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What is the Orthodox Position on Ghosts?

PoorFoolNicholas

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Are they always demons/demonic? I understand that this is a subject that is quite difficult to speak about. What is the overwhelming position of Orthodoxy on this subject? God Bless!
 

minasoliman

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Perhaps, this is one of those things that I as a skeptic can pretty much say that it may very well possibly be a figment of people's imaginations, perhaps the hype and hysteria can help too, as these can be quite contagious among a group.  I don't know whether I can call myself luck or unlucky, but I have never in my life seen ghosts, I even challenged them to haunt me, I yelled bloody Mary three times really loud in a dark room, in a lighted room, alone and with friends, and I'm still alive and unhaunted.

What haunts me is that people I think seem to have no meaning in life find such meaning and entertainment in their own lives going ghost hunting and getting the thrill of a good scare.

Should the Church even waste her time addressing the idea of ghosts when psychologists and psychiatrists have already taken these people under their own wings?
 

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Personally, I don't believe the folkloric version of a white, misty apparition.  But there are a few references in Christianity to spirits.  Most notably the Holy Spirit (Aghios Pnuema?), the third person in the Holy Trinity.  Also, a quick look at Wiki yielded this:

"The Hebrew Torah and the Bible contain few references to ghosts, associating spiritism with forbidden occult activities cf. Deuteronomy 18:11. The most notable reference is in the First Book of Samuel (I Samuel 28:7-19 KJV), in which a disguised King Saul has the Witch of Endor summon the spirit of Samuel. In the New Testament, Jesus has to persuade the Disciples that he is not a ghost following the resurrection, Matthew 24. In a similar vein, Jesus' followers at first believe him to be a ghost when they see him walking on water."

I absolutely believe that Satan and his minions can and do appear to us in human form, but this isn't what you'd call a ghost per se.  I would be very interested in hearing those of you who are more learned on this subject.
 

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My priest told me about a house he lived in that had "activity" in it. He said that it turned out a priest's wife had died in the home and wanted to get their attention so that they would do a memorial for her. After they did it the activity stopped. He didn't mention any apparitions though.

Also, God and His angels can be frightening. Think of St. Michael guarding the garden! The Bible has a few other places where people are described as being afraid of angels, too.

Bridget
 

PoorFoolNicholas

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minasoliman said:
Should the Church even waste her time addressing the idea of ghosts when psychologists and psychiatrists have already taken these people under their own wings?
Seriously? You are saying this? Since the history, of well, history, there have been tales of ghosts. There are even respectable shows now that look into such "activity". I myself have had experiences. Does this mean I need to see a shrink? Is the info all in on this one because of a failed "bloody Mary" attempt? Is every ghost story real? No. But it is very difficult for me to sweep thousands upon thousands of years history of people seeing Ghosts of one sort or another under the rug and say they were all deranged lunatics headed for the sanatorium. Does the Church say anything regarding ghosts? Or is it one of those unexplainable mysteries? If it is that would be fine with me. Being Orthodox, one kind of gets used to mysteries.  ;D Any info on the Church's stance on this would be very helpful. God Bless You All!
 

minasoliman

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
Seriously? You are saying this? Since the history, of well, history, there have been tales of ghosts. There are even respectable shows now that look into such "activity". I myself have had experiences. Does this mean I need to see a shrink? Is the info all in on this one because of a failed "bloody Mary" attempt? Is every ghost story real? No. But it is very difficult for me to sweep thousands upon thousands of years history of people seeing Ghosts of one sort or another under the rug and say they were all deranged lunatics headed for the sanatorium. Does the Church say anything regarding ghosts? Or is it one of those unexplainable mysteries? If it is that would be fine with me. Being Orthodox, one kind of gets used to mysteries.  ;D Any info on the Church's stance on this would be very helpful. God Bless You All!
I'm not against personal saint experiences (although sadly I haven't experienced those either).  But I assume you were asking the type of ghosts of the "Bloody Mary" types.

Usually, whenever I hear people's stories on "experiences," it's no different than when you hear stories about insects and you suddenly feel an itch on the back of your neck.  Once I realized this, I seem to not get affected by what other people have "felt" or experienced.  Nevertheless if you had a pious experience with a saint, as long as it doesn't affect your spirituality (and in fact if it enhances it) those are things I'd rather keep personally.

