Father Joe’s Halloween Stories
Teenagers have enjoyed Fr. Joe’s stories for many years. Now it is your chance to hear what all the fuss is about. It is a good safe way to celebrate Halloween time while not forgetting the more important ALL SOULS and ALL SAINTS DAY. Why are his stories particularly scary? It’s because, he says, they are REAL.
Note the testimonials:
“All teenagers should have a little hell scared out of them!”
FROM A PARENT – “Father, what did you tell my children? They’re all huddled together in the same bed and won’t let me close the door.”
FROM A 12TH GRADE BOY – “I may never turn out the lights again!”
FROM AN 8TH GRADE GIRL – “I had to go to the bathroom but was afraid to go alone.”
FROM A 9TH GRADE BOY – “This is better than a haunted house!”
FROM A 10TH GRADE GIRL – “You mean a toy can bring about possession? I am going straight home to burn my ouija board!”
FROM A 7TH GRADE BOY – “More pizza!”
FROM AN 11TH GRADE GIRL – “What do you mean all his stories are REAL? No, no, they can’t be! Please, somebody, tell me he’s lying!”
FROM SOMEONE’S KID BROTHER – “I want my mommy!”
FROM YOUTH DIRECTORS – “Anything that keeps them quiet and under control is fine by me!”
FROM OTHER PRIESTS – “Fr. Joe’s telling what kind of stories?”
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TWO INTERESTING CITATIONS FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT
Revised Standard Version & Confraternity Version (Revised Challoner-Rheims)
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And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the site of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily. (Acts 19:11-20)
And immediately afterwards [Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and cross the sea ahead of him, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had dismissed the crowd, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. And when it was late, he was there alone, but the boat was in the midst of the sea, buffeted by the waves, for the wind was against them. But in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking upon the sea. And they, seeing him walking upon the sea, were greatly alarmed, and exclaimed, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. Then Jesus immediately spoke to them, saying, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:22-27)
A FEW THOUGHTS FROM FATHER JOE
Above are examples of “scary” elements found in Bible stories. Despite a few objections, the telling of ghost stories and the like have a long history among believers. Many themes in Christianity come to the fore: the resistence of the devil and the other fallen angels, life beyond the grave, the mystery of sin and death, the communion of the saints, prophecies regarding the end times and the anti-Christ, etc. Nevertheless, it may still seem particularly bizarre that a priest would annually tell scary stories, and yet, for many years that has been my practice in the month of October.
Why tell scary stories? We could also ask this of the inspired biblical authors, and yet believers regard the Scriptures as God’s living WORD to us, revealing himself and the message of salvation. Could it be that the light of the Good News shines all the brighter against the dark backdrop of human weakness and spiritual evil? I think so.
It also concerns me that many people live as if the resurrection is a hoax and that the prospect of judgment includes no dark possibility of condemnation. Many people today deny the existence of hell and reduce the devil to a fantasy character as on television and in movies. Others accept the occult lie that the devil is only the necessary flip-side to God. I even knew a “Catholic” professor in seminary, and a cleric no less, who denied the existence of angels, good or bad. While my stories are meant as juvenile entertainment, in some small part, they might function as an antidote to both the occult and the atheistic state of affairs. We are not alone. Some of us are being heavily manipulated by things we cannot see. It is essential that we place our trust in God alone. True religious faith needs to supplant superstition and doubt. Hopefully, we can avoid the extremes.
Turning to the subject of ghosts, there is a great deal of divergence on this question. Many theologians contend that the makeup of the afterlife excludes any type of spectral encounter. They would classify ghosts as flights of imagination, or in the worse scenerio, demons in disguise. Others fit ghosts into the category of souls in purgatory, crying out for prayer and remembrance. There are many stories told that seem to support this possibility. In any case, ghost stories remind us that the grave will not consume us and that the soul is immortal.
Scary stories tend to drive us toward sources of safety and strength. Note how many practical atheists and hedonists make the sign of the cross and recite HAIL MARYs in the face of immediate danger. God is almighty and omnipresent. If we trust in him, we have nothing to fear. Separated from him, we have every reason to be fearful. How do we stand right now with God?
Ask yourself how these statements make YOU feel:
- GOD knows your deepest darkest SECRETS.
- Yes, GOD KNOWS “What You Did Last Summer”.
- God SEES YOU all the time, everywhere you go.
- Your sins, large and small, NAILED JESUS to the Cross.
- Saving faith must be lived out in OBEDIENCE.
- Your body is a TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit.
- What have YOU DONE to your body lately?
- Are You a FRIEND of God or of the devil?
- What COMMANDMENTS have You BROKEN?
- There is still time to REPENT and to BELIEVE.
- But hurry, it is running out. The shadows are falling. The day is almost spent. Night is coming. BOO!
This special event is FREE each year! But we will never turn away donations. PLEASE, no little kids. These stories are TOO INTENSE! Young people in grades 7 thru 12 are welcome! Call ahead and let us know if you are coming. FOOD and DRINK will be provided. Held in late October, near Halloween obviously, the stories have been told at St. Mary of the Assumption in Upper Marlboro, during hayrides, at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Forestville, and now at Holy Family Church in Mitchellville, MD.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Check to see IF, WHEN and WHERE it will be next time!
This page has the following sub pages.
- AN EXORCISM STORY
- LAST RITES ON A WINTRY NIGHT
- THE GOATMAN OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
- ORDER OF THE DEAD
- NOT QUITE ALONE IN THE DARK
- CANDLE AGAINST THE DARKNESS
- BEDTIME FRIGHT
- BAD DREAMS
- HOW TRUE WAS THE EXORCISM STORY?
- THE HAUNTED APARTMENT
- INDIAN POOKA
- FACE IN THE MIRROR
- SPECTRES IN THE RECTORY
- SOMETHING STRANGE IN THE HOUSE
- UNWELCOME VISITOR
- A Story for Children: Johnny Be Bad
- THE OLD MAN NEXT DOOR
- CRAZY WOMAN & THE EMPTY PEOPLE
- What Became of Helen?
- Substituted Souls
- The Fortune Teller
- Monster in the Parish
- Haunted By Our Choices
- MORE IS BETTER THAN ONE?
- The Travelers