What Does the Bible Say About Ghosts?

It is clear that the notion of ghosts existed in Biblical times (particularly as objects of hysterical terror) because, in the passage Matthew 14:26, Jesus walks on water and is mistaken for a ghost by his disciples. Their response is to become terrified and cry out in fear.

Of course, the principal "ghost" of the Bible is the Holy Ghost, and His opinion of other ghosts or spirits is decisively and invariably negative.

In Leviticus 19:31, God commands His followers to avoid any who have communications with these other spirits. In Leviticus 20:27, it is said that any man or woman with such a "familiar spirit," along with wizards, ought to be brutally murdered with stones.

One such Bible character with the ability to talk to ghosts is a woman of Endor (1 Samuel 28). At the behest of King Saul, she summons the ghost of the dead prophet, Samuel, who makes it clear to the king that in requesting such a communication, he has committed a sin.

In the Jewish Bible, the soul is described as having three parts, only one of which — the "neshamah" — departs the Earth to join with God. The "nefesh" continues to wander around places that were familiar to the deceased during life, while the "ruach" remains at the location of the deceased's physical remains.