Can Dealing With Evil Spirits Kill You? How Battling Demons is Putting Ghost Hunters in the Grave

Can Dealing With Evil Spirits Kill You? How Battling Demons is Putting Ghost Hunters in the Grave

can dealing with evil spirits kill you?

Every career choice comes with physical risks, some more than others.

Police place themselves in harm’s way day in and day out in order to protect and serve. Anyone who’s ever worked in an industrial setting can tell at least one traumatic story involving machinery. Hell, I’ve seen Starbucks employees sent to the hospital for severe coffee burns. We weigh these risks before we take on a job, calculating our chance for injury, deciding if the risk is worth the pay, and measuring how great the insurance is. Most of the time, with a level head and a watchful eye, we can go our entire lives without a severe workplace injury, and certainly, there are always those jobs in which the risk isn’t much more than a caffeine headache and carpal tunnel syndrome.

But what about those few people who make it a career to deliver the mortal souls of sinners from the grip of evil? What of exorcists, demonologists, and ghost hunters with a flair for the dramatic and a reality show audience? Is there a risk in placing yourself between a negative spirit and it’s prey? Surely the religious will believe that it’s your own soul at stake, but do the scars of spiritual warfare have a physical manifestation? What I’m asking essentially amounts to one question:


Can the pursuit of evil spirits affect your heath?

Over the past few years, I’ve seen many of these spiritual warriors fall ill, and regardless of the diagnosis, from old age to cancer to unhealthy lifestyles, the whispers persist that the evil spirits which they’d spent their lives chasing had  finally decided to fight back. It’s because of these hushed conversations, and my own morbid curiosity, that I felt this topic deserved a fair shake; not just from a religious standpoint, but also through medical, metaphysical, and practical investigation into the possible dangers of chasing down negative entities, no matter what your personal beliefs entail.

A History of Violence

The belief in evil spirits has existed almost as long as we have, spanning thousands of years and countless religions. While individual beliefs may vary from culture to culture, they generally have one thing in common: if there exists an evil spirit, there exists a way to combat it. Often times, the battle is left between your prayers and a higher power, but for the vast majority of belief systems, there are designated spiritual protectors tasked with the saving of souls; pastors, priests, monks, shaman, witch doctors, each of them with their own rules of engagement. More recently, many of these battles are being taken up not by holy men, but by paranormal investigators looking for a glimpse through the ether, or at least a good chapter in their next self-published book.

No matter the faith, it takes a certain kind of person to intentionally, and often exclusively, pick fights with evil spirits. Many believe they are chosen by a higher power for this purpose, while others simply do it for a thrill. Some feel a moral and spiritual obligation to cast demons from their fellow man. Others are content to do it for ratings. Some are thrust into this world, yet others choose to dive. Bravado or ego, concern or cash – it takes a certain kind of person.

In order to establish the effect that negative entities may or may not have on your health, we must first look at the people who could have had their health affected; individuals who in one way or another, have made it their life’s work to chase down, or run from, negative entities. The following list is in no way complete, it is merely a shortlist of notable personalities who claim to have been affected by the grip of the damned.

