Thursday, November 6, 2008

On the Supernatural

I had meant to type this article up on October 31st, Halloween, however, I was tired and am so used to getting up early that it makes it difficult for me to stay up late. There have been several TV shows with the new fad of reality television on the subject of the supernatural. These shows center on hauntings of various types, encounters with spirits manifesting themselves in different ways, and various parapsychological phenomena. These shows break down into several groups:

1. The Thrill Seekers, otherwise known as Stupidity over Validity. Typically, these shows have low light cameras that focus on the faces of people who are novices on things supernatural. They enter a haunted building of some sort and eventually split up, scaring themselves witless and the producers use this along with scary music to try to scare the audience. To me, it seems to be the equivalent of Jerry Springer for the supernatural. The few times I have watched shows like this, I have wound up rooting for the ghosts, being disappointed that the family always seems to survive. There is another show that is closely related to this type, where mediums "feel" their way around with no scientific investigation whatsoever. I have another word for these folks who go about blindly, groping in the dark determining their fates by their feelings based on this type of investigation: Democrats.

2. The Super Scientists. I speak here of the tv show "Ghost Hunters." You have these two guys who are Roto Rooter plumbers who investigate supernatural hauntings on weekends with their team known as TAPS. First, if you have a hit tv show, WHY are you still working a day job? Secondly, if you are going to do a serious scientific investigation, do it right. One experiment on one night does not an investigation make. You need to quintuple the number of cameras, both low light and infra red, to cover as much of the structure you are investigating as possible. THEN you need to come back to the site of haunting over a period of weeks or months every night. When the experiment is repeated with consistent results, then you begin to have something which may be defined as evidence. Also, it is difficult to study a spiritual subject using only objective tests which are limited to the physical senses. Finally, most of the time TAPS does nothing to help these poor people who are suffering from hauntings. They say, "YUP! You have a poltergeist! Thanks for having us over!" and they leave. Some help they are.

3. The Balanced Approach. This is the method used by the Penn State Paranormal Research Society in the show "Paranormal State." Now, they don't use *nearly* enough scientific equipment, and they don't rely solely on mediumship or the scientific method, but they do a decent job of investigating, in my own personal opinion, spending anywhere from several days to a week in one location. Yes, they are green, wet-behind-the-ears college kids, but they do a better job than the other shows because they use a wide variety of methods to collect evidence. I do NOT agree with their practice of contacting spirits in the use of what they call "Dead Time." This is, literally, playing with fire.

So now that we have evaluated some of the reality shows, lets take a look at some of the classifications of haunting, as well as my own personal opinion about both hauntings and spiritual warfare. I shall be using information that I have acquired from outside sources, scripture, and personal experience.

Classification of Hauntings:
When supernatural events attributed to the presence of spiritual entities occur, they generally fall into one of the following categories:
1. Intelligent, independent. This form of spirit is classified according to how it interacts with people in the areas they are found. They are placed into this category when they respond interactively with the persons who are present (usually this occurs in some negative way, but not always.)
2. Non-intelligent. This occurs when spirits manifest themselves in a manner which represents an old style tape recording. They do not recognize the presence of others, and the events that revolve around them often recur on certain nights of the week or year. It is theorized that this style of haunting occurs because of strong, unseen but nonetheless traumatic, emotional events that have occured in the respective setting.
3. Poltergeist activity. Poltergeist is German for "noisy ghost." When this type of haunting occurs, knocking on walls is reported and objects sometimes fly around or appear to move on their own. Also, in cases that involve such spirits, there often is a child or adolescent that seems to act as a focus for the activity that takes place. Electrical manifestations also sometimes occur in these instances.
4. Single visitation, human. This type of haunting can occur when a loved one dies, and appears to a relative before leaving this earthly realm.
5. Non human spirits. Such as demons or angels. These creatures do exist and they are nothing to trifle with.

1. Houses or buildings can sometimes begin having manifestations when they are being renovated. Evidently, spirits do not care to have their physical surroundings altered.
2. There have been reports of infernal spirits hiding their demonic nature by adopting the guise of playful children. Do not be fooled.
3. There are some who say that all supernatural hauntings are demonic in origin, that there are no human spirits involved. The scripture used to support this is "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." I do not discount this, as this article is for the most part, conjecture and research, my personal experience being limited to one incident which occurred in college that I do not care to repeat.
4. There have been reports where objects (typically old ones, such as a piano, organ or doll) as well as places (graveyards can be considered) have been reported as haunted. I think this may well be possible.

1. If you think you are being subjected to a haunting of some sort, get an expert. I would recommend clergy. The power of God's Holy Spirit is greater than that which inhabits our world.
2. Do NOT under any circumstances address any spirit or attempt to communicate with them in any way unless you are ready at that moment to go into hardcore spiritual warfare. Do NOT play with Ouija boards and do NOT involve yourself with seances or the occult. This acts as an invitation for the enemy of mankind. Don't do it.
3. Be strong in the faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 That means immerse yourself in scripture, and become familiar with it. Allow God's Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he was able to remain faithful not only by knowing the word, but also because it was within his heart. 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" 7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" Matthew 4:3,7 and 10
4. Jesus knew about spiritual warfare. There was an incident where the disciples tried to cast a spirit out of a possessed boy and it refused to go. Jesus said that this kind (of spirit) does not go forth except by prayer and fasting. I don't know a lot about unseen spiritual forces and neither do you. If you don't know if a downed power line is charged or not, you don't mess with it. The same concept applies here.

This is a delicate subject, and although I joke about Democrats and rooting for the ghosts, the fact is that I do not approach it lightly. Hollywood seems to be using the ghost centered reality show as a form of entertainment, much as spiritualists used mediumship in the mid to late 1800's and early 1900's as a fad of sorts. The reason I address this issue is that in a rational society that lives in a rational world, it needs to be reiterated that there IS INDEED an invisible spiritual realm. We cannot expect to completely understand it on this side of life, but not to acknowledge its existence gives way to spiritual and intellectual pride. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

armchair coach
amateur historian

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