Religion in Investigations
THIS IS A RATHER CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT which many investigators don’t discuss very often, probably due to its explosive nature. Allow me to preface this entire article by saying: “Lone Star Spirits does not endorse one religion in particular as a group, although Lone Star Spirits recognizes and respects the religious beliefs of each member, client, friend, and site viewer.”
Religion is the oldest means man has used to address the question of what happens to us when we die. For that reason, it is impossible to investigate claims of the paranormal for long without having to address the issue of religion and its place in an investigation. Our belief system helps us as individuals to define ourselves and our world. Everything we do and experience is viewed through our personal belief system – we make decisions based on this, and we judge other people according to what we believe. In this, if in nothing else, every religion has power. At the very least, a religion has the power to affect the behavior and opinions of the person who believes it. This applies to religious devotees, agnostics, and athiests.
As an investigator, you will enter each investigation with your own set of beliefs, attitudes, and possibly prejudices. Above all else, to conduct an effective investigation, you must be able to recognize and respect the religion of your client, even if you disagree. It is also important to respect the individual beliefs of your team. If one member cannot follow-through with an investigation for religious reasons, they should be allowed to withdraw. The same goes for witnesses and neighbors.
As an investigator, you will come into contact with people of many different religions. You should become familiar with their religious practices and symbology. It would be wise to have contacts in different religions that you trust to advise you in these matters. The religious symbols and practices in use by your clients can tell you quite a bit about your client’s state of mind. Lone Star Spirits found this to be true on more than one occasion. In the event that you find that the location is haunted, these things could explain some of the ghost’s behavior. It could be reacting to practices and symbols that have a personal meaning to it. A ghost will often respond to these things.
You are investigating the ghost of a deceased Christian who is being very pesky. As a Christian yourself (if you are a Christian, if not, you might want to find one before trying this example), you invoke Christ and demand that the ghost stop the behavior. Chances are, it will stop because you have invoked the Name of an entity that it views as authoritarian.
At this time, there isn’t any scientific evidence of a non-human entity reacting to any religious symbology. Then again, there’s no scientific evidence that such spirits exist (but I know what I have seen). Considering the relative rarity of such entities, there is not a large enough sample available to provide reliable answers.
Each organization and individual will find their own way of dealing with this issue, or they won’t last very long. This is the method that has worked for us, and we have worked with clients of almost every theological background that you can think of. If, as a team, you end up investigating with a religion that you can’t accept or work with, forcing yourself to continue with the investigation is dangerous. It could easily anger your client and cause a rift in your team. If you find yourself in that situation, I would recommend that your team, graciously step down and offer to locate a team that can continue the investigation (of course, you should follow through and locate someone).
I hope that no one has taken offense to this article. It is one of the most common questions that I field – “Where does religion fit in, in all of this? Is there a prayer that I should use, or what?” I can’t answer the last part – it depends on your religion. As for the other part, you can’t avoid it when you’re dealing with ghosts. It’s a part of you, a part of your client, and a part of the spirit. You may be able to investigate without any religious “baggage” from yourself, but you cannot separate your client or any ghost from their personal beliefs.