Saturday, December 15, 2012
These particular stories are ones that I have experienced myself or have heard from the people who experienced them. Of course one could say that any book written as a testimony of miracles, haunting, or alien abductions is a first hand account, but in this particular post I will deal only with unpublished anecdotes rather than books.
A Lutheran pastor confronts demons in a multiple personality client
This story was heard recently in an adult Sunday School class in our Lutheran church. Pastor Harry, who is retired now, found himself in an uncomfortable situation when some of the personalities in a woman with multiple personalities seemed to be demonic. He knew nothing of exorcism and little of Psychology so he tried to pass the woman onto the psychologist. That man, however, demurred, since the demons were more open with the minister. “What do I do with them?” asked the minister. “Talk to them,” said the psychologist. So he did his best, setting up a sort of code to tell who was who. He would ask them if Jesus Christ was Lord. He figured the demons couldn’t say that. He learned in the course of time that they actually could. After all, the Bible says that the demons believe and tremble. When Christ was on earth, they recognized him right away and pleaded for mercy. So Pastor Harry set up another code. “Can you say that Jesus is my Lord?” That the demons could not do. Harry claims that he did get rid of the personalities that could not make that claim, and the woman herself became a helper to him in dealing with other clients with mental problems.
Korean War troops saved from a cold, wet death
I heard this story in Lexington, Kentucky. It was the season of the horse races. Horsemen came into town from all over, living out of their trailers and mobile homes. Sitting in Jerry’s restaurant I heard one of them telling his tablemates that he was a soldier in the Korean War. When the men got bored, they had to find creative ways to entertain themselves. One favorite was to get a little drunk, climb into a jeep, and fly down a long, straight road as fast as they could go. One night several of them were doing just that. Suddenly they saw a swinging lantern directly in front of them. The road was pitch black and there was no time to stop or swerve. The jeep blew right through the swinging lantern. The men all screamed, certain that they had just killed someone. The jeep screeched to a stop. All the soldiers got out and looked for the person with the lantern. But there was no one to be seen. And it dawned on them that they had not felt a thud. They went forward on the road a bit where there was a bridge. Guess what they found there? The bridge was out. The jeep was feet away from plunging into the river in the black of night, miles away from human aid.
My one awful experience of discerning a demonic spirit
In the 1970’s I attended a Pentecostal church that ministered to young people, some of whom came from troubled backgrounds. I wound up spending the night at the apartment of one of these women. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable relationship for me, but I wanted to encourage her, so I was willing to be friendly and spend time with her. She went to bed earlier than I, so I spent some time in the living room in prayer. Suddenly I seemed to sense a spirit of suicide standing nearby, an actual specific presence with a purpose for being in the apartment. I had never had such an experience, so I thought/hoped it was my imagination. Just in case, I prayed against it. After a bit, I heard rustling about the apartment. The bathroom door was ajar. I got up to see what was going on. There was Linda, lying on the bathroom floor with a kitchen knife aimed at her stomach. I was horrified, but tried to not let it show. This was a woman who had been in 72 hour lock down more than once. I knew nothing about such things or about people who are that depressed. She kept mumbling that no one would care. I assured her that plenty of people would care if she took her life. I said, “Let’s call your mom right now and tell her your plan and we’ll see if she cares.” I got Linda back in bed, heaved a sigh of relief, and went back to prayers. More time passed, and I heard that rustling again. This time Linda had some rat spray and a plastic bag. I don’t recall how, but I talked that down and got her back to bed. I prayed all night until dawn, then left. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. One lady asked me later, “Why didn’t you call for professional help?” She didn’t call me a boob, but it sounded like she thought I was one. I guess the answer to that is that I actually was kind of a boob, and had no idea what to do in such cases. I certainly at least should have called someone from the church, but I thought maybe she was just being a drama queen.
But it is amazing how the enemy of our souls can put ideas in our heads as if those thoughts are our own. The more we give in to such thoughts, the more power they have over us. At some point, the ability to resist is lost. That is why Jesus Christ warned us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Resisting evil or destructive thoughts is our first line of defense. And if that doesn’t work, call on God for help. Next defense, turn to people who can help you, people who are not in the same pit as you are.
Claudia King’s encounter with the spiritual mafia
This story is just a segment from one of my previous blog posts. To see the whole post, put her name in the search box at the top of the blog.
Claudia’s father was in the mafia smuggling liquor. She wasn’t abused as a child, but she was sent away to a Catholic school for her own safety. Mention of religion was not allowed in her home. She was curious as a teenager to know if God was real. She decided that a quick way to find out was to call up Satan. If the devil was real, then maybe God was, too. She writes:
There was one book, in particular, to which I was drawn. It described a chant, with a diagram, and two candles -- simple enough. I repeated the words from that book in my room that night and did everything it instructed me to do. I rejected Jesus verbally and called upon spirits I knew nothing about for power. After a short time, it all seemed silly, so I went to bed.
After being asleep for a while, I woke up to an intense growling under my bed -- near my head. I sat up and listened, becoming more frightened. After a few minutes it went away. I laid back down on my side and fell asleep. I remember waking up to adjust my pillow. I could not find it. I opened my eyes to find I had levitated almost to the ceiling and my pillow was on my bed beneath me. I remember one of the books saying that you could ‘will’ things to happen to you – so I ‘willed’ myself to go down to my bed. At this point I turned my bedroom light on and kept it on for a long time.
I went to the kitchen and got a glass of juice. I returned to my room, not believing my own experience and went back to bed. Maybe the growling and the levitating was just some freaky dream! I convinced myself that it was just that I was tired -- and I settled into a comfortable position on my stomach when two very large demonic hands grabbed my ankles and proceeded to pull me off my bed. They didn’t feel like human hands -- but I have no way to describe how I knew that. I grabbed the top of my mattress and the force was so strong that the mattress bent in the direction I was being pulled. I don’t know why I said it, but I whispered, ‘Jesus’ and immediately the hands let go and like a vacuum, the evil presence was sucked from the room. I could hear it leave.
It took Claudia 17 years to divest herself of that evil presence, and that was only after a 6 hour exorcism in some Pentecostal lady’s kitchen. She is walking free and clear today, but can you imagine spending eternity with those growling creatures? We live in a spiritual war zone. The message of the Bible is that dying is no way to escape the stress and uncertainty of this world because there is plenty dark, creepy, terrifying stuff waiting for us on the other side if we do not avail ourselves of God’s protection and salvation. It will devour your grandma, ruin your health, and/or claim your kids if you don’t find a way to combat it.
That’s my word count for today. In my next post, I will discuss exorcism in more detail.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Sometimes the evangelical doctrine of “inerrancy” (there are no errors in the Bible and all ideas presented reflect the thinking of God) snares the church in some sticky wickets. For example, the Christian church, the Body of Christ, the light on a hilltop, the salt of the earth, the purveyor of the love of God, finds that to be true to inerrant Scripture it must suppress women. Why? Because Adam was born first and Eve sinned first. That puts women beneath men forever, until the Second Coming. They must also bash gay people as sinners worse than any on earth . . . worse than the philandering minister, the heterosexual predator teaching Sunday School, and the lukewarm Church of Laodicea. It is not the lackadaisical believers that will bring a curse on the U.S., it is the gays getting married.
For many years Christians felt they had to burn blaspheming heretics at the stake. They all did it, Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed Protestants, the Puritans… If they couldn’t hang or drown or burn you, they would shun you.
They also had to mercilessly persecute scientists who believed that the earth went around the sun. After all Psalm 19:4-6 says that
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
The sun is compared to a happy, virile ancient Middle Eastern bridegroom who leaves his tent after his wedding night, going forth in vigor and strength, joyfully circling the earth (or at least moving across it from horizon to horizon). The fact that this was poetry with quaint metaphors didn’t matter. It was holy writ. Today it’s the Evolutionists vs. the Creationists. Some of my good friends are stunned, shocked, dismayed, and even offended that I could believe that the earth was not created in 6 literal 24 hour days. I have been warned that I’m falling away from Jesus.
