By Tony Harrington
I cannot attest to the experiences of paranormal groups across the United States, or for any other group here in the Natural State for that matter, but in reflecting upon our history of investigations I have noticed that surprisingly, there is a close tie to hauntings and spirituality.
More importantly, the types of hauntings that Christians seem to encounter are dramatically different than the types of hauntings that non-religious or non-practicing people encounter.
Within the field there is a standard acceptance of seven types of hauntings:
This type of haunting is one where a spirit seems to be reliving a scenario over and over, as if on a loop, and are oblivious to the world of the living around them.
A spirit that attached itself to an individual or an object and manifests itself by manipulating objects and making noises
A spirit that is self-aware of its existence and is capable of interacting with the living. Typically responds to commands, manifests itself on demand, responds to questions on EVP recordings, etc.
Not your garden-variety ghost, the shadow people are typically featureless humanoid masses with distinguishable limbs and are either solid or translucent black. They are typically not of the intelligent variety and often unaware of their surroundings, but they are not reliving an event on a loop and therefore do not fit into either classification.
A manifestation of one’s self or other familiar individual where the seen individual is currently accounted for elsewhere. Often associated with time slips and other time-related phenomenon.
Portal Hauntings/Nexus Points:
A portal is allegedly a thinning in the veil that separates our world from the world of the supernatural. The presence of a portal or nexus point is indicated by power drains, power spikes, objects in the vicinity moving on their own, and temperature spikes as well as the presence of one or more of the above paranormal experiences.
Demons are spirits that have never walked the earth in mortal form. Their existence is thought to be the result of Satan’s creation, minions who serve his nefarious purposes. Manifestation ranges from physical attacks on humans to possession of the living. Historically, demonic hauntings are considered the most violent and horrifying.
Here in the Bible belt we find ourselves as paranormal investigators, more times than not, investigating claims of demonic activity.
Why, of all seven types of hauntings, is demonic activity the most prevalent amongst the largely Christian populace?
In larger metropolitan areas most agencies find themselves researching claims of residual or intelligent hauntings, where paranormal activity is related to the spirits of some tragic event in history. A schoolhouse where a tragedy unfolded, a home that has been tainted by a murder, a courthouse where the voices of the wrongly accused and executed cry out for justice across time and space…these are the typical types of events many paranormal investigators outside of the bible belt encounter.
For some reason though, within the belt, the instances of claims of demonic hauntings is exponentially higher than claims in more progressive and urban environs.
The logic stems from the fact that hauntings, by their very nature, defy God’s design. It is implicitly stated in the bible that when we die our soul will, upon judgment, ascend to be seated with the Father or be cast into hell. There is no grey area here and God does not make mistakes. So, should a home or business whose owner adheres to these basic biblical constraints suddenly find themselves in the presence of something otherworldly, then the only conclusion is that it is not of God and therefore of the devil. And the devil uses demons to do his work. So any haunting, by default, is a demon.
To reason that what they are experiencing is anything but demonic means to question one’s belief and everything the bible declares as truth. Because of this uncompromising view, we as investigators are placed in the precarious position of straddling Christian truth and paranormal truth (if there is such a thing).
The two worlds do not coexist outside of the singular intersection of demons and related activity. So what do we do when presented with proof of a residual or intelligent haunting but a homeowner is adamant that the home or business harbors a demon? Is it our responsibility to educate the client to the ways of our world or do we concede to theirs?
In my opinion it would be egregious to wrongly and purposefully label a home or business as demon possessed when all accounts prove otherwise (natural or supernatural). So what, in your opinion, is the best way to broach this subject?
In previous investigations there has been some give and take as we engage in a careful dance of words. But in doing so we concede our belief more than the client does theirs. We then perform unwarranted cleansings and other rites of exorcism to clear a home of a demon when none is present.
When the haunting continues, the homeowner becomes insistent that our practices did not resolve the issue, yet we cannot come back and say that the activity was never demon related, because we at some point resigned to agree with their personal, albeit misinformed, assessment. It is simply a no-win situation.
Here in the south it is difficult to enter someone’s home, invited, and then tell them they are wrong. It is poor manners but more importantly, anything other than demonic activity is strictly contrary to God and therefore does not exist.
I would be interested in hearing from other groups in and outside of the south with regard to the ratio of residual/intelligent hauntings (ghosts) versus demonic-style hauntings and how you deal with such claims respectively.