God bless.
 

PoorFoolNicholas

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minasoliman said:
I'm not against personal saint experiences (although sadly I haven't experienced those either).  But I assume you were asking the type of ghosts of the "Bloody Mary" types.

Usually, whenever I hear people's stories on "experiences," it's no different than when you hear stories about insects and you suddenly feel an itch on the back of your neck.  Once I realized this, I seem to not get affected by what other people have "felt" or experienced.  Nevertheless if you had a pious experience with a saint, as long as it doesn't affect your spirituality (and in fact if it enhances it) those are things I'd rather keep personally.

God bless.
I am far too sinful to have a vision of one of the saints. You are right in saying that these are best kept to ourselves. I am asking about ghosts. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough and for that I am sorry. Let me clarify. Apparitions, sounds/howlings/barking, objects moving/being moved, lights being turned off by themselves (allegedly), disembodied voices, being touched by something that isn't visible, etc. These are some things that I have experienced in the past. I want to put a disclaimer on this, though. I am incredibly skeptical. I do not believe just anything. But when these things kept happening over and over again, with witnesses present, even people that weren't even told that "things" were happening, it is difficult for me to write it all off. I think that the things that happened to me were most likely demonic. At least there is no doubt in my mind. I want to know though, what Orthodoxy would say regarding Ghostly experiences that are not "overtly demonic". Is there a formal position? Are there any quotes from the Fathers that could enlighten me? God Bless You minasoliman, and All!
 

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I'm going to have to go with Hamlet on this one. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
  ;D





 

PoorFoolNicholas

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Riddikulus said:
I'm going to have to go with Hamlet on this one. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
  ;D
I think an emoticon suffices in this instance for me... ???
 

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^^I think she means that because our human understanding on these things is so limited, as regards the question "Do ghosts exist?", who the heck knows?  ;)
 

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Forgive me for being so blunt about this, but based on what I said above, when things happen as you described, then there are two choices.  It is either from God or from the devil, no matter WHAT it is.  So, like I said, if it makes you a better person then it is from God, if it makes you scared or causes negative feelings, it is from the devil. 

Some of these things might by psychologically related.  SO you DO have to be careful about such cases.  Beyond that, apparitions of ANY kind need to be discussed in confession and carefully examined with a spiritual father who can help you discern what the situation is. 
 

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^^ Ditto.

My mom had some plain good sense on the matter when I was a  panicky kid.

1.  God doesn't allow people's souls to wander around for no good reason. If a person dies and their soul and body seperate, then pretty-much the soul goes one place or the other. 

2. If it happened that you see a person's soul for some reason, and God sent it, then it won't hurt you. It is there for a good purpose.

3. If it did happen that the soul is there by the devil's doing, then just remember that God is more powerful than the devil. And we do have God on our side.
 

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My mother lived in a house with friends that was severely haunted/possessed by something (long story that she told me, but the stuff the occurred was extremely violent, which culminated when she found an abandoned room in the attic that had been empty for 70+ years, along with childish drawings in the bureau of a grotesque, horrifying, and pornographic nature).

As for myself, I live in a house that the couple who lived here before us described as "active." The most I've ever experienced is seeing things out of the corner of my eye, but I still don't feel completely at ease in it.

 

minasoliman

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serb1389 said:
Forgive me for being so blunt about this, but based on what I said above, when things happen as you described, then there are two choices.  It is either from God or from the devil, no matter WHAT it is.  So, like I said, if it makes you a better person then it is from God, if it makes you scared or causes negative feelings, it is from the devil. 

Some of these things might by psychologically related.  SO you DO have to be careful about such cases.  Beyond that, apparitions of ANY kind need to be discussed in confession and carefully examined with a spiritual father who can help you discern what the situation is. 
I'm going to add a third possibility:  the idea that it could be all in your head.  The more you spread hysteria about "uneasiness" or "activity," the more people around you will feel it if they allow themselves to believe it.  The more a room feels quite unpleasant or that there unpleasant sounds (a thump, a creek, a cricket), and thoughts of hauntings get in your head, the more you will feel it.  Whenever someone tells stories of creepy crawlers and critters, don't you get an itch on the back of your neck or on your calf?  This is what is called a psychosomatic reaction.  It happens.