Some Christians used to believe that black skin was the “mark of Cain,” a sign of God’s curse. Some used the Bible to show that slavery was biblical or that plural marriage is God’s will. As long as the ethics of the world at large were mired in the same ethical swamps, the Christian church could follow horrific practices, behaving in ignorant and uncompassionate ways, and get away with it. The problem is that the concept of inalienable human rights arose to muck things up, and science leaped from the pages of myth to technological scientific experiments.
Some churches will not use musical instruments because there are none mentioned in the New Testament. A truly pious disciple will not make Eve’s dastardly mistake of adding to the Word of God. And here is the worst: to be a good evangelical Christian today, one must believe everything that comes from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
OK, just kidding. However, as the church looks more and more “Left Behind,” uncompassionate, and irrelevant to the world at large, the leaders close ranks, refusing to compromise their principals. They say we must agree with Jesus. And I agree. The question is, what exactly did Jesus say? As a Christian, I certainly want to agree with Jesus. For instance, I figure that Christ was extant from the beginning of time. He was there when “all the sons of God shouted with joy,” so he knows how old the earth is. And therefore he knows that it isn’t just 6,000 years old. So I am confident that I AM agreeing with Jesus on that issue.
A more serious point is this. Jesus promised that when he left, he would send a “paraclete” to walk beside us. That is what the word means in Greek. He actually said in John 16 that we would be better off for it. It was necessary for Jesus to leave us so that the “Advocate” could come (and for what purpose? To finish the work of forming us into proper representatives of the Father). The Holy Spirit of God, for Whom Christ had so much reverence, will comfort us, reprove the world of sin, and reveal future truth. John 16:12-15,
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jesus perfectly represents the Father and the Holy Spirit perfectly represents the Son.
The word for Satan in Hebrew means “Adversary,” one who has no problem wrecking your home, destroying your health, and killing your children, as poor Job found out. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, goes throughout the world bringing comfort, teaching, guidance, and defense against the accusation of the enemy. The Holy Spirit also comes with gifts of power for the edification of the Church and its members.
But this presents the Church with a terrifying conundrum. Could it be possible that when the last verse of the New Testament was written there was still some truth, some power out there that had not yet been revealed? New truths, new powers, new experiences are frightening because they are untested. We who so lack wisdom, can we actually discern whether something new is taking us closer to the heart of God or luring us away? It’s a legitimate question and a real fear. It lays a huge responsibility on our shoulders.
And yet, if “all truth” actually does suggest that there were truths yet to come, which the early New Testament church was not yet prepared to understand, how can we be sure that it is the Spirit leading us? Could it have something to do with releasing women from the curse of Patriarchy? Could it cause us to get along with each other instead of burying the heretic alive? Would Luther and Zwingli have to shake hands today and agree to disagree? Could it mean that the evangelicals should show more respect to scientists today?
It might mean all or none of those things. However, we cannot abandon the challenge to listen to the Spirit today. But we must ask ourselves, what is more precious to us, the doctrine of inerrancy and literalism or being the loving vessel that Jesus Christ challenged us to be? Is it really our main task to convict the world of sin or should we rather point to our Heavenly Father as inviting the sinner to wholeness? How can the Christian church beg God to help us to be all that we can be if we disallow women to be what God has called and equipped them to be?
There are no easy answers or solutions to the possibility that the “things to come” were truths rather than merely events to be survived. But if the Lord has challenged us in that way, he will not abandon us to our inherent propensity to be stupid. He will walk us through it. Perhaps we will dance-walk through it, perhaps we will crawl. But we will get through it.
We have two great sign posts to help us on our way. One is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The other is the Golden Rule. I’m not saying that the Holy Spirit is an old sweetie who does not acknowledge sin. Far from it. But if we want to represent God, the conviction of sin must begin in the house of God, and it must be balanced with compassion.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
In the first three parts of the Osborne story, we learned about Myra’s two life-changing visions of Jesus Christ, her sensitivity to ethereal realms, Charles’s Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and his experience with deliverance ministry. In this last section, Charles discusses gold dust, angels feathers, Marian apparitions, aliens, and his brother’s NDE.
Our discussion of gold dust began when I mentioned the fact that in Medjugorje, pilgrims would often discover that the silver-colored chains on their rosaries had turned to gold. There is also a DVD movie called “Finger of God,” by Darren Wilson, that documents testimony of gold fillings appearing in teeth during a worship service. Wilson has also filmed Christian speakers who manifest gold dust all over themselves as they preach. At that point, Charles had his own gold dust story to share, since the phenomenon sometimes occurs in his church. I asked if he had ever gotten it on film.
No, because that’s never been our focus. Sometimes it lasts, sometimes it fades. There was a time when I was very negative about those things, because I’d heard accounts of it being faked, and I thought it was all nuts and was just gimmicks. Then we had Kathy Walters come. She gets gold dust all over her. She gets covered. I had the minister watch her, knowing that she gets these kinds of manifestations, or is reported to, and these little pinpoints of light began to form on her face as she talked about Jesus and the grace of God. They grew until it became gold colored flecks that were all over her face.
I had breakfast with her at IHOP, and as we were sitting there, this wave of perfume began to fall down over us to where you couldn’t smell the ham and eggs or the maple syrup. And she began to talk about the grace of God, and said the gold, the manifestation of glory only happens in a climate of grace where people are free in the Lord and you’re not walking in legalism, but you’re walking in the grace of God, and as she talked like that, these tiny little points of light began to form on her face again, and before long she was covered over with this gold dust. And uh, it was just the most interesting thing to watch it, sitting over a table in a booth. I’ve been with her many times, and gold dust would just shoot across her arms.
Hers kind of hangs around. You can wipe it off and take it home with you. Our praise team, when they worship on Tuesday night, sometimes the silver dust falls on them, and it tends to fade away afterwards. So sometimes those manifestations seem to fall out of the sky so to speak, and other times they seem to exude from inside the body, like it came from within somehow, and then seems to go back where it came from. I don’t understand it, but I have certainly witnessed it enough, and I’m satisfied it’s not faked.
Well, sometimes a feather will fall, and … it sounds crazy to even talk about it, but I had totally discounted this kind of thing. When someone would show me a feather that had fallen during the service, I politely looked at it, and didn’t want to discourage them, but I really thought they were nuts. So one Sunday, I was ministering in a prayer line, and I was ministering prophetically, and I turned to the right to collect my thoughts. As I turned, no higher than my waist, a fluffy white feather was floating in the air. It was about the size of my thumbnail. I was so shocked (chuckle)… I thought, what’s that? And as I looked at it, it wafted as on a breeze, and then it just blinked out of existence. I saw it as clearly as I saw my own hand.
The next week, we had a visiting prophet who was going to minster, so we pushed back the altar. It’s just a portable table, and had a floor length skirt, and we pushed it back. That feather that I had seen the week before was lying at the foot of the altar. I didn’t say anything because it was so nuts. The next day I picked up the mail, and a friend who has the gift of prophecy had sent me a letter, written the previous Wednesday, and detailed the exact prophecy the lady had given there in church. The Lord would open the heavens, and glory would be poured out, and sometimes feathers would fall in the church, and when it did, it would be a reminder of the open heaven and the ministry of angels on our behalf. Every now and then feathers will fall down. And when anyone gets one, they feel it’s a little love token from Jesus and a reminder that we’re being watched over.
My readers know from my four-part blog post that I am very skeptical about Marian apparitions. However, when I asked Charles what he thought about them, I determined to listen with an open mind.
Well, you know Anglicans are very diverse. So there are high church Anglicans who practice devotion to the Virgin Mary. In Wisconsin, I was rector of a church that was the home of the American Proto-Shrine of the Lady of Walsingham. The Lady of Walsingham is an English shrine. In 1061 when Edward the Confessor was King of England, a Saxon noblewoman had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Three times she was taken up in the Spirit and saw the Virgin Mary and the Virgin Mary took her to Nazareth and showed her the holy house where she had lived, and the childhood home of Jesus, and told her to build a replica. So she had a wooden replica made to those specs. And in digging around and building it, they dug up a spring, and the spring kind of became like the Lourdes of the day. And in the height of the Middle Ages, until the shrine of the Lady of Loretta was established in Italy, which claimed to be the actual holy house itself, Walsingham was one of the great shrines of Europe, and people made pilgrimage there from everywhere.
