Spooky Number Of Americans Believe In Ghosts

19

Your mommy and daddy might have told you there are no such things as ghosts.

But nearly half the country thinks otherwise.


A HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, or that the spirits of dead people can come back in certain places and situations.

The idea of ghosts as hopeful evidence of life after death goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, where it was commonly believed that death was merely a transition to some mysterious netherworld of another existence.

While skeptics deny the existence of ghosts, claiming there’s no real evidence, polls and surveys have shown the public strongly disagrees.

Of the 1,000 adults interviewed Dec. 17-18, the HuffPost/YouGov poll revealed 45 percent believe in ghosts, or that the spirits of dead people can come back in certain places and situations. When asked if they believe there’s a life after death, 64 percent responded Yes. While 59 percent of adults don’t believe they’ve ever actually seen a ghost, 43 percent also don’t think that ghosts or spirits can harm or interact with living people.

Written By: Lee Speigel
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. ” When asked if they believe there’s a life after death, 64 percent responded Yes. While 59 percent of adults don’t believe they’ve ever actually seen a ghost, 43 percent also don’t think that ghosts or spirits can harm or interact with living people.”

    I disagree since ghosts have obviously harmed these respondents brains!

  2. Well since a lot of Americans believe in the Holey Ghost ;then I suppose belief in lesser ghosts is reasonable?
    The survey should have widened to include leprechauns,unicorns,possessive demons,and evil spirits.
    There are still official exorcists as far as I know.
    And Muslims should be polled on magic water and flying donkeys.

  3. “I think people believe in ghosts or spirits because it provides comfort”

    Next year will be the centennial of WWI. Ken Burns’ excellent documentary delved briefly into the aspect of seances – people desperate to connect with fallen loved ones.

    That segment left a lasting impression on me. That is, I know there is nothing after death (decompose in repose), yet empathy is present, too.

  4. Actually, I have seen plenty of “ghosts” and “paranormal stuff.” I saw them when I didn’t even believe in ghosts. Usually I’d see them in my peripheral vision. They mostly occurred at night and bed time. One time, late at night, I saw one dressed in a white lab coat at a bus stop. I was wide awake since I used to work the second shift at that point in my life. I even experience one in plain daylight while I was at my computer at work. So did I really ever see any ghosts? No they don’t exist, but pareidolia and certain phenomenon can occur when you are only half awake.

  5. There must be a substantial overlap in the US between those believing in ghosts and those who are Christian and hence expect a Christian afterlife. How do to those people think ghosts work, then? Do you go to Heaven or Hell immediately, then get holiday leave from the big guy upstairs (or a bureaucracy that works for him)? Or are ghosts like immigrants whose papers haven’t cleared yet, so the bureaucrats haven’t decided where to send them? No, wait; the waiting room is purgatory, isn’t it?

  6. There is a really good experiment that Derren Brown did on his show ‘fear and faith’ that explains the evolutionary benefit of believing in ghosts or spirits. Basically people are less likely to cheat at a task if they are told that something is haunted in the room with them, even if they don’t believe in ghosts. He links that to early social interactions and social development. Basically the idea of the dead watching over you makes people act in a more moral way.

  7. In reply to #6 by calum997:

    There is a really good experiment that Derren Brown did on his show ‘fear and faith’ that explains the evolutionary benefit of believing in ghosts or spirits. Basically people are less likely to cheat at a task if they are told that something is haunted in the room with them, even if they don’t believe in ghosts. He links that to early social interactions and social development. Basically the idea of the dead watching over you makes people act in a more moral way.

    Basically, just an extension of the fear that religion puts into people – the idea that ‘God is watching you’…

    It’s just mind control for the weak-minded.

  8. If I were a ghost, I would not hang out in spooky old houses and scare teenagers. I’d be in Beyonce’s dressing room!! To hell with clanging a door open and shut or making guttural noises at midnight in a cemetery; I’d be at a nude beach in Rio!!! What logic is there to the current idea of ghosts? All it takes is two minutes of thought and they can be dismissed as impossible.

    • *In reply to #8 by crookedshoes: Why would you limit yourself to voyeurism? *

      If I were a ghost, I would not hang out in spooky old houses and scare teenagers. I’d be in Beyonce’s dressing room!! To hell with clanging a door open and shut or making guttural noises at midnight in a cemetery; I’d be at a nude beach in Rio!!! What logic is there to the current idea of ghosts? All it takes is two minutes of thought and they can be dismissed as impossible.

