The Beautiful Side of Evil

Let me tell you about this book I read last week:

Described as “An extraordinary story about Johanna’s involvement in the occult and how she learned to distinguish between the beautiful side of evil and the true way of the Lord” I must have seen this book mentioned in another book related to ghosts and the occult that I read recently, called The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts. In that book, we read the story of a group of people who came into contact with discarnate entities -spirits- via a medium. The author of the book starts talking to a spirit that claims to be an old girlfriend that he had when, in a previous life, both lived in Greece. She knows many things about him, and she seems to really love him and knows exactly what to tell him to make him feel good. Soon, his real-life relationship with his girlfriend gets cast aside and he starts to develop a closer relationship with the spirit, which calls herself Philippa. He asks the spirits to give him more information about their past lives, and they happily do so. However, when he actually tries to verify some of those facts, it turns out that they are either incomplete or altogether fake. Then, the spirits turn sour. They come up with all kinds of explanations as to why he was unable to verify their claims. They get angry. He finds out that most, if not all, of the historical and geographical information Philippa has given him is wrong. Heartbroken, he decides not to even confront her, and instead he just distances himself from the spirit sessions.

On a similar line then, we find “The Beautiful Side of Evil“. Of a much more religious preachy nature, the book relates the story of a woman who was able to feel spirits and sense ghosts ever since she was a kid. As an adult, she enrolls as the helper of a Mexican spiritual healer, Pachita. At first, it seems like they are only helping people, providing healing where regular medicine can’t. However, when she starts to question the nature of hers and Pachita’s powers, the spirits seem displeased. She gets attacked, she suffers moments of mental instability and only the help of a devoted Christian community manages to save her from going insane. The last third of the book went a little bit too Christian for my liking, and the message is clear: accept Jesus as your savior or suffer the consequences. Nothing else is good, all spiritism is evil…and get this: EVEN DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS IS EVIL.

Yes, that’s right. Here are the relevant mentions:

I’ve lost count of how many individuals, even while under severe demonic bondage, have said to me, “Oh, but I’ve never been involved in the occult! I just played around with the Ouija board a few times!” (or astrology, or tea-leaf reading, or rod-and-pendulum, or Dungeons and Dragons, or seances, or palmistry, or tarot cards, etc.)

Ouija boards are sold in almost every toy store – frequently next to “Dungeons and Dragons,” a game which is occultic to the core, whatever its devotees may believe.

Putting aside the fact that no, Ouija boards are not sold in almost every toy store (I think I remember asking around in my city and never finding one), I found that statement to be extremely stupid. D&D is occultic to the core? How so? Because it takes place in a world of magic, wizards, and spells? I played D&D and other role-playing games with my friends, and I fail to see how they can be occultic. We never tried to talk to the dead, all we did was pretend like we were people who we weren’t. We were actors. Is acting occultic, then? This is the part of the book that just put me off. I absolutely despise most Christian denominations because they just blindly accept that their interpretation is the only one valid, their book is the only one that contains the truth, and they treat you as if you were ignorant, as if somehow you were the only one incapable of understanding those deep truths that they have received from God…only they did not receive anything from God. Human hands wrote the Bible. That’s the undeniable truth. Everything else is just our own addition.

So, personally, I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book, but I really hated the last part. Whereas the author of “The Siren Call…” does actual research, and tries to verify the information he gets from the spirits, the author of “The Beautiful Side...” just meets up with some hardcore Christians that tell her that everything that’s not in the bible is literally satan, and that’s all. Both authors decided to stop interacting with these spirits when they realize that things aren’t as clear and clean as they were led to believe, but I prefer when people switch lanes for a real, valid reason. Going “I stopped having irrational faith on this thing, and started having irrational faith on this other thing“…just doesn’t cut it for me.

Overall: 3/5. Read it if you are curious about spirits, whether they are good or evil, and what plans they might have for the living, or even if you’re an occultist who wonders whether these practices are good for you or not. But don’t expect to find here much in terms of scientific explanations. It’s just “I saw this and that, and then I stopped working with spirits and started praying to Jesus Christ“. That’s the book, in a nutshell.

PS: The book “The Siren Call…” is fully available on the Archive.org library: https://archive.org/details/TheSirenCallofHungryGhosts. You can also borrow “The Beautiful Side…” if you want to https://archive.org/details/beautifulsideofe00mich I think only for an hour.

Also, the featured image has nothing to do with ghosts. It was just a picture I found in Pixabay that I liked: https://pixabay.com/photos/japan-island-nagasaki-kyushu-725796/

Quick read – Create your Personal Saga

Click image to visit the document page

Another quick read from academia.edu. This time, related to videogames and spirituality.

Summary (of what I understood, but not necessarily of what was written)

  • Spirituality has become a marketing strategy not only for gurus and astrologists but for videogame companies as well.
  • A videogame is a fantasy world. The promise of being someone else, at times a higher version of oneself, entices people to spend hour after hour sitting in front of a monitor staring at a virtual world.
  • Marketing campaigns aim to monetize escapism: people are weak, live boring lives, have boring jobs. In a videogame, they can be heros, warriors, powerful healers. It doesn’t matter that it is only a virtual scenario, the feeling is that it is real.
  • Most of these videogames are set in fantastic, ancient realms where magic and wizardry are still part of daily life. Knights in shiny armor, druids that shapeshift, evil wizards that haunt the mountains and forests. A few percentage are set in futuristic worlds, but it seems to be that most people still operate under the assumption that the old world was better and more magical and perhaps meaningful than our modern technological world.
  • New economies are based on experiences rather than products. You can’t just sell an item, you need to also give the user the experience of being the owner of such an item. You join a group of people who also own the item, you don’t operate in solitude.
  • Games also offer the user the option to play with spirituality without the need to believe in spirituality. The player doesn’t need to believe in the videogame gods to ask for their help or use their spells. It is magic, without tears.

The link, one more time:

https://www.academia.edu/12777231/Create_Your_Personal_Saga._The_Spiritualization_of_Online_Computer_Games_in_Advertising