Henry VIII endowed the shrine, and prayed for a child, and it was one of the great shrines that he destroyed  when he annexed the great monastic houses and their wealth, and burned their great statues in the street. And so the shrine collapsed at the Reformation. So in the Anglican-Catholic revival…there was a revival of Catholic practice in the Anglican Church in the 1800’s… and in the 1920’s , the parish priest in Walsingham had a new statue made, and it became a place of pilgrimage. And our church in Wisconsin, we had water from the holy well. People would come each year and would pray for healing and would be sprinkled with water from the holy well in England. It would be like water from Lourdes.
So one night in the shrine, we were having a prayer service, and I anointed a lady with the water, and she fell under the power, and the power of God was electrifying. And as she lay on the tiles of the shrine, she had a vision of the Virgin Mary with light emanating out from her, and that increased her love for Jesus rather than her adoration of Mary, so I think that’s kind of a positive experience. So I think some apparitions of Mary are real and some aren’t.
OK, how about Fatima where the child was told to have Russian dedicated to her Immaculate Heart, which means her pure, sinless conception?
Well, I’m always dubious about things like that, but I’ll say that I took a Baptist friend to the shrine of the Lady of Fatima near Niagra Falls, and we got some holy water out of the shrine. This Spirit-filled Baptist lady had a benign, scaly skin growth that was on her back, just right up at the bra line, so her bra rubbed it raw all the time, so it was a constant irritation. So she took some of that water, and she went to bed and she could just barely reach it. A drop of that water fell on that growth. And that night it fell off in the bed, and she was completely healed. So I don’t know if that was the blessing of the water or what. Uh, I think that some Marian devotion crosses the line in my mind and elevates the Virgin Mary too high. But at the same time, I believe in the communion of saints and that there is an ongoing relationship between the living and the dead. And so the idea of people in heaven praying for us does not seem like a strange concept. So I don’t like the exaggerated side of Mary. So for instance, I think that Mexican Catholicism is a cult of the Virgin Mary, but I think that there’s a more balanced way of thinking about it.
Rick Osborne’s near death experience
He met the Lord around that time, but he didn’t follow through. And then, several years ago, he was severely injured on the job and lost a foot in the injury. In the course of the many surgeries he had to have, he really thought he was going to die. One day he was in and out of consciousness, and he had an experience in which he was out of his body. He was floating over an area that had rolling green hills. Behind the hills, he saw this great light shining. There were streams of people floating towards this light, and he thought, “Finally, this is it. I get out of this body.” He felt this radiance of the love of God wash over him, and all the pain was gone.
Then he heard a voice calling his name, and he looked down, and there stood our father’s mother and her mother, both in their twenties, like we had seen a very young photograph of them rather than in advanced years like we knew them. And our grandmother said, “Stop, Rick, you can’t go now. You’ve got to go back. But everything’s going to be alright.” And so suddenly he was back in his body wracked with pain. And that experience has kept him. He went through a horrible divorce and other trials, but he has this deep assurance that a plan is unfolding in his life.
I expressed surprise that it was Rick rather than Charles that had the spooky experiences, since it was Charles that initiated the séance. Surely the experience terrified him.
It did scare him, and afterward he had some very frightening experiences. Like one night, we were sharing a room, and he had heard steps coming down the steps, and he assumed it was one of the pet dogs, and he walked over to the door, and there was a scratching at the door, and then he heard a harsh voice call him by name. It said, “Rick, come out here.” And it just terrified him. He just waited to make sure nothing broke in. He was so terrified he woke me up. And then another time, he lifted up off the bed in the air, you know, and when he was released and crashed back on the bed, he woke me up. He had some terrifying experiences like that, but he never actively practiced anything occult.
In our discussion of aliens, not surprisingly Charles thought that there must be something demonic about them. He discussed as best he could the essence of another dimension, which he calls the second heaven where demons and angels are active, where our physics fades out and another emerges. He surmises that demons manifest as aliens in order to pull us over into that dimension. UFOs can be just as real as gold dust and gold fillings and can dematerialize the same way. I have to admit that both of us are/were still groping for an understanding of that phenomenon and for the language to express it, but he did have an interesting surprise for me.
I have a friend in Memphis, she is in her 80’s, and her husband was at Roswell, and he was later in the Korean War and was captured and was considered MIA to the present day. But he told her that he was actually there at the crash site when they initially investigated it, and he swore by the story that there were alien bodies and actually a spacecraft as opposed to the balloon story that was disseminated later on. And he wouldn’t give more details, but he had always held that something really unusual had happened there and that it had been misreported. And he never talked about it because he was kind of afraid to.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
In my first post on this topic, Myra shared the two visions she had of Jesus Christ that changed her from a flaky, pot-smoking teen to a disciple of the Lord. In Part II, Charles described what it was like to be slain onto the sawdust floor of a revival tent and speak in tongues for a half hour. The stories in today’s post will not disappoint.
We went to London, our first and only visit, and we were touring the Anglican sites there. We went to Westminster Abbey, and we were really shocked that it was like a big cemetery. We didn’t know that we were going to walk by so many tombs. And we went into a side chapel called St. [?] Chapel where it was quiet, and we were able to sit there and pray for a while. We were just being quiet and praying, and I looked over at Myra, and when I did, I saw a woman standing in front of her in a long dress, and her right hand was kind of raised with the index finger extended. And um, she was speaking to Myra, and Myra was being really quiet.
I’ve seen Myra in the Spirit lots of times, and I know that… I could just tell from her demeanor that she had been caught up in the Spirit and that I was seeing this spiritual being communicating with her. And so afterwards when it ended and this particular lady left, Myra sort of roused up, and I said, “Did you have a vision over there?” She said, “Well, I was not going to tell you that.” But because I had seen it happen to her, she decided to tell me. She was sitting there, and her feet were just aching, and she was thinking, “Oh, God, my feet hurt so badly, and this place is like one big cemetery.” It took a lot of the luster off it. She was thinking, so many dead people around here, and is there any wisdom to be had in all this? Queens, kings, noblemen, poets, scientists, statesmen…
You think about the church, which is in the center, but everything around it is charged full of sarcophagi and memorial tiles and monuments and statues everywhere, honoring the noble dead of England. You’re walking through English history everywhere you go, and it was just startling, so she asked, “Is there any wisdom to be had in all this?” (chuckle). Is there any message? You know, has anyone learned anything, and suddenly she was caught up in the spirit, and a lady’s voice spoke to her, and said, “Well, I can tell you this. Your feet don’t hurt over here” (laughter).
And she’s thinking, well that’s strange (more laughter). “OK, anything else?” And there was this chorus of voices and they were saying, “Yes, that’s right.” And then she said, “Well, I’ll tell you this. Only what you do for God lasts for eternity. Everything else passes away. The glory, the titles, the riches, the vision, the power, it all passes away. Only what you do for God is eternal.” And then came in a chorus of voices, “Yes, so true, amen.” Then the presence left, and she came back to her normal consciousness.
Myra has a sensitivity to perceive departed souls. She is not a medium. She would never hold a séance or light candles or perform any ritual to seek an audience with a departed soul. But if they show up and God has something to say through them, she and Charles have no problem hearing the message. They call it “the communion of the saints.” They do not believe that an impenetrable curtain cuts us off forever from the departed. This is a difficult issue for many Christians, because we are trained that communication with a departed soul is an occult event absolutely forbidden by God. However, there are many instances of the living being encouraged or guided by a limited contact with a deceased loved one.