  • Malachi Martin:
  • An author by trade, Martin was a Catholic priest whose journey into the world of spiritual warfare began, unlike the others on this list, directly at the Vatican. After spending years in service to the Pope, Martin was released of his duties and moved to New York, where he wrote by day and performed exorcisms by night. In the mid-nineties, Martin authored Hostage to the Devil, a book containing a handful of harrowing accounts of possession and exorcism, and became a regular guest on Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. During his interviews on C2C, Martin admitted to Bell that he himself had been seriously injured by the demonic, and had even seen a fellow priest die as a result of a failed exorcism. Martin believed that, thanks to his intervention in hundreds of possessions, that he had drawn the attention of the forces of evil, who were just waiting for a moment to strike. In 1999, alone in his New York apartment, Martin fell. His fall occurred with such force that he died of a brain hemorrhage. He was 78.
  • Ed Warren: The late husband of Paranormal State‘s Lorraine Warren, Ed, who considered himself a bonafied demonologist and claimed training by the Vatican, is probably one of the most notable spiritual warriors you’ll find on this list. As a couple, the devout Catholic paranormal investigators found themselves in the center of many of the 70’s most dramatic cases of violent hauntings, the most popular being that of The Amityville Horror, a case that the Warren’s regularly referred to as “the closest to hell” they’d ever been. The two wrote numerous books about their travels in the darker side of paranormal investigation, including 1989’s Ghost Hunters: True Stories from the World’s Most Famous Demonologists, a read in which Ed writes extensively of all the times he has personally felt under the threat of evil. In March of 2001, Ed suddenly collapsed, and for the remaining five years of his life was plagued with sickness that kept him housebound. In August of 2006, Ed Warren passed away at the age of 79.
  • Lou Gentile: A man who is at least partially responsible for the current popularity of EVP recordings, Lou Gentile claimed to have clocked some thirteen thousand hours in the pursuit of spirits both benign and malevolent, regaling listeners of his syndicated radio program with tales of his midnight adventures. Gentile often spoke of being kicked, punched, scratched, and even hung out a window by unseen forces, forces that he believed were invested in the gradual destruction of the soul. In the late 90’s, Lou quickly became popular for his matter-of-fact approach to the subject of the demonic, ending up a staple of television shows such as World’s Scariest Places and MTV’s FEAR. Poor health eventually hampered Lou’s investigations, and in 2009’s Channel 4 special Derren Brown Investigates: The Ghosthunter, an unusually frail Gentile told the titular Derren Brown, “they say a ghost can’t kill you, and that’s not true.” Lou passed away before the show even aired, succumbing to cancer in his early 40’s.
  • George Lutz: Rather than seeking out altercations with evil spirits, Lutz is a noteworthy addition to this list for having made an entire career out of running away from them. Lutz, who in 1976 claimed to have fled monsters plaguing his home at 112 Ocean Avenue, acquired the help of author Jay Ansen and the Warrens, and a year later, The Amityville Horror was written, the harrowing account of a sinister haunting that spawned several additional books and over ten films. Despite mounting evidence of a hoax, George stuck by his story for 30 years, a tale which included everything from green slime, demonic pigs, even a bite on the ankle from a malevolent spirit. George, or Lee to his friends, became something of a mentor to many ghost hunters later in his life, offering guidance for those dealing with violent hauntings and even planning to build a school for psychic youth. In 2005, Lutz sued the makers of that year’s Amityville Horror film for defamation and libel, unhappy with his portrayal as a dog killing psychopath. The defamation case was promptly dismissed by a Los Angeles court, and within a few months, George was dead. He was 59.
  • Tom Robertson: Most well known in Scotland, Robertson is a charismatic ghost hunter who for years has spoken of brushes with more than simple ghouls. Throughout his many books, such as Ghost Hunter: Adventures in the Afterlife, Robertson claims to have come face to face with specters, demons, and secret societies, but his oddest encounter may have been when he was allegedly contacted by Michael Jackson in a bid for eternal life via a captured vampire. Tom claims, among other things, that his investigations into the occult have seen him hospitalized twice due to injuries sustained by angry spirits. Just last year, Robertson told Scotland’s The Sun that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and believed that his time was almost up. “I have seen some terrible things from the spirit world and I’m big enough to admit I fear going over to the other side,” he said.
  • Ryan Buell: By far the youngest on this list, the 30 year old Buell has had the rare advantage of being groomed by team of professional television producers, resulting in the reputation of a seasoned demon fighter in a fraction of the time it took others to establish themselves. For four years, Ryan starred in Paranormal State, a reality tv show notable for it’s overtly religious overtones, and Buell’s assertion that he worked directly with the Catholic church in the saving of souls. The series’ five seasons saw Buell leading numerous exorcisms, residential clearings, and at times, physical altercations with demonic entities. The most interesting part of Ryan’s career is his claim that he himself had been singled out by the forces of darkness for his heroism, and thusly, was subject to torment by a demon named Belial. This harassment went on for years, and Buell claims to have dealt with the problem by mocking the entity regularly, referring to it as a “bunny”. Following the failure of his show The Ghost Prophesies to perform past the pilot stage, Paranormal State was cancelled in the spring of last year. Just weeks ago, after an extended public hiatus, Ryan Buell announced that he was fighting pancreatic cancer.

This list comprises only a small cross section of a wide group of individuals who believe they have affected by intervening in the agendas of evil spirits. I’d wager that those of you who run in ghost hunting circles could name a few people you know personally who have told stories of being scratched, pushed, pulled, or made ill by unseen forces. In fact, one need only take a stroll down an aisle of board games to see the effect that widespread belief in demonic influence has had on society. Just several days ago, I was publicly accosted by a woman who insisted that my purchase of a vintage Ouija board would be my downfall. While my own beliefs don’t match up to hers, I couldn’t fault the woman for trying to save my soul. After all, she very clearly believed that I was purchasing a cardboard portal to hell.

But what if she was right? What if the forces of evil are all around us, hellbent on wreaking havoc on the human race and punishing with crippling illnesses those who would dare mock them? Could there be any truth to demonic afflictions or could these illnesses be caused by something equally as strange?

