True Story: My Encounter with the Paranormal

While I was at the sci-fi convention, I had a rather unusual experience that may interest some of you. First of all, I should tell you that I am a Christian and as such have certain beliefs that I hold to be absolute truth – you are welcome to have a different view but, from this incident as well as other experiences in my life, I have grown increasingly certain that the God of the Bible (and Torah) exists and has set out clear guidelines for how we ought to live. My faith also defines how I approach these cases, as you will see.

I should back up and explain that I’ve been watching shows like “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures,” and “My Ghost Story” with my mother, who is just as curious as I am about ghosts. What happens when people die? If a person has “unfinished business” or dies suddenly, can his/her spirit remain in non-corporeal form to try to right the wrongs or communicate with their loved ones? Can a person’s spirit become “trapped” in this world or dimension?

Allow me to cite a few Bible passages that form the foundation of my thoughts:

Luke 23:43
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus, when He was dying on the cross, promised the penitent criminal on another cross that he would be in Heaven that very day. So does that mean only people who go to Heaven go there right away? There is another story that Jesus told earlier in the same book about two men who died and went to very different places:

Luke 16:19~31
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades [Hell], he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, Father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

From this I believe that there is a literal Hell and a literal Heaven – the former being a place of eternal torment for one’s sins and the latter a place of forgiveness, comfort, and peace with God. You cannot move from one place to the other; once you are dead, you cannot change the outcome, so it is of utmost importance to live a life that is pleasing to God. I believe that the only way to do so is to beg for mercy and acknowledge Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord, but I shan’t get into that right now. The pertinent point here is that neither of them wandered around the earth as ghosts before getting to their final destination.

This passage also makes another very important point: people who are living would not listen to someone who came back from the dead – to warn them of the wrath to come, as it were – so Abraham seems to be saying that God would not allow dead people to come back from the dead to tell us what the afterlife is like. We are supposed to figure out how we should live – to love God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves – from the revealed Scriptures (written down by Moses and the prophets). Because of this, I believe that the anomalies sometimes observed by ghost hunters cannot be dead human spirits.

Here are a couple other passages in which God addresses His people directly:

Leviticus 19:31
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 20:6
“And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.”

God makes it very clear that He doesn’t want His people to ask for directions from other supernatural beings. God wants people to get their information from Himself, because He will give us the truth. On a side note, I find it very disturbing that good people who consider themselves to be Christians will still read their horoscopes – I believe that is just another way of seeking information on how to live one’s life from a source that is not God. Here is why that is so dangerous:

John 8:44
“The Devil… was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own heart, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

II Corinthians 11:14~15
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [demons] also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness [angels], whose end will be according to their works.

Matthew 24:23~24 (Mark 13:21~22)
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs [messiahs] and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders [miracles] to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

If you watch “Ghost Hunters” long enough, you will hear them talk about how sometimes what comes across like the spirits of dead children can be something else – much more sinister – in disguise. The passage in Corinthians that talks about Satan and his demons masquerading as angels is a clear warning that things are not always what they seem. Just because someone has the ability to do miracles does not necessarily mean that they are a messenger from God, either. One more passage to that point:

I John 4:1~4
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

The “He who is in you” is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity – equally God with God the Father and Jesus Christ – Who indwells [lives inside] every true Christian and allows us to communicate directly with God.

So at last, I’ll get to my actual story. I was at the sci-fi convention in Lansing, Michigan, over Memorial Day weekend. I saw that one of the programs on Friday night was a two-hour session of ghost hunting explained by Michigan Shadow Chasers, a paranormal investigation group. I thought I’d check it out because it was convenient – they were meeting in the same hotel as the rest of the con and my friends were at the Dreamspinner Press table in the dealers’ room until 10pm, anyway. As curious as I am about ghosts, I would never ask to tag along with a local ghost hunting team because some of them might try to “call up” spirits, like in a séance – and that is a definite no-no according to Leviticus. But here this group was coming to the same building, with the second half of their presentation a hands-on overview of their equipment, and what were the chances of having an “entity” show up in the middle of a busy hotel, anyway? (At least, so I thought.) I prayed a quick prayer: “God, if I shouldn’t go, please let me know.” But I didn’t feel like there would be any problems, and no last-minute obstacles came up, so I went.

For the first half of their presentation, the three ladies that form the Michigan Shadow Chasers showed pictures of a lighthouse they had recently investigated. There had been a bit of confusion upon their arrival at the lighthouse, since one of the gentlemen with a guided tour had collapsed and been taken to a hospital by an ambulance; but they had strolled around the premises taking pictures in preparation for their evening investigation. Their photos showed some light anomalies, but I was unconvinced since the glass windowpanes were quite old, which would make their surfaces uneven and reflect light in unexpected ways, and the lace curtains had patterns that might affect the reflections as well. But I really liked that these ladies were not rude and did not try to provoke whatever spirits were there – I hate that Zak Bagans and his buddies are so disrespectful, always bleepity this and bleepity that, so it was nice getting to know these sweet ladies. All three seem to have Native American roots, and one lady is a “sensitive” who clued them in to the presence of spirits (an Elemental and two Native American warriors who claimed to be staying with the Elemental) at another place they had investigated.

