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Hi all.  My mother and her friend are both Catholics.  Her friend is currently dying of cancer (prayers please - her name is Judith).  A few days ago my mother was talking to my father and she saw an image of a boy with brown hair wearing pyjamas appear above him looking down.  Shortly after, a dove flew into their garden (an extremely unusual occurrence).  My mother was frightened by the image as it shocked her.  She has never been one to fall for ghost stories and likes and raised us to focus on reality and not spooky tales.  The fact that it frightened her and that she is adamant she saw it, I believe it to be true.  My mother is in her 70s and has no reason to joke or lie about such things.

A couple of days later she was talking to her friend with cancer on the telephone and her friend, unpromted, told her that she was in bed a couple of days earlier and saw a boy, with brown hair, and pyjamas appear in her room.  My mother's friend is equally credible - they are both Catholics and were both raised traditionally.

A priest of the SSPX once told me, in reply to a question about ghosts, that such things do exist.  We didn't get a chance to go into any further details (ie, for him to explain the theological cause or significance of such things). 

My question is - does anyone know what the position of the Church is (traditionally) on these matters and what this apparent apparition might mean?

Ghost stories don't frighten me and I generally discard them as hysteria or hoaxes - but the source of this one actually frightened me and I am a little worried about it.

Thanks.
I can't say what it is other than something permitted by God.  Ghosts are not un-Catholic.  Ruling out hallucinations, they are either people enduring some form of Purgatory, on some mission from God, Angels or Demons.

The only person that might be able to say what it means is the person who was allowed to see it or a person with a charism for discerning spirits.  Best thing to do is find a traditional priest to bless and or exorcise the room or rooms where the apparition has shown itself and take it from there. 

Pray to St. Michael, St. Raphael, St. Joseph and Our Lady for protection, especially if anyone is in the state of mortal sin, then get everyone to confession and get Our Lord's direct protection from the Sacraments. 
I had a vincentian priest tell me one time that ghosts and the like are a very grey area. He certianly believed that these things occured, but the church really did not know 'how' or 'why'.

He further explained that while the church knows about the final things, we do not know the 'mechanics of it' if you will.  I hope this helps you with this question, as we just do not know the mechanics of the soul and or purgatory.heaven.hell.


fwiw he was a very novus ordo priest, but he was a very very holy man who suffered every day.
best regards
Well, since you are dealing with older ladies, my first guess would be that it is an hallucination.  Another thing, old people lie their butts off.  It is not sinful, they are losing their faculties.  So your  Mom telling you the other lady gave the same story without prompting, may not be true.  Again, I am not accusing her of sin.  When I visit my Mom, I am told some pretty fantastic stories. 

But assuming that it is real (i.e. the ladies in question have no degradation in their faculties), then you must suspect demonic activity.  The reason is that it is serving no purpose.  For example, if the friend who is dying is worried, and she is given a vision of a beautiful angel who looks like he is protecting her, and waiting to escort her to heaven, then that is probably a valid vision sent by God.  But a little boy?  Sounds like a demonic trap.  So it presents a temptation for the old ladies who are having a hard time to talk to it.  Before long you are "divining", a mortal sin.

First choice is to throw some exorcised salt at it.  Spread it around the room too.  You can  do this today.  And get a good priest in there to exorcise the house.  Any priest can do this without permission from the bishop.

For prayers, don't forget about St. Benedict.  It is my experience that he is a powerful intercessor when it comes to demonic activity.
(06-01-2010, 12:51 PM)James02 Wrote: [ -> ]Well, since you are dealing with older ladies, my first guess would be that it is an hallucination.  Another thing, old people lie their butts off.  It is not sinful, they are losing their faculties.  So your  Mom telling you the other lady gave the same story without prompting, may not be true.  Again, I am not accusing her of sin.  When I visit my Mom, I am told some pretty fantastic stories. 

But assuming that it is real (i.e. the ladies in question have no degradation in their faculties), then you must suspect demonic activity.  The reason is that it is serving no purpose.  For example, if the friend who is dying is worried, and she is given a vision of a beautiful angel who looks like he is protecting her, and waiting to escort her to heaven, then that is probably a valid vision sent by God.  But a little boy?  Sounds like a demonic trap.  So it presents a temptation for the old ladies who are having a hard time to talk to it.  Before long you are "divining", a mortal sin.

First choice is to throw some exorcised salt at it.  Spread it around the room too.  You can  do this today.  And get a good priest in there to exorcise the house.  Any priest can do this without permission from the bishop.

For prayers, don't forget about St. Benedict.  It is my experience that he is a powerful intercessor when it comes to demonic activity.

There's an entire museum in Rome dedicated to the various phenomena and prodigies of the Holy Souls in purgatory. 

Exorcised salt is good idea.
Old people lie their butts off    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL
It's true.  Once they start losing their memory, they make up the all sorts of things to try to hide it.  I don't consider it a sin by any stretch.
Ghosts may be the spirits of the dead in Purgatory, but I would not want to risk it. Best to leave such things to prayer than to listen to spirits that may be demons.