For example, in our family, there is a story where my aunt LaVerne had an operation to remove an obstructive tumor in her colon. She awoke from surgery to see her deceased mother leaning over the bed rail. She was smiling and nodding as if to say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” The tumor was benign, LaVerne lived to raise her three children.
Another case comes from a book by Charlie Shedd, who likes to write about children and angels. He ran with a wild group with he was a youth. Their pranks got meaner as time went by. One night, they planned to rob a local trolley. It was driven by a sweet old man who knew most everyone in town and was admired by all. As Charlie contemplated what lay ahead, he felt a hand on his shoulder. His deceased grandfather’s voice said, “Charlie, why don’t you stay home tonight? Make some popcorn, watch a movie.” So he did. His other two friends carried out their planned heist. The problem was that the driver recognized one of them, and in his panic, the young thief shot him dead. Charlie’s two friends spent the rest of their lives in prison.
I have heard a zillion such stories in my life. The voice of a deceased aunt kept a Hispanic man from shooting himself. A child who was murdered appeared briefly to her mother to let her know that the killer did not rape her. A mother in the 1800’s, abandoned by her husband and in constant pain from an accident, committed suicide. She left her daughter to relatives who would despise and abuse her. The mother was allowed to appear just briefly to tell her daughter to be brave and be good (from a book called Dr. Nellie).
Christians may point out that angels could certainly imitate the voice of the beloved departed, and certainly that is a possibility. Once a particular teaching gets planted in our minds, it’s difficult to be open to another possibility. Sticking to what we’ve always been taught keeps us safe and on track. Nevertheless, those advocating the doctrine of the communion of the saints can point to Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set out for us” (NIV).
Charles shared one more story involving Myra’s ability to sense the departed.
This lady had planned her own funeral. She was very well thought of in the community, but she just didn’t like us. The funeral was just packed. Myra was just praying, and she felt a tap on her shoulder, and she turned around, and there stood the lady, and really, her cremated remains were down front. And she spoke to Myra and said, “Myra, I am so sorry. I did not know.” But she knew that she had come to an understanding in heaven about our purpose and our calling, and she had not understood us and then she did. And then the lady left her and stood by her husband through the rest of the funeral. So Myra just wept, because this lady had been hostile. Suddenly Myra felt like she had a friend in heaven.
I asked if Myra ever told the husband about her experience.
No, that was kind of private. We sometimes share that in meetings, but she kinda kept that to herself and didn’t tell the husband because it would be hard to explain to him that she had apologized. She just thought it was better to keep that to herself. I tell ya, it’s so wonderful living with Myra. Great stuff happens. And she has such a beautiful seer gift. You never know when an angel’s gonna come by, it’s just so great.
She had an abortion before she came to the Lord, and she was caught up in the Spirit and saw her son in heaven, and the Lord told her she’d had a son, and told her his name, Luke. She met him in heaven, and he forgave her. And that was such a great healing thing in her life. He appeared in the chronological age he would have been had he lived at the time of the abortion. So he would have been like 9, 10, something like that. You know, over the years we just forget about his stuff that happened.
The stories don’t stop coming. My next and last post concerning the Osbornes, called “Gold Dust and Angel Feathers,” will again astonish the reader with what the charismatics call an atmosphere of “open heaven.” Non-Christians who express awe and appreciation for a vast array of paranormal stories should take a breath, step back, and consider what all this might mean in their own lives.
Don’t forget that you can sign up for email alerts at the top of the blog.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
In my last post, I published a brief obituary for Rev. Charles Osborne, rector of Light of the Angels Anglican church in Marietta, GA. I got their contact info through Kathie Walters, an evangelist/speaker and seer. In my last post, Myra Osborne told her own story.
My first contact with Charles was an email in which he described a séance that he initiated just for fun. His brother joined him in that venture. Unfortunately, shortly after I interviewed the Osbornes by phone (and after I had digitally saved and transferred the interview) my hard drive fried, and that email was annihilated. What I gathered from the transcript of the interview is that Charles developed a psychic capability, while his brother became haunted in a terrifying way. Neither of them nor their parents were Christians at the time. Later in life, both received the grace of Christ into their lives.
Myra has a gift of being taken “into the Spirit,” a meditative state in which spiritual realities become manifest. She claims that in such a state she saw Vera Osborne, Charles’ mother leave her body at death. She had been on life support until the family could gather. Myra told me, “We all went in the room, and we were standing there, and Charles and his brother were at each side of their mother and praying quietly, and I saw all these angels come in the room. In the Spirit, I’m talking in the Spirit… and, I saw her sit up out of her body, and she said, ‘I love you children, bye-bye.’ And the angels went off.” The angels were light beings, so there is no physical description for this event.
Turning back to the séance, Charles described the terror that his brother went though.
“It did scare him, and afterward he had some very frightening experiences. Like one night, we were sharing a room, and he had heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He assumed it was one of the pet dogs, and he walked over to the door, and there was a scratching at the door, and then he heard a harsh voice call him by name. It said, ‘Rick, come out here.’ And it just terrified him. He just waited to make sure nothing broke in. He was so terrified he woke me up. And then another time, he lifted up off the bed in the air, you know, and when he was released and crashed back on the bed, he woke me up. He had some terrifying experiences like that, but he never actively practiced anything occult.
I was absolutely terrified of the dark. I would break out into a cold sweat. Nightmares of evil entities grabbing me. Those really increased after that séance experience. So it was like things being switched over from light and love, which is what I learned as a New Age person, and things becoming darker and darker.
After Charles became a Christian, he remained skeptical of something called The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, as he read the Bible he felt that it was something important that he should begin to seek for himself. He definitely wanted the manifestation of speaking in tongues.
I’d been trying to speak in tongues. And when I would try to speak words, all I would feel is just a heaviness, so it felt heavy and oppressive, and I believe that was the demonic bondages that were on me. And so I decided to go to a tent meeting. I came up with three signs I wanted the Lord to do, so I said to my brother, “I’m going to the tent meeting tonight to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and if I come home not speaking in tongues tonight, you can take it off your list because I am so starved for God I can’t understand how the Lord could not give this to me.”
The three signs were, he wanted the minister to call him out of the crowd, he wanted to fall in the Spirit, and he wanted the manifestation of tongues.
So I go to the tent meeting, and whatever they do, I do. If they jumped, I jumped. If they raised their hands, I figured they were the experts, and they had the Spirit on them, not me. I had been very active in the Lutheran Church at that time. I had been active for a year, ever since I had met the Lord. So the person ministering began to move prophetically in the gifts of the Spirit, and the people began to congregate up in front of the podium, and I thought I’d better get up there because a miracle might happen, and I might miss it. So I got up and worked my way through the crowd in case someone was healed or something, and I wanted to be close enough to see it.
And this guy ministering suddenly turns to me and says, “You, brother right there, come here. I see a lot of revelation around you.” So I got up and stood in front of him and two ushers standing behind me, and I think to myself, well that’s sign number one, but this guy thinks I’m one of them. They think I’m going to faint, and I’m a Lutheran. And I thought how funny it would seem to them if they could picture me in a choir robe on Sunday and the liturgy going on and just the contrast between that setting and normal church almost seemed comical. Then I had the thought, I’ve really got to focus here because this is sign number one, so it really seems like God’s doing something.
I stopped and I silently prayed, “Please Jesus, fill me with your Spirit so I can love you above every other love.” When I prayed that, this guy reaches out his hand and touches me, and when he did, a bolt of energy shot through me like a bolt of electricity. And I felt it pass through my head down to my feet. The strength went out of me. It continued to run through my body, and I collapsed into the hands of the ushers, and I heard this torrent of tongues, and I realized that it was me speaking. Tthey laid me in the sawdust, and I couldn’t stop this torrent of heavenly language that was pouring through me. And this energy kept running through me for about a half hour. It took about a half hour or so before I could come around enough to crawl out of the sawdust and get over to the front seat and pull myself up off the floor. So that as my Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I connected with a friend who had been witnessing to me about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he put me in touch with an interdenominational prayer group that was meeting during the week. And so that’s when I began to go there and learn about deliverance and began to get bondages broken off my life.
