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What are Ghosts?

'Ghosts' fascinated me as a child — perhaps through the mysteriousness of the subject. A well-illustrated encyclopaedia of ghosts developed my curiosity, in contrast to the ghost literature stories which I found tedious. Perhaps what I had read, combined with my imagination, helped foster a hatred of the dark at home.

By my teens, however, I eventually reasoned that ghosts were more likely to be a human invention: I would not fear the dark and I would need to see a ghost before I would ever believe in their existence.

Two incidents remained puzzling though. When I was six years old, not long after my grandfather died, and as I read in a chair in the lounge, I heard hoarse insistent breathing behind me. Nothing was visible, and I found it strange that my parents, in the same room, did not notice. On the day my uncle died when I was 19, I perceived a strange presence in my bedroom. The atmosphere was hostile and unpleasant, and although I couldn't see anything, it were as though something watched me from one corner of the room. These incidents I left to reside at the back of my mind.

Disturbing YouTube video

Several years after I became a Christian, my parents were not happy with my choice of future wife, which created some family relationship tension. I also learned that a grandparent had once taken the children to a Spiritualist Church meeting. Additionally, my father's best friend's mother, whom he had lodged with for years, was a Spiritualist Church medium.

One evening, the silhouette of a person appeared at the window blinds and glided past the window. I thought there must be car headlights outside to create the silhouette, but there was no light outside at all. Around this time, I noticed that peculiar 'wavy lines of light' were often visible outside the house at night.

When lying in bed one night, a 'white light' descended downwards across my closed eyelids. I thought nothing much more about it and went to sleep. The following night, the same thing happened and I felt uneasy. I uttered an 'experimental' prayer — I prayed that whatever this was I didn't like and I asked in Jesus' name that it should go. To my utter surprise, the light went upwards over my closed eyelids and disappeared. I now began to believe that the battle was spiritual.

At about this time, I seemed to be saying under my breath a 'spiritual tongue' — as described in the apostle Paul's writings in the New Testament. A 'tongue' is a gift of God's Holy Spirit. It may be a word or sentence in another language such as German or Swahili, or even in an unknown language. The phrase I seemed to be uttering was "Shalom saa-baal-ah kor-rah".

Just before making a trip to Paris in February 1997, I went to bed as normal and turned off the light. Suddenly in front of me, in the centre of the now familiar wavy trails of light, was a bright white slender silhouette of a person.

ghost drawing
The 'ghost' from a sketch at the time. It exhibits curious similarities to the famous 'ghost' photograph of Raynham Hall.

Similar Internet images:
Flickr | car 1 | car 2

Terror and hatred gripped me simultaneously while looking at this 'ghost'. I was definitely not asleep, nor was this any trick of my mind. 17 years later, the memory of the image and emotions can still fill me with dread. I put my face in my pillow and felt as if I were going to be sick. Instead, seemingly involuntarily, the words "Shalom saa-baal-ah kor-rah" rose up from my stomach and I audibly uttered them. The entity receded. Shaken, I felt confused. On whose spiritual side was I? After a few minutes I gathered my thoughts and concluded that this 'ghost' was in fact a demon or 'unclean spirit', as described in The Bible. Nevertheless, I never expected any demon to appear in a glowing white form. In hindsight, the terror and confusion that I felt is a product of Satan's spiritual kingdom, and The Bible states that 'For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.' (2 Corinthians 11:14).

But this isn't quite the end of just another 'ghost story'. My osteopath, Keren, a Christian, was intrigued with my account. I knew that the word at the start of the phrase, 'shalom', means peace in Hebrew. When Keren heard the phrase that I had spoken, she asked me to repeat it. Keren is married to an Israeli, has spent much time living in Israel, and speaks fluent Hebrew. After I repeated the phrase several times, Keren interpreted the words from Hebrew as "Peace, for the Lord has written". Peace is not something associated with evil but is a feature of God's spiritual kingdom. This was an amazing interpretation of a spiritual tongue.

Many sincere accounts of 'ghosts' are likely to be either demons or angels. Even some 'alien visitations' have the hallmarks of demonic encounters. Mediums of the Spiritualist Church, if they make contact with anything at all, make contact with spiritual beings (almost inevitably demons), and not deceased souls of the living. The occult thread in my family most likely emanates from dabbling in the Spiritualist Church (which, as 'divination', is expressively forbidden in The Bible.)

Another example of the occult and the spiritual realm occurred when a curious group of school children experimented with a ouija board. The children made contact with a spirit, and in their curiosity asked the spirit when one of their teachers would die. The spirit answered that this teacher was already dead, and gave the date of death — in the past. Horrified, the children asked their teachers about the date, and later found that this was the day on which the teacher concerned had become a Christian. Becoming a committed Christian is death to the old life and birth of a new life. Some changes in a Christian's life may take years to become apparent, but the act of becoming a Christian is instantaneous in the spiritual realm.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.