So, I suggest Nicholas to think to broaden his possibilities that it might just be all in his head and not just narrow it down to a spiritual experience.  I'm asking that this be a strong suggestion.  Too many times do we get people, even those who are not Christian, who get "hauntings" and it ends up being all in their head (either that or their little brother is actually making a show).

God bless.
 

PoorFoolNicholas

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minasoliman said:
I'm going to add a third possibility:  the idea that it could be all in your head.  The more you spread hysteria about "uneasiness" or "activity," the more people around you will feel it if they allow themselves to believe it.  The more a room feels quite unpleasant or that there unpleasant sounds (a thump, a creek, a cricket), and thoughts of hauntings get in your head, the more you will feel it.  Whenever someone tells stories of creepy crawlers and critters, don't you get an itch on the back of your neck or on your calf?  This is what is called a psychosomatic reaction.  It happens.

So, I suggest Nicholas to think to broaden his possibilities that it might just be all in his head and not just narrow it down to a spiritual experience.  I'm asking that this be a strong suggestion.  Too many times do we get people, even those who are not Christian, who get "hauntings" and it ends up being all in their head (either that or their little brother is actually making a show).

God bless.
This is what I was saying before in one of my previous posts. I wasn't telling people about it. I wasn't having people over to have a "ghost party" and play a favorite board game "oujia". Others were experiencing these things independent of myself, and without my commenting on my own experiences. I said before that I am very skeptical of such things. But when they are happening to others, without a "psychosomatic air" it is difficult to discredit for me. I wasn't spreading hysteria. And since I am new to this site, don't you think you could have used a better term than "hysteria"? Is this what I get for opening up to my brothers in Christ? Do you have an axe to grind? No one has given me an official statement on what the Orthodox Church says about such happenings. If there isn't one that is fine. I just want to know how it stands. I really, truly, am appreciative of everyone's help, and exhortation on this subject. I just find it difficult to be called hysterical. God Bless You All!
 

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Dear Nicholas,

I by no means am saying you are spreading hysteria.  Some people who posted here are also sharing experiences that remind me of such, that more than one person in the room have this feeling.

For you Nicholas, since you are alone, ask yourself this.  What exactly makes you feel uneasy or haunted?  Were there sounds in the room?  Was it hot (or cold)?  Did you recently have friends who talk about these things in what may seem to you a very convincing manner? (You focused on the hysteria part, but you did not focus on the part that I put that relates to you.  And I don't think the word "hysteria" is a good or bad word.  It's just what happens when more than one person exists in a situation.)

I don't mean to offend you or to attack you.  I've been responding not just to you but to others.  In the last part, Serb1389 said there are only two possibilities:  from God or from Satan.  I disagree that there can be only two possibilities and I elaborated on that.

Keep your skepticism, and continue to question what is around you.  Don't jump to a conclusion that it could be a ghost.

God bless.
 

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Dear Nicholas,

I have a dear friend who has reported several such episodes to me. She tells me she is certain her building is haunted because it was built on the site of a terrible battlefield, upon which many lost their lives. She has told me of objects mysteriously falling or going missing and strange rattlings on door handles. She is a Protestant, but from an Orthodox country. When I suggested (not knowing what else to say!) that she mention this to her pastor, she replied, "No-it won't do. The only remedy is to call in the Orthodox priest and ask him to purge the apartment of evil spirits!" I was quite surprised that although she was a convinced evangelical, still she felt only an Orthodox priest could take care of the problem.

Hope this anecdote doesn't add to the confusion!

Rosehip
 

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minasoliman said:
Dear Nicholas,

I by no means am saying you are spreading hysteria.  Some people who posted here are also sharing experiences that remind me of such, that more than one person in the room have this feeling.

For you Nicholas, since you are alone, ask yourself this.  What exactly makes you feel uneasy or haunted?  Were there sounds in the room?  Was it hot (or cold)?  Did you recently have friends who talk about these things in what may seem to you a very convincing manner? (You focused on the hysteria part, but you did not focus on the part that I put that relates to you.  And I don't think the word "hysteria" is a good or bad word.  It's just what happens when more than one person exists in a situation.)

I don't mean to offend you or to attack you.  I've been responding not just to you but to others.  In the last part, Serb1389 said there are only two possibilities:  from God or from Satan.  I disagree that there can be only two possibilities and I elaborated on that.