And those "Ghost-hunters" who take video cameras into haunted houses and holy sites, and the people who imitate them, are none too wise. If they are the spirits of the dead, would it not be better to let them rest in peace then to exploit their torment in order to selfishly experience some exhilaration? And if they are something else, such as demons or beings beyond our understand, is it not better to stay away for one's own safety?
don't assume your mom is losing it because of this.   do be keeping your eyes and ears open for any signs that indicate senility because medical treatment can help and i think it's best started early.  don't assume she's lying, either.

of course i would talk to a good priest, assuming i knew one who would not dismiss my mom, or me, as a nutcase.  an exorcist might be best, although so far there's nothing evil going on.  

if the apparition was real, it could be a boy she once knew, a family member or someone she went to school with.  if she and the other lady grew up together, it could be someone they both knew and his appearance is related to the other lady's coming death.  

of course, your mom may have told the other lady about the apparition and then the other lady 'remembered' it.  that doesn't mean they're lying their butts off.  your mom may really believe she didn't tell the other woman until after the woman told her about seeing the little boy.  and the dying lady is probably on heavy meds so it wouldn't be unusual for her to hallucinate or believe she saw something she only heard about.


even if they didn't grow up together and even if he was a hallucination rather than an apparition, i doubt that an exorcist is going to want to come in and exorcise a home and a hospital room at this point.  it's a wait and see case.

does your mom see a doctor regularly?  if so, i would call him and explain that i was somewhat concerned about whether she might have signs of early senility, wanted him to be aware of your concern so he could keep that in mind next time he sees her.  

he may tell you that she is fine or that he already has some concerns about her so be prepared for that possibility.  on the other hand, especially if he does not know you personally, he may not be willing to comment about her health without her permission.  the new privacy laws make it a lot trickier than when we were dealing with our parents, who all died in the period between 1985 and 1996, at the relatively young ages of 68, 72, 73, 75.  we didn't have private contact with a doctor in each case but it was helpful a couple of times and the doctors did not resent being called.  

input from family can help doctors, as long as the family members don't try to make a diagnosis or tell the doctor to try something they heard about on tv, which can understandably annoy people who've spent years in med school, residency, and practice.  there are some lousy doctors, of course, and sometimes 'kids' really need to try to get their parents to see different doctors.  but let's not get into all the possibilities that may come up later.  just call the doctor and give him a heads up.

i don't think i would tell him about what she saw.  if if knew him and knew he was a good Catholic who is aware that, as Augustine Baker just said,

"There's an entire museum in Rome dedicated to the various phenomena and prodigies of the Holy Souls in purgatory."

then i'd be likely to tell him.  otherwise, you risk making Mom sound like she's a few cards short of a full deck.  at the most i'd say that she'd told you a couple of things that seemed unlikely to have happened.  

you do want to suggest to him that he check her meds, in case one can cause hallucinations, so you may have to tell him that she saw a little boy in her house, she's never seen things before, never believed in ghosts, but found this upsetting. 

if you know what medications she takes, or can find out by snooping around her house, start looking them up their side effects online yourself, before calling the doctor.

(i should have mentioned this before saying to call her doctor.  here's why:  when i was in my forties, i was having episodes of double vision.  after two fruitless doctor visits, one to an opthalmologist, and an MRI which showed nothing abnormal, word got back to me that a retired internist in my parish said they needed to be checking my medications, that family practitioners don't check medications like they should.  i wasn't going to tell my family doctor what to do, so i just started looking up my meds online and the second one i checked listed double vision as a side effect.  i quit taking it and let my doctor know next time i saw him, told him about the internist giving me the tip (but not what he said about family practitioners, of course!)  now i know, if something weird happens and i've been on a new medication only 2 or 3 months, look it up.  ironically, the internist is Filipino and of course most people suspect foreign-trained doctors, despite the fact that he had to re-train when he came to the US in the Fifties, and i suppose they still do.  his wife says he basically went through med school twice.)


back to your mom: i would take her at her word and let her talk about it, if she brings it up again.  i would be reassuring and not mention demons.  if she mentions demons, there's your opening to get the house blessed, but i'd say 'well, just in case, let's get a priest in to bless the house. it's probably unnecessary but it certainly won't hurt anything.'

just in case, i'd have a little private walk around the outside of the house, sprinkling exorcized salt as i walked.  if you can get away with putting it around inside the house inconspicuously, i'd do that, too.

and i might tell her i was concerned about the Three Days prophecies and ask her if she'd like me to get crucifixes and St. Benedict medals for her doors and windows and put them up, not tying this to what she saw at all.  you could also hide St. Benedict medals around the house, inside and out, without telling her.

good luck and keep us posted on future events.  i'll pray for your mom and her friend, and you.
 


If your mother was not hallucinating and not on any sort of medication then it could be a bunch of different things....Probably the most probable is that a close soul or family member in purgatory was doing his/her penance in that house. There is also a minor chance it could also be a demon from hell manifesting as a loved one, so one must be very careful in this area... I am no expert in the matter, though!

However, I have read many books on Padre Padre..One such occurrence that the Saintly Padre had was when he saw many friars and priests who were actually doing their purgatory at the monastery sitting around a fire. I forgot all the details, but it is said St. Pio also saw many souls in Purgatory as well.

Another story:
"Padre Pio told this story to padre Anastasio. “One evening, while I was alone in choir to pray, I heard the rustle of a suit and I saw a young monk that stirred next to the High altar. It seemed that the young monk was dusting the candelabra and straightening the flower vases. I thought he was Padre Leone rearranging the altar, and, since it was supper time, I went to him and I told him: “Padre Leone, go to dine, this is not the time to dust and to straighten the altar”. But a voice, that was not Father Leone’s answered me”: “I am not Padre Leone”, “and who are you? “, I asked him. “I am a brother of yours that made the noviciate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the noviciate. Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar, thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory"
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