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What does the Bible say about ghost hunting?

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Ghost hunting is the practice of going to supposedly haunted locations to investigate the presence of spirits. Self-proclaimed ghost hunters are riding a wave of popularity right now, having their own “reality” shows and taking advantage of society’s craving for thrills and chills. Usually, these ghost hunters use electronic equipment like EMF (electromagnetic field) meters, infrared cameras, and audio recording equipment. They search for cold spots in the air or voices or lights—all supposed indications of a ghost infestation. Ghost hunting has been called “pseudoscience” and “techno-mysticism” and has been widely criticized for drawing unscientific conclusions from gathered data. The Bible does not have anything specific to say about the practice of ghost hunting, but it does have a few things to say about spirits and the occult.

In the time of the Old Testament, seeking the advice of or making contact with the dead was a practice of Israel’s pagan neighbors. The Law of God strictly forbade contacting the dead; the practice of seeking the dead was “an abomination” (Deuteronomy 18:11–12). The Law warned against turning to mediums and necromancers in several places (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27).

Consistently throughout the Bible, communications with the dead are associated with evil. The good king Josiah was known for eliminating all such practices during his reign (2 Kings 23:24). Interestingly, King Saul also rid the land of mediums and spiritists during his reign, but then, when God had turned away from him, he disguised himself and visited a medium, the so-called witch of Endor. In one of the most enigmatic passages in all Scripture, the medium proceeds to call up the spirit of Samuel, and the deceased prophet gives Saul the same message he had already received from God—namely, that Saul’s kingdom would be taken from him (1 Samuel 28:1–25).

Ghost hunting is not exactly the same as what mediums do, but it still falls under the umbrella of contacting the dead. Those who investigate paranormal activity often speak to the spirits and ask them to communicate in return—a clear violation of the biblical command. Ghost hunters purport to do their hunting for scientific reasons, to really know what is there and if there is any justification for belief in the supernatural. However, ghost-hunting organizations do not truly follow the scientific method. They rely instead on the subjective, emotional responses of the ghost hunters, and they use “the history of the location” and even Ouija boards as valid data-gathering techniques. It is safe to assume that there is more than a scientific motive for ghost hunting. Ghost hunting is just a way to re-package the old, sinful fascination with the occult for a technological age.

According to the Bible, the only true instance of a haunting would be due to the presence of demons. Should these ghost hunters ever stumble on the genuine presence of demonic forces, they will likely suffer the same fate as the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:14-16), or worse.

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022