Keep your skepticism, and continue to question what is around you.  Don't jump to a conclusion that it could be a ghost.

God bless.
I don't think that my experience was a ghost. I said that it probably was demonic. I just want to know if there is any comments from the Church on Ghosts. Is there? As far as it being in my head, are my friends that had similar experiences in my head?
 

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Rosehip said:
Dear Nicholas,

I have a dear friend who has reported several such episodes to me. She tells me she is certain her building is haunted because it was built on the site of a terrible battlefield, upon which many lost their lives. She has told me of objects mysteriously falling or going missing and strange rattlings on door handles. She is a Protestant, but from an Orthodox country. When I suggested (not knowing what else to say!) that she mention this to her pastor, she replied, "No-it won't do. The only remedy is to call in the Orthodox priest and ask him to purge the apartment of evil spirits!" I was quite surprised that although she was a convinced evangelical, still she felt only an Orthodox priest could take care of the problem.

Hope this anecdote doesn't add to the confusion!

Rosehip
No thank you for the story. God Bless You! Just goes to show that a lot of people are having experiences that aren't necessarily superstitious.
 

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Rosehip said:
Dear Nicholas,

I have a dear friend who has reported several such episodes to me. She tells me she is certain her building is haunted because it was built on the site of a terrible battlefield, upon which many lost their lives. She has told me of objects mysteriously falling or going missing and strange rattlings on door handles. She is a Protestant, but from an Orthodox country. When I suggested (not knowing what else to say!) that she mention this to her pastor, she replied, "No-it won't do. The only remedy is to call in the Orthodox priest and ask him to purge the apartment of evil spirits!" I was quite surprised that although she was a convinced evangelical, still she felt only an Orthodox priest could take care of the problem.

Hope this anecdote doesn't add to the confusion!

Rosehip
The bolded part is a story that justifies one's experiences.  The underlined part just adds to the person's experiences of weirdness.  I too have mysteriously lost many things and never found them.  I told myself I'm careless.  Rattlings?  Heater or A/C shaking up the house just a little to get one weak door handle rattle.  And the most amazing thing, she hasn't even questioned herself on other things.  She assumed RIGHT AWAY it was an evil spirit (or spirits).  That sounds very voodoo to me...and why on earth Nicholas if you're so skeptical do you find comfort in this?

I live in a Civil War town.  I've spoken to people who were haunted from a certain hotel they stayed not far from the school.  Some people felt haunted, and some people didn't.  And the most amazing thing is that they were warned "Some say Room 243 is haunted."

This is most probably a psychosomatic thing than a spiritual experience.  The spiritual experiences I read in the Bible do not associate places and noises with appearances of angels or demons.

God bless.
 

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minasoliman said:
The bolded part is a story that justifies one's experiences.  The underlined part just adds to the person's experiences of weirdness.  I too have mysteriously lost many things and never found them.  I told myself I'm careless.  Rattlings?  Heater or A/C shaking up the house just a little to get one weak door handle rattle.  And the most amazing thing, she hasn't even questioned herself on other things.  She assumed RIGHT AWAY it was an evil spirit (or spirits).  That sounds very voodoo to me...and why on earth Nicholas if you're so skeptical do you find comfort in this?

I live in a Civil War town.  I've spoken to people who were haunted from a certain hotel they stayed not far from the school.  Some people felt haunted, and some people didn't.  And the most amazing thing is that they were warned "Some say Room 243 is haunted."

This is most probably a psychosomatic thing than a spiritual experience.  The spiritual experiences I read in the Bible do not associate places and noises with appearances of angels or demons.

God bless.
So this comes down to Sola Scriptura?
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
So this comes down to Sola Scriptura?
Where on earth do you get "Sola Scriptura" from my post?  Am I a protestant to you that I am simply being skeptical of people's experiences?

