Believe in Ghosts?

Do You Believe in Ghosts? How Many People Believe in Ghosts?
It's interesting that at least one third of the population of the United States believe in ghosts. And almost one quarter of Americans believe they have had some sort of an encounter with ghosts. After 1013 participants were questioned about what they believe by telephone, a 2007 AP-Ipsos poll found that approximately 34% of Americans believe in ghosts, with about 23% claiming they have either been in the presence of a spirit or actually seen one.

Believe in Ghosts: Surveys and Polls
For comparison, the Baylor Religion Survey released in 2006 used telephone and mail, finding that 37 percent of people surveyed from around the country believed that places can be haunted, with nearly 20 percent believing we can have communication with disembodied human spirits - ghosts.

What's interesting is how the percentages of people who believe in ghosts changed when the method of polling was different. For example, a 2003 Harris Poll found through surveying 2,201 adults on-line that 51% of people believe in ghosts. In their survey, 58% of women believed in ghosts along with a whopping 65% of younger adults aged 25-29. Shockingly, only 27% of the people polled over age 65 believe in ghosts.

  • Baylor Religion Survey 2006

More People Believe in Ghosts Than We May Know
Two factors could affect the percentages of those surveyed who do not believe in ghosts. The first would be a person's religious affiliation. Some religions teach that ghosts are impossible to exist because people are in another place - either in a blissful heaven or a torturous hell. The second factor would be anonymity. Many who have memories of ghost encounters sometimes bury them only later to forget or discount the experience. Why do some choose not to tell of their possible paranormal encounter? To believe in ghosts might require embracing the risk of ridicule by others who have not yet had their own encounter with the paranormal, especially if those beliefs are openly shared. Some people who have seen spirits question their own sanity regarding what they encountered. It is altogether quite possible that some people secretly withhold sharing their beliefs about ghosts and haunting.

For those who have come to terms with a haunting or ghost encounter, their mind is made up. They believe in ghosts. Staunch skeptics will have a difficult time refuting people who openly believe in ghosts because of the power of the believer's personal experiences. This is especially true if experiences with ghosts and spirits occur after the death of a loved one.

Believe in Ghosts: Skeptics vs Cynics
Some scientists and cynics will often attempt to disprove the existence of ghosts by attributing such ghostly experiences to either environmental factors or illusions produced by the human brain. In some cases, this is indeed true; but these explanations fall short of disproving sightings of ghosts that have been witnessed by multiple people. To be open-minded and not sure is a good thing; it just means the person has not had enough of a ghostly encounter to move beyond skepticism. Yet, they remain open to the possibility. To the cynic, however, their mind is made up and closed. They will not believe in ghosts even if they become one themselves...perhaps.