What do Americans really believe about ghosts and the paranormal? A new survey released in the days leading up to Halloween revealed some intriguing finds.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Phantom Wines, found the majority of Americans — 64% — aged 21 or older believe in some form of the “paranormal.”
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This word “paranormal” is a sweeping term that essentially refers to events unfolding without explicit scientific explanation. Respondents offered more specific insights when asked about individual issues associated with abnormal phenomena, including aliens and ghosts.
Specifically, 57% of respondents said they believe in ghosts and 39% expressed a belief in otherworldly visitors, as MarthaStewart.com reported.
Perhaps most notably, 44% reported having personal experiences with inexplicable presences and more than one-in-three Americans (35%) expressed at some point having felt a strange presence or “haunting” inside of a current or past home.
People magazine has more about these purported presences:
Respondents recalled specific encounters in their haunted homes — including feeling the previous residents appearing and suddenly disappearing, hearing doors that would randomly open and close, or seeing flickering lights and shadows with no discernible source.
On another similar measure, 49% said they at some point in their lives have “felt the presence of a ghost.”
And the data doesn’t end there. The survey also found 56% of respondents believe there are people who are able to predict the future — and 29% have sought psychics for this purpose.
This data is intriguing for a plethora of reasons. The Bible doesn’t discuss ghosts in the secular sense — as spirits of humans who die and remain behind to “haunt.” The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6 that humans are embroiled in a battle between good and evil, and Scripture is filled with stories about the demonic, not deceased, individuals.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) reads.
As for psychics, Scripture implores Christians to avoid such things and makes it clear that these abilities — as seen in the Old and New Testaments — exist but are not meant to be dabbled in.
A separate poll from YouGov recently found that 43% of Americans believe demons exist, which adds intrigue to this discussion about the paranormal. It should also be noted that the YouGov poll had much lower proportions for people who claim to have personally experienced ghostly issues (20%).
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