I asked Charles if he had been in an intense deliverance service. O yes, said he. Since the days of the séance he had been in the grip of a paralyzing fear. He would break out in a sweat just walking from his car to the porch.
When I shared about the fear, one of the leaders of the group said, “Well, that’s really a demon, so let’s pray.” He prayed and rebuked it, and suddenly I felt this pressure that seemed to rise up within me and pass out of my mouth like a big sigh or something, and when it lifted, that driving, paralyzing fear was gone. Before, I could hardly breathe in a dark room without a light on somewhere. So it took that pressure off. It wasn’t that I never felt afraid in life, but that paralyzing compulsion was gone.
Charles had more to share on the topic of deliverance.
In 1980 I went to southwest Georgia to visit for a week with a friend, and he was fond of doing deliverance ministry, so we were teaching about deliverance, and he had a charismatic congregation, and people began to experience deliverance each night through the deliverance sessions. Some nights there’d be people laying all over the floor going through deliverance.
One day a young couple came to see us. They had been trying to have a child and were unable to conceive. They were at their wits end because every now and then the wife would have some kind of emotional breakdown. She would jump up and lose it and begin to shriek and run out of the house in a state of frenzy and would run into trees and into briar patches. And they both loved the Lord and had experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Doctors weren’t able to help. So, they wondered if deliverance prayer might be able to help. We prayed over her, and nothing was happening, so we asked her to just lay down on the platform and just relax on the carpet while we prayed about it, and my friend said, “Well, perhaps her husband ought to pray.” So the husband stepped over and began to command any demonic presence to manifest and come out. And this girl opened her eyes and her eyes were suddenly glazed and set, and this husky voice began to speak out of her and said, “You can’t cast me out. I’ve been in here for a long time, and she belongs to me.”
We commanded it to come out, and it left with a terrifying shriek. Then another personality began to manifest and begin to call us ugly names and threatened to kill us. Said, “If you cast me out, I’ll kill you.” It tried to claw us, so we had to restrain her hands temporarily. So that left. Another one began to shriek at the previous demon and said, “You…(some ugly word)… I opened the door for you, and now you’ve run off and left me.” And then this demon began to cry out and shriek, “Satan, Satan, come and help me. They’re going to drive me out.” And so we began to cut that off and speak the truth over her, and in short order she was delivered from several successive demonic forces. She came to her right mind, never had another episode, went off to Bible School, and began to pastor churches. That’s been quite a few years, but the last I heard, they were happy and in ministry.
Don’t miss Part III. There are more fascinating stories to come. You can sign up for email alerts at the top of the blog.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Blog Post, Interview with Osbornes, Part I, Myra's Story
I got their name from an evangelist-speaker named Kathie Walters whose news list is full of miraculous stories, some written by her and some shared in emails from churches where she has preached. The Osbornes and I talked by phone for almost two hours in early July 2009. In just over a year later, this amazing man, who was such a delight to converse with, tragically passed away.
Here is an excerpt from Rev. Charles E. Osborne’s obituary:
Osborne, Rev. Charles Edward, 56, of Kennesaw, GA, passed away on Friday, September 17, 2010. Born in Wilkesboro, NC, Rev. Osborne earned his Master in Divinity with Honors from the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as Curate at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Anchorage, KY, and was a Priest at Grace Episcopal Church in Sheboygan, WS. He was currently the Rector at Light of Christ Anglican Church in Marietta. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Myra E. Osborne.
My first question for them was about their conversion to Christ. Myra started off with her experience as a rather flaky teenager. She did not come from a Christian family, but neighbors had taken her to church, so she knew some basics of the faith. That didn’t stop her from getting into smoking and drugs in the ‘70’s.
When I was 16 I had done some drugs. I had some friends spending the night with me. And in the course of the evening we had gone to bed, and I felt like I was going to die. I knew that I had to tell someone that everything is God and God is everything, and if I didn’t do that I would die. And so I didn’t know if my friends were awake or not, so I got one of them awake, so I told her everything is God and God is everything, and she goes, “O shut up.” But what happened was that that spirit of death or whatever it was left me, and I went to sleep. And in the course of that sleep, I had a dream.
Seven years later at the age of 23, she was at another party with a group of her friends. Around 5 am, she began to sense a negative energy swirling around in the room. Myra was already spiritually sensitive at that age, even though she had no commitment to anything religious at the time.
All of a sudden it was like a déjà vu experience with the dream I had had come to life. And that was the only time that group of people had come together…that particular group of people, not after, not before, just that one night. So people were saying things I’d heard them say before, and I thought that was really weird. And I heard myself say things I’d heard myself say in this dream.
One of the women there had been arguing with her husband and had no intention of going home. Her young daughter, who was about 4 years old, came downstairs and complained that she wanted to go home. The mother grabbed her, shook her, and said, “Shut up and go to sleep.” The child instantly collapsed across her mother’s lap.
So anyway, there’s still this energy in the room, and it changed suddenly, and I could feel that something was trying to suck the life out of my body. Something was drawing the life forces out of my body, and I looked around to see who was doing it, and I made eye contact with that little girl who was laid across her mother’s lap, but she had scales, like reptilian scales, and a long tail. It was a demon, and the demon wanted me dead. So my eyes were opened, and I could see the darkness there, and I told my girlfriends, we’ve gotta get out of here.
When I got to my apartment, I was crying, I was upset. I wasn’t crying because I got away from this demon, but I didn’t know what happened to this little girl that the demon’s living in. My friends didn’t know what to do with me, so one of them said, “O you should call so and so because she said she saw a devil in her husband before, so maybe she can help you” (laughing). I know this is going to sound like a tall tale, but I called her and she came over, and she brought me a Bible. And she said, “You need to read the Book of John.” Then she left. As an aside here, as it turned out, her ex-husband that she saw the devil in, turned out to be that little girl’s uncle.
My skeptical readers will have two objections here. First, they will say that Myra and her friends were whacked out of drugs. No wonder she is seeing demonic little girls. But Myra never said she was high that night, and that demon turns up later in the story, so hang in there.
Second objection would be, What? An innocent little girl being demon possessed? Nonsense! However, my research since 2009 has verified to me that when malicious entities (aliens, demons, or whatever you want to call them) get their clutches on a family, no one in it is safe. Children are not exempt! It doesn’t mean that his little girl is evil. But it does suggest that her uncle had introduced an atmosphere into the family that left all members open to negative spiritual influences. I have blogged in the past about the necessity of dedicating children to the Lord, whether in water baptism or laying on of hands or just the desperate prayer of a parent. It puts a spiritual firewall, at least for some years, between that child and marauding entities. Myra continues:
So I read the Book of John, and I’m sitting on my bed when I get to the end of it. It’s a second story apartment building, and I’m crying, and I said, “O Jesus, sweet Jesus.” And when I said that, he just came through the wall and right into the room. I guess I fell on the floor or something, because I was on the floor, and he took me by the hand, and we were walking down this hallway toward a door, and came to a corner, a sharp right turn. In the corner I saw that demon, and it was all crouched down and all trembling and scared, and the Lord said, “As long as you’re with me, you need never be afraid.” And then I was kind of back in my bedroom.
So I thought, well I’ll just stick with Jesus (laughter). I didn’t have a strained conscious or anything. I wasn’t convicted of my lifestyle. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I just continued with my life for a month or so, and I told my friends it was OK if I was driving because I had Jesus (more laughter).
So one day, that same friend that I had woken up three years earlier, we were together at my apartment, and we were having a pizza. My apartment was a disaster. The dirty kitchen, the stereo on, the TV on… We were drinking beer, and we had this pizza lying on the bed. So I got a piece of pizza and I sat down on the bed to eat it, and my friend sat down on the other side, and she was taking a bite of pizza, and suddenly Jesus just walked right into the room.
