I’m Haunting the National Catholic Register

I wrote a new article drawing on some of the research I published here: Do you believe in ghosts? You may be surprised to find out which Church Fathers and doctors did and which didn’t. What’s clear is that, whether or not many Americans believe in ghosts, many clearly want to. Television and film are crowded with [Read More...]

A Compilation of My Dark and Ghostly Posts

Ghosts-1

My first writing was in the horror genre, contributing to publications like The Horror Show and Cemetery Dance, and writing entries for the encyclopedia Supernatural Fiction Writers. I even worked for George A. Romero’s Laurel Entertainment film and TV production company for a little while. I think there’s value in exploring dark themes, fear, and even revulsion in [Read More...]

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Brown_lady

It’s time to tackle the question I’ve avoided in this series. Do I believe in ghosts? I am a Fortean as well as a Christian. I allow for the possibility of the strange, improbable, and anomalous in the world. I also enthusiastically embrace a supernatural worldview which includes daily miracles, the power of prayer, the [Read More...]

St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas at Prayer

We’re coming up fast on Halloween, so I want to jump ahead a bit to see what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about ghosts. 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 death, Article 3. Whether [Read More...]

Great Documentary About M.R. James From “Sherlock” Star/Creator

Writer/actor Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock, League of Gentlemen) writes and hosts this fine documentary on the greatest ghost story writer of them all: medievalist and Biblical scholar Montague Rhodes James. Special treats include locations from James stories (such as St Bertrand de Comminges, stuffed crocodile and all), a passing shot of a tombstone for “Mrs [Read More...]

St. Gregory the Great’s Bath-house Ghost

The Mass of St Gregory, by Robert Campin, 15th century

Okay, one more story from a Church Father before the weekend. This is one of the more famous tales, and it comes from Pope St. Gregory the Great’s marvelously entertaining grab bag of useful stuff, the Dialogues. This is an example of the way the Church used ghost stories to prove the benefit of the [Read More...]

St. Martin and the Thief’s Ghost

Reliquary for the head of St. Martin

The main role of ghosts in the literature of the early church was to display the power of the saints. While Augustine was still alive, Sulpitius Severus wrote The Life of St. Martin, in which we find the following tale of Martin confronting and vanquishing the evil ghost of a thief who was being worshiped by [Read More...]

St. Augustine’s Rejection of Ghosts

Pope Benedict with the bones of St. Augustine

Our final look at Augustine’s theology of the dead comes from On the Care to be Taken For the Dead (De cura pro mortuis gerenda), written in 421 to Paulinus, Bishop of Nola. The text was a response to a question from Paulinus, and is quite touching in places. A woman had asked for her [Read More...]


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