It’s just about Halloween and everyone is getting dressed up in their spooky costumes, going snooping around spooky places, watching spooky movies, and telling that spooky story of theirs about that one time they totally saw a ghost. Everyone’s an expert on Halloween. Listen up, all you fair-weather ghost hunters. It must be nice getting to tell your ghost stories exclusively in October, when everyone is stoked and suspending disbelief in the name of good fun. It must be nice. Some of us don’t have that luxury. Some of us have to be spooky all year round. Do you know the type of looks you get telling a ghost story in April? It ain’t pretty. And you know, it’s time for all that to change. According to a recent survey, 60% of Americans believe they’ve seen a ghost. That’s a lot of Americans. If most Americans think they’ve seen a ghost, then it’s time to stop looking at us like you’re concerned for our well-being when we bring up ghosts for the fifth time in casual conversation.
The survey was commissioned by Groupon and carried out by the company OnePoll. They found that along with the 60% who believe they’ve seen a ghost, 40% say that their pets have seen ghosts as well. They also found that women are 20% more likely to say they’ve seen ghosts then men. On the flip side, while women might be more likely to have seen a ghost, a man who does see a ghost is two times more likely to “scream and run away.”
They also found that one in three Americans have either lived or stayed in a haunted house, and it takes less than five seconds for people to become frightened when entering a haunted house. It’s unclear if that’s an average, or what that number means. It could just be one haunted house with a particularly terrifying and energetic ghost, ready to rock and roll as soon as the front door opens.
Along with belief in paranormal specters and spirits it also surveyed Americans’ top 5 fears—snakes, spiders, sharks, drowning, and heights, in that order, which really makes a man lose some faith in his fellow citizens. Have better fears—and the best size pumpkin for carving (15 lbs). The sample size was two thousand people, so it’s hardly an airtight survey, but being commissioned by Groupon, its goal was likely to sell more things to more people, which, unfortunately, makes it more believable than if it was actually trying to make a case for the existence of ghosts. There have been other, more scholarly, studies on American belief in the paranormal. A Chapman University study found that 52.3% of respondents believe that places could be haunted. So it’s within the same ballpark.
If we do believe this study than it’s pretty amazing that more than half of Americans have seen a phenomenon, but we still, collectively, say that it’s a childish or ignorant thing to believe in. I couldn’t tell you what the phenomenon actually is, but it’s safe to say that it happens. Sixty percent is a huge number. What percentage of Americans have seen my home state of Rhode Island? Less than 60% I’d wager, yet it’s a fairly well accepted fact that we exist. At the very least more than ghosts.