So I said, “Jesus is here.” And she jumped up and said, “Oh Myra, I don’t want to hear it.” I said, “I can’t help it. He’s standing right there.” I just sat there, and he walked through my apartment and looked at everything. Then he walked back and looked at me, and I heard in my heart… I didn’t see his lips move… “I didn’t save you for this.”
Myra admitted that they had been smoking pot that day, but she didn’t feel particularly high when Jesus entered the room. The moment changed her life. She never smoked pot again. She did smoke cigarettes for a while, but during a 700 Club show Pat Robertson invited the audience to put their hand on the TV and pray for deliverance from smoking. Myra did that and has not smoked since.
The first thing I do after praying is reach for a cigarette (laughter.) And so I take one out of the package, and uh, this horrible stench filled the room, and I’m having a hard time getting around it, but I’m still going to smoke this cigarette (laughter). And so I’m trying to get it lit, and the fire on the end of it, you know, it just looked like hell fire, but I was just going to go ahead and smoke it, and so I inhale, and I had this vision of Jesus on the inside of me. You know the Bible says that He makes His home inside of us, so I had this vision of Jesus on the inside of me, and I just blew smoke in His face.
I smoked for a year in college. After I committed my life to Jesus, I would get the oddest feeling every time I lit up that if I would quit now, I would never crave another cigarette. If I waited, I would have a tough time quitting. I smoked my way through the pack I was on and never bought another.
Myra has a gift of being taken into a meditative zone where she becomes open to spiritual realities. In my next post I will share an otherworldly experience that she and Charles had when they visited Westminster Abbey in London. In the meantime, I would like to share two verses about God’s ability to protect us from what Paul the Apostle called spiritual “powers,” and “authorities.”
From the Old Testament:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust.” (New King James Version)
From the New Testament:
Little children, you belong to God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (International Standard Version)
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Aspyr Communications requested that I post this press release on my blog. I am happy to do that because I believe that Bill’s story is an important one. I can’t wait to see it. JKS
8506 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90069
STORY OF BILL BEAN, AMERICA’S “MOST FAMOUSLY HAUNTED MAN,”
COMING TO THE BIG SCREEN
LOS ANGELES, CA – What better time than October to announce production on a new fact-based horror film? Dark Force, the true story of the haunting of the Bean family, has been optioned to be turned into a major film.
The book Dark Force was authored in 2009 by William “Bill” Bean, the middle son of the family, to chronicle the horrific occurrences the family suffered at the hands of malevolent forces in the early 1970s.
The story of the Bean family has been told and re-told on countless radio and television talk shows. It was even the subject of Discovery Channel’s A Haunting series in an episode titled “The House of the Dead” (generating the highest viewership of any of their episodes). But now Bill Bean brings his true story to the big screen.
According to Bean, negotiations have been on-going for the past month with 35 MM Pictures to option his book Dark Force for the big screen.
“I began talking with Dale Hlaves and Jay Wallace in early August and was thrilled that they shared my enthusiasm to see this book translated for the screen. I then turned the project over to my agent/publicist Travis Shortt with Aspyr Communications to begin the negotiations. We had several meetings and phone conferences and on Sunday, September 30th we finalized the contract giving the approval for 35 MM Pictures to start the production process,” Bean said.
According to Wallace, the process will begin this month when they wrap production on their current project, another horror film, titled Maintenance Man.
“When we finish Maintenance Man this month our first step in Bill’s project will be to have Dale write a script based on Bill’s book,” Wallace said.
According to Bean, he is pleased that 35MM has signed him as an Executive Producer on the film as well.
“It’s a relief that Aspyr Communications was able to negotiate an active role for me in the creative process. After all, this is my story about my family. I want the integrity to remain solid,” Bean said.
According to all parties, once the cast and location have been determined, actual filming will begin in mid-January 2013.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
No, I’m not talking about magic beans that morph into evil pumpkins. I’m writing here about a family that in 1970 moved into a fixer upper in Maryland. At that time, they were a normal family of five, a father with wonderful construction skills, an attractive, pleasant mother, two boys, Bill and Bobby, and a girl named Patti. The problem was that there was already a family of four living in the house, but you couldn’t see them, so for a few years the family lived in denial regarding the deleterious effects these entities were having on every member of the family.
The mother, Patricia Bean, was the first to recognize that the family ghost, nicknamed Henry, wasn’t just a pleasant old former owner. The poltergeist activity accelerated quickly from occasional strange noises to constant banging and racket every night. One night in 1971 sister Patti felt something grab her leg that actually left red marks. (To read another story of a leg being grabbed, insert the words “Claudia King” in the search box at the top of the blog.)
The father’s construction projects were mysteriously sabotaged, but he persisted and eventually upgraded the home and property. Unfortunately, over time, there were more and more arguments between the parents, and William began to drink more and more heavily. Ultimately, his marriage, his business, and his health deteriorated. Since Patti was the oldest child, she had clear memories of better times when a wholesome atmosphere reigned in the former homestead. William developed into an alcoholic who abused and neglected his family. That eventually led to a permanent separation. Bill Bean, the author of Dark Force, went from adoring his father to hating him.
At first the plan was to “ignore it, and maybe it will leave us alone.” But in January, 1971, Bill saw a vision of a ring of fire coming down through the ceiling. When that receded, a mist appeared that became “the beautifully lady,” who seemed to Bill to be an angel. Later in the book, when the family has realized that the house guests were not friendly to the family or the dogs, Bill became possessed by a fascination with fire. He writes, “I felt different, like I was being controlled by and outside force.” He actually came close to becoming a serial arsonist. However, when he almost killed his younger brother in one of his fires, his obsession came to a screeching halt. (For another story about entities clearly encouraging a dangerous obsession with fire, search for Earthquake Kelly above.)
The house ghosts did not get along well with dogs because they had a special capacity to sense them and to be protective of the family. One dog went mad and had to be put down. Another named Fuzzy just disappeared from the yard. The next day, hair and remains of Fuzzy appeared in the house, making it clear that the dog had been killed and mutilated. His body was never found.
By 1975, the whole family was suffering from lack of sleep, terror, PTSD, and strange obsessions. Relatives wouldn’t stay there. Poltergeist activity continued unabated, like faucets turning themselves on and flooding the floor. Lights turning on and off. Doors opening and slamming shut by themselves. Beds recently made were torn apart. A glass storm door just exploded from the inside out, spraying glass everywhere. Friends and relatives begged Patricia to leave the house, move elsewhere, but she steadfastly refused. Meanwhile her health began to seriously decline.
By mid-decade, three male entities had manifested to the point where the family knew what they looked like. Their malevolent character was not the least bit in doubt. In 1978 Bill awoke to see Bobby’s bed floating two feet off the ground. Patricia was physically attacked by one of the entities, who tried to strangle her.
A few days before Fuzzy disappeared, Patricia invited a medium with a Ouija board to probe the spirits through a séance to see what they wanted. Pat’s new boyfriend Richard was also present. The Ouija revealed that there were four spirits in the home. The demanded, “Join us or die!” A gust of wind blew out the candles. Richard freaked. The medium fled in terror. Richard wanted no more, but alas, there was plenty more to come.
Patricia refused to be driven from her home. The whole family paid a terrible price for her refusal to move. She had known for years how dangerous those entities could be to her, her children, and the family pets. What kept her there? Late in the decade, the whole family was horrified by a portrait of Patti that had always hung on the wall. One day, the picture actually deformed, making Patti look evil. It’s one thing for Patricia to risk her own life and marriage, but how could she continually expose her children to such danger?
In July, 1977, the family saw a UFO in the vicinity. This suggests a link with UFOs, demonic spirits, and ghosts.
The turning point for Bill was a discussion he had with his Uncle Cliff, who happened to be an evangelical Christian. He taught Bill how to take authority over the spirits in the name of Jesus. Bill returned home ready for battle. He stomped around in the name of Jesus. He writes:
I was not going to be denied in my efforts to battle these evil ones as I forcefully shouted out, “Show yourselves foul demons! I command it in Jesus’ name! Show yourselves!” It was like a scene from a Hollywood horror film, only this was happening for real. There I was in the dark living room, while the rest of them were standing behind me in the dining room. As I shouted out those last words, I’ll never forget the sight that appeared in front of me. The entities began to appear in greenish beams of light just a few feet away from me…
…Four entities appeared in those eerie green beams. We saw the sinister looking “Undertaker,” the evil red-haired attacker, the figure in black with the red eyes, and…a new entity. This one was a female and had the look of a witch.