Just because I mentioned the Bible?  St. Paul seems to me as much of a Holy Father as St. Athanasius.
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
This is what I was saying before in one of my previous posts. I wasn't telling people about it. I wasn't having people over to have a "ghost party" and play a favorite board game "oujia". Others were experiencing these things independent of myself, and without my commenting on my own experiences. I said before that I am very skeptical of such things. But when they are happening to others, without a "psychosomatic air" it is difficult to discredit for me. I wasn't spreading hysteria. And since I am new to this site, don't you think you could have used a better term than "hysteria"? Is this what I get for opening up to my brothers in Christ? Do you have an axe to grind? No one has given me an official statement on what the Orthodox Church says about such happenings. If there isn't one that is fine. I just want to know how it stands. I really, truly, am appreciative of everyone's help, and exhortation on this subject. I just find it difficult to be called hysterical. God Bless You All!
There is a long human history of there being a "something else" that we simply can't explain. I'm of the opinion that there is much we simply don't know and we shouldn't be so much skeptical as wary. I remember a friend telling me that she had been to a meeting with a medium and the woman had told her things that only she could possibly know. She felt that through the meeting there had even been reconciliation between her and her dead mother. Knowing that I am a Christian, she wanted to know what my reaction was to the claim that the medium was getting all the information from a spirit guide. My response was that I had listened well to my own mother's advice of not talking to strangers; alive or dead. I suggested to my friend that - according to her own belief that the spirits of the dead can communicate with human beings - a medium could be coming into contact with someone who was particularly nasty in life and is just as nasty in death. Just because someone is dead, why should we trust them anymore than we would a live person we don't know. In this instant there had been a benign outcome, but what of the dangers of something not so pleasant occuring. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that I believe that ghosts are the spirits of the dead, or that they are even anything beyond the figment of human imagination. Whatever they are, they are a mystery to us and continue to be "strangers" that I personally would not seek to interact with. 

I don't doubt there is a whole world beyond that we see and understand; but it's not one we should be messing with at this stage. Perhaps, in time, science will explain to us what all those bumps in the night are.

OTOH, Nicholas, If you do sense something in your dwelling, the best thing would be to have it blessed.
 

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Riddikulus said:
There is a long human history of there being a "something else" that we simply can't explain. I'm of the opinion that there is much we simply don't know and we shouldn't be so much skeptical as wary. I remember a friend telling me that she had been to a meeting with a medium and the woman had told her things that only she could possibly know. She felt that through the meeting there had even been reconciliation between her and her dead mother. Knowing that I am a Christian, she wanted to know what my reaction was to the claim that the medium was getting all the information from a spirit guide. My response was that I had listened well to my own mother's advice of not talking to strangers; alive or dead. I suggested to my friend that - according to her own belief that the spirits of the dead can communicate with human beings - a medium could be coming into contact with someone who was particularly nasty in life and is just as nasty in death. Just because someone is dead, why should we trust them anymore than we would a live person we don't know. In this instant there had been a benign outcome, but what of the dangers of something not so pleasant occuring. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that I believe that ghosts are the spirits of the dead, or that they are even anything beyond the figment of human imagination. Whatever they are, they are a mystery to us and continue to be "strangers" that I personally would not seek to interact with. 

I don't doubt there is a whole world beyond that we see and understand; but it's not one we should be messing with at this stage. Perhaps, in time, science will explain to us what all those bumps in the night are.

OTOH, Nicholas, If you do sense something in your dwelling, the best thing would be to have it blessed.
No I have moved from that dwelling. Not a problem now.
 

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Great post, Riddikulus!

Nicholas,

I'm in general not a person of great superstition, but still, as I have moved about and have been forced to live in various apartments, I have found that in some places I have lived there has been a feeling of fright and dread-particularly at night. Then again, this could have been worsened by the fact that I was alone and feeling generally very vulnerable in every sense of the word.

However, there are certainly places where I feel, inexplicably, that something is amiss...
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
This is what I was saying before in one of my previous posts. I wasn't telling people about it. I wasn't having people over to have a "ghost party" and play a favorite board game "oujia". Others were experiencing these things independent of myself, and without my commenting on my own experiences. I said before that I am very skeptical of such things. But when they are happening to others, without a "psychosomatic air" it is difficult to discredit for me. I wasn't spreading hysteria. And since I am new to this site, don't you think you could have used a better term than "hysteria"? Is this what I get for opening up to my brothers in Christ? Do you have an axe to grind? No one has given me an official statement on what the Orthodox Church says about such happenings. If there isn't one that is fine. I just want to know how it stands. I really, truly, am appreciative of everyone's help, and exhortation on this subject. I just find it difficult to be called hysterical. God Bless You All!
I would suggest that those posting should check the "status" of the post they are responding to and answer with according grace - "newbies" should be given welcome and deference/ those further along, the occassional "mulligan" etc
 

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Get your priest to bless your apartment or house. Also, go through the place and pray prayers of blessing and the Easter prayers of Let God arise and his enemies be scattered. Get a hand censor and sense your house/apartment. Like a Slovakian Orthodox in my parish told me, who grew up in the old country under the old ways, " it drives out the bad spirits."
 

