Tonight, Bishop James Long joins me on The Haunted Librarian Show on http://www.midnight.fm. We’ll chat about his most compelling cases and his charity work. Tune in!
For Sale: Modernized Converted Chapel
In the market for a converted chapel? Don’t miss out on this modernized 2,245 square foot 2-story detached home in North Lopham, Norfolk, England. Current price of £490,000 has been slashed nearly £100,000 since listed last April. This 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home features a state-of-the-art kitchen and en suite (master bathroom); oak flooring; underfloor heating on the first (ground) floor; and unobstructed light entering through the wrap-around windows on the second floor. This home is a rare find!
The former Methodist Church was built in 1810 and boasts 36 front yard gravesites, with an additional 14 along the side. The graves date back to the 1870s, when the small cemetery reached capacity. The church closed in 2014 and was sold to a developer in 2016. The building has been completely modernized.
Title excludes the graveyard, which is owned and maintained by the Church of England. Translation: The church will mow the front yard. However, the leasehold is for 999 years. Plan accordingly. Although interest is minimal, someone will snatch a piece of British history at a fantastic price.
Exorcists Needed: Filling the Gap
According to the Catholic Church, nearly 500,000 cases of demonic possession are reported every year in Italy. It is easy to extrapolate that there are more people in need. There is a growing need for professionally trained exorcists, denominational and non-denominational included.
A few years ago, the Catholic Church’s Exorcist Benigno Palilla spoke on the Vatican Radio discussing the Church’s push to train more exorcists. These ordained male priests would train for a minimum of one week. Palilla warned of self-taught exorcists. Therefore, the Church authorized the formation of The International Association of Exorcists (IAE) in 2014. The organization has over 200 members working on 6 continents. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church only assists Catholics.
The International Catholic Association of Exorcists (ICAOE) supports ordained Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox people who are firm in their beliefs and want to combat Satan. The organization formed in 2010. It, too, has over 200 members practicing on 6 continents. Founded by The Most Reverend David Biery, Th.D., the organization has helped over 38,000 people. They live by the motto: “all Catholics are NOT Roman, but all Romans are Catholics.”
Other non-Catholic denominations perform exorcisms. However, this is troublesome, as some feel that anyone can conduct an exorcism without any training. The two aforementioned organizations stress training. The Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus Christ. The Rite of Exorcism is uniquely Catholic. Other religions may perform exorcisms; however, they are not conducting the exorcism in the name of Jesus. Be cautious of any non-Catholic religion/church claiming to perform exorcisms in the name of Jesus but discount the role of the Catholic Church. They do not speak in the name of Jesus. They may cause more harm than good.
Exorcists do not need to be ordained in a religion. Satan works his evil on non-Catholics. Quite a few religions have their form of exorcisms. In fact, an exorcist may not be attached to any church. R.H. Stavis is a female non-denominational exorcist. Read the review of her book at https://thehauntedlibrarian.com/2018/02/13/sister-of-darkness-the-chronicles-of-a-modern-exorcist/. Stavis is an example of a Spiritual person who has been called to God’s work.
Exorcists seem to be everywhere in the media. The hit show Supernatural may encourage someone to take up arms. But they should not. Religious affiliation is not mandatory. Experience is.
Reports Commissioned by Major Christian Churches Support the Paranormal
Several denominations of Christian churches have continuously commissioned reports seeking to reconcile people’s belief in the paranormal and Christian teachings. The studies were conducted by the major denominations—not the “Prosperity Christian” churches that do not report to a higher governing body. (Note: That right there should be cause for concern; however, that discussion can be for another blog.) Some Christian churches enjoy diminishing the role of the paranormal. Further, some sects outright condemn it, which is quite ironic since the Bible fully supports the paranormal.
Paranormal experiences have always existed. Always. The 1st recorded experience occurred in the 1st century B.C. Athenodorus, ancient philosopher, rid a house of a pesky ghost.
