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Last week, we discussed whether or not ghosts exist. Now, hosts Curtis Childs and Jonathan Rose dig even deeper into the topic—with a little help from audience members and eighteenth-century philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
Curtis has not had an experience like this, but he’s had some dreams where he interacted with past loved ones. On the other hand, while Jonathan doesn’t have a specific event in mind, he can think of a few spooky moments that gave him goosebumps.
Ghosts in Gardens
Swedenborg’s garden was very meaningful to him, not least because he had some of his most powerful spiritual experiences there. These experiences revealed a greater spiritual reality that is connected to ours through thoughts and correspondences—physical representations of spiritual truths.
These connections seem to be strongest when spirits are interested in what you’re thinking about, but sometimes there are cruel spirits that just set out to scare you.
There was a certain tract of garden at which spirits had caused me to be frightened because they did not want it to be cultivated, and they even brought up dreadful thoughts, although the tract was beautiful, planted with trees. This mental image remained, for when I portrayed that garden tract by a spiritual mental image two years later, then the spirits who were now around me began to shudder, as if they were suffering dreadful thoughts, because those dreadful fantasies that had been inspired earlier were being aroused, and so they were being frightened almost beyond endurance. I therefore depicted to them how the matter stood, and that these were only illusions of evil spirits, who had induced those dreadful things, and being instructed they began to feel differently, and that horror departed. (Spiritual Experiences §2072)
These spirits are trying to induce fear for a specific reason. Spending time with schizophrenic patients led therapist Jerry Marzinsky to believe that many of our most cruel thoughts don’t come from us, but instead from evil spirits who feed on our energy.
If we look at toxic thoughts as lies told to us by hellish bullies that feed on pain, we have a whole different way to take on the dangerous traps we can find in our thoughts. So how do we take this on?
In a related experience, OTLE viewer Sherry Swiney was working to send good energy to a prison that needed it and was confronted by a dark energy. This spirit tried to scare her, and at first, the intimidation worked. But then she realized that it didn’t have any power, and when she laughed at it, it got weak. And then, finally, she offered it love and it vanished instantly.
But these scary experiences aren’t the only type, for Swedenborg or for others. Swedenborg describes another encounter from his garden:
By experiences I have been instructed that good spirits and angels are not only present with human beings, but even reside in their feelings. For every feeling has great extension, and because the ultimate plane is with human beings in their feelings, therefore this happens when the Lord enlivens, and then arranges them; just as good spirits are in the affection for gardening, where they have little abodes. (Spiritual Experiences §4399)
Swedenborg encountered all sorts of healthy societies of spirits, even in his gardens. These spirits are attracted to positive thinking and loving lives.
Good spirits, and angels even more, delight in being with a person on earth who is caring. There are spirits with a person on earth, also angels, good spirits with those who are caring, which spirits are mediums [representatives] of many societies. The things that stream in from the angels are received according to the person’s quality, or love. When he or she is imbued with charity, life with the angels is joyful and delightful, for they have a connection with the mental imagery of the person’s memory, for they are grounded in it. Therefore angels and good spirits can have a joyful life there. It is different with an evil person, because the receiving vessels are contrary, into which good things can indeed flow through the angels, but are corrupted, so that they cannot stay there on account of the repugnances that are sensed. (Spiritual Experiences §4271)
During this live show, viewers chatted in their questions—and NCE Latin Consultant Chara Daum joins to help answer them. Just click a question to see the answer:
- What happens when these evil spirits do not get fed?
- I never understood why spirituality was made so complex, why not just simplify? I think we as humans like to over analyze and that’s cool I guess if it brings you happiness, but I like simple.
- How does “I think, therefore I am” equate with regard to spiritual influences? Who or what is thinking? How is it that “I” think?
- How do [evil spirits] have access to our minds?
At the beginning, we asked viewers if they had ever encountered a ghost and what that was like. Here are some of the answers:
- A few days after my beloved sister died, I was alone at home in the bath and heard 7 loud knocks from the basement.
- Oh yes. It cannot be mistaken for anything else . . . it is a shiver coming from deep inside.
- There’s a heaviness and a change in the energy in the room.
- A ghost levitated me once then ran scared when I said the name of JESUS!
- Our apartment is haunted. I have seen him we just call him dude LOL.
- A year after my mom died, I felt her hug me on my birthday.
- Sometimes I have that feeling I been watched then I try to see with my eyes.
- Got a visit from my daughter in a dream, but I guess that is different than a ghost.
- Yes. Heard a hello in my left ear, turned around and no one was there. I left the house.
- Saw my grandfather in a dream. It was so real and calm and lucid.
- Felt it, never spooky. Bed squeaks as if someone is sitting on it or floors will creek.
- I was visited by spirits. I had contact and conversations. That’s why Swedenborg is important for me . . . so I understand that I am not going nuts. I feel acceptance and love of this worldview.
- I was staying at a relative’s house in South Carolina. It was an old Confederate mansion. I was particularly upset about something and I had been crying. Then I saw this green orb and it comforted me.
- Yes, sometimes they speak directly in our ears. I heard “I don’t like you.” I was like hhmmm that was not me, but I was not scared. I was in my room—it’s my place, the ghosts have to go!
- I saw my grandfather’s face which was like a big screen while I was talking about him with my aunt.
- When my father died I walked into my mom’s kitchen and I felt my father’s presence but I could not see him.
- I heard footsteps going up the stairs and stopping on the top level along with my dog growling at the same time it hit the top step. It didn’t make any noise after that. It was my girlfriend’s house.
- I don’t know if it was a spirit, but when my good friend died I saw a light hit the wall then left.
- I have had many experiences. Anytime I am ever afraid I picture Jesus in my mind and remember He is with me at all times. I recommend the Lord’s Prayer to people at times they feel uncomfortable.
Thanks for joining us—we’ll see you next week!
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About Swedenborg and Life
In a lighthearted and interactive live webcast format, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death.
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