The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”
The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”
“What does he look like?” he asked.
“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.
Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
- 1 Samuel 28:13-14
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
- Luke 24:37-39
The first Scripture is what people might call a ghost. The witch, or sorceress, pulls up the image of Samuel as a ghost from beyond. While today, the people who claim that they can talk to the dead, almost all at least, have no power in which to do so, they make vague statements based on things they have learned about you and the departed and the rest is theatrics.
When you see how frightened the woman gets in Samuel actually appearing, you wonder if this sorceress really felt that her conjuring would work. Having an Israelite, those sworn to kill all witches, appear and ask for this to be done already scared the woman.
The second Scripture mentions the word “ghost” twice. It is one of Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection. Two other New Testament references to “ghost” come in Jesus walking on the water where Matthew and Mark say that the disciples thought they saw a ghost.
The only other reference to “ghost” in the Bible is a “ghost-like voice” in Isaiah 29.
Why bring this up? Well, I should have written this for yesterday, but… oh, well.
No, the other day in the mail, I received two very familiar letters. The letters came from our local wholesale warehouse store where we have membership. For all those over 65, they send an annual letter for people to use their online service to compare Medicare supplemental insurance plans, especially the pharmaceutical plans. The letter gives you a temporary login and password if you do not already have an account.
Since I use their service to compare to USAA (United Services Automobile Association), I carefully looked to see which one was for my wife and which was mine. The answer: Neither. They were names that I never heard before. But the address was our address.
I called to my wife to say that our ghosts were getting mail. She confirmed. Two strange names that neither of us knew or had ever heard. We have been living here for over twenty-five years. It was our address. The wholesale warehouse store has only been here about 15-20 years. If those two people have just turned 65 and they live at our house, it must be the ghosts!
Sure, you are going to say that these are former residents. These people got placed in a database, although the world wide web was in its infancy 25 years ago. And no one updated their new addresses, but you would be spoiling all my fun. Besides, this explains so much!
Once my wife awoke and an image of an angry man stood over her. He shouted, “You must leave this house!” And then he was gone. Did she dream that and then woke up?! Who knows?
We have seen shadows that move. We have felt drafts far from the nearest window.
When I am alone in the house, I have heard someone open the front door and walk up the steps to the second floor. This has happened several times. The doors are locked, and no one is in the house except me, but the first step creaks, as well as about three others. It is not just the thump of a foot fall, but the creaks happen at the right time.
You may say that the house is settling. The front steps definitely are. Getting into our house from the front is hazardous. The prefabricated concrete front steps were not put on a firm foundation. You step up the steps with equal risers, each the same height, until the last step which is by now nearly twice the height of any other step. So, if the house is settling, the front steps are settling a lot faster.
Other than the conjured image of Samuel, the Biblical references to ghosts only indicate that the disciples and the Old Testament Israelites believed that ghosts were possible. My wife and I do not necessarily believe in ghosts. If we believed that they could harm us, we would have left long ago.
As for the settling, if you live in SW Pennsylvania, you live over a mineshaft. No house is perfectly safe. The mineshaft under us produced one of the oddest floods that you could imagine. About one block down the hill, a vent shaft from the mine filled with water, with shifting rock an underground aquifer suddenly erupted. There was so much water that it washed the pavement off a couple of streets and washed away the soil beneath the roadway. It also flooded the basements and first floors of several homes. I wonder how that call to the insurance agent went? “You say that you live a few hundred feet above the creek level on a hill in a large valley, but your house got flooded?!?! And those near the creek didn’t even get wet?!?!? Send a lot of pictures because there is no way we will believe that!!!!”
Funny, I was in India at the time and almost all the outdoor damage was repaired by the time I got home. All except for one street that was a cliff for the lowest block of the street. It took several 20-ton dump trucks days to add enough soil before they could start paving again.
It may seem like piling on, but I wrote this a week ago. Then on Halloween, after Trick or Treat was over, I went upstairs to bed. I was awakened after midnight with the sound of something falling into the bathtub, not a person, more like a shampoo bottle. I went to the bathroom and there was nothing out of place. I went back to bed, fell into a deep sleep and then I heard my name being called with a rhythmic thumping sound. I was afraid that my wife had gotten up to get something to drink from the kitchen and she had fallen. I tore down the stairs, turning on lights along the way but not really looking, to find no one calling my name. My wife was still in bed, softly snoring. She said later that it was probably God trying to get my attention, like He did with Samuel. I told her she was probably right for two reasons. I learned that the soft thumping sounds were made by my CPAP hose as the hose tapped against something next to the bed – a pressurized hose makes a reverberation when lightly struck. I could have dreamed my name being called out, but then why go back to sleep with an earworm in my ear? It was God trying to get my attention. “Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling ‘Oh, sinner, come home.'” And within a minute or two, I was back asleep. I have linked to many artists, but this may be the first Glen Campbell.
So, I could come up with excuses for all the strange things that happen at our house, but the idea of ghosts allows me to be whimsical. And now I know their names!! What is great about it is that the names are bizarre, names you might think ghosts might have!! No, I will not repeat them as I do not have permission to divulge the ghosts’ names. These ghosts spook easily, and I do not know if they could sign a consent form anyway. But I can say that one last name was either Russian or Polish and the other was probably of a Romance Language origin that got shortened at Ellis Island, with a given name that I had never heard before.
But the only One, who others feared to be a ghost, One that I truly believe in, is not only real, but alive, not a ghost at all. That is Jesus. He proved to the disciples that he was not a ghost. And I know He is real, for He lives inside my heart.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.