The Wild Hunt and the Purgatorial Procession

A mass of ferocious men ride across the sky on giant black goats and black horses, making a fearsome din as they charge to the hunt, baying black hounds at their sides. Those who hear the approaching noise must not look or they risk being dragged into the Wild Hunt of the dead. With plenty of…

St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas did not have a chance to fully develop his thoughts about spirits and apparitions, but we were left a glimpse of his thoughts on the matter. The section is found in the Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis: Question 69. Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after…

Tertullian: Ghosts are Really Demons

In De anima, Tertullian acknowledges the extensive literature about ghosts, but rejects it as a “fraud.” He has specific pagan lore in mind: the idea that some could “call back from Hades the souls of those who are sleeping out their destined time, those who died through violence and those deprived of burial.” His explanation…

Ghosts in the Bible: New Testament

There are no ghosts in the New Testament. We do, however, find the language of spirits and references to death that can illuminate the subject. When we read passages such as Matthew 8:22 (”Let the dead bury the dead”) and 22:32 (”God is not the God of the dead but of the living”) we may…

Ghosts in the Bible: The Old Testament

Ghosts posed a problem for the early Church because they seemed to reflect a holdover of pagan belief and superstition. Yet reliable witnesses continued to report encounters with what to appeared to be spirits, and witnesses were not so easily dismissed as they are now. As we head into Halloween, I hope to do a…