Yesterday, my husband told me how afraid he is that we are summoning demons or negative spirits during our investigations. I wish I had a better answer for this particular concern; admitting, as I have done, that I don’t really know who or what I am communicating with opens up a Pandora’s Box of potential moral and ethical issues. Perhaps the answer lies in the conviction that we are attempting to answer a question and hoping to collect enough data to point us in the right direction. Although I hesitate to compare myself to a scientist, I at least attempt to employ the scientific method when conducting an EVP or ITC session. I am not a scientist because I cannot strictly control my environment to simulate laboratory conditions, and also because I rely on “unscientific” tools to understand a spiritual realm: my intuition, my emotions and my instincts. Of course, simply investigating a “spiritual realm” places me squarely outside of mainstream science, a fact that I accept as not implying that I cannot access the truth.
That, I think, is the point: we are engaged in a search for the truth, which involves an uncomfortable relationship between religion and ‘soft’ science. Religion, at least Christian/Catholic in focus, will not accept “ghost hunting” as a legitimate pursuit; however, even that assertion is debatable. There are “Christian ghost hunters” who can, quite well I believe, defend the existence of the spiritual realm here on earth. If you are a literalist and read the Bible as the exact Word of God, you truly cannot defend paranormal investigations. If Hell is a reality for you and not a spiritual state of disconnection from God, then you can’t hunt ghosts. So much depends upon how one interprets the Bible; if all of the Bible’s rules apply to you, you had better not eat shellfish or lie with a menstruating woman.
For me, investigations into the spiritual realm have refined and transformed my relationships and friendships. I feel more connected to life in all of its manifestations, more open to the possibilities of spirit, more aware of my surroundings, and closer to God. There is more peace in my heart than ever before. The results of sitting in the dark for hours on end and honing in on subtle energies have been positive and life-affirming, revealing truths that have only benefitted my relationships. I asked God awhile back if He was OK with my pursuit of spiritual truths in this particular fashion; although I certainly can’t prove that I received an answer, I believe that I did—“permission granted, but be very careful and always understand your motivations”.
Taking care means not investigating buildings where someone was worshipping or conjuring negative and destructive forces, or where there is any hint of demonic activity. Yes, I do believe in the existence of evil, however one wishes to name it. Evil can be severe mistreatment of patients in a mental hospital, or the residue of domestic violence and abuse, or the rampant desire for personal power. Evil may or may not take on a recognizable form; in that sense, we might occasionally contact an “unclean spirit,” and what is required in that case is DISCERNMENT. This is what I found in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“Discernment of spirits” is the term given to the judgment whereby to determine from what spirit the impulses of the soul emanate, and it is easy to understand the importance of this judgment both for self-direction and the direction of others. Now this judgment may be formed in two ways. In the first case the discernment is made by means of an intuitive light which infallibly discovers the quality of the movement; it is then a gift of God, a grace gratis data, vouchsafed mainly for the benefit of our neighbor (1 Corinthians 12:10). This charisma or gift was granted in the early Church and in the course of the lives of the saints as, for example, St. Philip Neri. Second, discernment of spirits may be obtained through study and reflection. It is then an acquired human knowledge, more or less perfect, but very useful in the direction of souls. It is procured, always, of course, with the assistance of grace, by the reading of the Holy Bible, of works on theology and asceticism, of autobiographies, and the correspondence of the most distinguished ascetics. The necessity of self-direction and of directing others, when one had charge of souls, produced documents, preserved in spiritual libraries, from the perusal of which one may see that the discernment of spirits is a science that has always flourished in the Church.
The Bible could not predict that ghost hunters would become involved in tracking souls; and, of course, the Bible cannot specifically comment on ITC and EVP sessions; I take the above quote to mean that there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking to understand the realm of spirits as long as true discernment is involved. If you conduct paranormal investigations with the intent to “self-direct or direct others” towards moral ends, then you are protected from the creatures of the night that seek to hurt or destroy the sacredness of life. Again, it involves your intentions. Such investigations into spirit should never be conducted as pure entertainment for you, since surely something will come along to fulfill that desire, and that ‘something’ is not to be trusted. If you join an investigation as part of your evolution towards God, then I can find no evidence that you will be punished for such an undertaking.
I don’t know if the specific methods of ‘ghost hunting’ are sanctioned or not; I do not participate in séances or consult mediums, not because there is something inherently wrong with such activities, but because I am not sure of other’s intentions. I can only know my own; if others are involving me in a quest to speak to those who have passed into spirit, how can I be sure of their motivational purity? If I can’t know the content of someone’s heart and soul, I cannot allow them to serve as my guide to the spirit realm.
As an individual quest, paranormal investigations can either take you to the Light or drag you into the shadows. I have watched both extremes play out in the lives of investigators. The vigilance must be constant and always based on your faith and sincere desire for knowledge. If you are looking for profit, for self aggrandizement, or to gain control over others, you don’t need to go looking for the dark side—it has already found you.
—Kirsten A. Thorne