When we think of spiritual realities, it is good to make some distinctions. God is the Creator of all that is: angels, people, animals and all of creation. Humans have both a body and a spirit. Animals have just bodies, Angels are pure spirit without a body.
The spiritual realm is real, even though we normally cannot see it. From time to time, God allows some people to glimpse spiritual realities for reasons we may not understand until we get to Heaven. There are both good and bad spirits, both angels and demons.
Angels have been present since creation: “As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.” Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 330.
Fallen angels are called demons. The devil was originally an angel of light who rebelled against God. Other angels also rebelled and became demons. Sometimes both physical places or people can be affected by the presence of one or more demons.
The best protection against anything having to do with demon is to stay close to Jesus, who is infinitely more powerful than the devil and all of the demons combined.
We, however, on our own, apart from God, are no match for these fallen angels (demons) who are smarter and stronger than we are. One should never try to engage an evil spirit. Instead, one should turn to God and ask for His protection.
But, the further we stray from God’s loving protection, the more we can become vulnerable to the influence of evil. This is why the best protection from evil is to stay close to God, not out of fear of the devil, but out of love for God who is the fullness of Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
So the first thing to remember is that if you bump up against something that looks like the involvement of a bad spirit, the most important thing you can do is to turn to God, repent of any pattern of serious sin in your life and to renew your relationship with God though Jesus Christ, who came to save us from the influence of the evil one. It simply doesn’t work to try to get rid of the devil while you are still serving him in a sinful lifestyle.
Next, is to consider the type of situation you may be encountering.
Not every supernatural occurrence that might look like a haunted house involves demons. Sometimes there are natural explanations that are not easily evident (knocking water pipes, howling wind whistling though a part of the house…). and then there is also the possibility of a human spirit who has something keeping them from moving on. Catholics understand that people who have died may have unfinished business, even though they are on their way to Heaven. This in-between state is called Purgatory. Some feel that God allows some souls who are still in purgatory to have limited contact with our world so that we can be aware of them and pray for them to speed them on their journey to Heaven.
So a distinction needs to be made as to whether a supernatural manifestation is due to a human spirit who needs our prayers, or something of a more sinister nature, like a demon. If evil is involved it is usually more than just a noise or the seeing of a spirit. It usually involves a feeling or presence that is negative or evil.
If you do encounter something that you feel is a truly supernatural manifestation, please don’t call the ghost busters or a new age spiritualist or anyone else claiming to offer help in the spiritual realm, unless the help they are offering comes from Jesus Christ. Anything else except the authority of Jesus Christ will, at best, be unhelpful, and could possibly make matter worst. You don’t want to employ charms or try to talk to spirits or order them about unless you have the spiritual authority to do so.
This authority has been given by Jesus Christ to His Church, specifically to the Catholic Church, which Jesus founded and entrusted to the care of His Apostles. Catholic bishops are the successors of the Apostles to whom Jesus gave His own authority. Catholic priests who serve under the authority of a Catholic bishop, share in this authority. In most Catholic dioceses there is usually at least one priest who is designated as an exorcist and they are trained to handle the more severe cases, which are normally pretty rare. But any Catholic priest can do a house blessing for you or say a Mass for someone who may need our prayers to move on to Heaven. Holy Water is also available for free from any Catholic Church.
But while Catholic bishops and priests have been given authority over evil by Jesus Christ, there are also some things which you can do. The most obvious things you can do are to pray and repent of sin. This may sound really simple but it is actually quite important! You can’t get rid of evil if you keep welcoming it back though your own sinfulness. For Catholics, the Sacrament of Confession is particularly helpful.
There are also some things that can help make your home less welcoming to demons in the same way that locks and outdoor lighting deter thieves. Things which make your home less attractive to demons are: regular prayer in the home (especially asking God for His protection and presence in your home), holy water, religious articles (crucifixes, bible, religious pictures…) and the desire to follow God and turn away from sin.
Things which can make your home more inviting to demons are sinful lifestyles, the absence of prayer or Christian items, and anything that could be construed as an invitation to the demonic, such as occult items, Tarot cards, or occult-like toys such as 8 balls or Ouija boards. Also, some types of Yoga or other practices connected to Eastern spirituality (like Reiki massage) or anything claiming to manipulate “spiritual energy” can serve as a welcome mat for the bad spirits.
One blessing that the head of the household can do is the Threshold Blessing. This blessing is an invocation of God’s protection that has been shown to work against evil. It should be done by the owner of the home or the one who has signed the lease. It also needs to be renewed each year (use the current year, not the one shown in the example).
If problems persist, try having a Mass said. The usual offering to have a Mass said is $10. If you cannot afford this, most priests will be willing to say the Mass for you anyway. When you call the Catholic Church to ask for a Mass to be said, just tell them it is for a “Special Intention.” You can just tell the Lord quietly in your heart that it is for any human soul in Purgatory who may be attached to your home and in need of your prayers.
You can also call a Catholic priest and ask them to do a house blessing for you. If you are Catholic however, the first step is to make a good confession! Until you do so, you are leaving the welcome mat out for the demons!