Are there elements of demonic activity that are discovered during the course of what is considered to be a common paranormal investigation? From all appearances, it would seem that it is happening more and more often. But…how many are really valid?
Evil has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of time. There exists a dark side of human behavior. This, in itself, shouldn’t be a great surprise to anyone…evil continues to endure as a negative energy. Yet, everything should not be blamed on evil, demonic spirits, or the devil. But for the most part, it is.
Extreme skeptics, atheists, and the generally uninformed consider many—if not all—possession cases to be attributed to psychiatric disorders and barbaric notions. They would most likely be right on a majority of them, but there’s a vast difference between what is rational or just plain closing their minds to other possibilities.
Best selling author and sage of the unknown, Carlos Castaneda, inferred that the masses were casting a blind eye on the subject of the supernatural—“Modern man has left the realms of the unknown and the mysterious, and has settled down in the realm of the functional. He has turned his back to the world of the foreboding and the exulting and has welcomed the world of boredom.”
Philosopher Carl Jung stated his own take on the subject—“To grow psychologically and spiritually, we need to confront the ‘dark side’ in each of us.” And what about the “dark side” that may attack from the outside?
There was a “dark side” in the former groundbreaking television show Paranormal State that seemed to escalate as the seasons went on. Lorraine Warren would make the occasional guest appearance…usually wrinkling her nose, pursing her lips, and announcing the presence of evil. Lead investigator, Ryan Buell, would nod in agreement and proceed on with the investigation, which would ultimately result in a demonic conclusion that would baffle and terrify the clients involved. We’re talking some good, ratings-grabbing television here!
Buell was battling his own inner demons, and as the series moved on to its final two seasons it showed. It appeared that almost every episode had some sort of demonic influence. Buell never smiled and his team members seemed uncomfortable. The show became very dark and disorientated. Viewers love a dark story…but only to the point when it make s them uncomfortable. The show was ended in 2011, reputedly by Buell, who stated that the team wanted to pursue other interests. Lorraine Warren would have to find other venues to share her talent. She did!
Approaching the proposition of true evil from a religious and/or paranormal view can be a force to be reckoned with. Or, it may just blow up in your face. For those investigators that lean more towards the intelligent side, an encounter with demonic forces might be time to turn the investigation over to someone who is better versed to handle it. For those who are into ghost-hunting for the thrills, chills, and adrenaline rush…you damn sure better turn it over to someone more intelligent than you!
The Catholic Church treads very carefully in these matters. Out of the thousands of cases of alleged demonic possession, they have classified only a handful as genuine. A handful….
The William J. Birnes and Joel Martin book, The Haunting of Twentieth-Century America, makes some interesting observations about the Catholic Church’s philosophy about the presence of evil—from incidents in the past to even in present times:
“Any supernatural phenomenon not sanctioned by the Church was evil….Anything psychic or paranormal was branded the work of the devil….”
“The Catholic Church and its theologians are most cautious about attributing the cause of unusual phenomena to Satan.”
There appeared briefly on the radar a short lived television series Miracles that chronicled a Catholic Church investigator of modern miracles and the supernatural ramifications. I would suspect that the Catholic Church indeed retains the services of these types of investigators in the real world, but will not admit to it. The series however was not meant to be. It was cancelled in 2003 during its first season.
When we begin to approach the subject of exorcisms, we are getting into some serious subject matter:
The Catholic Church is the only Christian denomination to maintain formal rites of exorcism. They look for every possible ‘natural explanation’ and only after ruling them out, will the supernatural be considered.”
Birnes and Martin’s book continues on:
“The Catholic Church, which still teaches priests about possession, regards four signs as proof of demonic possession: extraordinary physical strength, clairvoyant ability, blasphemy or profanity against God, and levitation.”
Some of the signs:
“Spirit possession can lead to a host of physical and mental problems: powerful headaches, insomnia, inexplicable voices, noises and lights. Even psychokinetic or poltergeist phenomenon.”
“In the Catholic rite, exorcism includes blessings and prayers, and then holy water is sprinkled, followed by the priest/exorcist placing his hands on the possessed person, making the sign of the cross and ordering the devil to leave.”
This is not the situation a typical paranormal investigator would want to participate in, and definitely not something to play with! It’s good for movie effects and dramatic impact, and to a degree places a weird fascination on the possession aspect. But who in their right mind would ever actively seek to be possessed? Mediums and channelers do allow it, I suppose, for the sake of their “art.” And while it is normally only temporary as they allow “someone” to communicate through them, what are the long term ramifications?
Lorraine Warren popped up again in 2013, promoting the film The Conjuring based on one of many case files from her and Ed’s long career. The film covers the 1971 haunting of the Perron families recently acquired homestead in rural Rhode Island. Of course there were evil entities involved, and an exorcism that was more for the sake of dramatic license than actual fact. Those wacky movie directors and their vision!
One can only suspect that there are many case files from the Warrens yet to be revealed.
According to The Haunting of Twentieth-Century America there are possible explanations regarding the world of ghosts and spirits:
- “People have always created myths, especially to cope with intense fears, such as death—have we created ghosts in our minds because we have a need to believe?”
- “Jungians might suggest ghosts are archetypes or universal symbols, but not necessarily genuine physical phenomena.”
- “What if the appearance of ghosts and apparitions is genuine, and evidence of life after death? In that case, you need to believe in ghosts to experience them.”
I would offer up a couple of scenarios…and demonic influence might not play a factor. There has been a long running theory that if we do survive physical death—remaining behind and entrenched in this world—our personality remains with us. In life, if we were of a good nature, rational, or even a bit mischievous, we will retain those attributes in our spiritual life. On the other hand, if we were bad, malicious, or ill tempered, then a nasty spirit will remain behind. Nasty doesn’t necessarily equate to evil! Pure evil is most likely something that was never human and again, most rare in paranormal incidents.
Or, another take….
Just what if we have been looking at things all wrong? What if there are “forces” that are grand impersonators, and directly responsible for everything we consider of a “paranormal” nature—ghosts, demons, the devil, UFOs, Big Foot, etc. One entity…responsible for it all! Would we change the way we conduct investigations? Many paranormal groups are moving towards this conclusion. It may just be a thought provoking subject for a future article.
Attitudes toward the spiritual, the devil, and demons have transitioned since the 1960s. And the Church has either stood rigidly steadfast in their stance or somewhat loosened their interpretation of paranormal realities. It continues to go on today.
“Like a mighty river changing its course, there was a momentum under way that would force shifts in American religious thinking, even concerning long condemned paranormal beliefs. If conservative church hierarchies were opposed, great numbers of young people—even some liberal clergy—were less resistant. Was it possible to be spiritual but not religious? What was the difference between the two, and was there a place for psychic and metaphysical experiences within traditional religion? As the times changed, so did the questions—and answers.”
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