Playing with Fire

From a purely religious perspective, there’s not much point in trying to dispute the idea that evil spirits and their intentions are very clearly laid out in the Judeo-Christian faiths. Biblical stories of demonic influence almost always begin with descriptions of physical ailments attributed to spiritual oppression. Upon having their demons cast out, the afflicted are suddenly free from their sicknesses; the blind can see, the crippled can walk, and the lepers are healed. For those who believe that evil spirits are the literal soldiers of Satan, for people like Malachi Martin, Ed Warren, or Ryan Buell, the dangers of dealing with these forces are so crystal clear that they need no further explanation. After all, the rite of exorcism has not fundamentally changed in hundreds of years, so why question the biblical explanation that malevolent forces can, and do, cause sickness? Father Martin would often talk about how with each deliverance performed, a bit of that priest’s life was lost. The priest’s gradual decay was considered a kind of sacrifice in the service of God. To the devoutly religious, the price of spiritual warfare is not even a question.

But what about the rest of us? What about those of us who don’t believe that negative entities are a product of some greater evil? What about those of us who just plain don’t believe in demons, evil spirits, or, for that matter, don’t believe in run of the mill spirits to begin with? Are we supposed to accept that these individuals have actually suffered for their work? Well, if recent medical studies are to be believed, they very well may have.

In a 2009 report presented in New Scientist Magazine, researchers claimed that results of a series of global studies indicated that negative thoughts can have a measurable and verifiable effect on one’s health. These studies ranged from subjects suffering medication side effects when given only sham treatments, to finding out that the more someone believes that they won’t make it through surgery, the more likely they are to die on the operating table.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Dr. Clifton Meador, of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, said fear can and does have a very real effect on the body.

“Bad news promotes bad physiology. I think that you can persuade people that they’re going to die and have it happen. I don’t think there is anything mystical about it. We’re uncomfortable with the idea that words or symbolic actions can cause death because it changes our biomolecular model of the world.”

In an even more recent example of how negativity can influence the body, a brain imaging study conducted last year at Oxford University showed that when a patient expects to receive poor treatment, that person’s belief alone can actually override the effects of potent pain relieving drugs. In other words, those more prone to negative thoughts are more likely to experience negative effects not only mentally, but physically to boot. This phenomena has become known as the nocebo effect, the lesser known opposite of the generally favorable placebo effect.

As a final, extreme example of the nocebo effect, consider the man in the 1970’s who was diagnosed with liver cancer and given just a few months to live. Although the man died within the determined timeframe, the doctors who performed the autopsy found only a small, non-threatening tumor. Even though his diagnosis was incorrect, the man so strongly believed that he was marked for death that his belief killed him.

You might be asking yourself what any of these studies have to do with being attacked by demons, but consider for a moment how fervently these spiritual warriors believe in what they claim to be fighting against. If the power of belief is enough to render robust opiates ineffective, then it doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to see that those who place themselves in the mindset of a spiritual, emotional, and often physical battle with the forces of evil might suffer at least some of the wear and tear they anticipate. Much like the man with the misdiagnosed cancer, the scars of spiritual warfare can become a self-fulfilling prophesy, even if there were never any demons to begin with.

Lifestyles of the Oppressed and Famous

I don’t mean to say that someone like Ed Warren never came face to face with dark forces that severely impacted his life. I also don’t mean to say with any amount of certainty that it was his unwavering belief in these forces that killed him. I never had the opportunity to know Ed while he was alive, so for me to make any kind of judgement on how or why he fell ill would be foolish. Most of these theories are nothing but speculation, rumination, and conversation. I mean only to look at the evidence presented, and ask whether or not dealing with the demonic can, ultimately, kill you.

But while I can’t give you a definitive answer regarding the existence of the demonic or deaths by negativity, what I can give you is yet a third possible theory on the cause of the strange (or not so strange) sicknesses that have befallen so many exorcists, demonologists, and ghost hunters; a theory that lends itself to the practicality that only someone as jaded to the paranormal community as I could reach:

The hours are complete shit.

For those of you who aren’t terribly familiar with how the paranormal circuit works, let me drop some knowledge on you. Chasing monsters, as a general rule, is not the cash cow you might think it is. Unless you’re part of long running television show like Ghost Hunters, you are seriously hustling to make a buck off your paranormal prowess. A moderately successful paranormal celebrity is, at any given time, traveling across the county to appear at any number of paranormal conventions, organizing paranormal tours of famous landmarks, writing a book (or three if you’re Nick Redfern or Rosemary Ellen Guilley), “filming a pilot”, recording a podcast, building a ridiculous ghost detection tool, and occasionally cheating on their husband with Zak Bagans. They do all of these things because they have chosen to pursue the paranormal as a source of monetary compensation. Remember that the next time you pay $25 for an autographed photo that they printed for 15 cents at the Kinkos around the corner. This is their job, and selling their stories to you, convincing you that they are more special than you are, is how they make their money. Like any good hustler, they work all the angles for insane hours, often times only pulling in a few hundred bucks a week. Why? Because they don’t want to work a normal job.

