Spiritual Dangers of the 21st Century, by Fr. Joseph M. Esper, a powerful look at the way evil is attacking -- from societal issues like the microchip, monitoring, genetic manipulation, possible martial law, and New Age to personal attacks on the family by demons that in some cases may come through the popular culture or down through generations! A rare, candid, controversial look by a priest  who has also written on the anti-christ.   CLICK HERE



[adapted from The Spirits Around Us]

It's said that many are the souls in need of help and many are those who linger near where they lived or died or are attached to a memory. It is why older cities have ghost tours (which are dangerous). It is why there is a “heaviness” in old places like Europe.

It is also why we must constantly pray for the release of souls.

In Iraq U.S. marines encountered the paranormal to such an extent at an outpost built on an old grave that a sergeant warned newly assigned soldiers of strange lights, night-time screams, and the overall eerie atmosphere.

In Uganda, cult members killed in a fire are reported as apparitions on a hillside.

In the former Soviet Union, a strange bonfire was seen hanging in midair, near the ruins of a monastery. This was in the Leningradsky region.

In Georgia on St. Simons Island ghosts are reported at Dunbar Creek, where in 1803 ten slaves, shackled together and in despair, drowned themselves. (Despite plentiful crabs, fishermen avoid the waterway.)

In Myasnoy Bor near Novgorod, Russia, witnesses claim to hear strange sounds in a forest, including songs, laughter, and the clatter of tracks. It is where war dead were found. The language is German.

It is controversial stuff, to be sure; but many are the saints who believed -- and experienced -- precisely this.

St. Padre Pio said he saw more deceased people than living ones.

Are there “anomalous zones” – sort of like time warps -- that hold past memories?

After the great Asian tsunami of 2006, many were those who claimed to hear strange sounds and witness apparitions – to the point where it kept tourists away (particularly in Thailand).

These apparitions included a foreign woman whose screams echoed through the night from the wreckage of a hotel that was particularly badly hit, according to BBC. (A security guard on the site left his job because he could not bear it.) There are cries in the night of “help me.” In Khao Lak, a local family said their telephone was ringing day and night. When answered, the voices of relatives and friends allegedly cried out “to be rescued from the flames of the crematorium.” A taxi driver claimed he picked up six or so tourists one night and felt numb all over and when he peered around his taxi was empty.

Mostly, "hauntings," if they are real, are associated with active spirits. Kings and queens and actresses alike have had their experiences. Stature is irrelevant. Sometimes it is because of the home’s history, and in other cases seems attached to what the person is doing. There are entire books about celebrity ghosts, and celebrities who have seen ghosts. One controversial singer publicly complained that she needed an exorcism; another, Lady Gaga, reportedly feared she was followed by wicked spirits. When director Steven Spielberg was making Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there were reports of strange events in hotel rooms used by the crew. The director also made a movie called Poltergeist – a movie that seemed cursed by strange events, illnesses, or accidents among those who worked or acted in it (indicating that when we focus on the supernatural without the perspective of Christ, we lack protection). One can also trace unusual tragedies in connection with the show Bewitched, movies like The Exorcist, The Omen, and rock bands that have dabbled with drugs or the occult (or both). After watching a movie called Paranormal Activity Spielberg (who has never been associated with drugs or witchcraft, but whose films head in the direction of parapsychology and aliens and spirits) reportedly found himself trapped in his bedroom when his doors locked on their own accord (a locksmith had to be called to get him out). Strange events were associated with a car famed singer Jimmy Dean purchased and died in.

Years ago, a Christian psychiatrist named Dr. Kenneth McAll from the United Kingdom put together two books filled with cases indicating the problems caused by spirits that won’t go on. It was a radical theory. “Haunting can be such a serious matter and cause severe disturbance for those who have to endure it,” he wrote. “My work over the years has led me to recognize the traumatic effects of past family tragedies and evil on the lives of many people living today. In addition to the mental upset caused by tragic or evil events in the family history, I have witnessed many cases in which the upset seemed to stem from an apparent haunting of a place or house in which the affected person had to live. Some people carry their hauntings with them even though they have moved from the house especially to escape them. When people move to a new house, it is a good idea to have it blessed. I would go further and include prayers for the whole area in a Eucharist as there are many other lost souls still wandering about and needing help and committal to God.”

In a book called Healing the Family Tree, Dr. McAll recalled: “With eight other people including a priest, I visited Wounded Knee. Here there is a netted enclosure on a small knoll surrounded by rolling hills. It is approached by a gravel track and marks the burial place of the three hundred fifty men, women, and children shot by the American cavalry in 1890. We had decided to hold a service on this spot and, as it was cold, we stayed inside a minivan. As we began the services, a rain storm blew up which violently rocked the van. The priest interpreted this as an attack by the haunting dead Indian braves. To me, the black clouds seemed to be the Indian women rushing past us in their fury. It all seemed so disturbed that I asked God for a sign that we were doing the right thing. At that moment the clouds opened and a strong ray of sunlight shone through the windscreen right on to the chalice and the wine glowed with a rich red light, then the clouds closed over again and the rain went pouring down. When we ended the service, having confessed to the slaughter and committed the dead to God, the rain stopped, and we were able to go out and walk to the actual burial enclosure with its high heavy netting, an area of ten by twenty feet. We also looked at more recent simple graves, some of them of babies.”

