We read in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 24 that after the Resurrection that some of the disciples of Jesus mistook him for a ghost. Jesus had to prove to them he was not a ghost. He did this by allowing them to touch him and eating a piece of baked fish with them. After all, ghosts don’t eat!
Want to know more about the supernatural? Here are nine fascinating facts about ghosts to get you started.
1. Jesus was not a ghost
While this seems obvious to us, it wasn’t for the disciples. They needed proof that Jesus was truly risen, body and soul. Jesus was eager to show them!
All four Gospel writers gives us prove that Jesus was not a ghost. Matthew writes the disciples “took hold of his feet” (Matthew 28:9). Mark writes that “sat at table” (Mark 16:14), and John tells us about how Jesus met them on the beach (John 21).
Jesus told them to touch his wounds. He showed them that it was Him and not another claiming to be Jesus. He also eat with them – ghosts don’t eat. Finally, he walked and ate with them on the sand, where he would have left footprints!
2. Ghosts are real
We believe that all humans are made of two parts, body and soul. When we die, our soul is separated from our body, and that soul is immortal. What we don’t know or understand is why not all of those spirits don’t go to God. If we didn’t believe in the possibility of ghosts then we are saying the soul doesn’t exist outside the body.
3. Ghosts confirm life after death
Peter Kreeft is a philosophy professor at Boston College. He writes:, “Ghosts confirm, rather than refute or disturb, Catholic theology of the afterlife. Especially the very existence of a life after death, which is the main point skeptics dispute.”
4. You shouldn’t contact ghosts
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we are explicitly forbidden to try and talk with the dead, especially demons.
Paragraph 2116 of the Catechism reads: “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”
5. Every encounter with ghosts is different
John Newton is a Catholic and a member of Britain’s Society for Psychical Research. He writes that encounters with ghosts can be genuine experiences, hallucinations, or even certain environmental factors that could create an experience misinterpreted as a spirit. Examples of environmental factors would include occurrences like when a door slams closed because of a change in air pressure.
6. The Saints are not ghosts
The saints are the perfected and holy spirits who are in heaven with God. Our goal is to to become saints! Those of us who die and go to purgatory are guaranteed to go to heaven some time.
We also believe that God sometimes allows the saints (especially Mary) to come and give us special messages about God in private revelation. We can pray to the saints to pray for us – we do this at every Mass! After all, the saints are the closest to God. It’s also important to remember that Catholics do not worship the saints.
7. Angels aren’t ghosts, either
Angels are spiritual beings who are servants of God and servants to us. God’s most famous angel, Gabriel, brought the announcement of Jesus to Mary, told Zachariah he was going to have a son named John, and came to Joseph in a dream to stop him from divorcing Mary. Also in Heaven is Saint Michael the Archangel, famous for his defeat of the devil.
Catholics believe we each have our own guardian angel to help guide us to heaven.
8. Some ghosts can be demon-like
There are some ghosts who are mischievous, haunting, destructive, and downright devious. Demons are evil spirits or fallen angels. There are some prayers we can say to rid our homes of ghosts, including the Our Father and the prayer of Saint Michael the Archangel.
Read more: Demons, Devils and Satan, Oh MY!
We can also bless our homes, which is normally done at Epiphany. But you can also bless your home with Holy Water and/or Holy Salt year round! If you believe your house is possessed, you should contact your priest or diocese to see if an exorcism is warranted.
9. God has dominion over them all
Whether it’s “Caspar the Friendly ghost” or the devil himself, God has dominion over them all. In this fact alone, we can find comfort. By the word of Jesus, demons fled, so we can be confident that by saying the name “Jesus” we can cause the spirits to also flee.
If you ever encounter a ghost, you’re are called to pray for them to God, so that the spirit can find their home with God. We also pray in the Our Father for God to protect us from all evil, including the evil spirits.