Wakey Wakey.
reveille precedes revelation

Spooky stories

Happy end of October, everyone.

When I was a security guard, trying to pay for grad school while doing as little work as possible, I had a coworker from Haiti. He told me a story, with utmost sincerity, about a man in his hometown who was tormented by demons. I’m a bit hazy on the details (I heard the story years ago), but the main part of the story was this guy getting physically battered and bruised by unseen forces. My friend says he saw this with his own eyes. It was creepy to hear him tell it. He informed me that these kinds of experiences were not necessarily common for him when he lived in Haiti, but they were certainly common enough in his country that most people lived their lives in such a way as not to offend demons. At the same time, he said he didn’t have any experiences of demonic presences in the US. He believed that education makes the demons go away and be less powerful.

I’m guessing there’s something in that story, or at least in his telling of it, that doesn’t really fit with the all the rules that you use to organize your experience of the world. So how do you deal with that story? Do you think the story could possibly be true?

This world is a weird place. We organize our experience of it into rules of expected “how the world works” behavior based on our experience and what we’ve been taught (examples: gravity works, my spouse doesn’t like bugs, the Bible is true, Trader Joe’s is awesome). Some of our organizing beliefs are about the supernatural–whether we believe there’s anything “beyond nature” or not. Most of the time, our rules work. Every so often, though, most of us hear a story that contradicts some of those dearly held beliefs that we use to organize our lives.

This week’s topic: How do you deal with stories about experieces with the supernatural (other peoples’ or your own) that don’t square with your worldview? Can you give us some examples of those stories and how you’re dealing with them?

See you tonight!


2 Responses to “Spooky stories”

  1. I call shenanigans on such stories! I’m willing to listen and stay open-minded, but I won’t call the Ghostbusters until I have some pretty darn good evidence. Most ‘ghosts’ live on the edge of reality, existing only between wisps of fog or highlighted for a moment in a flicker of candlelight. I’m more willing to accept that it is a mis-perception or a misunderstanding than immediately attribute it to ghosts/demons/the otherworldly. If an entity defies definition or is defined by its inability to be defined, then I’m just going to assume that it is not what it is claimed to be

  2. I’ve heard similar stories from people who I don’t believe lied to me. I don’t believe any of them. I think that mental illness, drugs, chicanery, etc. need to be ruled out in a scientific manner, and I have no way to do that. It’s surprisingly easy for people to be deceived.

    But I do think that if I were a smart demon trying to keep people away from God, I wouldn’t possess someone in a country where people generally didn’t believe in anything unprovable by science. That could open their eyes to the fact that something bigger might exist.

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