more to do with disturbed psyche and peculiar realms of perception than anything objective.

When I lived in England I went to a seminar by the famous psychiatrist Kenneth McCall, who wrote the book Healing the Family Tree. He was a very experienced exorcist and was very involved in the healing and deliverance ministry. He said that all that was required in most cases of paranormal activity was for two or three baptized Christians to pray the Lord's Prayer with a focus on 'deliver us from evil.'

This is my experience too. There are cases of profound demonic activity, but most cases of paranormal activity are low level. The name of Jesus is also very powerful. A priest friend of mine named Roger, who is now gone home told me that he was once walking down the corridor of a psychiatric ward where he had gone to visit a parishioner when a madman ran up to him brandishing a knife.

My friend was only just over 5'. His attacker was over 6' and heavy. Roger pointed to him and said, "In the name of Jesus, drop the knife!" The man dropped the knife, burst into tears and hugged Roger and asked forgiveness.

Source: Standing On My Head

Oxford educated Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson. In 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA. In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy.


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