  9. Exaggerated/non existant testimony and pareidolia. That’s all ghosts are. I dont want to call these guys liars, but when I believed in spooks, I had a story nearly identical to theirs. And It was almost entirely false. I exaggerated this “ghost encounter” story when I was young because I thought it was better for people to believe in ghosts, because I desperately believed in them. Then I learned about how easily and suddenly your brain can trick itself into seeing, hearing and even feeling things that just aren’t there.
    I mention my lie of a story because i realized that most perturbed first person ghost stories are not just a matter of the person fooling themselves. Most ghost enthusiasts with a personalised story truly know they are giving you a complete lie, but think it’s serving some greater good for you. And they will swear up and down its true cause they know you can’t prove it otherwise. And I know that these oscar worthy lies happen all the time, because not only did I do it for quite a few people, but I had other ghost enthusiast friends who admittedly told lies to get people to believe them, and why? Because they thought it was justified.

  10. One night when I was in my early teens, my brother and I were in the house alone, when we heard ghostly echo y harp-like music coming from upstairs.

    Boing, twang, boing, zing etc.

    We investigated and found it was coming from a back bedroom, but when we went in, we found nothing.

    Once we were down stairs, it started again! Again we investigated carefully, but found nothing.

    About 10 minutes later it started up yet again, and we raced up the stairs and shone a torch in the direction of the noise.

    There we caught a glimpse of the cat, sharpening its claws on the springs of a spare bed which was propped against the wall, – just before it nipped under another bed to hide when it heard us coming! (Scratching furniture, was not permitted and it knew that.)

    Of course – told by a hesitant, host-fearing woo-head, this story could be quite different!

  11. I’m as sceptical as they come and I’ve seen a ghost.

    However, I don’t claim it was a spirit or any other entity. I have an explanation for what I saw (which was also witnessed by 3 of my friends). I might well have been an optical illusion, albeit a very interesting one.

  12. In reply to #3 by bluebird:

    “I think people believe in ghosts or spirits because it provides comfort”

    Next year will be the centennial of WWI. Ken Burns’ excellent documentary delved briefly into the aspect of seances – people desperate to connect with fallen loved ones.

    That segment left a lasting impression on me. That is, I know there is nothing after death (decompose in repose), yet empathy is present, too.I agree with your statement, in that belief in ghosts and spirits does provide comfort to loved ones left behind. In a way there is nothing wrong with that. At least they dont run around and try to influence political and social policy!

  13. In reply to #6 by calum997:

    There is a really good experiment that Derren Brown did on his show ‘fear and faith’ that explains the evolutionary benefit of believing in ghosts or spirits. Basically people are less likely to cheat at a task if they are told that something is haunted in the room with them, even if they don’t believe in ghosts. He links that to early social interactions and social development. Basically the idea of the dead watching over you makes people act in a more moral way.

    It’s works great if you are the one, who’s trying to convince others of the existence of ghosts in order to shape their morality. However, when you are in the reversed position, it usually feels extremely abusive. Why would you want people to keep you in check by using such manipulative and condescending tactics?

  14. Duh, I just realized why there have been so many TV shows about people who communicate with ghosts or have psychic abilities; people actually believe that stuff. They must be viewing that stuff like I would watch NOVA or Nature or Frontline on PBS!

  15. I’m always intrigued at the fact that ghosts are seen wearing clothes of the period.

    Anyway, Brits shouldn’t laugh. On the ‘This Morning’ show this past week there was an article on ghosts…and on the phone in poll, 80% claimed a belief in ghostly apparitions.

  16. On August 8th 2001 my grandmother passed away at 7:22. I had dreamed of her that same night. I was my age but I was sitting next to her favorite chair in my dream while she was playing with my hair. She patted my hand and said I’ve got to go now, I love you. I woke up startled and crying. 5 minutes later my father called to tell me what had happened. I can’t explain it, I don’t believe in ghosts and dreams I have usually don’t stay with me for very long. I can remember bits and pieces of them but not after an hour or so. I am an atheist but this dream still creeps me out. I have no explanation for it and I am still unsure that if I had had the dream a month before and she didn’t pass I would have thought nothing of it. Just odd…

Leave a Reply