Likewise, the Bible is full of paranormal episodes. The most simplistic is this: Jesus performed miracles, miracles are acts of the unknown, unknown events are paranormal; therefore, those miracles are paranormal events. But there are other examples. Angels and demons are discussed at length in the Bible. There are several accounts of people seeing ghosts—most notably a dead Jesus. Here’s a link to a site that has the events organized by book: https://verticallivingministries.com/2013/06/18/chart-of-all-the-supernatural-events-recorded-in-the-bible/.
A follower of Christ cannot condemn the paranormal while praising Jesus. Healing is a paranormal activity. There are three examples of healing: Spiritual, Faith, and Psychic. They are not isolated categories and often overlap.
- Spiritual: Basically, one asks the Lord for help.
- Faith: Healers ask the Lord for help on behalf of someone. In order for the healer to be effective, both the healer and the one seeking healing must believe that the healer possesses the power to heal.
- Psychic: The healer is not necessarily associated with the church; however, s/he possesses the power to heal. Mediums fall into this category.
All three types are paranormal events. Again, if a church offers healing, for example laying on hands, then that church supports the paranormal.
The problem is not the paranormal community but rather these denominations. They fear monger in order to build up their coffers without acknowledging they actually believe. They fear losing congregants so they cast out the paranormal believer. They don’t fear the unknown; they fear the empty pews. When churches embrace this belief their membership will increase.
Up through the late 70s, major Christian churches did not have a problem with the paranormal. Benedict XIV heavily researched the paranormal. He felt that “prophecy … can occur among people who are not saints and who need not even be particularly good.” The Anglican Church appointed a commission in 1937, which was finalized in 1939. The report was never officially published; however, portions have been published. One part notes that people do recognize and feel the recently deceased. Further, this feeling should not be dismissed but embraced so long as it does not “distract Christians.” Finally, the report states that the Church should interact with “intelligent Spiritualists.”
In 1976, The United Presbyterian Church of the USA commissioned its own report. Findings were that parishioners’ interest in the paranormal was because the Church failed to effectively teach psychic matters. Not surprising, a few members strongly stated that individuals should not practice on his/her own.
The most supportive results came from the Church of Scotland where in 1922 members sought to understand paranormal phenomena. They found that although consistent scientific proof did not exist, it did not rule out the existence of paranormal activity. Specifically, the church stated that pastors used healing through ESP (Psi) with congregants. Further, the prayers and the answers were evidence of paranormal phenomena.
Churches should not cast out believers. Instead, they should support these people and provide accurate teachings on how the Bible does support paranormal phenomena. Simply put: If you pray for healing, you’re praying for a paranormal event. Period.
Photograph: Mysterious abandoned ghost church in Czech Republic. The “ghosts” are plaster. Read about the church here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/haunted-ghost-church-kostel-svateho-jiri.
Because I Believe
This past week I was approached and asked how a Christian could write a blog about the paranormal. Simply stated: How can I claim to be a “Christian” when I blog as The Haunted Librarian? Anyone who has read and studied the Bible knows of the vast array of paranormal activities it illustrates.
The “paranormal” is the unknown. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the paranormal is an adjective “designating or of psychic or mental phenomena outside the range of normal.” The paranormal is comprised of ghosts, miracles, angels, U.F.O.s, and the like. Anything that cannot be logically or scientifically explained falls into this category.
Initially, I was drawn aback by this question/accusation. My first thought was “What is the ulterior motive?” Unfortunately, I am skeptical about the honesty and intentions related to this question. Why is anyone interested in my blog as it relates to my personal life? However, I decided this would make an excellent topic for a blog posting.
I was stumped as to how this person or any person defines the word “Christian.” Webster’s defines Christian as “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ, or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” I am a practicing Episcopalian. The Holy Trinity is a Christian doctrine acknowledging that God appears in three forms: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. See there? That word “ghost” means spirit—as in dead. If you speak to Jesus, who is dead, then you are speaking to a ghost. Moreover, The Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is God at work in the world, who leads me toward truth in Jesus and is an important part in my life.
The Christian population is large—very large. Worldwide, there are 2.2 billion Christians (http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/religions/christians). There are three main groups within Christianity: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant. In addition there are three additional ecclesiastical blocs. In total, there are over 33,000 denominations. Yes, recent statistics state over thirty-three thousand denominations. That’s a lot of people with a lot of beliefs!