I’ve known, and do know, many people who have attempted to make this scene their primary source of income. As you can probably imagine, even just a year of living on the road, ghost hunting from 12-4AM with a 10AM hotel checkout time, eating at any greasy diner that’s convenient, deriving nutrients from Red Bull and coffee, it takes a toll on your body. Setting aside all the other bad habits that come with life on the road, I would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of these people who don’t smoke at least a pack of cigarettes the day. The life of a hustler, paranormal or not, is not a healthy lifestyle by any means. Does this apply to to everyone on the list? Certainly not, but I can clearly recall sitting right next to Lou Gentile as he chased a dripping cheeseburger with multiple cigarettes at one in the morning.

With a long enough timeframe, lack of sleep, unhealthy food, and carcinogenic vices are a surefire recipe for disaster.

Connecting The Dots

The fact of the matter is that anyone looking to make a connection will find a way to do it. As humans, we’re hardwired to make the pieces click together, even if that means we need to mentally shave a few edges off. Here’s an interesting coincidence about our list of demon hunters: three of the six people mentioned are connected to the Warren’s investigations. Hell, a fourth actually is a Warren. Both Buell and Gentile claimed to have been mentored by Ed and Lorraine, while George Lutz worked with them on the Amityville case. One could make the assertion that there is curse affecting the Warrens and those who associated with them (in which case, keep an eye on Haunted Collector‘s John Zaffis, the Warrens’ nephew). Additionally, the more religious among us could imply that these sicknesses are a judgement from God. How? By pointing to biblical passages condemning the communing with spirits and the consultation of psychics. The number of connections we could make are only limited to the biases of the people making them. Hell, I’m sure that if I were to pose the question of demons to Fox News, they’d find a way to blame Obama.

But while our brains scurry to connect the dots, we must remember that the unfortunate reality of our world is that sometimes shit happens for no good reason. There isn’t always a readily apparent cause to the effect, and for some, there never will be. While it’s no secret that I’ve never been Ryan Buell’s biggest fan, the news of his aggressive cancer diagnosis shocked and depressed me. Regardless of how I feel about his career, Ryan is a young, 30 year old guy with a form of cancer that is so aggressive that over half of those diagnosed die within five months. That’s incredibly sad, and a terribly unfair situation for someone his age to be in. In fact, it’s unfair for someone of any age.

In 2007, approximately 10,400 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed with some form of cancer. These children are so young that they haven’t possibly had the opportunity to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, much less stir the anger of an ageless spirit of evil. Most 15 year old’s negative thoughts involve homework, not a life or death battle with darkness. These kids don’t deserve the trials they will go on to face, and they most certainly didn’t “have it coming”. Sometimes these things just happen.

In the cases of Ed Warren and Malachi Martin, one wouldn’t even have to argue very hard to prove that their age was a clear factor in their passing. Malachi was 78 and Ed was 79, both of them already beyond the average life expectancy for a man living in the United States (75.6, if you were wondering). Despite his tales of demon-induced hospitalization, Tom Robertson is a man in his mid seventies. People grow old, our bodies deteriorate, and no matter how many things you add or replace, eventually, we slow down, we fall, and we die.

George Lutz was only 59, but at the time of his death, he was still in the midst of a stressful legal battle with a powerful movie studio. An experience like that is rough even for someone in peak physical condition. Couple that with the fact that his case was a very personal one, one in which he was defending his name and legacy, and it’s easy to see how that situation could have been just too much for a man approaching his 60’s to handle. His official cause of death is listed as “heart disease”, a condition with clear medical links to stress.

These explanations may not be as exotic, terrifying, or heroic as a death in service to a higher power, but for those looking for a valid alternative to a supernatural explanation, they’re worth discussing. Even someone who doesn’t believe in demons could easily make an argument that it was, ultimately, Amityville that killed George Lutz.

An Answer at the Cost of More Questions

As the number of self-styled demonologists, ghost hunters, and even exorcists continues to grow, as more people choose to earn a few bucks on the side by hustling the paranormal circuit, and most importantly, as the belief in spirits of any kind continues to rise, the conversation about malevolent forces, demons, or whatever you want to call them, is more relevant than ever. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, a “spiritual warrior” or a provocateur, a ghost hunter or a grifter, the answer to our question is probably the same:

Can dealing with the demonic kill you? Sure.

