Ransomed from Darkness, by Moira Noonan, a highly readable, crucial book on the dangers of the occult and New Age and how they negatively ensnare us, by a former insider who spent more than twenty years practicing many forms of the occult, but has returned to the Catholic Church with a warning that those same  forces of the occult that ensnared her are now ensnaring element of the Church itself! CLICK HERE



It's a chore, in the flurry of phenomena of our time, to discern what's real spiritual phenomena and -- if it is real phenomena -- whether it comes from light or dark.

Much of it seems real (there's just too much reported, by reliable witnesses), but the source remains questionable.

That's particularly true, as we have often discussed, of "orbs" -- those strange lights that are photographed so often. Cell-phone (digital) cameras have caused an explosion of them. Some seem like the result of specks of dust (or droplets of moisture). Others seem to turn up at very odd times in perplexing numbers and there are cases where figures or faces seem discernible in them. ("True orbs are colored in the 'cool' end of the spectrum, namely white, blue, or green," says one website. "Any orb activity that shows up as red, orange, or yellow is typical of dust or light refraction.) 

For our discernment.

And also our caution.

Does summer bring this out?

Some might call it the "silly season" (as they say in Ireland). Others may view it as that time of year when we have time to contemplate it. What about [below] photos taken just minutes apart -- one showing a statue in the daylight (which it was), the other inexplicably dark (with orbs)? Some say orbs are angels. Some souls of the departed.


Also an explosion here. We see even videos taken by security cameras of strange full-bodied luminous "apparitions" or objects flying, during the night, when no one is there, from a store shelf at a Texas mall. (Or a supermarket.)

Real caution is in order (it's not wise to delve deeply into such cases, unless it is to purge them), and a conundrum also holds true for the phenomenon of the "vanishing hitch-hiker" whereby a ghostly person or mysterious stranger is seen by the side of the road or even picked up by a passerby only to vanish in the backseat of the car. There have been whispy night-time female apparitions (near the site of accidents) and other cases that seem like actual humans in broad daylight -- so many of these reported that a Buffalo professor even did a study of them. They have been claimed for decades across America -- New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, Maryland, in Ohio, in West Virginia [whew! let us know of any accounts]. During the 1960s, hitchhikers were being reported all the way down to Brazil. Went one story: A minister was motoring down a road to make a sick call when he spotted a young male on a stretch of uninhabited land. He picked up the man and they began to speak of Jesus. The preacher said he believed the Lord's coming was drawing near. "Well, that may be sooner than you think," the stranger replied. And when the minister turned to look, the young man was gone. On the New York State Thruway have been similar accounts of a "beautiful young hippie" clad in shining white who supposedly would enter a car, buckle his seat belt in the back seat, and talk about religion. Mainly he seemed to want to know if the driver believed in the Second Coming. When drivers turned around to answer him, the hitchhiker had vanished -- leaving his seatbelt fastened.

As we once asked: real phenomena -- real angels -- or false prophecy? The first proper study of vanishing hitchhiker lore was undertaken in 1942-3 by American folklorists Richard Beardsley and Rosalie Hankey, who collected as many accounts as they could and attempted to analyze them, we see in Wikipedia. The Beardsley-Hankey survey elicited 79 written accounts of encounters with vanishing hitchhikers, drawn from across the U.S. (sixteen states). They found "four distinctly different versions, distinguishable because of obvious differences in development and essence":

Stories where the hitch-hiker gives an address through which the motorist learns he has just given a lift to a ghost. Stories where the hitch-hiker is an old woman who prophesied disaster or the end of World War II. (Chicago seems to have been a hotspot.) And there allegedly was a hitch-hiker who correctly predicted a calamity at the World's Fair. Beardsley and Hankey were particularly interested to note one instance in Kingston, New York, 1941, in which the vanishing hitchhiker was subsequently identified as the late Mother Cabrini.

Along Highway 48 in South Carolina, a vanishing hitchhiker allegedly has been seen by concerned motorists who claim to have spotted a young girl carrying a suitcase walking along the road. They stop and offer a ride and she tells the driver that she is going to visit her sick mother in Columbia and gives an address there. She vanishes at the outskirts of the city. A couple who picked her up went to the address and described the girl to a man who lived there. He said that it was his sister and that she was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking to visit their sick mother. This happened to several independent witnesses over a three-year period in the 1950ís (or so it is said).

Real? Or simple folklore? (Urban legends?)

Tough to tell. Pray for souls in purgatory. There are many strange sightings. In West Virginia, there is "mothman" (a "creature" that looked human but with fiery red eyes -- which did not exactly sound to us like an animal, which is what the media surmised). There's a road in New Jersey where all kinds of eerie phenomena are found. It is summer, which seems like a time to discuss such "silly" things (occult watch here), and, again, the strangeness of the world.

[resources: The Trumpet of Gabriel, afterlife books, spiritual warfare books]

[see also: true orbs? and prairie ghosts]

Michael H. Brown retreats: Chicago and New Jersey]

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[Photos of 'Risen Christ' were taken minutes apart: see here]

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