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BrotherAidan said:
Get your priest to bless your apartment or house. Also, go through the place and pray prayers of blessing and the Easter prayers of Let God arise and his enemies be scattered. Get a hand censor and sense your house/apartment. Like a Slovakian Orthodox in my parish told me, who grew up in the old country under the old ways, " it drives out the bad spirits."
That is very helpful. Thank you. I have since moved out of that property with the "activity", so it is not an issue anymore. I have had no such incidents where I live now. Glory to God!
 

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One of my good friends is an amateur paranormal investigator who also gives ghost tours of two of Baltimore's more colorful and historic neighborhoods.  He spins a good yarn and is a consummate performer and is very good at what he does.  I've been on an investigation or two with him. 

Before I continue, let me tell you that I am a true skeptic.  I have not ruled out the possibility of what we would call a ghost or a spirit or whatever (there are differences in definition amongst paranormal investigators) but I'm also not going to believe something is paranormal simply because I cannot explain it.  I like to think of myself as following in the footsteps of Harry Houdini, who desperately wanted to believe that he could contact his dead mother but refused to be fooled by charlatans or very terrestrial phenomena.

There is a huge mansion in the Mt. Vernon section of Baltimore called the Garrett-Jacobs House which presently houses the exclusive Engineers' Club, bequeathed to the founders of that organization by the city in recognition of their efforts to rebuild Baltimore after the Great Fire of the early 20th century which destroyed almost all of Old Baltimore.  My friend was asked to investigate the complex due to the paranormal activity that was being witnessed by the majority of the staff.  I tagged along merely to see the inside of this place which is noted for its Tiffany glass dome and outstanding woodwork.  I planned on staying half an hour; I ended up staying six hours.

Most of the night was spent exploring the entire place which was a real hoot.  I wrote off most of the so-called paranormal activity we encountered as psychologically induced phenomena or more mundane and commonplace reasons.  For example, it was obvious upon inspection that a door that often seemingly opened by itself was merely hung in such a way that made it off balance when the door was not properly latched.  A very light breeze would open it.

There was one thing, however, that I spent much of the time there trying to explain and I could not.  The smell of lilacs would spontaneously appear in an empty and draft-free room.  It seemed to follow us around at times.  It was subsequently discovered by my friend that Mrs. Garrett-Jacobs was fond of lilacs and her husband would often wear a sprig in his lapel.  Prior to going there, my wife and I certainly knew nothing of the prior owners and my friend swears he did not know of her fondness for the flower before the investigation.  Even if he did, it still would not account for myself and my wife smelling such an odor independently from my friend.  I checked for drafts, air fresheners (filled with an orange smell), smelled people who worked there...nothing could explain it to my satisfaction.

And that's where I stop in my analysis.  I can't explain it.  Was it a ghost?  I don't know?  Was it demonic?  Again, I don't know.  Was it from God?  Who knows.  Can someone else explain it?  Possibly, I'd love to hear it. 

I think Serb1389 ultimately hit the nail on the head.  Is this belief in what you see/hear/experience profitable for your soul?  If so, then it very well may be from God.  If not, it very well may be from the Enemy.

Either way, pray pray pray for God to show you the light in this situation.
 

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Schultz said:
One of my good friends is an amateur paranormal investigator who also gives ghost tours of two of Baltimore's more colorful and historic neighborhoods.  He spins a good yarn and is a consummate performer and is very good at what he does.  I've been on an investigation or two with him. 

Before I continue, let me tell you that I am a true skeptic.  I have not ruled out the possibility of what we would call a ghost or a spirit or whatever (there are differences in definition amongst paranormal investigators) but I'm also not going to believe something is paranormal simply because I cannot explain it.  I like to think of myself as following in the footsteps of Harry Houdini, who desperately wanted to believe that he could contact his dead mother but refused to be fooled by charlatans or very terrestrial phenomena.

