Spirit Communication and Possession – Part 1

By: Dave Hunt; ©2001
The attempt to communicate with spirits of the dead is absolutely forbidden by God. Nevertheless, it has been practiced in all cultures since the beginning of time. Dave Hunt explains the problems that this causes.

Spirit Communication and Possession – Part 1

The attempt to communicate with spirits of the dead is absolutely forbidden by God (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:11). Nevertheless, it has been practiced in all cultures since the beginning of time. Of course, there was also the belief that the gods and other guiding spirits could be contacted for their help as well.

In the Western world spiritualism attracted many prominent people, such as abolitionist orator William Lloyd Garrison, writers James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant, and journalist-publisher Horace Greeley. Queen Victoria routinely consulted mediums. Thomas Edison spent years trying to devise an electronic means of communication with departed spirits. The Ouija board was developed specifically to communicate with the spirits of those who had died in World War I.

Seances and Mediums

Seances, in which contact was made with alleged discarnates, were held in the White House while Abraham Lincoln, a professing Christian, was President. Powerful manifesta­tions of poltergeist activity, including the levitation of a grand piano, were claimed to have been witnessed by Lincoln and Cabinet members during these seances. MacKenzie King, prime minister of Canada, secretly engaged in necromancy and believed he was in touch with his dead mother. Unlike King, the famous W.E. Gladstone and the first Earl of Balfour, two of England’s prime ministers, were very open about their spiritualist beliefs and fre­quent attendance at seances, It was through attending spirit seances with his wife, Helen, that Carl Rogers became convinced of the reality of the spirit world.

Many professed mediums are undoubtedly frauds, as is the case with astrologers, palm-readers, psychics, and fortunetellers. The existence of organized, mediumistic fraud has been documented in The Psychic Mafia. Ex-spiritualist M. Lamar Keene confessed that for 13 years he was part of a nationwide network of 2000 phony mediums who traded information about clients and conspired to cheat countless people out of millions of dollars. He claimed that massive card files on “believers” were kept at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana —known as “the hub of world Spiritualism”—for the use of mediums “on the inside.”

There is, however, solid evidence that communication with spirit entities does take place. Ruth Montgomery was one of the most highly honored women journalists of her day when she was assigned by an editor to investigate the strange phenomenon of communi­cation with alleged spirits of the dead. Surprisingly, she found herself confronted with more than enough evidence to overcome her seasoned journalistic skepticism. Eventually “spirit entities” began writing books through Montgomery and she became known as “the Herald of the New Age.”[1]

California’s Episcopalian Bishop James Pike, a former lawyer, rejected most of what the Bible said. After the suicide of his son, Pike was convinced that he had made contact with his son’s discarnate spirit through a medium in London, England: Enna Twigg. Pike’s skepticism was overcome when the spirit speaking through Twigg mentioned numerous details of private life that only he and his son knew.

“Proof,” But of What?

A most unusual case involved the well-known psychologist William James and Colum­bia University professor of logic James Hyslop. The latter was a psychic investigator and friend of Carl Jung. Hyslop and Jung had together concluded that “spirits” from a nonphysi­cal dimension of reality were communicating. Hyslop and James agreed that whoever died first would try to make contact with the survivor. James died in 1910. Hyslop lived another ten years.

Some time after James’ death, Hyslop received a letter from a husband and wife (whom he had never heard of) in Ireland (a country he had never visited). They had been playing with a Ouija-board-like device and were bombarded by messages from the discarnate spirit of someone named William James telling them to contact a Professor James Hyslop, of whom they had never heard. The message they delivered was “Remember the red paja­mas?” It was an apparent reference to a trip Hyslop and James had taken together in which, upon arriving in Paris, their luggage was missing. They shopped for a few necessi­ties. The pajamas Hyslop bought were bright red and James had teased him about them at the time.[2]

While it would seem that only the surviving spirit of William James could have sent such a message, there is another possible explanation: A demon who knew of the red pajamas incident could very well have sent that message in order to encourage faith in the satanic lie that death is only an illusion. There are many other remarkable cases like this one.

Contact with the Dead—Or with Demons?

Fordham University theologian John Heaney summarizes in his book a number of convincing cases involving alleged communication from the dead through famous medi­ums. The cases that cannot be explained away after lengthy scientific investigation are accounted for by something called “Super-ESP.” That amazing talent would supposedly enable one to pick up any information from anywhere and anyone at any time.

