The Occult: Harmless Hobby For Dabblers Or No?


Fortunes, palms read, horoscopes, ghost stories, the ouija board, Harry Potter.  All of this is fun and games for us.  The currenct culture has diluted astrology so much that most are not aware that it is actually an ancient occult practice of fortune telling.  As kids rise through the school grades, they may well meet peers exploring actual witchcraft or even Satanism.  Harry Potter could easily become an imaginative bridge connecting them to these potentially dangerous things.

Fear The Occult? 

There are countless stories of people who became caught up in the “search for enlightenment,” only to find that their optimistic dreams turned into palpable nightmares.  Jeff Harshbarger was only in the third grade when his parents bought a ouija board. It seemed like a lot of fun until he found out that it was no game.  See his story here:  http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/Amazing/Jeff_Harshbarger032006.aspx

How We Got Here  

The Right Reverend James A. Pike, former Episcopal Bishop of California, did more to arouse public curiousity about the occult than any man of his time.  During a seance with the Reverend Arthur Ford, a minister of the Disciples of Christ Church and the best-known American trance medium, which was televised in Toronto, September 17, 1967, Pike affirmed that the message relayed by the entranced psychic from his dead son was authentic.

The noted churchman, whose unorthodox religious views almost led to a trial for heresy, admitted later he had consulted other mediums and through them recieved consoling words from the young man, who had shot and killed himself in New York a year earlier.

Pike said he had seen poltergeist phenomena, too.  Books seemed to vanish and reappear, safety pins were found open and placed to indicate the hour of 8:19, the approximate time his son died.  Half of the clothes in a closet were discovered disarranged and heaped up while the remainder were in perfect order.

The story of the Canadian telecast was front-page news in the New York Times; the tape of the seance was televised in New York less than a month later. 

Arthur Ford had been in the headlines with another spirit communication almost forty years earlier.  In January 1929 he had delivered a message from Houdini, the magician who was the archenemy of mediumistic fraud, to his widow and convinced her – temporarily.  At the time of the seance Beatrice Houdini was under a doctor’s care; the papers reported she had been having halluccinations.  When she recovered, she disavowed her earlier endorsement.  Houdini never spoke through Ford again.

Bishop Pike resigned his high post to study mysteries that were beyond the range of usual theological thought.  With his second wife he traveled to Israel in 1969.  Their car became stuck after they took a wrong turn in the Judean desert.  They walked under the blazing sun until he became exhausted; she went on for ten hours until she found help.

Days of search for the fifty-six-year-old clergyman were futile.  Arthur Ford sent word to Mrs. Pike that, in a vision he had seen Pike alive in a desert cave.  A London medium who had given Pike messages from his dead son, phoned from England to say that the churchman was “on the border trying to make the transmission”.  She offered no clue as to where he could be found.  Mrs. Margot Klausner, a Tel Aviv medium, suspended a pendulum over two maps and marked the spot in the desert where searchers could find him.  She also held a pen and through automatic writing scribbled a communication from Edgar Cayce, the late American mystic.  It said Pike was in a comma.

The day before the former Bishop’s body was found on a ledge in a canyon (not in a cave), Mrs. Pike herself had a vision.  She saw the spirit of her husband emerge vaporlike from his body, then ascend into the sky where a great crowd greeted him.  His son was there and several of his old friends; in the background she recognized Senator Bobby Kennedy.  Since then  her husband has spoken to Diane Pike in dreams, but never again has there been any other manifestations.

In the popular TV show “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, the heroine calls upon spirits, spells, and magic to defeat demonic beings.  In another show, teen-age witches use their white magic to defeat evil warlocks and spirits.  Such television programming deals with the world of the occult and is commonplace. The occult has thrived since the beginning of civilization. 

Cult experts and psychologists have documented the connection between occult involvement and psychological and emotional disorders.  Participants spend numerous hours studying, practicing, and playing games that involve conjuring demons, sacrificing creatures in cruel rituals, controlling sinister forces, and casting spells to disable and kill their enemies.  This can affect a person’s spiritual, mental, and emotional state.  In addition there is the danger of spirit possession.  The occult arts often require one to empty one’s mind and invite foreign spirits to control his or her intellect and body.  For example, in operating a ouija board, participants are asked to empty their minds to allow other forces to guide them as they attempt to attain messages.  In other games, participants are encouraged to call upon a spirit being to help guide them. These techniques open the door for spirit possession. 

So, this thing that we call “the occult”, is it all “fund and games” to you?