The second hour of the session was the hands-on demonstration of their equipment. One of the ladies, who told us she was a Shaman, picked up her dowsing rods. Suddenly both rods veered off to the right (her left) front corner of the room. She asked if someone other than the living were with us, and the rods crossed (like the letter X) to answer Yes. She asked how many – one? The answer was Yes. All of us were excited and wanted to see more with the rods. One of the guests asked if it were someone who used to come to the convention every year (since a few of the regulars had passed) and it answered No (by staying still and parallel). They asked if it were trapped here – No. Did it stay at the hotel all the time – No. Was it just visiting for the weekend – Yes. This elicited some nervous laughter as people joked that even spirits knew where to go for a good time.

Then the Shaman lady passed the dowsing rods around to whoever wanted to try them. The first lady could hardly get them to hold still, but she asked if it had any relatives on this side (living) with whom it wanted to communicate – No. She handed them to me since she couldn’t think of anything else to ask. As I held the rods, the Shaman lady suggested asking if it were male – No. Female – No. At this point I knew (more than just suspected) that it had to be a spirit, probably a demon, but I didn’t want to blurt that out just yet. “Are you human?” I asked – No. The Shaman lady said it must be an Elemental (earth spirit), and although I knew better, to be polite I asked if it were an Elemental – No (or no answer). “Are you a being we would call an angel?” I asked, just in case – the rod in my right hand twitched, but they stayed parallel – No. The Shaman lady said maybe the spirit had left, since the rods hadn’t crossed the whole time I’d held them, although lack of movement is supposed to be the signal for No.

She reached out to take the rods from me, but I told her I had just one more question I wanted to ask: “Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh?” – no answer. So I handed the rods back to the Shaman lady and explained that in the Bible that is the questions demons refuse to answer. Being a good sport, the Shaman lady steadied the rods and asked, “Are you a demon?” – and the rods crossed so far that they were almost flat against her chest. If crossing like an X was the sign for Yes, then this was like the spirit shouting, “Finally! It took you long enough!”

Everybody was pretty much freaked out at that point. She asked, “Are you here to do harm to people?” – it answered No. I had to point out, though, that maybe it just wanted us to think that. After all, if people can lie, so can spirits. And I was remembering the passage about Satan being the father of lies and his demons trying to deceive anybody they could as well. The Shaman countered that demons get a bad rap (Really? Um… isn’t that why we call them “demons”?) and that they’re only non-human spirits. Maybe she was just trying to calm down the other people there, but I worried that she was giving them a false sense of security.

At that point the rods started pointing elsewhere in the room, and the Shaman lady asked if the spirit (demon) were moving – No. Were there more spirits now – Yes. How many? She kept counting until the rods crossed at 4. She handed the rods to one of the other ladies in her group, the “sensitive,” who took them reluctantly. She asked, “Is it the Elemental spirit and Native American warriors we met at our last investigation?” – the rods crossed Yes. The Shaman lady asked, “Are you here to protect us?” – and the rods answered Yes again.

I could tell that the other people there were enjoying all this, and I honestly didn’t feel led by the Holy Spirit to bind or cast out the demon – which every Christian has the authority to do, although the stronger ones require that you prepare for battle by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21 & Mark 9:29). Since I had also caught a glimpse of one of my friends looking in at the door, I thanked the Shaman lady and asked her to be very careful, then left. The older lady who had taken the turn before me was shaken up, and she walked out with me, fingering her cross pendant and saying she’d have to pray the rosary more often. I encouraged her to do more, specifically to pray to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, which she said she would. For my own part, I was now certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that most (if not all) of the entities that show up on ghost-hunting equipment are demons, playing tricks on people for their own amusement or trying to make people believe that there is a happy afterlife – even if they live as they please, without any consideration for what God might want of them.

When I told my friends what had happened, I found out that my roommate for the weekend was not only a Pagan but a practicing Wiccan and Shaman as well. She was rather horrified at the other lady’s nonchalant attitude regarding the demon. “Even in our circles,” she explained, “we expect spirits to identify themselves in terms that we can relate to. If a spirit comes out and tells you it’s a ‘demon,’ my response would be to say, ‘Thank you very much for speaking to us – and goodbye.’” Her comment made me wonder if perhaps that spirit was compelled [forced] to speak the truth because the Holy Spirit was present there in me; furthermore, maybe it wasn’t so much a matter of it not wanting to harm anyone as not being allowed to harm anyone – because God had forbidden it and bound it from doing so.

