Halloween is Sunday and our streets will be filled with little ghosts and elves looking for goodies. Ancient spiritual traditions teach that “the sails are thin” now, which essentially means that it is easier for those who have died to return to the land of the living for a visit.
I know a lot of people who have encountered ghosts – and at least as many who are afraid of them. Why? Because television and cinema have convinced us that ghosts are scary!
In the United States, ghosts are among the most well-known paranormal phenomena. Millions of people are interested in ghosts, and thousands read ghost stories every day on sites like Reddit. It’s more than just entertainment – an Ipsos poll reveals that 46% of Americans admit to believing such appearances, while only 7% of those polled said they believe in vampires.
Bryan Garner is an ordained priest of the Johannine Apostolic Church, in addition to being a ceremonial magician. He offers help to others who have experienced paranormal phenomena. Her services have included everything from home blessings, cleanings and ancestral communication to exorcisms. I asked Bryan when he first encountered ghosts and other spirit beings, and what thoughts he might share about such encounters.
Bryan collects: It was very early on that I realized that I had certain experiences that few others seemed to have. I appeared to be someone who had what are commonly referred to as paranormal experiences from a young age.
One of my earliest memories involved talking to a lady who appeared in my closet one day while I was playing. After I ran to tell my mom about her, I was surprised to find that the lady was gone.
Since then, I have developed more of a recognition rather than a belief in ghosts, which has become established after many experiences. I was also not the only one in my family to witness such phenomena. Every member of my immediate family and a childhood friend has experienced classic haunting phenomena several times.
My family and I have encountered them all, from noises and voices to objects moved, seemingly of their own accord, to full appearances. My family and I have speculated as to why such encounters have happened over the years, but in the end, neither of us are sure. While I don’t claim to understand the events or precisely what causes them entirely, I have experienced enough to corroborate what many describe as ghostly phenomena. Feelings, sensations, voices and visual appearances are all experiences that I have encountered periodically throughout my life.
Late fall and especially October is a notorious season for otherworldly phenomena that come to us, mainly from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Later adopted by Christians like All Hallows Eve, the season and the holidays remind us that those who have passed are not really gone. In this context, deceased spirits are honored and invited to re-join in the festivities of life – a celebratory disposition that I have grown to appreciate significantly over the years.
Celebrating our departed loved ones dispels the “fear” of the Hereafter and instead embraces it as an established part of the human experience. In addition, honoring our deceased ancestors and loved ones gives us the opportunity to solemnly recognize those who came before us and those who will come after us.
Always wanted simple answers to tough questions? Isn’t that all of us ?!
In Good Faith answers questions about spirituality, religion and the things that matter to us as human beings. Dr. Ahriana Platten is a speaker, author and business consultant with clergy credentials in several religious traditions. Send your questions to [email protected]