I’m very much into history especially military history. In my studies I come across lots of battlefields claiming to be haunted by those that died. I was wondering if the church has said anything on war and those that died coming back and “haunting” the area. I do believe that there could possibly be spirits that come back and visit the area they died it, to see how the area looks and maybe see how they are honored. However I do have a problem with the theory of them being trapped there.
Congratulations on being a student of history. To me, there are few things more interesting than learning about what happened in the past. Like you mentioned, military history is a particularly interesting topic, even though it can be morbid at times. I think one thing we can all agree on is even in the best circumstances, war is always a last resort because of the amount of lives it costs us. While the majority of people who die in a war die on the battlefield, you’ll also read about people dying of poverty, famine and diseases that were also caused by wars. War truly is horrible.
Your question on ghosts is a little more complicated. To put it simply, the Church has never come out and said if ghosts exist or not. We know for sure that spirits exist, but the term “ghost” can be a little subjective and hard to define. That does not mean that we have no teaching at all on the subject. President Ezra Taft Benson said:
‘Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 18; or Ensign, June 1971, p. 33)
Brigham Young said,
“’Where is the spirit world? It is right here.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 376)
So the prophets have told us that there is a spirit world and it is certainly possible that those who are deceased are closer to us than we think.
The entire topic is very subjective and there is nothing that we can pin down. No prophets have said anything about spirits being “trapped” anywhere. Rather, we are taught that upon death, all spirits go into the spirit world, either to paradise or spirit prison. There is no church teaching about ghosts “haunting” a specific town, person, house or battlefield. We need to be careful before we jump to conclusions about something being haunted or not. In fact, sometimes what we think might be “haunted” has a perfectly reasonable explanation. I think the answer to your question is that we don’t have certainty about hauntings. It might have to wait till the next life for us to have an answer.