But is it the battle with the dark forces of a deeper evil that will make you sick? Or is it the bubble of negativity you must surround yourself with to even get into that kind of head space? Is it the work of Satanic forces when your heart gives out? Or is the result of long hours, late night bacon cheeseburgers, and two packs a day? When you’re diagnosed with cancer, are you going to blame it on your heroic intervention between demons and their prey, or bad genes and shitty luck?

No matter what you choose to believe, just remember – every job has risks; it’s up to you to decide if those risks are worth the paycheck.

So what do you think? Is the demonic threat real? Or are people literally scaring themselves sick? Do you know a paranormal investigator who claims to have been affected by screwing around with demons? Have you been affected yourself? Is there an Amityville/Warrens/Paranormal State curse that we don’t know about? We want to hear your stories and opinions. Let’s have a conversation in the comments section.


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Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Editor-In-Chief at Week In Weird
Writer, adventurer, and professional monster chaser, Greg Newkirk is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Week In Weird, Director of The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult and one-half of the prolific investigative duo Planet Weird. Learn more about Greg.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

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Dude.. why the FUCK haven’t you written a book yet?!!!

Donna Anderson
Excellent article, Greg. I very much believe the demonic threat is real. I’ve always had an interest in Father Malachi Martin and I’ve listened to several of his lengthy interviews and done a bit of digging over the years. Martin was “alone” when he fell, but there was someone coming down the stairs behind him who didn’t actually see the fall. When that person made it to Martin, Martin said something to the effect that “somebody pushed me but there was nobody there.” The fall didn’t immediately kill Martin but he never really recovered. But it was his belief that… Read more »

Hi Greg,

I am new to this and have performed a few investigations. I am agnostic in faith but was raised Pentecostal. My question to you is what type of protection do you BELIEVE is effective before investigating? Holy water? What type of prayer? Is there anything you could recommend reading for this? Thanks, and fantastic article.

Great article, a really interesting read. I have to wonder, though, if malevolent spirits really could cause fatal illnesses and accidents, why wouldn’t they bump a lot of these people off as soon as they became a threat rather than at the end of a long life fighting the forces of evil?

Interesting article! I think dwelling in negativity is definitely bad for you and it will shorten your life. There have been enough studies now linking negativity to inflammation in the body which leads to illnesses like heart disease and cancer. So just from a mind/body standpoint spending your life fighting the powers of darkness would have to have an effect. I would also think that you have to live a life of constant vigilance, worrying that you will be attacked and that your work makes you a focal point for evil. That has to have an effect on your psyche.… Read more »
Hey Pat Have to say its very interesting with these folks. In Europe we dont have demons in our paranormal shows. Except maybe on Italy. If you are around negative people, you will get negativ and in the end sick. I believe in energys, and we create what we feel. All this Lucifer and Demon worshiping, i think thats whats going on When religious people play ghosthunters with the bibel in their hand. Who has ever said that the catholic church has the truth? Answer the Catholic Church. Protect yourself and like you say be positive. I dont believe in… Read more »

Brilliant article Greg!

May I remind you of the case many years ago of Giorgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident living in exile in the UK who claimed to have been stabbed in the leg by a stranger with a Bond villain umbrella weapon, and then fell ill and died, despite the best efforts of doctors. The autopsy revealed a tiny pellet containing ricin (one the three most toxic substances known to science). Obviously only the KGB could have carried out such a weird hi-tech murder. Also, Markov was doomed from the get-go, but he had plenty of time to tell various people all… Read more »

Who could expect anyone to take seriously a website called Who Forted?

The old standard is that one has to believe in those ee-ville spirits in order to be harmed. This assumes that we are victims of our own beliefs. In mainstream science, nothing exists that is not known. If science were to confess to not knowing everything, they would lose followers like a church would if it said it didn’t know god. Faith is the linchpin to both science and religion. The only difference is that science denies that requirement. It seems plentifully obvious that good and bad operate side-by-side like hot and cold, night and day, left and right, up… Read more »
R Emmet Lee
Great article. I am also a fan of Malachi Martin and used to enjoy listening to he and Art Bell into the wee hours of the morning, juiced on too much coffee and nicotine. Also, kudos on the accurate, precise and cutting use of the term, “butthurt”. As to demonic forces and the threat they may or may not constitute, an acquaintance of mine claimed to have raised two demons in her life. She was not overly proud of it, but instead related that they were horrifying experiences with vague man-shapes in the form of shadows who came and went… Read more »

Do not forget abour Joe Fisher and his book ‘The siren call of hungry ghosts’ – a very interesting a credible and frightening book. Fisher ultimately jumped off a high cliff, probably due to being harassed by evil entities. Paranoia or reality?

