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[adapted from Michael H. Brown's The Spirits Around Us]

There is little doubt that spirits -- whether demonic, or earthbound -- can infest people and rooms and homes. They come with things we do. They come with things we own.

The accounts are endless. Both Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine spoke of them.

Scripture shows us many examples (see Jesus' deliverance-healings) of personal spiritual infestation.

But what about entire communities?

In Florida near Orlando on Interstate Four (I-4) at the St. John’s River is a stretch where police say there is a mysterious frequency of serious car crashes and reports that this highway was built over an old grave. Some report spotting "smoke" or even apparitions. A television station in Orlando says the road where most crashes occur cradles the graves of a family of four dating back to the 1880s and a place once called St. Joseph Catholic Colony.

Known as the "I-4 Dead Zone," one newspaper described it as a "small stretch" where "hundreds of people have been killed or injured in crashes." Since 1963, said the station, 2,000 accidents have been reported there – a phenomenal number. It is also near a swath of trees bent over when the eyes of three hurricanes passed over the region in 2004, and is also in the path on occasion of tornadoes (as is an eerie part of Xenia, Ohio). I myself have seen incredible displays of lightning in this vicinity. [See photo here.]

Notes a website: "As soon as the building began over the graves, things started to happen. Hurricane Donna, known as one of the worst hurricanes in Central Florida, eerily made its way right over the site of the graves with the eye of the hurricane sitting above the new construction site of I-4. This could just be a coincidence, but what was weird was how the hurricane got there. It started out breaking land from the Atlantic Ocean in South Florida. It then moved across the state completely to the Gulf of Mexico, but then it moved back onto land and started moving up the newly made I-4. Hurricane Donna’s eye lay over the graves at around midnight after its second landfall. It was several months before construction of I-4 could continue due to the extreme damage of Hurricane Donna, which made people think it was the dead fighting back from their resting place. Ever since the highway was completed, people have reported seeing 'ghosts' along the highway, ghost hitch-hikers in their cars, phantom trucks, and orbs crossing the highway. Some people say that when they are on their cell phones in this spot that weird unrecognizable voices will come on the line interrupting their conversations. Radio stations have been known to go from a perfectly clear signal to static and sometimes even eerie voices will be heard over the radio speaker. Some of those who lived through their accident claimed they swerved to not hit the family of four crossing the street. Others say they hit a few people. However no people or bodies were ever found.”

Superstition? Is it all due to a small grave? Perhaps. Prayers need to be said, for sure. Is there something more? Consider that the area is also known for old Indian burial graves, and old Indian sites are notorious for drawing “spirits.” We find this across America. The I-4 zone is next to Lake Monroe and in a secluded area nearby is an old Seminole burial mound.

So prevalent were Seminoles that the county’s named for them.  

About ten miles from there is Cassadaga – a hamlet inhabited by mediums, psychics, and fortune-tellers known as “spiritualists.” Séances are constantly held, and each Halloween, visitors can sit on the devil’s chair (or “Seat of Satan”) – a bench near a cemetery where any request to the devil is (supposedly) answered.

It is interesting that Cassadaga was founded by spiritualists who have a similar village in Western New York that’s also Indian territory and also known for strong thunderstorms. Legend has it the mediums at this place, which is called Lily Dale, were directed by an Indian spirit to start Cassadaga as a winter haven.

Just to the west of Cassadaga are Orlando and its famous attractions, now including a theme park dedicated to Harry Potter!

We thus see how things weave in and out – and how spiritual energies attract, enhance, and accumulate. Other mounds can be found near Savannah, Georgia, which has a history of piracy and voodoo and is reckoned by many to be the most "haunted" city in the U.S. (if not Savannah, then New Orleans, which also is known for voodoo and which was struck, of course, by that great hurricane called "Katrina," which means “purification”). The voodoo was imported from Haiti, which as well all know is also disaster-prone. Meanwhile, the Indian name "Xenia" means "place of the evil wind." We talk about such matters at the retreats.

The upshot?

Even evil over a wide area can be dispelled by prayer in the Name of Jesus.

Sprinkle a little blessed salt around your community. Focus on the parts of town that are crime-prone or home to tattoo parlors and strip clubs or fortunetellers.

Bless yourself always as you pass through such an 'area' and don't forget the power of fasting (for protection, especially in these times); and regularly use Holy Water, not just in your home, but in your car.

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[resources: The Spirits Around Us and Retreat in Cleveland, November 6]

[see also: Family flees 'haunted' house]

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