Dr. McAll claimed that some Indians didn’t have burial rites for their dead because “they wanted the resentful dead to continue to haunt the descendants of the guilty immigrants. In hauntings, he said, physiological effects “can range from sleeplessness and depression of the reactive type, to gastrointestinal upsets. Many have skin allergies – eczema, urticaria, or edema while others have respiratory problems such as chronic sinusitis, asthma, or hay fever. They seem to be illustrating the saying that ‘the sorrows with their unshed tears make organs weep.”

I heard from a woman in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who moved into a house registered as a landmark with a long history of rough sea-faring owners who seemed to haunt the place – causing many disruptions. "Antiques bought for the children as they grew would cause nightmares,” she reported. “We bought a 1700’s rope bed for our son. He started spiking mysterious 104-degree fevers. We were constantly rushing him to the hospital. He started telling us about the people who would come and play with him when he was sleeping. After about a year of this, we got rid of the bed, and the fevers and ‘visits’ stopped.”

“To protect oneself from these entities, one must not invite them in your home or soul by speaking to them,” emphasizes an expert I have quoted. “It is very dangerous. Pray for him to find peace and forgiveness and for God and His angels to guide him to another place away from His people on earth. Remember that the God of all things loves all things equally and will never cease from helping His lost sheep find their way back home.”

Many problems in family lineages, said Dr. McAll, can be traced to hidden sin. “A mother seeking help for her anorexic daughter admitted the fact of an abortion, apologized to God, and in prayer committed the baby by name,” wrote the psychiatrist. “Not only was the girl’s anorexia healed, but the mother’s constant headaches suddenly ceased. Several examples have a combined therapy, where there are family patterns of migraine.

One such, a forty-year-old woman, was the fourth generation of sufferers. The proof of origin came after Confession and absolution because family members in each of the previous three generations had dabbled in the occult. “Early in our inquiries we found that a number of anorexic patients had histories of one or more abortions, miscarriages, or other unmourned deaths in their immediate families,” said Dr. McAll. “They recovered rapidly when the family ritually mourned these deaths. If there were signs of unresolved grief, the patient and the family were helped to look objectively at the relevance of such grief to the symptoms. Thus, they understood that these symptoms correlated with the situation of the unmourned person – that is, lost, lonely, darkness, depressed, unloved, nameless, unable to eat or cry out.

“A man of forty-eight [who had been diagnosed as having schizophrenia] was delighted that after thirty years of treatment, someone asked him for details of his hallucinations. He explained, ‘Lots of men are killing each other with swords; there is blood everywhere, a roaring sea, wind on my face, the smell of sulfur and blinding flashes.’ It was discovered that he was the direct descendant of pirates and naval captains since 1580. The man was released that same evening after prayers and two days later the family attended a Requiem Mass. Through this, his brother became a priest, and the former patient is now a college lecturer.”

Are there intractable problems that plague our families? Might it be financial misfortune, division, or even cancer?

Might it be traced to problems going back for generations – a “haunted” family tree?

And if so, is it not wise to present our family lineages to God during the Eucharist and ask Him to break any bondage (perhaps drawing a family tree and putting a Cross between each generation)?

The spirits around us can affect our subconscious – and it is in the subconscious that we frequently detect them. Sometimes, the spiritual baggage of an entire family seems to fall on a single person. This can be because they have done something to deserve it or were chosen to be a victim soul.

We mourn -- give proper burial -- but then must move on; it is equally unhealthy to be obsessed and attached to the dead.

We discern each case separately but note the times when anger erupts as a sign of negative presence (along with too many illnesses). When we spiritually cleanse (especially ridding ourselves of anger, lust, or resentment), we are less prone to spiritual baggage. The curse does not alight (see Proverbs 26:2).

This cleansing is important for everyone and every place – even the Vatican.

In fact, St. Peter’s Basilica was built on fill dumped on an old pagan necropolis (replete with obscene and occult relics) and at one point was so haunted by crows that an exorcism was ordered.

“In ancient times, Roman historians tell us, this swampy region beyond the Tiber was an eerie borderland of fevers and giant snakes, where the voices of the gods could be heard," reported The Atlantic Monthly. “These historians derived the name Vaticanum from vates, a holy seer who understood these voices.”

In 1624, it was noted, Pope Urban VIII ordered that the deep foundation work for Gianlorenzo Bernini's towering bronze canopy over the high altar begin but “no sooner had ground been broken than the excavators started dropping dead,” said the magazine. “Urban himself fell ill, and all Rome whispered of [a] curse.”

-- Michael H. Brown

[resources: Healing the Haunted, The Spirits Around Us, and Healing the Family Tree]

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