Lonnie Scott

Great article, Greg!

Everyone has heard about the placebo, but the nocebo isn’t getting enough attention. Bad attitude can and does kill.

I’m on the fence here. I think there’s a combination of events, and multiple possibilities. Some mundane, and others could be more weird. Beef up your defenses if chasing down the darker side of spirits is bad for you health. I think of all the people I know within the Occult who have no such issues.

Your pool wasn’t big enough, but it was a great presentation!

You have a pool? *gets swimming stuff*

Ok think about this: if there really are demons out here among us wouldn’t it be “smart” on their part to not be too obvious to show themselves to us? Can u imagine the Catholic church and ghost hunters/demonologists going around banishing demons right and left b/c somehow its been proven without a shadow of a doubt that demons actually do exist? My hubby is a skeptic in this kind of stuff, but I was raised as a Christian, still am, and I wholeheartedly believe that if there’s good in this world (of course there is!! 🙂 then there for… Read more »
Dear WhoForted/Greg, I made this post on an article someone sent me that was published on that silly I think it’s fair that I send this directly to you, as, after all, I had to read your article to understand what the f*ck she was talking about… the bottom line is, I thank you for treating my disease with some human dignity, where as almost all other “journalists” and bloggers have failed. So here it is: WhoForted has clearly disliked me, almost to an obsession (although I have to give credit where credit is due, their homo erotic dance… Read more »
Ken Summers

You wouldn’t be referring to my opinion articles as “bitter banters”, would you, Ryan? Hmm? HMM?? I prefer “moody and crotchety in a hey-you-kids-get-off-my-damn-lawn sort of way”. 😀

Oooh! Yes! I second that vote for a sequel! And if you need to cast a Chip Coffey for it, I’m your man. (Though it might morph into a bit of Truman Capote. lol) Just saying. I think I’d make a decent David Childress from Ancient Aliens too. 😛

It is great to see that Ryan is still the same old Ryan he never gets to the truth

All the best, Ryan. God bless!

Good Article! I have been an investigator and spirit rescuer/remover for the last 13+ years. I don’t personally believe in demons, but I have encountered spirits of people who were very evil when alive. Rapists, child molesters, drug dealers and people who practiced black magic were some of my encounters in the spirit world. I have even seen spirits that were not quite human. None of them, however, has given me any illness or harmed me in any way. I think it’s hard to put a disease that is coming from man-made carcinogens, additives, and other factors, upon something that… Read more »

I’m SOO glad you wrote this article because when I heard about Ryan, I thought the very same thing ~ is there some connection?

Thank you for this!

I’ve been a paranormal investigator for many years now and have seen and experienced many things and yes, it does have an affect on you physically. Do I blame the spirits I come up against? Nope. It’s the long hours, the stress (not only dealing with the dead but with the living as well) and a lot of other valid points you have presented in your article. I don’t agree with those who try to go and make money from being an investigator. A true investigator is just looking for the truth and to help those that need help. I… Read more »
I’m SOO glad you wrote this article because when I heard about Ryan, I thought the very same thing ~ is there some connection? But I immediately dismissed the idea because while I do believe in ‘dark energy’, I most certainly do not believe that demons (a CHRISTIAN notion) attack. If demons do and did attack these humans, they are pretty weak and pathetic demons. With all the power of Hell, terror, fire and brimstone at their disposal, they only dish out a scratch, a bruise or *gasp* resort to pushing an OLD man down the stairs? Puleez…. The mind… Read more »
I’ve had a lot of thoughts and emotions running through me since I first read this article days ago. So here comes some TL;DR ramble at you all. Does running around LARP’ing The Exorcist and Poltergeist really put those acting as exorcists at risk for their health? Or is it all those pre-investigation late night breakfasts at Denny’s? I don’t believe in demons, but I am certain hustlers exist. Greg, your diagnosis of the hardships associated with cobbling together an existence as a ‘para-celebrity’ seem right on to me. As to whether or not those habits give rise to health… Read more »

Darkness Radio clearly read your article as they are having a special show tonight on the health hazards of ghost hunting. Are you making an appearance?

I’ve not checked out Who Forted before now. I think I may be back. I also must say it was really cool to see such a respectful meeting above between Ryan and Greg. As for your question and the discussion… I haven’t been in this “field” long enough to claim I know it all, but I truly believe there are no demons, no devil horns, etc. However, I have no doubt that we could some day find a connection between our health and the energies that spirits may or may not use to either communicate with us or get our… Read more »

Hi Greg,

I’ve got to ask: why does the front page thumbnail image thingy feature a pic of Sean Manchester – even though he’s neither mentioned in the article, nor does the picture reappear?

