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Monday, June 15, 2015

A Haunting, The History of Ghost Stories

A Tale to Tell
Not long after ancient man learned to communicate, Ghostly Stories, tales of specters who have come back from the afterlife to haunt familiar places left behind, have been told and re-told in the nightly circles of many cultures. Often including those who have died early, violent or mysterious deaths, or those who have been wronged.
The Ghost could appear of its own accord or be summoned by someone.
A widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Anthropologists have linked this thought to early beliefs that ghosts were the "person within the person" (the person's spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. Belief in ghosts is found in all cultures around the world, and thus ghost stories may be passed down orally or in written form.
In the "campfire story", a form of oral storytelling with participants gathered around in a circle, frequently involves the recounting ghost stories, or other such terror tales. Some of the stories have been passed down for generations, with varying versions across multiple cultures.
The people of the ancient world believed that the human soul survived bodily death. Children were brought up to believe that the dead lived on in another form that still required some kind of sustenance, usually pertaining to the kind of life they had lived on earth, how their remains were disposed of at their death, and how they were remembered by the living. The details of the afterlife in different cultures varied, but the constants were that such a realm existed, that it was governed by immutable laws, and that the souls of the dead would remain there unless given license by the gods to return to the land of the living for some specific reason. These reasons could include improper funeral rites, lack of any kind of burial, death by drowning where the body was not recovered, murder in which the body was never found (never properly buried), or to resolve some unfinished business or provide a true account of the events surrounding their death, such as when one was murdered and needed one's death avenged and the murderer brought to justice in order to rest in peace. Sounds very much like the present time.
The appearance of ghosts of the departed, even those of loved ones, was rarely considered a welcome experience. The dead were supposed to remain in their own land and were not expected to cross back over to the world of the living. When such an event did occur, it was a sure sign that something was terribly wrong, and those who experienced a spiritual encounter were expected to take care of the problem in order for the ghost to return to its proper place.
Even the Bible weighs in on the ghostly topic...
Isaiah 26:19
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
There seem to be only slight glimmers of belief in the after-life in the Jewish tradition before the second century BC. Christians believe that Christ’s death and resurrection overcame death and evil. Those who had died prior to Christ’s coming waited for Christ to open the gates of heaven and bring eternal life to all as he brought life to the dead Lazarus.
The Church believes that after death, souls are judged and sent to the appropriate place in what is called the particular judgment. Hebrews 9.27 confirms “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: ” (2 Corinthians 5.6-8) "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight: 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (Matthew 25.46)"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Luke 16.22-24)"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.."
Therefore, according to the Bible, souls of the dead are obviously not roaming the earth and when houses are haunted it is not the souls of the dead. Who is it then? The Bible believes that it is the work of good and evil spirits.
The Bible states that there are good and evil spirits or demons who are active among humanity. Possession by evil spirits is evident in New Testament times and Jesus overcame their power by expelling them from the possessed. (Matthew 8:28-34)28 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.
Sickness often was attributed to the devil, but the message is Christ healed people of spiritual and physical illness.
The Church has affirmed the existence of evil and evil spirits and acknowledged their negative effects. We are called to work with God to struggle against evil in whatever form it takes, whether it be social injustice, poverty, sickness, dishonesty, etc.
Vatican II tells us: “Humanity is obliged to wrestle constantly if it is to cling to what is good” (Church in the Modern World, n. 37). The Church insists that all of creation is under God’s domain and evil cannot suppress our freedom and responsibility. God sent Jesus to save us from the power of evil and he overcame evil by his death and resurrection.
There is much more than this brief statement can say about evil spirits in the world. We cannot blame everything on them.
Spirits who roam the earth and haunt houses often torment the living but sometimes they seem to act in good ways. According to Paul: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11.14).
When the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being possessed in John’s Gospel, Jesus retorts "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8.44).
there are many references in Sacred Scripture to the evil spirit, the devil roaming the earth. "And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." (Job 1:7)
Weather or not you choose to believe in ghost, spirits, demons (or what ever you choose to call them), is up to you, but I believe you would be missing out on a wonderful thing if you should choose not to take part in a ghost story or two.
After all, it is the mysteries that make life interesting. Lest we forget... Here are a few Real Ghost Stories for you now to enjoy. Visit for awhile the True Ghost Stories from around the world.

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