When it comes to all things ghostly and spooky, there are always times when people think the weird things they’re experiencing may the be work of evil forces, such as demons and devils. This could be because they have religious beliefs which influence how their perceive something odd which is happening, or it could be because something… or someone has convinced them of this.
The idea that evil forces are at work in places which are said to be haunted is nothing new, and is certainly a popular trope used in traditional and modern cinema and literature. However, I often have reason to wonder just how blurred the lines are between fictional and real portrayals of paranormal occurrences. It is not unusual for popular media to refer to real-life cases of alleged ghosts and hauntings as “evil” or as involving “evil forces”, and it’s a behaviour that I often see among ghost hunters, too. Not only this, but it is quite common to see ghost hunters and the media chalk up any haunting which involves objects being moved as being the work of a Poltergeist – entities which have long been considered as malevolent.
It isn’t just Poltergeist entities which move objects. Your regular ghosts are said to sometimes do the same, as well… but I guess it’s sexier or edgier to talk about malevolent and evil forces when trying to market your haunting. This is something which I find worrying.
People who think they are affected by evil forces should be considered as potentially vulnerable and this vulnerability raises a big question about whether ghost hunters should become involved in the case with that person in the first place. It’s ethically dubious and there is great potential for harm from doing so…
Here are some past posts in which I have explored the potential for harm and ethical concerns on this nature previously:
It isn’t uncommon for paranormal researchers to encounter people who think evil may be influencing their lives, but that doesn’t mean that the researcher should support or entertain this idea. By all means listen to what the individual has to say but to investigate whether evil forces really do haunt their house or business is irresponsible.
The constant marketing of alleged hauntings as “evil” is also irresponsible. It suggests to those unacquainted with paranormal research and even paranormal phenomena that hauntings could be dangerous. It plants the seed of worry which grows should that person then have even the slightest spooky experience. It also legitimises the claims and work of dangerous people such as so-called demonologists and so-called exorcists, putting potentially vulnerable eye-witnesses at further risk of harm.
I have been investigating hauntings and ghost phenomena for over 20 years now – over half of my life. I am confident that evil is not a real thing. I have visited locations said to be haunted by malevolent and evil entities and I have gone into the spaces and rooms said to be the most risky and nothing has ever happened to me or anybody I was with.
I am an atheist and I’m not suggesting that ghost hunters cannot hold personal religious beliefs which could include the belief that evil is a real thing; the point I am making is that the promotion of the concept of evil has no place in paranormal research regardless of what individual researchers believe. After all, if belief is all it takes to give evil forces power over people, I cannot help but question why anybody involved in paranormal research would encourage that by claiming that ghost phenomena of even the most mundane kind could be evil in nature. Now that is sinister…
Feature photo by Pedro Lima