There is a huge mansion in the Mt. Vernon section of Baltimore called the Garrett-Jacobs House which presently houses the exclusive Engineers' Club, bequeathed to the founders of that organization by the city in recognition of their efforts to rebuild Baltimore after the Great Fire of the early 20th century which destroyed almost all of Old Baltimore.  My friend was asked to investigate the complex due to the paranormal activity that was being witnessed by the majority of the staff.  I tagged along merely to see the inside of this place which is noted for its Tiffany glass dome and outstanding woodwork.  I planned on staying half an hour; I ended up staying six hours.

Most of the night was spent exploring the entire place which was a real hoot.  I wrote off most of the so-called paranormal activity we encountered as psychologically induced phenomena or more mundane and commonplace reasons.  For example, it was obvious upon inspection that a door that often seemingly opened by itself was merely hung in such a way that made it off balance when the door was not properly latched.  A very light breeze would open it.

There was one thing, however, that I spent much of the time there trying to explain and I could not.  The smell of lilacs would spontaneously appear in an empty and draft-free room.  It seemed to follow us around at times.  It was subsequently discovered by my friend that Mrs. Garrett-Jacobs was fond of lilacs and her husband would often wear a sprig in his lapel.  Prior to going there, my wife and I certainly knew nothing of the prior owners and my friend swears he did not know of her fondness for the flower before the investigation.  Even if he did, it still would not account for myself and my wife smelling such an odor independently from my friend.  I checked for drafts, air fresheners (filled with an orange smell), smelled people who worked there...nothing could explain it to my satisfaction.

And that's where I stop in my analysis.  I can't explain it.  Was it a ghost?  I don't know?  Was it demonic?  Again, I don't know.  Was it from God?  Who knows.  Can someone else explain it?  Possibly, I'd love to hear it. 

I think Serb1389 ultimately hit the nail on the head.  Is this belief in what you see/hear/experience profitable for your soul?  If so, then it very well may be from God.  If not, it very well may be from the Enemy.

Either way, pray pray pray for God to show you the light in this situation.
I don't have any doubt in my mind that what I experienced in my former home was demonic in nature. What I would love to know is if there are any "official" statements regarding ghosts/apparitions. Are they always demonic? Will someone please address this question? Like I have said before, if Orthodoxy doesn't address such things that is fine with me. I would just like to know how it stands. Thanks to all for the great replies!
 

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I do not know of a specific  formal teaching about Ghosts except from the scriptures, which of course the Orthodox fully accept, however I believe it may be addressed in  Father Seraphims Rose's book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.

As a personal note, when we moved into a new home several years ago, my two youngest daughters seemed terrified by something they could not explain or describe.  I spoke to our priest who immediately came to the home to do the blessing of the home several weeks before he had originally scheduled it.  After this had been done, the girls could sleep better and there were no other feelings of  being terrified. Every since that  home, we arrange as soon as possible to have the priest come and bless our new home, apartment, or where-ever we live as well as have the annual blessing.  I blieve the Church has a purpose for those blessings that we do not always fully grasp in the eternal make up of things.

Thomas
 

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Thomas said:
I do not know of a specific  formal teaching about Ghosts except from the scriptures, which of course the Orthodox fully accept, however I believe it may be addressed in  Father Seraphim Rose's book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.
Thomas
Does anyone have any quotes from this book concerning ghosts by chance?
 

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Heorhij said:
How about this book:

http://www.new-ostrog.org/gnostic/ ?
That book does not have anything about the occult and ghosts but is related to the teachings of Father Seraphim Rose pertaining to Tollhouse Theory which he espoused.  Toll Houses have nothing to do with ghost that I am aware of.

Thomas
 

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Thomas said:
That book does not have anything about the occult and ghosts but is related to the teachings of Father Seraphim Rose pertaining to Tollhouse Theory which he espoused.  Toll Houses have nothing to do with ghost that I am aware of.

Thomas
No it doesn't. Anyone with quotes from the book concerning ghosts?
 

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Thomas said:
That book does not have anything about the occult and ghosts but is related to the teachings of Father Seraphim Rose pertaining to Tollhouse Theory which he espoused.  Toll Houses have nothing to do with ghost that I am aware of.

Thomas
Different expressions of one common philosophy, Gnosticism, - no?
 
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