By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
In this blog I want to focus on the most common form of alleged haunting…the residual haunt. The consensus in the spiritistic community (I refuse to call it paranormal anymore) is that most supernatural activity is residual in nature—for that reason alone, it is exceedingly important. I know some Christians who don’t believe in trapped spirits, but DO believe in residual haunts because it does not involve the trapping of a human soul (well, only a portion of it). I need to say one more word of introduction—this notion is yet another expression of the energy-centric worldview that has descended upon our nation like the dust of death…Energy is ultimate reality (instead of a Creator distinct from His creation). Without this distorted presuppositional foundation, residualism would have no hope of being taken seriously.
First, the human soul is indivisible… it cannot be divided in parts. However, residualism implies that very thing, because allegedly part of the soul is left behind as an energy imprint (life-force, consciousness—the bible calls it the soul). What percentage of the soul has been ripped off the whole? How much is needed from the whole if it is to function properly? Sorry, but our souls are indivisible—UNABLE to be divided…that is biblical ontology (nature of being).
Secondly, the soul is invisible because it is immaterial. No surgeon has ever discovered it during an operation. Also, it is not to be equated with the electrical activity in our hearts and brains. I had severe, potentially lethal, electrical problems with my heart a few years back which required an operation to stop some of the electrical flow…my soul was not damaged (some might argue otherwise). How does an intrinsically invisible entity (the soul) suddenly acquire the ability to become visible—as in an intelligent or non-intelligent human haunt? Does the experience of death suddenly and radically alter a salient aspect of soul-ishness? As an invisible entity while the person was incarnate, how does it suddenly acquire the ability to become visible when dis-incarnate, as an apparition or shadow figure, and so on? Who gives it the ability to? How? It would have to change its own essential nature if we believe in either type of haunts. Occam’s razor dispenses with this convoluted explanation of the phenomena, known as residual.
Thirdly, do you realize how subjective the process is, from one individual to the next, to determine if supernatural activity is intelligent or not? Is there some activity you just assume is residual without even testing it? It (residualism) is hopelessly mired in subjectivism. What questions does one ask, and how many, to determine intelligence? What other means do you use to make what is really an incredibly significant and profound call or decision? The reality is that many investigators already assume it is residual unless proven otherwise. It is alarming to see how much of a snap judgment this usually boils down to. Each investigator has residual criteria…that if they were asked to spell it out, they would most likely be embarrassed. Based on a single EVP which seems non-relevant (to whom?), many investigators will classify at least some of the activity as residual. How much of the activity is residual…some or all…how do you determine what percentage? If some, how much of it is supposedly non-intelligent? What if they were messing with you? Which brings us to the next objection….
Fourth, it is naïve and smacks of demonaphobia. Consider this real scenario…Gettysburg has regular reenactments (Battlefields are said to be notorious for residual activity due to men dying young and violently…leaving energy). If demons are real, and if the Angel of Light principle is operative, why wouldn’t demons play pretend just like the human re-enactors? If demons are anything, they are deceptive…brilliantly and cruelly so. If you believe in residuals, where in your thinking is demonic deception? How do you make allowance for it? Is it not at least as plausible to believe that the demonic are play-acting…just like we do in human re-enactments? Residualism is naïve because it readily discounts the possibility of demons intentionally mis-leading us into thinking they are non-intelligent. If demons exist, that is precisely the kind of activity one would expect of them, is it not? They know we believe in residual haunts, and that the hallmark is non-intelligence. It seems eminently reasonable to me to assume that they intentionally give mis-leading answers to EVP’s (which we sin grievously in doing anyway), in order to cause us to mis-identify them—as non-intelligent. If they are classified as residuals, then they are safe! UNDERSTAND THIS—demons are pure evil and they are not hip on being dislodged. They have means, motive, and opportunity—Occam’s razor please, because demonic play-acting most simply and comprehensively explains the phenomena.
In my book, I humbly challenge anyone to show me an alleged residual haunt which cannot be un-masked by biblical provocation. So far as I know, nobody has taken me up on my challenge. Many times, what appears to be a non-intelligent residual haunt, suddenly becomes very intelligent (and evil) when challenged in the name of Jesus. Mine is an empirically verifiable hypothesis…earnestly and persistently challenge the phenomena in Jesus name and it WILL spring to life—I’ve seen it happen over and over.
Fifthly, there are the analogies which attempt to explain residualsim—almost all require some trigger being pressed (e.g. recorder). How can an alleged cluster of energy be re-animated or brought out of hibernation, by an anniversary (it is NOTHING ontologically)? What is the equivalent of the FINGER PRESSING THE START BUTTON? Who or what can cause this re-play in space and time? It cannot act upon itself…Most of these points I am only able to state the objection without elucidating it sufficiently.
Lastly, residualism contradicts two of God’s most absolute scientific laws…the second and third laws of thermodynamics. Unlike Newton’s laws of motion, there are no known exceptions…they hold true across the board absolutely—that is how God wove them into the fabric of the cosmos. Simply put, once energy is released from its container, it WILL disperse until equilibrium is reached…unless external force is pressed upon it. If you put a few drops of green food coloring in a clear glass of water, then pretty soon the drops will disperse throughout the entire glass of water. Similarly, when energy is dispersed from the container of the body—as in a traumatic burst of energy associated with violence—it (and this is KEY) must disperse. To state that the traumatic release of energy can result in energy clustering in an environment, is utterly absurd and anti-scientific. The notion of energy being absorbed by its surroundings and kept clustered is ridiculous, because the released energy MUST DISPERSE UNTIL equilibrium has been reached. There is no external force to hold those maverick energy particles together and just lie dormant, until the right trigger is pushed. In an article by a parapsychologist, he admitted that this inviolable law had to be circumvented for ghosts to be trapped. Whether it is intelligent or residual, the absolute laws of thermodynamics are not circumvented, they would have to be CONTRADICTED—which is usually called a miracle. (residual energy is not to be confused with what is called potential energy, which is a horse of a different color!) To believe in residual haunts, you must acknowledge that it is contrary to one of the most absolute laws of God/science. This is but a skeletal outline—each point could be elucidated further.