The entities faded from view and the whole family breathed again. A few days later, Patricia called a Catholic priest and told him about the battle. He had been there before with his holy water, and he returned to talk with Pat. He told her she should move, but once again she refused. The entities did not leave. It’s not that the priest or young Bill lacked power in calling on Jesus or the Church. One key to driving out demons or aliens is that the one possessed needs to utterly renounce the presence, the manifestations, the mystery, and the powers received from the entities. Patricia needed to move or tell the entities to leave in Jesus’ name. Because she would not cut the tie herself, the demons had a legal (yes legal) claim to remain in the home.
After one last horrifying manifestation in which every electrical appliance in the house burned up and a little pet guinea pig was dead in its cage, Pat called Richard, who immediate came over and moved her and the boys out of the house. They moved in with him, but Bill found out years later that the demons followed her there. Pat was dying of kidney failure at that point. She passed away ten months later in 1981.
I once heard a story from a couple that were prominent in my church in San Jose. The man turned out years later to not be a truthful person, but his wife was true blue and I trust her story completely. They claimed that the staff there was called to the home of a woman who was clearly in need of deliverance. The case was so severe that it began to affect her appearance. There were little nobs growing on her head. They both felt them hiding under her hair. She also had two extra pointy teeth growing in her mouth behind her other teeth. After much counsel, the woman decided that she didn’t want deliverance. She had been given psychic powers that made her feel special and made her life interesting. For her to be delivered, she would have to renounce those powers, and she refused to do so. The staff left, and the woman kept her knobby little horns. A crazy story, I know, but for me, I consider Judy’s word as good as gold. If she said it happened, it happened.
There are other elements in Bill Bean’s story that are instructive. One is that he hints that demonic forces or curses of some kind followed the family from the very beginning, including older generations of good family members. This is a well-known phenomenon both in the Bible and in the UFO community. It is well-known that if “aliens” are in someone’s life, it is almost a sure thing that their parents, grandparents, siblings, children, and grandchildren will all be abductees as well.
The other instructive point is revealed in Bill’s second book called Delivered. (www.billbean.net) Bill stayed true to his Christian faith, but it took him many years to understand the importance of real discipleship in which we walk the talk. Bill lived on the fringe of full obedience and commitment. One thing he had to give up was an obsession with UFOs. He would talk about them on the radio or at conferences almost to the point of forgetting the real source of spiritual power, which was his faith in Jesus Christ.
Both of Bill’s books are important pieces in the jigsaw of inter-dimensional reality. Demons, ghosts, aliens, OBE experiences, as well as Christian deliverance are all interconnected. Most researchers study only one aspect of inter-dimensionality. Not a single scientific researcher of paranormal phenomena that I can think of includes the study of the Christian history of exorcism. Bill’s book, like that of Earthquake Kelly and so many others, demonstrate the need to include anecdotes of deliverance in the dialogue.
Soon I will be blogging about my marvelous interview with the late Rev. Charles Osborne and his amazing wife Myra. They have quite a lot to share about deliverance and visions of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I exhaust a lot of words in this blog trying to convince people to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that we live in a complex universe where just of much of what exists is invisible to us. That goes far beyond germs and molecules of air. Paul the Apostle wrote, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12).
Call them what you will, they are inter-dimensional, they have amazing abilities that seem magical to us, they are sentient beings that can think and connive exactly as we can, and they can manipulate us in ways that would make the CIA proud. Like germs, if the protective aura around us is compromised in any number of ways, they can get through it and live in our bodies like a subversive virus. But there is a defense! We don’t have to be their victims or patsies.
Martin Luther, 1521
By 1521, Luther had already laid a torch to the dry religious tinder in central Europe, and the whole land was aflame with new ideas. He was holed up in a castle in Wartburg, squirreled away from the wrath of the Emperor, Charles V. During his year there, he translated the New Testament into the German language.
The castle was comfortable but haunted. Or perhaps it was Luther who was haunted, since bringing the Scriptures to the common people was not only an offense to the Catholic Church, but to the Devil himself. Luther describes hearing strange noises. One might think he simply needed to switch to decaf or pop a valium, but in fact, his description of the devil is a very familiar and sophisticated review of modern poltergeist activity, as well as the spiritual warfare experienced by some of today’s Christian ministries.
Philip Schaff, in Vol. 7 of History of the Christian Church, 1888, wrote: “He heard noises at night, in a chest, in a bag of nuts, and on the staircase ‘as if a hundred barrels were rolled from top to bottom.’ Once he saw him in the shape of a big black dog lying in his bed; he threw the creature out of the window; but it did not bark, and disappeared. Sometimes he resorted to jokes. The Devil, he said, will bear anything better than to be despised and laughed at, (335-337).
According to Luther, “[The devil] is the direct antipode of God, and the archfiend of Christ and of men. As God is pure love, so the Devil is pure selfishness, hatred, and envy. He is endowed with high intellectual gifts, as bad men often surpass good men in prudence and understanding….
“He is the ape of God. He is most busy where the Word of God is preached…” (Remember, Judas was one of the twelve disciples.)
“He hates matrimony, mirth, and music. He cannot bear singing, least of all ‘spiritual songs.’” (For a direct comparison of just how relevant that statement is, see my post on Linette’s little black blob and my review of Barbara Bartholic’s biography. Just plug key words into the search box above.)
He holds the human will captive, and rides it as his donkey.” I couldn’t help but flash back to an image in Robert Monroe’s (guru of out-of-body experiences) book where he awoke one day to find a creepy entity clinging to his back. It took the form of a child, but it was clearly not anything sweet. Whitley Strieber once described a grey alien jumping onto his back and causing a flash of erotic arousal. Luther’s intent is not that literal, but those same entities were clearly looking for a way into the will and mind of those modern day authors.
These malicious entities will taunt us humans and plant negative thoughts about ourselves and others. We need to recognize the source. “Once the Devil told him that he was a great sinner. ‘I knew that long ago,’ replied Luther, ‘tell me something new. Christ has taken my sins upon himself, and forgiven them long ago. Now grind your teeth.’”
“The Devil assumes visible forms, and appears as a dog or a hog or a goat, or as a flame or star, or as a man with horns.” Does ‘flame or star’ sound like it could be a UFO? As for a man with horns, I recall an episode of Paranormal State in which a home was haunted by a shadow man with rams horns. This dark entity induced one of the occupants of the home to walk into a river and drown herself. It’s no Halloween joke. Most people don’t need to focus on this dark matter, but those who are being threatened by it and have no defense are in serious danger. Pastors who can’t deal with it are doing only half their job.
“But, after all, the Devil has no real power over believers. He hates prayer, and flees from the cross and from the Word of God as from a flaming fire.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Smith Wigglesworth, British apostle, 1860-1947
Albert Hibbert was a close friend of the Wigglesworth family and was thus in a good position to write a brief survey of his life called Smith Wigglesworth, The Secret of His Power. He heard the stories firsthand of healing the sick, raising the dead, and deliverances. His power over the enemy is demonstrated in the following anecdote:
“Wigglesworth saw something he would never forget: three strong men trying to hold down a lovely girl about seventeen years of age who was totally naked. The men could not hold her; she was a raging demoniac. The girl’s father, being a wealthy man, did not want his daughter locked away in a padded cell. Rather than institutionalize her, he kept her at home and employed these men to see that she did not destroy herself.”
