In the Old Testament there are many allusions to necromancers, who professed to summon up the spirits of the dead; and possibly in 1 Kings 28:7 we have the account of a real apparition. Many apparitions of saints after death are recorded in the history of the Church.

The theological principles on the matter are stated by Saint Thomas. According to the natural course of things, no soul can leave heaven or hell, even for a time, or quit purgatory till its purification is completed. But God may permit departed souls to appear on earth for many wise reasons, that is, that the saints may help men; that the sight of lost souls may warn them; that the spirits in purgatory may obtain prayers. Saint Thomas even thinks that God has communicated to the saints a permanent power of appearing on earth when they please.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “ghost”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 26 February 2021. <>