Kreeft teaches that “the dead often do appear to the living.” He cites examples of many reputable Christians who claim to have seen ghosts – including C.S. Lewis who reported that he had seen a ghost of his deceased wife, Joy.
Professor Kreeft claims that it is “enormously likely” that there are three kinds of ghosts. The first are the “sad” or “wispy ones.” These, Kreeft writes, are the most familiar kind – “They seem to be working out some unfinished earthly business, or suffering some purgatorial purification until released from their earthly business.”
The second kind are “malicious and deceptive spirits… These are probably the ones who respond to conjurings at seances. They probably come from Hell. Even the chance of that happening should be sufficient to terrify away all temptations to necromancy.”
A third kind are, “are bright, happy spirits of dead friends and family, especially spouses, who appear unbidden, at God's will, not ours, with messages of hope and love. They seem to come from Heaven. Unlike the purgatorial ghosts who come back primarily for their own sakes, these bright spirits come back for the sake of us the living, to tell us all is well.”
Padre Pio, recently canonized a saint, claims to have been contacted by many deceased people. One of whom asked Padre Pio to celebrate the Mass for him so that he could be purified and enter fully into heaven.
While the Church does not exclude the possibilities of encounters with ghosts in this life, she does sternly advise us to be cautious. Catholics are forbidden to seek communication with spirits of the dead (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2116-2117). Dabbling in the occult or New Age practices is spiritually dangerous and often gives dark or unclean spirits an opening to deceive us or enter our lives.
So what is the best we can do? As always, pray to God. November is the month in which we are exhorted to pray for the dead. We are to join our prayers with the prayers of the communion of saints in heaven and to pray for all of our brothers and sisters in need – those who are living as well as those who are dead. Keep a faithful sense about you and stay in a state of grace and you can be assured that all things will work for our good and the good of God’s Kingdom.