Tag Archives: Hauntings

Beyond Our Ghosts

Read John 14:1-7

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

poltergeistFollowing suit with the previous devotional, I just recently watched another horror movie that is actually a remake of an older, yet still popular film by the name of “Poltergeist”. While the original, written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, will always be the favorite of the two versions, it is safe to say that this new film definitely delivers. Besides, who doesn’t love a good ghost story, even if retold, to send chills up and down one’s spine.

In case you are unfamiliar with the film Poltergeist, I will give you the gist of the plot. I will be referring to the 2015 remake, since it is the one I have seen most recently. Though the characters have different names, the plot is basically the same. Poltergeist is a film that follows a family that is moving into a new home in a development somewhere out in suburbia. Following their arrival, things start to get weird. The youngest daughter, Madison, starts talking to “imaginary friends” and their son, Griff, hears the tree growling at him. All of the family members, in different ways, come across seemingly random static electricity in certain spots of the house.

While at first the weird occurances are kind of fun and intriguing, they start to become more and more vicious and scary. Little Madison, begins having nightly conversations with “the lost people” in the television set, and eventually gets lured into the closet by mysterious lights, only to disappear. Following her disappearances, her frantic family starts to hear her talking through the static-laden television set. As it turns out, she had been kidnapped by the poltergeists who are trapped in the house in a world that between this life and the next. They are desperate to find a way out of the hellish purgatory they are in, and Madison’s innocence draws them to her, thinking that she can lead them to the light (aka to rest in peace on the other side).

Without giving anymore details away, or spoiling the rest of the story, I think it is fair to say that this film is full of thrills and twists that keep you at the edge of your seat throughout. What I have noticed in this film, as well as all films about paranormal hauntings, is that while the families being affected seem to be normal, average, everyday families, there is always something dark lying under the surface.

Again, without giving away too much of the story, it becomes clear fairly early on that the Bowen family in Poltergeist is a family that is struggling to remain together. Mom is an aspiring author who cannot find the time or energy to write because of the responsibilities of motherhood. Dad is unemployed and desperately seeking employment. My guess is that they have moved to this location because they could no longer afford to live where they were. To make matters worse, dad tries to calm the stress by spending money on his kids and wife. But that only adds to the stress, because every dollar is precious.

Griff, their son, has a tremendous amount of anxiety that goes unexplained throughout the film. One can imagine that much of it is caused by the uncertainty of their family situation, but there could be more to it than that. And their eldest daughter, Kendra, is a rebellious teen who is resentful of the family situation and their move. What’s more, she is a bad influence on her younger sister, Madison, who imitates all of the things she does.

As I mentioned above, it seems that this is a prominent theme in many cases of paranormal activity, and especially in films about “hauntings”. As I sit here reflecting on that, I think that is true even beyond hauntings and other tales dealing with the world of the hereafter. We as people invite the kinds of things we project into this world. What I mean by that is this is that if we are constantly surrounding ourselves with negativity and constantly have a negative outlook, chances are we will be tormented, or “haunted” if you will, by that negative outlook. What’s more, if we allow our faith and our spiritual disicipline erode, we become even more susceptible to succumbing to hopelessness and despair.

Today’s challenge is to be a people of light, a people of joy, and a people of hope. While life in this broken world will present us its challenges, Christ has overcome the world and we can too if we rest our faith and our trust solely in Christ. If we do so, if we move from our fears, our anxieties, our trials, and the negativity we surround ourselves with to FAITH IN CHRIST, we will be set free and rise above the negativity that can seep into our lives. I pray that we all can make the move byond our ghosts to the hopeful light and love of Christ.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King

PRAYER
Lord, I cast all my fears upon you. I give to you the ghosts that haunt me. Fill me with your light so that you, and not my ghosts, will win. Amen.

Believed

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” (Isaiah 66:13)

conjuring2I used to faithfully watch the show, “Ghost Adventures.” The show aired on the Travel Channel, and it followed these three independent paranormal investigators who would lock themselves into a supposedly haunted building and try to agitate any spirits who might be there and waiting. I always found it fascinating because they were exploring the unknown and some of the evidence they would find, so far as I could tell, was quite compelling.

I just recently watched “The Conjuring 2”, which follows Ed and Loraine Warren as they investigate the Enfield House. For those of you not already aware, the Enfield House is one of the most documented “hauntings” ever. Located in the London area, Enfield was called “the Amittyville of England”, because of some similarities between the two cases and also the fact that the two hauntings happened in the late ‘70s, around the same time as each other.

Needless to say, tales about hauntings and possessions have always intrigued me because they seem so out there, and fanciful, that one is left wondering if they are ACTUALLY true. On the other hand, so many people throughout history have had some sort of paranormal experience that there must be some nugget of truth, right? Whether that is right or wrong, these films certainly capture the imaginiation and cause one’s skin to crawl when watching them.

As I was watching the Conjuring 2, I also picked up on something equally as intriguing. The story is about a girl and her family who live in a house that increasingly becomes an inhospitable place to live. To start out, we find out that the dad has bailed on the family and left them to fend for themselves. We don’t ever find out why; however, we see the results of his decision to abandon his family. The mother is left to figure out how to support her children and pay the bills. The daughters are each struggling to deal with the loss of their father.