My blog is one avenue I use as a personal release to share my feelings toward experiences that are not “of this world,” and this includes spirits, angels, and also some topics that are based on assessing the experiences that others share. Some of this material that may not fall into what everyone considers the “angel” category. Furthermore, a lot of my writing focuses on exposing people who exploit the vulnerability of one’s spirit. As my sub-heading states: I research, investigate, and write about all things paranormal. If you don’t like it, don’t follow my blog. If you want to use my blog to judge me, then you are severely misinformed and misguided. You are not my judge—only God is.
Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone. (John 8.7)
I’m a Believer
Recently I was interviewed on Paranormal I-Con (weekly radio show on www.liveparanormal.com) and was asked about my belief system. Short answer: I’m a believer. Now for the long answer.
I’ve always believed in the paranormal and supernatural. Further, I’ve never doubted the existence of a God. For me the two go hand-in-hand. “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” (Nicene Creed). I truly mean it and I’m not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of Americans believe in God. That’s 9 out of 10 adults, an impressive number even though that number is slowly declining from the 98% from 1953-1967. Specifically, 78% of adults in the United States identify themselves as “Christian.” I’m included in this number. Although raised Catholic, I identify myself as an Episcopalian. During the 1950s, nearly every American identified themselves with some form of organized religion (Gallup Poll, 2011). That number has dramatically shifted. Now 1 in 10, 10%, of those polled are not affiliated with an organized religious group.
Now for the ghosts: Almost half of all adult Americans believe in ghosts (CBS News Study 2009). More women (56%) believe than men (48%). While the skeptics rise up and proclaim the need for evidence, most believers have not had a paranormal experience (77%). They just believe, as do I. Even though researchers speculate the reasons for why people blindly believe (most notably as a calming mechanism in a chaotic world), my reason is simple: Why would God place people only on earth? And if there is a Heaven, why can’t spirits travel between the veils? I don’t require proof to believe. I believe in order to search for proof.
Antonio de Sedella (1748-1829) led the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, commonly known as the St. Louis Cathedral, in New Orleans during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Affectionately called “Pere Antoine,” his ghost is said to haunt the side alleyway beside the church. Further, he was a confidant of the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Three days after his death, Pere Antoine was buried beneath the church he loved so much.
Tucked behind the St. Louis Cathedral is the secluded garden St. Anthony’s Garden dedicated in honor of Pere Antoine. Within the walls stands a statue of Jesus with outstretched arms. At night, the lights illuminate the statue and it appears larger than life against the back wall of the church. It is simply stunning.
Hurricane Katrina knocked the thumbs off of the statue. It is reported that the Diocese will fix the statue once New Orleans is fully healed from the Category 5 hurricane’s destruction.
Observations: We visited the area during the day and on several evenings. It is difficult to bypass the splendor when walking the French Quarter. Orbs of various sizes were captured in numerous photographs. The Ghost Radar picked up many words. Although none of the group witnessed any abnormal anomalies beyond the orbs, the picturesque landscape sparks the imagination. I would love to return and complete a full investigation.
St. Louis Cathedral
Tucked between the Presbytere and the Cabildo, the St. Louis Cathedral overlooks Jackson Square. And it truly is the heart of Old New Orleans.
History: This church was established as a parish in 1720. Starting in 1727, parishioners have celebrated life and death here. Originally built in the construction style of “brick between posts” (briquete entre poteaux), the church stood for 60 years before a fire consumed the main building in 1788. A second church was built and opened in December, 1794.
Observations: We visited the cathedral several times during this trip. Often compared (unfairly I would add) to its European counterparts, the St. Louis Cathedral beckons to an earlier time. Let’s face it: This church is old. The last major renovation was in 1849. However, it is stunning. Upon entering the church, visitors are welcomed by a serene calm. And the feeling is more powerful at night. Although we did not detect any paranormal activities within the building, there was activity outside. Stay tuned for the next installment.