Chapter 11: Interpreting Your Findings
Once you begin your investigation, you have to gather as much evidence as possible. One thing I have heard on many occasions is someone trying to convince me (or someone else) that they have discovered an evil spirit or a demonic one in a home. When I ask how they determined that, the answer is often: “Well, I felt it.” Great. I was involved in an investigation not long ago where a ghost hunting group was called in to investigate claims of unusual phenomena. Within fifteen minutes, two of the investigators stated that they felt the presence of a demonic spirit. In this case, they ‘felt” it. By all admissions, nothing unusual happened during those early minutes. These must be some extremely talented individuals.
Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist of Rome. In his book: “An Exorcist Tells His Story” Father Amorth states that it is often not until the exorcism itself that the exorcist is sure that there is a demonic spirit. Up until that point, it can be extremely difficult to be certain. However, these investigators “discerned” the presence of a demon. Of course, they also went into the basement where they claimed that the “demon” touched them and they stated that they would never go down that basement again. Those two are a credit to the field. When you hear stories like this, it becomes painfully obvious why no one who works in this field is taken seriously. Sadly, there are many out there who behave in this same manner.
Once you start gathering evidence, you need to interpret it. Does a slamming door constitute a spirit? It could. It could also be a draft. A creaking floor may be just that. It can become frustrating at times when you look at your evidence and someone pokes holes in it. However, that has to be done. If you are serious about your work, you have to be sure that what you experienced is paranormal. If you jump to conclusions, you can well look like a fool. Sadly, because of the boobs mentioned earlier, you cannot afford to be wrong. It takes very little to ruin a reputation you spent years building. The point is that you have to make sure that you rule out every possible natural cause for a given phenomenon.
Okay, that is the simple part. Once you have determined to the best of your abilities, (no one is ever 100% sure) that a spirit is present, then the hard part starts. Remember, before you begin to look for the solution to the problem, you must be sure what is causing it. Again, something as simple as blessing a house can cause a firestorm of activity if the spirit is demonic. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell because the majority of the activity taking place could probably have been caused by a human spirit. As I mentioned earlier, demonic spirits like to hide behind the skirts of human spirits. Often, there is no clear-cut evidence like a sofa bed doing the fandango with the refrigerator in the driveway. Much of what is experienced will be the movement of lighter objects and maybe some knocking coming from the walls. One subtle thing that I have noticed over the years is that when a knocking sound seems to be coming from a specific spot on a wall, the culprit is probably human. In my experience, when demonic spirits cause knocking, it seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. However, this is too subtle to call an absolute. With the relatively small numbers of demonic cases, (Thank God) it is hard to subject this theory to more scrutiny. Should anyone reading this have a similar or different experience, please contact us. Trust me, we never know it all.
One thing you can do is look for intent. Do objects just move around or are they hurled in the direction of someone? Yes, a negative human spirit can do this but if there are any injuries, it should send up a red flag. I do not have to be hit on the head with an anvil before I start to get the picture. Again, look for desecration of religious objects. Moving them is one thing but desecrating them is quite another. One useful test is to try using holy water to stop activity that is taking place. If the holy water stops the activity quickly, it is a good bet that the spirit is demonic.
Being touched is another, although unpleasant way of determining phenomena. In one case I recently worked on, the spirit present liked to pull my hair. It always did this from behind, pulling my head back. However, on both occasions, there was very little force. That led me to believe it was human. Here is a totally unscientific method that has proven successful. If there is almost daily activity or if it is particularly active on a given night, try having the victim ask it to leave her/him alone. On two different cases, the victims told me that they had asked the spirit to leave them alone for a given night. In one case, the woman had been working long hours as was exhausted. When she heard three knocks (that always heralded the beginning of the activity) she asked the spirit to leave her alone that night. She told it how exhausted it was and that she needed sleep. Oddly enough, it did. The activity stopped cold and she slept like a baby. Guess what? That was no demon; they are incapable of compassion. A crude but effective strategy.
One man told me that he came home from work one day and was tired from a series of meetings he had to suffer through. Shortly after arriving home, some small objects started to move. He angrily told the spirit that it should do something anatomically impossible. (Use your imagination.) The activity stopped. Once again, this ruled out the possibility of a demonic spirit. Had there been one, it would have responded negatively.
In short, just look carefully at all of the evidence. Do not rush to a conclusion. Try to poke holes in your evidence. Trust me, if you have to seek outside help, those who you contact are going to punch as many holes in it as they possible can. If you have already done that, you can be pretty sure that what you have is good. Always ask yourself one simple question when you are evaluating your evidence: “Could it have been done by a human spirit?”