As a Catholic, Heaney of course believes in communication through prayer with the “saints” and that the “saints” (no one is made a “saint” by the Roman Catholic Church until long after death) sometimes appear on earth to assist the living. Heaney does his best to find an ordinary explanation but cannot rule out the involvement of spirit beings.[3] He con­cludes that “apart from genuine contact with the dead, there is no other rival theory [than “Super-ESP”] to explain the data.”[4]

In fact, contact with the dead would hardly explain anything—certainly not the cases (and there are many) where accurate information is given by the alleged discarnate which was beyond that person’s intellectual capacity to comprehend before his or her death. Yet such seeming omniscience is manifested in some cases. For the alleged spirit of Aunt Jane, who had been a simple soul, to speak intelligently of quantum mechanics, for ex­ample, would hardly prove that it was Aunt Jane speaking from beyond the grave, but rather that it was not! Nor is it reasonable that the spirits of the dead should have unlimited knowledge after death.

The apparent communication from an alleged discarnate is taken as evidence to sup­port the serpent’s lie that death is nothing to fear. Having “proved” its identity, the alleged discarnate invariably proceeds to present persuasively the rest of the lies the serpent told Eve in the Garden.

Once Bishop Pike was convinced he was indeed speaking with the spirit of his dead son Jim, that entity proceeded to debunk Christianity. The spirit proceeded to say, “Don’t you ever believe that God can be personalized… he is the central Force.” It went on to explain that Jesus was not the Savior, but only one of many enlightened beings existing on a higher plane. Likewise, the entity that dictated A Course in Miracles through Helen Schucman said: “The name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol… [of] love that is not of this world… a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray…. This course has come from him.”[5]

Why the Biblical Prohibition?

To prevent such deception being embraced, the Bible forbids any attempt to contact discarnate spirits. Not because such contact is possible, but because it is impossible—and demons take advantage of this human desire as they impersonate the dead in order to promote their lies. The case of Samuel’s spirit coming back (1 Samuel 28:7-20) would seem to be an exception allowed by God in order to pronounce final judgment upon King Saul for his disobedience. (The shock expressed by the witch of Endor and her sudden identification of Saul would seem to argue that it was indeed Samuel who appeared.)

Heaney, though a Catholic theologian, contradicts the Bible by referring to “a deceased person who remains ‘earthbound’… in a confused or bewildered or malicious state….”[6] On the contrary, no deceased persons are “earthbound,” hanging around to haunt or help the living. Those who die as Christians are instantly “absent from the body and… present with the Lord” in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). As for those who have rejected the gospel, their fate is given to us by Christ through the “rich man”: “In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment” (Luke 16:23).

Heaney frankly admits that both the Bible and his Church condemn consulting the dead (except the alleged “saints,” of course). Nevertheless, he tries to justify the practice by saying that “the biblical prohibitions apparently were directed against aims and motives which are quite different from the aims and motives of modern researchers.”[7] He quotes Protestant clergyman Donald Bretherton of London University, who agrees:

“Seeking after the dead” in ancient times was designed to show Yahweh as either incompetent or untrustworthy, whereas modern mediumship seeks to show the reality of the claim that “underneath are the everlasting arms.”[8]

In fact, it is a delusion of liberal theology to imagine that the messages that come through mediums support belief in the God of the Bible. Instead, they undermine such faith by speaking of God as a “Force” and of Jesus Christ as an ascended Master who exists on a higher plane than most of the discarnate souls. All channeled material parrots the lies of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, it is through this occult invasion of demonic beings impersonating the dead that a host of error has entered the world and even polluted the church.

Communication with the dead implies that souls and spirits are free to flit about on the astral plane and have become the communicators of an “ancient wisdom” to mankind. One cannot believe in communication with the dead and at the same time believe God’s Word: “…it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).



  1. Ruth Montgomery with Joanne Garland, Ruth Montgomery: Herald of the New Age, pp. 71-111.
  2. Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Time (Random House, 1974), pp 266-68.
  3. John J. Heaney, The Sacred and The Psychic: Parapsychology and Christian Theol­ogy (Paulist Press, 1984), p. 40.
  4. Ibid., p. 186.
  5. Jon Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1987), p. 40.
  6. Heaney, Sacred, p. 40.
  7. Ibid., p. 192.
  8. Rev. Donald Bretherton, “Psychical Research and Biblical Prohibitions” in Life, Death and Psychical Research, J. D. Pearce—Higgins, ed., p. 108.

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