I had an opportunity to talk to one of my favorite people this afternoon about some strange phenomena she has experienced in her house lately. People like to talk to me about such things because I do, at least by popular definition, live in a haunted house. I've seen a few strange things and experienced one really frightening thing, but that's not really the point of this post. I guess I just want to think some of this through. And if you've got an opinion, I'm interested.
I've heard the theory that particularly strong emotions can be "imprinted" as energy on wood, stone, and concrete and that the events surrounding (or perhaps invoking) these emotions can be replayed over and over again like a movie for people to see. This might explain, says the theory, what people are actually seeing when they see "ghosts" walking up stairs or down the sidewalk or whatever. Energy can also be replayed as sound. I don't know about all that, but I do wonder (and tend to believe) that our emotions do remain in a place we've inhabited for a long time. Our prayers, love, attitudes, and hopes might well remain as energy that can be perceived by others long after we're gone.
I think I have a little of that going on in my house. The family who lived the longest in this little bungalow raised five children here. The husband sold men's shoes at a department store down town for almost all fifty of the years they lived here. I imagine him taking the streetcar down 20th Street almost every day for that long. They undoubtedly saw their grandchildren here and they might have even died here. I can't fathom how much love and life and emotion they experienced in this little house. It's always felt like a particularly peaceful place and people often comment that they feel welcome here. I have to wonder if that has something to do with all the love and care the Park family put into this house. I think so. I was interested to find out that after Mr. and Mrs. Park died and the house was sold, their daughter Susan (really, can't make that up) bought back the house and lived here for several more years. The really weird stuff that happens here, however, I can't explain. I don't even have a theory.
That being said, I truly perceive some danger in "ghost hunting." The scriptures contain several fairly unambiguous warnings to avoid psychics and mediums and fortune-tellers and I happen to believe that God knows that we might inadvertently come into contact with a really wicked spirit rather than the long lost relative we mean to contact. If the devil is the "father of lies," than I can't expect demons to be much more truthful. Might it be possible for a really evil spirit to tell you that it is Aunt Pat? I think maybe. So, it seems foolish (and frankly, probably sinful being that the scripture prohibits it) to use a ouija board or try and record E.V.P.s or to visit Lady Esmerelda down on Bessemer Super Highway.
This seemed to be a fairly popular topic of conversation in certain Christian circles back in the '80s. At my Christian school, I even had a teacher tell us about an encounter he had with what he thought was a demon as he slept! (Do you remember that C.C.P.?) It scared me for years. Anyway, Corrie Ten Boom wrote a book about such matters that I always found interesting. As a Holocaust survivor, she had ample opportunity to see how Evil can affect human beings. So, all this to say. I'm kind of caught up in processing these issues.