The youngest daughter, Janet, is being bullied by other kids, who are calling her vulgar names and tormenting her. To add insult to injury, when the haunting begins to take place the mom calls the police come to investigate as she believes someone could be in the house. After witnessing paranormal activity, they report the “haunting” to the media who then interview the family and put it all over the tele (aka TV). Fojllowing that, all of Janet’s remaining friends abandon her, join in making fun of her and/or totally avoid her.

In other words, Janet’s life was HELL! The Catholic Church ended up sending Ed and Lorraine Warren to investigate because they did not want to risk their reputation on a potential hoax. While that is both understandable and a theological travesty at the same time, Ed and Lorraine do show up and they DO believe this girl and her family. That’s enough of the back story without giving anything else away.

The point of this is that, what ultimately ended up bringing healing to this girl and her family was the fact that someone ACTUALLY believed them. Someone took the time to listen to them, empathize with them, and not dismiss what they were going through. There is nothing worse than suffering through something and no one truly caring enough to understand or believe.

The challenge for us all is to be more empathetic and compassionate with others. We should believe them when they say their struggling. Even if it becomes discerned that they are not struggling in the ways they have expressed, it does not mean they are not struggling at all. We never truly know what they are going through and Christ calls us to witness to the compassionate, healing presence of God in the lives of others. We are not their judges, we are their servants. We should be open and willing to be present in the lives of those who are down and out.  We would want no less for ourselves and we should be willing to do to others as we would have them do to us.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”  – Albert Schweitzer

PRAYER
Lord, guide to those who need help and grow a more compassionate and empathetic spirit within me. Amen.

Haunted

Read 1 Samuel 28:7-20

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” (Matthew 4:16, NLT)

Crimson-Peak-photo-600x400As a fan of Gothic Romance, Horror, and Ghost stories, I was super excited to see Guillermo Del Torro’s latest film, “Crimson Peak.” It is a film about an aspiring author falling in love with an obscure Baronet who lives in a remote Gothic mansion in the English hills. Following a very tragic event, Edith marries that Sir Thomas Sharpe (aka the Baronet) and moves with him to his remote mansion and begin a new life with him and his sister, Lady Lucille. While, I am not one to do spoilers, it would hardly spoil the fun of the film by saying that the move to England doesn’t end up as romantic or happily-ever-after as she would’ve hoped. It turns out that the mansion has a long, bloody, and terrible past that is literally haunting Edith at every turn. The ghosts of the past lurk in the halls, the walls and the floor boards of a house that is relentless in bringing the past to life to the horror of everyone involved.

What I loved about this film is that it is a ghost tale of the classic order. It doesn’t set out to give the audience cheap thrills and “gotcha” pop-out scares. While there is a little bit of that, this film seeks to get under one’s skin and haunt them in ways more profound than anything cheap could possibly accomplish. If Edgar Allan Poe were a film writer/director, then this is the film he would have come up with. As a result, I think that this film not only haunts us with the ghosts we see on the screen, but also gives us a glimpse at the ghosts that haunt us from within as well.

Each and everyone of us are haunted by ghosts of one form or the other. Each of us carries around with us things from the past that linger within us and haunt us like spooks in a boarded up abandoned house. Some of us carry around the things we’ve done in the past, similar to what I wrote about regarding skeletons in our closet. For some, there ghosts are there as a reminder of the foul play we’ve participated in. Perhaps we have hurt someone, perhaps we have harbored ill will toward people, perhaps we have harbored grudges, taken part in gossip, slandered those we don’t like, or perhaps we done things that we fear will expose us in ways that will be less than flattering.

On the other hand, many of us carry around ghosts of a different kind. We have endured hurts and been weighed down by the hangups that come from them. Perhaps we’ve been bullied, been abused, been mistreated, been cheated, or been burned in one way or the other. Perhaps we have been the victim of cruelty, victims of a weakened and demoralized self-esteem, victims of hatred and bigotry, or perhaps we have been beaten down by depression and other paralyzing diseases. Whatever we’ve been scarred by, we are haunted by the ghosts that remind us of the thorny and twisted path our lives have been journeying on.

What is important to note is that, whatever our ghosts are, they will not go away until we address the warnings they bear us. If your ghosts are closeted skeletons, address the ills you have done and sincerely reconcile yourself with your past and those you have brought harm to. If your ghosts are the kind that have been brought on by others and/or circumstances, then you need to address the warnings they bring you. Whatever you are demoralized from, whatever is casting a haunting, shadowy stain on your soul, these ghosts are serving to let you know that something is NOT right with how you currently view yourself. You are a beautiful person, a child of God, worthwhile, and valuable. Until you seek help and get past your ghosts, you will continue to head down the corridor of foreboding. I pray that you put your ghosts to rest and step out into the light where you belong.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King

PRAYER
Lord, help me to understand that the ghosts that haunt me are angels warning me that something needs to change. Help me, also to discover what that “something” is, and empower me to change it. Amen.