Hauntings and Legends

It seems that the Paranormal can be tracked back to some of the oldest texts and carvings worldwide. Almost all religions talk about fights with demons, and battles of the gods and human contact with those gods and the souls of dead people. One of the earliest texts of the Western world describing one such apparition is Homer's Iliad, in it Homer describes the warrior Patroclos appearing to his friend Achilles and asks him to have his body properly cremated, and goes on to tell him that he's going to die during the final battle against Troy.
There is also mention of how the tyrant of Corinth, Periander, received a visit from the soul of his dead wife, who helped him to find a missing object. Centuries later, an important Roman writer and statesman, Cicero, told in the 2nd century BC the story of Simonides, who had buried the body of a stranger. Later this stranger's soul appeared to him and advised him not to board a ship. He followed that advice. It was later discovered that the ship sank.
There are those who have said that the ghost of the Roman emperor Caligula used to haunt the Lamian Gardens, where his ashes were buried, oddly enough, the haunting stopped when he received a proper funeral. Other stories tell that his ghost also haunted the theater where he was murdered, of cause until that theater was destroyed by fire, then the haunting stopped.
In addition to ancient Pagan writings of ghosts, You probably know, Christianity also has its share of ghost stories. All saint apparitions are ghost sightings. They may come as good spirits, to work some miracle, to advise and guide those who believe in them, or they may come as angry spirits, demanding something to be done.
During the dawn of Catholicism, the Church accepted that the intervention of ghosts existed, slowly the opinions of the people inside this religion changed. And in the 16th century, with the second great division of the Church - between a Catholic and a Protestant one - happened, the Protestants adapted many of the Catholic rules and started to preach that although the souls of the dead could inhabit the Purgatory, Heaven and Hell, the spirits that would appear to the faithful were mere illusions or demons in the shape of their beloved ones. Another change in the opinion of the Protestants would happen during the rule of King James I of Britain, who demanded that the Bible was re-written and the reviewers had to make all kinds of adaptations to it, to fit the opinion of their master.
This Bible is the one that has been used through all this time by all the Protestant religions throughout the world. King James was viewed as a fanatic who saw all kinds of demonic acts anywhere he looked, he established that all ghosts, apparitions and all spiritual intervention weren't from the Church, they were the works of Satan.
When the 18th century came, the European world was passing through crucial changes in philosophy and all spiritual manifestations started to be regarded with skepticism, including those involving the Christian belief.
In the 19th century Allan Kardec used to teach several different sciences in his home, like Chemistry and Anatomy, and he had been a student of Medicine, he always explained his beliefs in a scientific way and in 1857, he published "The Book of The Spirits" in which he established the basis of the Spiritism, he explained his beliefs in simple terms, which were considered subversive by the Catholic Church right away. But in spite of this different approach, the Spiritism is totally based on Christianity. While the beliefs of the Western world changed through the centuries, due to the control that the Catholic Church had over the knowledge of the times, in the Eastern world the beliefs continued much the same. Several of the Eastern religions accept that the souls of the dead can appear to the living and that reincarnation is possible.
As you know, this is one of the most complex subjects of human knowledge, because there's much myth and all kinds of lies involved in it and each person, according to their own beliefs and creeds, regards it in a different way. Those who claim to be spiritual mediums themselves, those who have reasons to believe they have contact with the souls of the dead and those who believe they have seen angels, saints, gods, enlightened spirits, demons, etc, they obviously see no reason in doubting the power of the spiritual realm.
The people who study this matter, advise that if you think you're having paranormal phenomena happening in your house, for example, that you should record the happenings, either writing them down, photographing or taping it and then take these records to some kind of "ghost-hunter".
We can explain that humans have a tendency to be irrational and to ignore information that goes against what we believe. When conventional explanation fails, instead of accepting the chaos or trying to find some other plausible reason for the happening, we tend to embrace the unknown and the magical, either for personal or religious beliefs.
In today's world Hollywood have reshaped our beliefs of what is and what isn't when it comes to ghosts or the spirit world. Ghosts in Hollywood have been seen as everything from comical (Casper, Beetlejuice, GhostBusters) and wonderous (Ghost) to down right horrifying (poltergeist, paranormal activity), as to who is right and who isn't it's as big a mystery as these events or apparitions are.
Ghosts on TV today seem to be purely for shock value, Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Investigators seem to be on every channel, but oddly enough with all of their high tech equipment and gear there is very little real recorded evidence of Ghosts or spirits. Even EVP or "electro voice phenomenon" has captured very little conclusive evidence
No matter your beliefs or religion the paranormal, ghosts, spirits, etc have been around from the dawn of man and will continue to be here long after we've joined them in the Spirit world.
Paul Michael Sciacca, contributing author
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