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Necromancy is derived from two Greek words, (pronounced) nekros, meaning dead, and manteia, meaning divination i.e. necromancy means "prophesying with the dead." According to The Bible, necromancers, those who claimed the ability to contact the dead, were said to have a "familiar spirit." The word "familiar" in this usage is derived from the Latin word familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was intended to imply that they had spirits as their servants, ready to obey their commands, which for some of them may have been partly true - but the spirits were demons. The rest, like the many carnival "mediums" today, either had hidden human (or in modern times, electronic) assistants, or were skilled ventriloquists who could fake the sound of a voice coming from the ground, or from "thin air."

Frauds and Demons

miliar Spirit The famous magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926), a man who it could be said knew "every trick in the book," exposed a great many of them as frauds during his lifetime while attempting to communicate with his dead mother. The effort to make contact between the living and the dead continued even after Houdini himself died. Houdini and his wife agreed to an experiment in which the first of them to die was to communicate with the survivor. When he died in 1926, his widow spent the rest of her life waiting for the message, that by her own admission in 1943, never came (for the reason why, see What Happens When You Die?)

Actually Possessed or Just Faking It, All Are Evil

The Old Testament Hebrew word for those with familiar spirits meant a bottle, since they were regarded as a vessel for the inspiring demon. The New Testament Greek word was equivalent in meaning, and whether they were fakers, or actually possessed by a spirit, the people of God were to have absolutely nothing to do with them.

"Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them." (Leviticus 19:31 RSV)

"There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to The Lord; and because of these abominable practices The Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before The Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 18:10-13 RSV)

Fact Finder: Did the apostle Paul have an encounter with someone who actually had a "familiar spirit"?
Acts 16:16-18

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