With that thought in mind, the next morning I left breakfast early in order to pray and cleanse that room before the next group met in it. I didn’t want any lingering demons to latch on to unsuspecting people and follow them home. The funny thing is, before I had left my home for the convention, I had printed out a sheet with some hymns – not necessarily my favorites, just the ones that were running through my mind at the time – since I knew I would be missing church that weekend. I took the sheet and my Bible with me and found that a group was practicing for their play in the adjacent room, quite loudly, leaving me free to sing as loudly as I wanted, too (the room had a high ceiling and surprisingly good acoustical properties). I also read some parts of the Bible that seemed relevant. Here are some excerpts of what I read and sang for nearly an hour:

Ephesians 6:10~18
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to still be standing.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one [Satan]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God [the Bible]; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all Hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Isaiah 49:1~2, 6, 8~9, 14~16, 25
1 “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, and take heed, you peoples from afar!
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”

Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Thus says the Lord:
“In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You;

I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.”

25 But thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,

And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.”

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

James 4:7~8, 10
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

After I’d finished singing the second verse of “How Firm a Foundation,” the room seemed to get visibly brighter. I’m not a “sensitive” – I probably wouldn’t notice even if a demon bit me on the tush – but it felt like the right thing to do. I also prayed for all the people there, that none of them would be affected by any malevolent spirits, that no demons would be allowed to follow them home (unless invited). Yes, I am aware that there are people who willingly invite spirits to live with them. All I can say is, I believe they are sorely, sadly deceived.

The last day of the convention (Monday), I happened to be passing by that same room when I saw the one lady from the Shadow Chasers – the “sensitive” lady – standing there waiting for the first forum of the day to start. I stopped in to ask her how she was doing since that night. She admitted that her greatest fear about participating in ghost hunting was that some spirits might follow her home; she’d been unnerved to find that the Elemental and two Native American warriors had followed the group to the hotel. She usually stuck to doing the tech stuff (handling the cameras and what-not), but with only three people in the group, sometimes she was in the thick of the investigation. I told her about the cleansing and “good energy” I’d tried to spread there Saturday morning, and she remarked that my faith must be strong enough to deflect any spirits.

I asked her if I could pray for her, and she agreed. What I prayed for her is what I wish for all people who are drawn to the supernatural without a clear idea of what they are getting into: I asked God to grant her peace, light, and safety; that she would have discretion to know when to get out of a dangerous situation; that there would always be a path of escape prepared for her; and that God would bless her and draw her closer to Himself. She seemed genuinely touched when I told her that I had people from my church praying for everybody at the convention, too. I guess she’d assumed that Christians would just condemn people who did that sort of stuff; I assured her that the first priority for true Christians is to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

I hope that is what I left behind: love. Call it a prayer or positive energy or good vibes, I just want people to experience love. If someone can believe in demons, they should be able to believe in angels as well. So maybe all this interest in ghosts and the paranormal is another way people will come to believe in God.

To all who are reading this:
May God bless you and draw you closer to Himself.
May you find peace, light, and hope.
May you experience real love.

~ Thea

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. farmgirl1964

     /  2013/06/02

    Interesting. I am a born-again Christian. It’s nice to see others here that admit to being God’s children. Thanks for your story and I’m glad you’re smart enough to know and recognize demons as you do. In this day and age, smart and aware Christians are hard to come by sometimes.

    Reply
    • Thank you! Sadly, it’s too true. We often neglect our duties as salt and light… I’ve never been more grateful for the peace that passes human understanding, though!

      Reply
  2. Plink42

     /  2013/06/02

    It’s so refreshing to see someone with such a strong faith. I get so angry at people who think that religion is a waste of time. I had the displeasure of finding out that one of the people I followed on Tumblr think my religion is “idiotic” (I’m a Catholic). Needless to say I don’t follow her anymore.

    I believe that God is everywhere, but that also means that the devil is everywhere, along with angels and demons alike. While demons tell you what you want to hear, angels tell you the truth, even though you may not like it.

    It seems strange that a demon would be that up front about its nature since it’s conditioned to lie, but like you said, maybe your faith made it come clean, so to speak. I hope you haven’t had any ill effects since the encounter.

    Reply
    • It seems only intolerance is intolerable anymore… unless someone is intolerant of religion, and then the media is like, “Oh, okay — that’s different.” 😦
      I would disagree with you only slightly in that, since Satan is a created being, he cannot be everywhere (omnipresent) like God is. But there are certainly enough devils and demons to fill the earth. Who knows how many we encounter without even knowing it?
      I haven’t had any ill effects, thank you! Going to church now. I like Tolkien’s take on it: a good song is enough to drive any sprites away. Or like the cabby when they got to the blank world which would become Narnia. A good hymn sung in faith is a powerful weapon!
      May God bless! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kate

     /  2013/06/02

    Wow – cool story – Thanks! I believe in hauntings, too. My great-grandparents were moving into a new house and asked a priest (they were Roman Catholics, as am I) to bless the house. The priest began his prayer, sprinkling holy water, when all the doors slammed shut and the house caught fire, ultimately burning to the ground!

    Reply
    • Yikes! Good thing they had it blessed BEFORE they moved in. I’d rather have my house burn down than start living in it and find out it’s infested with demons. O.O

      Reply

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