I’ve been seeing a particular question which goes something along this line: “What does the Bible say about ghost hunting?”
It’s not a surprise Christians are wondering about ghost hunting. Just consider the popularity of ghost hunting programs on television. Since Ghost Hunters premiered in 2004, interest in haunt activity, belief in ghosts, and people joining or creating ghost hunting groups has increased exponentially.
Here’s the thing.
Ghost hunting as an activity is a relatively new phenomenon. The origins of ghost hunting can be found in Cambridge during the spiritualist movement starting in the mid-1800′s. A group of fellows from Trinity College began meeting to discuss a common interest in ghosts and psychic phenomenon. They called themselves “The Ghost Club”.
Until recently, ghost hunting (even acknowledging belief in ghosts) had been considered a little on the fringe. People may have had stories or an interest in spooky tales, but it wasn’t something which came up in polite conversation. Amateur and ghost enthusiast groups formed over the years but were relatively small in number. Maybe a few hundred if even that many. It wasn’t until the success of Ghost Hunters (which introduced the resulting plethora of programs following its model), that everything changed.
Ghost hunting went mainstream.
It’s kind of staggering, when you realize how quickly (less than ten years) interest in ghosts and the paranormal has grown in American culture. You sit down with a group of people and bring up the subject of ghosts, you will likely find yourself in a lively discussion about personal experiences or perhaps even one or two who have attended a ghost hunt (or thought about it). Meetup Groups has a long list of potentials waiting to get together. A business has grown up around ghost hunts being attended by people as a kind of tourist attraction in cities such as New Orleans, Key West, San Antonio, and Chicago. Internet businesses selling ghost hunting equipment such as EMF detectors have grown as demand increases.
The internet makes it easy for ghost hunters to connect, commiserate, start up, or find new members. A quick search will lead a person to finding ghost hunting groups all over the country, even in the tiniest of towns.
One site now lists over 3,700 ghost hunting groups and paranormal society’s across America.
I’ve been trying to explain for the past three years (and now in my book) WHY it’s so important for the church to address (or just acknowledge) this growing interest in ghosts. Many (including Christian) people’s beliefs about life after death are now being formed by programs (and groups) such as are seen in Ghost Hunters, et al. The idea that human spirits linger, interact as “ghosts” or contact the living, and that we can otherwise “prove” this existence on the earthly plane (or “rescue” those who are trapped).
So now we go back to the question: What does the Bible say about ghost hunting? Specifically?
Why? Because it’s a MODERN (and/or Post-Modern) PHENOMENON. It’s a new thing. However, that doesn’t mean we cannot make a determination about ghost hunting based on the key component activities within ghost hunting. As I’ve mentioned, there is nothing which specifically talks about ghost hunting in the Bible. However, there are plenty of verses which discuss life after death.
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NIV)
“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”Philippians 1:23 (NIV)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:46 (NIV)
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” Luke 16:22-23 (NIV)
Human beings do not remain behind as ghosts, trapped spirits, and are not able to communicate with the living. Upon death, human spirits are either ushered into God’s presence or a separate place to await final judgment. What is even more important to note is God’s prohibition against communication with the dead:
“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”Deuteronomy 18:9-11(NIV).
People who ghost hunt always tell me they do not “consult the dead”. I suggest attempting to illicit a response to a question through EVP is a form of spirit communication which falls under this prohibition. Attempting to gain responses to questions through taps on the wall, record “ghost” voices passively, capture digital photo evidence or recording by seeking spirits out all can be counted as spirit communication.
People suggest to me they do not conjure spirits through their activities but respond to human spirits which “remain”. Such a response indicates a person who believes God is incapable of getting human spirits where they are meant to be upon their death. How sad is that? I don’t know about you, but I know God is more than able to do what He says and promises.
So the question becomes what exactly are people seeking (and interacting with) during a ghost hunt?
The Bible teaches there are spirit beings who can and do interact with our physical world. Angels are spirit beings created by God to serve Him. They are holy, righteous, and good. Demons are angels who have rebelled against God. They are fallen, evil, destructive, and deceptive.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 tells us “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.”
Impersonating a human spirit is certainly within a demon’s capabilities.The goal of a demonic spirit is to deceive human beings, draw us away from God. Appearances, interactions via haunt activity, and communication with the dead are one means by which they can accomplish that goal.
As Christians, we have no business recording EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) even through passive means by not asking questions or seeking “evidence” of a ghost or haunt activity through paranormal investigative procedure. God has given us authority in Jesus’ name to command those spirits to leave. He has given us spiritual armor as protection and His word (the Bible) as the weapon of our warfare. Nothing else is necessary.
My point is even though ghost hunting (as an activity) is not specifically addressed in the Bible, it is certainly clear doing so involves us in seeking and/or communicating with demonic/familiar spirits. Ghost hunting opens spiritual doors best left closed. As Christians, our beliefs should always be informed by what God has revealed to us in scripture, not what our society believes, no matter how intriguing that explanation may seem.
Learn more about my experiences as a former ghost hunter in my new book Escaping the Cauldron, now available for PRE-ORDER on Amazon, and in stores everywhere on September 4.