Just wondering.


[…] Bad Vibes: Can Dealing With Evil Spirits Kill You? […]

Wow! Thank you for such an insightful post. Its good to see that there remain a few level headed individuals in the paranormal community. I’ve been investigating strange claims for close to 30 years now and I still don’t believe that a spirit – ANY kind of spirit – can harm us. You did a great job of demonstrating that there CAN be other causes for these ailments. Keep up the great work and I’ll keep reading!

Here’s a post I wrote you might be interested in:

Says ” Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.” When I click the link.

Excellent article that was thoughtfully prepared and logically presented. While I do believe in evil and demons (kind of a pre-requisite for a Catholic), I do feel that stress, negative emotions and psychological beliefs can and do influence one’s health. I also appreciated the respectful blog meeting between you and Ryan Buell. Just goes to show that people can disagree without being nasty to one another. Hang in there, Ryan, and we will all be praying for you. And thank you, Greg, for a very insightful article.

Hi Greg–I enjoyed your presentation of the subject discussed. Each of us has our own opinion: Believer, non-believer, fence-sitter. I’ve been a clergy person for 35 years, yet there are still occasions when I’m sitting next to you on that fence. Forgive me if you mentioned this in your article and I missed it, but I would add repeated higher-than-background EMF exposure to the possible risks of the ghost hunting trade. Whether it be from non-corporeal entities or crappy, out-date electrical wiring (whichever an individual’s belief system accepts) at the investigation sites, it could have some validity, but how much… Read more »

My wife and I are both native american…. we go in and have to remove dark horses (neg enitys) quite a bit…these ghost rating shows….do no good other then damage to many…. our culture has been dealing with this for thousands of years… Please people…..this is not a game…its serious… leave it alone. Blessings …… Aho

I want to add…….I know mrs. warren personally…… Youngblood you will know one day this is real… some people have to know bad first to know good….aho

Hi Greg and everyone at WF?, just wanted to let you know that the episode of “Spooky Southcoast” where we discussed this article with Greg is now available on our iTunes and podcast feeds as well as on our website, Sorry for the delay, and for our YouTube video recording crapping out, but it must have been the demons (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

Whether we believe these evil spirit exist or they do really exist, it’s always the human minds that are the cause of worry, terror, fright and un-peacefulness. I think the human thought plays a big part here. Tsa tsas are a form of Tibetan sculpture that symbolize various protectors such as the protector against evil spirits, black magic, prevents sickness, increases wealth, counters demon and so on. The Kechara Tsa Tsa and Chakra collections are sacred and will bring protection to those who believe in them.

Kechara House is Evil

My brother mailed me cheap tsa tsas “blessed” by Tsem “Rinpoche” to help me with my insomnia. My house was immediately haunted and one night I woke up to see a nude obese ghost with it’s liver hanging out of it’s torn body cavity. The ghost was rubbing the tsa tsa on it’s genitals and making grunting noises. Kechara House is absolutely evil. My brother agrees now and neither of us have nothing to do with Tsem Tulku’s cult.

I have a demon. There , I said it. This is a plea for help. I meant to harm, it’s true. I made a choice. But I made a bad choice, and now I have been trying for over three years and it is winning. I am about ready to give up. Let me break it down…please tell me if this is normal or not. Back around 14 years ago…I was in an abusive relationship and had bought a house with that person. The house had a lost spirit who didnt know how to move on and he tried to… Read more »

Please continue your stry

Neutral Observer w/a ParanormalBent
Okay-touching upon a few things brought up by the forum’s commenters, as well as by Greg: As a person who lives on Long Island, over the years I vacillated in my belief over the Amityville story. Waffling between thinking it may be true-to- the other side of the spectrum of not believing a word of the story. After listening to interviews( Gentile- Warren- Lutze & John Zaffis), reading interviews and sizing up the situation, I finally came to this current mindset that is something we should all consider: Even if the Lutzes totally lied about EVERYTHING? How could a home… Read more »
Neutral Observer w/a ParanormalBent
With regard to the comments flying on the Warrens……well, if you cast doubt on their abilities or their sincerity/ belief in the cases they took on, then you also are going to have to cast doubt on the integrity of John Zaffis, their nephew. John doesn’t strike me as a fame monger, but then with his reputation, he doesn’t have to be. Anyone who studies the paranormal- already knows who he is. And yet, he gives off a down to earth attitude. His Uncle did NOT encourage him to get into this line of work. But he was drawn to… Read more »
While a board wont damn your soul; you might be talking to homy the clown rather then your uncle Leroy. Athiests are not any challenge for evil spirits because to lack faith is a sign of unwillingness to believe even anything evil. Also; theoretically athiest ideals make for bad serventing. However; there are stories of atheists who’s ideals fall in line with being a good person. Most are able to find that which was lost to them either by realizing in the end. Or with the silent guidance of others. No religion by anymeans is sanctified. And any one who… Read more »

But you never know. Things work in weird ways. I for one don’t claim to know.

