A church member asked, “Pastor, do we believe in ghosts?” Then, they told me a “spooky” experience they had encountered, and they were rightfully upset. During lengthy conversation and prayer, I shared some of the following thoughts.
I do enjoy reading classic ghost stories like The Tapestried Chamber (Scott), A Christmas Carol (Dickens), or The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow (Irving). Other notables include Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Fat Friar and Grey Lady in Harry Potter stories.
Most cities in America have traditional ghost stories. To this day in San Antonio, some people believe they saw the ghost of a little boy wandering around the Alamo grounds searching for his parents who supposedly died in the 1836 Siege of the Alamo. Others have heard the voices of Mexican soldiers whispering about the horrible battle.
When I was in high school, our family lived in northeast Dallas. We soon heard all about the ghost of White Rock Lake. As the story goes, a young woman had drowned in a boating accident and was occasionally seen dripping wet on the lake front road hitchhiking. If anyone picks her up and drives to the address she gives them, she vanishes and leaves the car seat wet.
While serving a church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, parishioners told me about the haunting of the Pfister Hotel. Supposedly, the ghost of the hotel’s founder Charles Pfister, who died in 1927, still prowls through the hotel at night. Some professional athletes refuse to stay in the hotel due to their own frightening experiences.
Even here in Fort Bend county, there are many interesting ghost stories. Possibly you have read the books by local writers John C. Allwright and Catherine Munson Foster that recount hauntings along the Brazos from Richmond to Brazoria. These books make you stop and think.
But, what does the Bible say about ghosts? When we read about the Holy Ghost, we understand that He is the living Spirit of God, part of the Holy Trinity (1 Corinthians 8:6; Matthew 28:19; John 14:16-18). Some have pointed to the summoning of the priest Samuel by the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). It is doubtful that the apparition was really Samuel. But even if it was, Samuel is no longer in Paradise but resides in Heaven, and cannot be summoned anymore. Why? Because Jesus took all the righteous saints that were in temporary Paradise to eternal Heaven (Ephesians 4:8-9).
In fact, the Bible does not support the popular ghost theories. Here are some Scriptures that oppose the notion of ghosts. Consider Isaiah 26:14 AMP, “They are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back.” Hebrews 9:27 says that after someone dies, they face immediate judgment. The Godly go to Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6-8), and the ungodly go to hell (Matthew 25:46). They do not linger on earth haunting hotels.
The Apostle Paul encouraged Believers by saying to be absent from the body at death, is to be immediately in the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). This is Biblical truth.
However, I do believe in haunting spirits and paranormal activity. Demons have been known to terrorize people (Mark 5), and to masquerade as angels of light and servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Here is a word of caution: supposed friendly ghosts may well be demons in disguise. Refuse to connect with them. Instead, find security in Christ.
Therefore, ghost stories are either lies, legends, or Lucifer. 1 Timothy 4:7 (ESV) says, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.” Amen.