Clearly, something supernatural happened in the house of the medium that night.
The woman saw “a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” Traditionally a number of perplexing questions have swirled around this passage of Scripture. Was this woman actually able to bring someone up from the dead or was she an expert faker? Did Samuel actually appear or was this old man (see 1Sa 28:14) a demon playing the role of Samuel? Did Samuel appear as a result of the medium’s power or did God intervene and raise Samuel himself?
An element of mystery surrounds this story, and it would be presumptuous to claim that we have all the answers. This episode seems to affirm a realm beyond the ordinary physical world—a spiritual realm that can somehow interact with the world in which we live. Though the scientific mind-set of Western culture has numbed our sensitivity to the reality of spiritual forces, the Bible confirms the reality of the unseen world. In Ephesians 6:10–18, Paul describes the Christian life as a kind of warfare, and he urges his readers to prepare to encounter an opponent not of flesh and blood but of spiritual forces of evil.
We need wisdom to know how to respond to the attacks of the enemy. Occult practices can both intrigue us and frighten us. While acknowledging the reality of the spiritual forces of evil and the deceitful practices of Satan, who “masquerades as an angel of light” (2Co 11:14), we are urged to resist him and stand firm in the faith (see 1Pe 5:9).