Spirit Daily


You May Seem Like Old Fogy, But Please Stop Kids From Playing Occult Games

By Michael H. Brown

We all have experiences with evil. It comes in many forms. There are times when it arrives through other people. There are times when it is very hidden. There are times when it is patient and refined.

It seems most clandestine when it comes through games played by our children. These days are computer and TV past-times that seem to lure slowly, in a very progressive, nearly undetectable way. But you can usually sense a jangled presence of darkness, especially when something becomes obsessive. The devil is the prince not only of darkness, but of addiction.

And so we must be on the watch when games take an unusual hold and create a compulsion that seems darkly anointed. Perhaps the word is "spellbinding." The presence of evil is usually marked by tension.

Of course, one is made to feel "out of it" by bringing up such subjects and for objecting to anything that is fun and popular -- as most of these games are. But the fact is that when we brush up against the occult, it rubs off, whether or not we notice, and whether or not we want to believe it. In years past, many pooh-poohed the dangers of the Ouija board, until it was implicated in the famous case of exorcism on which the movie was based.

Easy to discern was "Dungeons and Dragons." That infamous card game had actual rituals taken from real satanists and witches (according to reports) while from what we are told a subsequent card "game" called "Magic: The Gathering" had the players making invocations to named demons. It was said that designers for the games' creators actually consulted occultists, and this is not necessarily because they were intentionally trying to spring evil upon us. They probably thought it was just a bunch of superstition and that adopting it would be harmless.

To a far more hidden degree was the strange power evoked by the cute, innocent-looking "monsters" in a card game that can be linked to Eastern occultism (Shintoism), along with mind-reading, the casting of "negative energy," and hypnotism.

Put that in your pocket and let it loose when you need it!

The maker of those trading cards was a Seattle-based company, Wizards of the Coast, which also owned "Dungeons and Dragons" and was creator of "Magic: The Gathering," played by an estimated six million people. Many teens and pre-teens became learned in the art of casting spells and summoning spirits. Should we object and act like old fogies about that?

We went through this recently with a new online game called "Runescape." We looked to see if there was anything about a connection to the occult and grilled our kids about the presence in this computerized adventure of anything dark. We wanted to know if there was a wizard or witch in the mix. At first, an internet search turned up nothing. When our children did not come across any sort of overt occultism, we let them play.

But there was a growing tension. The peer pressure was enormous.  It was the rage at school. We started to see the obsession. Every kid was playing it, often with friends on line, or while they were on the phone. School kids. Neighborhood friends. They were all playing to a degree that soon turned fanatical, and this is always a key in discernment. An aura, a "spell," had been created around the game, and the kids became greatly upset when they couldn't play it or when things went slowly with the computer, or if their computer time was simply limited. Here was a game with real charisma!

You need go no farther than the dictionary. It tells us that a rune is a "mystery" or "secret" attached to "magic." Unfortunately, there is no such thing as "white" and "black" magic. Magic is magic and it is not of the Holy Spirit. Yet it was becoming increasingly clear that "Runescape" was steeped in this wrong form of mysticism.

We immediately and completely took our kids away from this "game" when we found out that they were approaching a level when in fact wizard and witches casting spells come onto the scene. The figures and landscape in Runescape were dark, we came to see; there is an encounter with a demon (who goes by a name); and you progress when you cast spells on other players and either kill witches or serve them. There are spells that "curse," spells that "enchant," spells that sap your energy.

There are the various "quests." As one set of directions says, "Reward: 1 quest point, 375 magic experience. Instructions: Go to the Port Sarim Magic Shop and buy an Eye of Newt for 3 coins. Now head northwest and you will get to a chicken farm. Kill a chicken and pick up a piece of meat. Follow the path southwest and you should come to a field on the west. Pick an onion. Head south into Rimmington. Talk to [witch] Hetty in the southeastern most building. She will tell you to get some ingredients for a potion.

"Go to the building just east of Hetty's house and kill a rat (level 2). It should drop a rat's tail. If you haven't started the quest then it won't drop it. Don't worry if your cooking level is too high not to burn meat. Go to the house north of Hetty's and cook the meat on the range. If you don't burn it, use the cooked meat on the range and that will burn it. Return to Hetty with those four ingredients:

"Eye of Newt
"Rat's Tail
"Burnt Meat

"She will tell you to drink from the cauldron. Right click on the cauldron in her house and click 'drink from cauldron.' The quest is now finished."

That's what I found when I looked into the game before our kids got quite to such a point. We thank God for the warning. The quest was ended and so was their involvement with this "game." It may seem old-fashioned -- or even paranoid ("it's just entertainment," is the modern repost) -- but the occult in any form is unwelcome, in the extreme, where we live.

This is my opinion. I can't state here that "Runescape" or anything else is intentionally evil. You wonder sometimes if the creators simply didn't believe in the real power of witchcraft and so saw no harm in imitating it.

But harm there is. The forces of evil respond to invocations. Those who are sensitive can feel it. It is a time of great deception, and the creators of such games -- like the creators of songs, like the creators of movies -- can also be ensnared as they ensnare others. One has to wonder, with how captivating these games are, however, if in some cases there are not real spells to begin with.

The fruits? Potential future proclivities to the occult, to which they have been acclimated, and attachment of spirits during the game playing.

Brushing up against the occult can leave a residue.

When you are exposed to something occult as a game, or in a book, it makes it easier to try it on a more serious level when you get older, and many have been trapped in the occult as a result, with claims, in the case of some of the aforementioned "games," of suicide. 

What a difficult time! By now, the fact that witchery permeates TV and even cartoons is old news. But the tentacles continue to spread. We kept our kids from Harry Potter (which also has invocations to the dark side, and which Pope Benedict strongly discouraged), but who can tell what refined forms are presented in other settings and even in Catholic schools around the world?

Only with prayer do we sensitize ourselves to the more subtle manifestations of evil, and only through Christ can we protect our young.


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