Frankly, I’m troubled. I’m troubled by the kinds of training (or lack thereof) people who call themselves “ghost hunters” have received (or not received), especially when they offer their services to people who claim paranormal problems in their homes – people who are often scared by their experiences, and experiences that may or may not have a paranormal cause.
I am troubled by the perpetuation of misinformation about ghosts, hauntings and poltergeists on the internet, and amongst ghost hunting groups – who have completely missed the over 130 years of field work and investigation of such things from the earliest days of psychical research through the inception and work of folks in the field of Parapsychology.
I am troubled by the sentiment that using technology is the same as doing science — it’s not, especially when the equipment is not even used properly (I’ve seen this first hand).
But recently, I have been troubled by the rising tide of “demonology” connected to investigations of the phenomena which exists and is experienced in connection with consciousness, and the suggestion that studying demons is somehow “scientific.” Many use the word “demon” to refer to apparent non-human entities that have “evil” intentions, and the word “angel” for those entities who have “good” intentions.
It has not been established (scientifically) that human beings have consciousness, though the opinion is that we do. It has not been established (proven, scientifically) that consciousness is separable from the body (ghosts and such), though the evidence certainly points that way.
The idea of non-human disembodied beings is one step even further removed. Only living people’s perceptions, what they experience, points to disembodied consciousness and only those perceptions and interpretations of those perceptions might suggest “non-human” beings (other than ghostly pets, of course). We’ve got enough to deal with human consciousness without leaping to conclusion that some entity or other is “non-human” for whatever reason.
Further, what is “good” and what is “evil” is subject to our interpretations, biases, and beliefs. Is a shark evil when it attacks someone? The result of the attack is certainly not a good thing, but the shark is what it is: hungry.
Is an earthquake “evil”?
Things can be very dangerous without being “evil.” That label attributes motive – a conscious motive to do harm merely for the sake of doing it (see most DC and Marvel Comics super-villains).
There are two questions here: are there non-human entities and are they malevolent or evil?
The answer to both depends on looking deeper into the perceptions, psychology and experience of the folks encountering things they believe fall into these categories. From the Parapsychological perspective, while there might be non-human disembodied entities (essentially, beings of pure conscious energy), they falls into the realm of belief and speculation even more than ghosts do. The experiences with such things can be explained by other psychic models (apparitions, hauntings, poltergeists, telepathy, etc.).
If there are such beings, are they evil?
Using the word “demon” to describe them already puts them in that category, regardless of what their intentions are or who they are. But more dangerous than that, using the label “demon” puts a religious spin on the entity and experience.
If one takes the word “demon” to mean those entities which started out as angelic beings, caught up in some rebellion against God (losing side) and thrown down to the “region” that became known as Hell, and perhaps their progeny, then we have a simple problem: God, or gods, and beings of that hierarchy, including the “low” (demons) are seen as unknowable.
How do you prove God exists? If you can’t prove the existence of God, how do you prove the existence of lesser yet associated beings such as angels? How do you prove the existence of a Devil, whether you call him Satan, Lucifer, Ahriman, or Loki, when he is said to be part of God’s (or the gods’) hierarchy?