Well, the latest news actually show that dealing with paranormal may make you the oldest living man on Earth. Check that:

You were a son of a Baptist Minister and today u don’t believe…but u believe in devils and that they r real..but u don’t follow the Lord, u follow something eles. All this gay stuff comes from WHORING heavy drugs and sex outside of marriage, when that happens people receive evil spirits. If you go out as a young person to bars looking for the opposite sex and wind up in the sack with someone involved with bi-sexuality or someone involved with the occult, and you didn’t know it …u received a evil backwards spirit. Many people in this generation… Read more »

Spirits are real. And they are weak. So weak they must exert much energy to interact with us. So weak they cannot physically manifest. I think the more power you give to these beings, the more powerful they become. If they are messing with you, just hang in there. They will stop. Or try to downsize them, mess with them back. They hate it. The real question to me is, can demons really take OVER people? How? And can a demonic spirit be born, as one of us? That would explain Hitler, and some of my neighbors. >_<

I see this post is old, but I found it by googling something about negative vibes. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read your post! I have recently seen clearly that my mother and sister are attacking me. I would never have given it any credence except that they also attacked my daughter. My daughter and I have an actual good relationship and she is a healthy adult and can see for herself. I recently had some major surgery and have not healed very well and have some chronic pain issues from that. I am neither religious… Read more »
Hello Greg, Just wanted to comment on how well this is written, and how diverse the points you made are. Working in medicine. I see both the effects of both positive and negative thought / belief on decline and recovery. I’ve seen the point you made first hand. If the ailment came first and impending doom ensued or vice versa. The point about the lifestyle is also very as well. We certainly are products of what we ingest and our environments. I’ve seen people seeming to be ‘waiting’ to pass on until a certain individual arrives, ( with nothing else… Read more »
Dave Considine L.R.D, C.I.E+
Sorry my friend, truth be told ~ this article is extremely inaccurate… Someone posted this article on my facebook timeline and I felt compeled to respond. First of all Malachi Martin only partook in 5 actual exorcisms in his entire lifetime, the rest he only advised and or handed the cases over to someone else; I know this for fact, because I knew Malachi personally and worked with the man, including the late Fr.Rama Coomeraswamy. Second, my friend the late Lou Gentile was never mentored by Ed Warren or Lorraine for that matter; as a matter of fact he only… Read more »
Dave Considine L.R.D, C.I.E+
First of all I don’t appreciate being called a liar. Second I don’t like what you are inferring about my mentors and close friends Ed and Lorraine Warren! Lou Gentile was my friend and I mean him know disrespect! The fact is that he only partook of maybe a half dozen investigations with them and two of those were with me. Truth be told… Lou was not mentored by Ed& Lorraine. he was mentored by another friend of mine John Zaffis whom at that time was investigating with Mike Roberge. Get yourself a copy of Ed & Lorraine’s first book… Read more »
Ape-like monsters too have the power to instil deep dredread. Monster apes and ape-men seem to wield this fear making technique with awesome skill. Tony Healy, an Australian researcher, interviewed a 17 year old youth called ‘Len’ who, with some friends had encountered a yowie, an Australian ape-man near Cotter Dam, Australian Capital Territory, one night in 1990. After hearing strange cries and footsteps in the scrub the youths retreated to their campsite in the park below the dam. As they walked their stalker over took them, running faster than any human possibly could and vanished into the shadows ahead.… Read more »
That great monster archetype the black dog is infamous for instilling The Nameless Dread. Sidney Benton of Horncastle, Lincolnshire told veteran fortean researcher Nigel Watson of an encounter he had in 1923. He was employed by a dairy to deliver milk. His round took him to a very old part of the town, past an old foundry, a vicarage and over a small bridge with a water wheel. One evening a massive black dog appeared in the bath in front of him. Though talking in 1974 he clearly recalled the glowing eyes appearing in front of him several feet from… Read more »
Great well written article, unbiased and fair maybe a little too fair in regards to a few people. I agree the events at 112 Ocean Drive were created by Lutz and the lawyer, just listen to George Lutz’s stepson talk about George and his deep interest in the occult and questionable parenting before he even purchased the Amytivlle Property and you will realise this was a man with a predetermined plan on making money out of the Defeo murders. In reference to Ryan Buell and ‘Cancer’ it has become public knowledge he is actually a conman ripping off his vulnerable… Read more »