After some sinister exchange between Wigglesworth and the girl, he commanded the devil to leave. With a loud scream, twelve demons came out. “Immediately, the girl became aware that she was unclothed and, crying out, fled from the room…Ten minutes later he heard a bedroom door open and close, and the sound of light footsteps tripping down the stairs. Wigglesworth then went downstairs and joined for tea a father, a mother, and one of the sweetest girls one could ever imagine--a girl who fifteen minutes before had been a raving maniac,” (39, 40).
He never felt threatened by the devil. “On one occasion Wigglesworth awoke during the night aware of a satanic presence. Looking across the room, he saw the Devil himself standing there. Wigglesworth said to Satan, ‘Oh, it’s only you.’ Then he turned over and went back to sleep,” (51).
Darla W., the daughter of a friend, told me this story
When she was a child, her mother was attending a Pentecostal church that was nothing other than a vile cult, a sham ministry that kept people in line with false doctrines and fear. Every woman and girl in the church was in danger of being seduced or molested. One night Darla awoke in her bedroom to find a half-man, half-goat entity staring at her. I don’t recall the whole description except that it had hair that was pulled to a point in front over the forehead, and it had hooves for feet. She leaped out of bed and ran to the living room, but it followed and chased her around the table. The creature assured that the church had special plans for her. (She was an exceptionally pretty girl.) When she crawled into bed with her clueless mother, she was told she had just had a nightmare.
Fortunately, her mom let her stay there that night. In the morning, the family saw woodchips all over the house, similar to the ones in their yard. Happily, the enemy’s plans for Darla never came to fruition, because her mother came under the sway of my spiritual mentor just in time. Darlene S. was also taken in for a time, but when she realized what the church was really doing, she created such a stink that it had to close. Had Darlene not been able to recognize a cult and firmly confront it, is no telling what would have happened to G. and her 3 children.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he encouraged every Christian to gird themselves like a warrior for spiritual warfare. Laugh at Paul and the Christians if you will, but in my next post I will review the book by Bill Bean called Dark Force, in which a defenseless family is torn apart by powerful entities because they no idea how to deal with forces that were destroying their lives. Bean’s book will be a movie soon, and no true tale better deserves it.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
My friend urged me to write about them. My approach to biblical interpretation has helped her resolve a weighty load of frustration and unanswered question about how to deal with Bible conundrums. She has never been content to believe something just because, and neither have I.
We have to begin with the understanding that God is, that he is locatable rather than being an all-pervasive, non-localized force. He may well be omni-present, but he is not merely a conglomeration of all things everywhere. And he is logical. He is compassionate. His reason is beyond ours, but not in the sense of it being incomprehensible. He reveals himself to mankind bit by bit because the gap between his understanding and ours is so immense. He steps into our primitive world with our archaic customs and knowledge and changes us little by little. Change is always difficult. It’s frightening and dangerous and requires adaptation and care to make sure that it is a change for the better. It always produces debate, wars, and division.
The doctrine of an inerrant Bible has produced a rather strange, sometimes contradictory, sometimes archaic, and sometimes violent characterization of God. A too literal approach also produces a distorted view of science. I have already addressed the topic of origins in my posts entitled, “Biblical Creation: Six 24-Hour Days,” and “A Modern Christian Sophistry.” I pointed out that extreme piety can be misguided and harmful to the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We also need to take the Bible as a whole, not as a verse here and there. Proof texting leads only to the letter of the law and not to the Spirit of the law.
The biblical concept of God makes so much more sense if we understand that God approaches mankind in a cultural context. He cannot just fly down in a chariot and rip up worldviews that have been in place for thousands of years. Nothing in history can change that fast. God has to speak our language, both the linguistic language and the language of emotion, fear, values. Sometimes he wants to send a prophet to propose a new idea or direction.
Sometimes he whispers a value and he wants us to figure out how to apply that value in the highest ethical manner. He so often sits on the sidelines while we debate and fight with one another about what he wants. Why doesn’t he just tell us in a vision or a dream? I can’t be sure, but challenging us to find the high ground in the Scripture and to apply it in a genuinely godly manner is part of the greater plan for us. It demonstrates that God created a creature that can not only understand the difference between good and evil, but can develop a sensitivity for great ethical thinking and compassion. One sign of that development is to discern what is merely religious and what is truly the heart of God.
The Bible often shouts its piety and even puts the holy words in the mouth of God. An example, in Leviticus 12:1-5 God tells Moses to tell the people that a woman who gives birth must go through a certain amount of days of separation from sacred things, including Temple worship. If she has a boy, she is unclean for 7 days. On the 8th day the boy is circumcised. Thirty-three days later she must present herself and the child to the Temple. But if she has a girl, she is unclean for two weeks, then must be purified for 66 more days. What could be more clear? The high and holy God values men over women. Furthermore, a woman’s blood, or anyone’s blood for that matter, is unclean and causes the person to be unqualified to touch anything sacred or to approach sacred space where God’s presence is concentrated. There is no other way to translate this passage. You can’t say that Moses just wrote it himself if the Bible is inerrant.
But here are the whispers. A woman with an issue of blood for 12 years pushes her way through a crowd. She bends down and touches the robe of God’s holy representative on Earth, the Redeemer of all mankind. Rather than flinching and nuking the audacious woman with a thunderbolt, Jesus praised her for her faith. Instead of slaying her right then and there, power for healing went out of him and she was made whole (Mark 5:25-34). As for the clear indication that women are less valuable than man, the whisper is found in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female…” In Christ, all are equal.
Another shout from Leviticus 21:10-12, a high priest must NEVER touch or even go near a corpse, even if it is his mother or father. Yet, right after touching the woman with the blood disease, Jesus goes took the hand of a dead little girl and restored her life (Mark 5:35-42).
Shout. Leviticus 11: meticulous description of which kinds of animal food will defile a person and which will not. “Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures,” says the LORD to Moses. “Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”
Whisper: Mark 7:14-23, “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean….For it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” So, inerrancy peeps, did God change his nature, or are there things in Leviticus that God allowed Moses to say because Moses sat in a seat of authority as an ombudsman between a primitive people and God, knowing that the cultural development of the people demanded such laws.
The ancient world was challenged to separate between what was ritually unclean and what was clean. We are challenged to separate between what is cultural and what is not.
Culture: Women should pray and prophesy with their head covered. Spirit: Philip had four daughters that prophesied.
Culture. Women must be silent in the church. Spirit: Jesus sent a woman to evangelize the town in Samaria. In the Old Testament there were prophetesses like Deborah and Hulda with great authority.
Cultural ground: A woman must submit to her husband in all things in (Ephesians 5:24). Higher ground: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
There is the letter of the law and there is the spirit of the law. The Lord gave us brains and common sense to discern which is which and how to use the spirit of the law to forge a more Christlike way that is less religious and more like “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And that is the greatest whisper of all, tucked away in the Law of Moses, Lev. 19:18 and Deut. 6:5. Jesus put them together in passages like Luke 10:27, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” This is the bottom line, the end game that crosses all eras and national boundaries. All the cultural biases, religious taboos, and must dos are nothing compared to that combined commandment. And how can you fulfill that commandment if you restrain people from fulfilling the call of God in their life or if you make them feel like trash because of their gender, skin color, or their religion or ethnic origin?
Here is a shout from me: God doesn’t give a diddlysquat about your gender, how long your hair is, what you wear (assuming it’s modest by your own cultural standards), what you eat (OK, sheep eyeballs really are detestable), or on which day you worship. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we know that the good man was in a religion that was distorted from Orthodox truth. Yet he was set forth as an exemplar for us to emulate. We know nothing about the man in the ditch except that he was bleeding and was therefore ‘unclean.’ That’s why the priest and Levite wouldn’t touch him. They were obeying the Law. The victim might have been black, white, purple, Sikh, French, gay, leprous, Jew, Egyptian, Republican, etc. He was ‘our neighbor.’ That’s all that mattered.
Christian husbands and pastors, if you love your wife as much as the Samaritan loved the man in the ditch, or as much as Christ loved the church, quit being so ‘dull,’ so obnoxiously religious. Reach for the higher ground. Listen to the whisper of God in your heart and submit one to another.