Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Walls in the Sanctuary are Bleeding

My church is, by all accounts, far more interesting than it's size would seem to indicate. Often, that's in the Chinese curse sort of way...but I'll take what I can get.

Lately, though, there's an entertaining subthread to the life of the congregation. A growing number of folks are convinced of the possibility that the church is haunted. It's a pretty recent contemporary structure, hardly the sort of medieval abbey or creaky antebellum structure that typically evokes thoughts of bumps in the night.

However, the building is big, far bigger than my congregation needs. We rattle around in it's hollows. It has an oddly consistent history of negativity. It also is oddly structured, built with not a single right angle outside of where the walls meet the floor. First time visitors are usually disoriented by the counterintuitive nature of the layout. And it does have it's share of creepy corners...all of which I've explored extensively over the last six years. There's not an inch of the building I don't know, from the top of the roof to the dank dirt floored subterranean access tunnels. I've been here alone. I've been here alone late at night. Not once have I experienced anything remotely resembling a paranormal event.

Others have, though. The stories have trickled by over the years. There've been voices heard when people were alone in the church. Footsteps in hallways when no-one was there. What looks like a child darting into a darkened hallway.

Lately, things have been picking up. Locked doors leading to empty rooms have been shaken violently from within, as if someone were trying to get out. Folks here at night after a young adult event swear up and down that they heard the sound of a young girl's moaning. Our office manager did some digging into the history of the building site, and found that an abandoned schoolhouse sat for decades on the plot where the church currently stands.

As someone who is inherently skeptical about such things, I'm...um...skeptical. While I don't rule out the paranormal, I tend to think that most such events are the result of our rather impressive suggestibility. There's been an intensely negative spirit in the building, sure. Other pastors who've served here have noted it. But pretty much all of that has come from human beings and our inherent love of conflict.

Still and all, the prospect of doing some ghostbusting after the Easter season has some appeal.

Time for a lock-in!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, that sounds interesting! Reminds me of Jung"s comments on Africans who could talk to trees- ghosts can be a sort of exteriorized unconscious- that doesn't make them less real- they then are more real than anything else to the observer- or observers because there can be a collective phenomena. I'd suggest you go with it instead against it- like I said- the fact that people perceive it makes it real. Now, it would be interesting to know if there are 'positive' spots in the church- places that give a 'holy' feeling ( obviously you'll need those to encounter the 'negative' energy). A little exorcism might please the community and give a feeling of union ( if the community feels strong enough to withstand the 'negative' exterior influence) some objects that can symbolize and concentrate 'holy energy' (Icons,cross,place to burn candles) can help- in case you don't want to call in a Feng Shui expert.

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