posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 12:17 AM
I am new to this discussion board, and hope to eventually put my experiences in a blog when I have made enough posts to be given one.
I am an ordained minister in a “main-line” denomination in the central US. I attended seminary, and have two advanced degrees in ministry. I have
been serving medium-sized congregations continuously for the last 8 years or so.
I know that many members of this forum subscribe to other belief systems than mine, or perhaps none at all. So I will stay away from theological
debate, and focus on the experiential side of what I have seen. I understand that many will find alternate explanations for phenomena that I
describe. I believe that these kinds of events can only be approached with a great deal of honest skepticism, and refusal to reach conclusions.
That said, I think I must give some background. My denomination is middle-of-the-road liberal. They worship with a formal liturgy and de-emphasize
displays of emotion during worship. The denomination has no stance on the physical reality of demons; most of my superiors don’t believe in them. I
suspect they view my occasional interventions as a useful placebo. I was trained in scientific disciplines, and believe in Occam’s razor, that the
simplest answer is usually the best.
I have performed on average 1 exorcism or banishing per year since I have been in the ministry. My own rules are as follows:
(1) The person seeking relief must ask for this help without coercion from anyone else.
(2) All other logical remedies have already been tried, to the limits that are feasible.
(3) After an in-depth interview, I must be convinced that the persons affected are genuinely distressed, and not merely thrill-seekers, or neurotic.
They must have medical/psychiatric care for any problems of interest to specialists in those fields, as well as ongoing pastoral counsel.
(4) Confrontation of all kinds is best avoided.
The single most frequent request I have is for help in getting rid of a ghost or poltergeist. I rarely intervene personally in these situations, but
following rule #4, instruct the client to take care of things themselves. Genuine hauntings are deeply distressing, particularly when children are
present. It’s like having emotionally unstable strangers enter your home and interact with your children. The first thing to do is choose a time
during the day when things have been quiet, and no skeptics or “ghostbusters” are present. Then you just walk through the rooms, repeating this
formula: “You’re not supposed to be here. You have died, and it’s time for you to go to where people go when they die. This is the land of the
living and you have no place here. You won’t be happy until you go home and be with Jesus. Go home to God now.” In my experience, 9 out of 10
hauntings end right there. It is my personal belief that most ghosts don’t even realize they are dead. There has been a spate of movies lately,
along this same line: The Others, 6th Sense are two excellent examples.
I have probably done 4 or 5 exorcisms that were problematic; the entity enjoyed bothering people, and seemed to feed off of fear. In those cases, I
get out my Bible, robe and stole, candles, oil, etc., and celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the place where the problem is strongest. Here is one from
memory. I have changed enough that the family cannot be identified. I am certain that they would recognize themselves, as would their neighbors:
A non-churchmember was referred to me by a friend. The man’s home saw classic poltergeist activity. Popping noises coming “in threes” from a wooden
mantle. Lights blinking on and off when certain topics were discussed, but the problem could not be located. Children’s parties and sleepovers were
held away from the home, in embarrassment over “what would the neighbors think?” A hallway smoke alarm sounded whenever the lights in one bedroom
were turned on! Jar and bottle lids came unscrewed by themselves at night, in the pantry. More disturbingly, the heating units were replaced after
the heating elements caught fire (3 in one season), as well as air conditioning units that had compressors go bad repeatedly. Multiple technicians
were hired, but the problem was never localized.
The family followed my instructions, and the phenomena only intensified. I came over and prayed through each room in the house, reading several of
the Psalms aloud, while the father held the Bible in front of me. We sprinkled chrism on every door-jamb and window, as well as each air vent. The
air felt thick, like a wool blanket. My throat was sore from straining, but my words seem muffled, as if I spoke them into a pillow. In the
‘reck-room,’ the Bible kept “jumping” out of his hands. I then held it myself with one hand, while anointing the window sills with the other, and
dropped the Bible several times myself. I then celebrated communion, and the man of the house shared with me. It seemed that as I said the Words of
Institution, they sort of echoed through the house in a really loud way. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see bright blue light. I also noticed
that there were ripples in the communion chalice—of course I was holding it in my hand, and might have just been shaking from nervousness. But the
couple both saw it as well.
Now, what was all this? Bad wiring and suggestible people? Possibly. He and I were both extremely nervous, and might have just dropped the Bible
out of fright. My echoing words were a subjective experience. On the other hand, the phenomena stopped the instant I blessed the bread and cup, and
never returned. The family lived in the house for 3 more years, and never had another such problem. (Though the house has been on the market for
almost 2 years now.) Even if it was all in our imaginations, the family did get relief from the exercise. It was one of those things where you walk
away never really certain of anything, other than that there was something . . .
I had planned to post several experiences, but I think they’d fill a book, and be tedious as well. I’m anxious to hear from one and all, skeptics and
occultists all, as to your opinions about such things.
I'll post more experiences on this thread if there is interest.