Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s a good chance that you’re fascinated by them. You wouldn’t be on this site if that was not the case. But are you in the minority or the majority? How many people believe in ghosts, are there more females or males and what ages and cultures seem to believe in them the most?
We’re in a somewhat unique position here on EnfieldHaunting.com because while we research and write about the paranormal every day, we don’t really believe any of it. We’re fascinated, sure, but we haven’t quite made that leap. So this was a question that we have also been asking ourselves for a number of years and one that we finally got around to figuring out.
Number of People who Believe in Haunted Houses
In the first decade of the new millennium, several major polls were taken to determine just how many Americans believed in supernatural and paranormal phenomenon. They covered everything from witches, telepathy and clairvoyance, to reincarnation, haunted houses and demonic possession.
Across all of these polls, including Farah-Steward and Gallop, psychic/spiritual healing was the one that had the highest percentage of believers, averaging 55%, with a further 25% or so stating that they were “not sure”. This means that only a quarter of Americans believe that psychic healing is nonsense.
Second on this list was haunted houses, with between 40% and 46% saying that they believe and between 16% and 25% saying they were not sure. One of the most interesting things about this study is that there was a higher number of believers for “haunted houses” than there were for “ghosts”. Suggesting that some of the polled citizens don’t have the same definition of haunting as we do.
The figures in the UK are a little less, as you might expect for a nation that prides itself on being suspicious and repressed and isn’t nearly as religious as the US. But it’s not as big of a difference as you might have thought. Here in the UK it is said that 1 in 3 believes in ghosts, while 39% believe in haunted houses.
Although this poll also noted that 9% claimed to have communicated with the dead.
Do Women Believe in ghosts More Than Men?
It’s a classic stereotype and one that has probably featured in your life and your family at some point. In fact we can draw from some personal experiences of our own. The males in our family are very skeptical and dismissive, including one that has actually had a ghostly encounter (he put it down to being half-asleep at the time) whereas most of the females regularly visit mediums and believe in ghosts.
We don’t usually like agreeing with the stereotypes, but in this case it is true. All of the polls we have found suggest that women are more likely to believe than men. The UK poll mentioned above noted that women were 10% more likely to believe, which is on the short side of what you will find with other polls. Women are also more likely to believe in life after death, with most polls suggesting that they are between 15% and 40% more likely.
They are also more likely to believe that a house can be haunted, that mediums are real and that psychic healing is a legitimate practice. But you could also argue that men are more likely to lie about their beliefs to avoid coming across as different or “silly”. So, who knows how those polls would look if every man being asked the questions was providing an honest answer.
Why do People Believe in Ghosts?
The is not an easy question to answer and there are many factors involved. If we were to take a skeptical stance, as we often do, then we would suggest it was all about wish fulfillment. As humans we struggle to grasp the concept of mortality. We don’t want to accept the fact that life is all we have and that we won’t continue to live and experience life to some degree after we die.
The fact that we don’t know everything about the world also plays a major role, mostly because we use it as an excuse to believe. We tell ourselves that because we haven’t found all of the answers regarding the ways of the universe, ghosts could still exist. But to the same extent you could argue that because we haven’t explored the depths of every ocean, there is a huge underworld city in the middle of the Atlantic ruled over by Cthulhu and the Loch Ness Monster and inhabited by a family of Bigfoot.
In other words, just because we can’t say for sure that the sky is blue, doesn’t mean it’s actually made out of Skittles and disappears every time you look away.
What About People who See Ghosts?
Seeing a ghost or having other paranormal encounters is usually enough to convince people to believe, but at the same time there are many people who have had such encounters and are just as skeptical as they alway shave been. You still need to be willing to accept and to believe before this encounter—it’s just the thing that confirms your belief.
As mentioned above, there is someone on staff here at EnfieldHaunting.com that has had a few strange encounters, times when he was sure he was awake and yet clearly saw apparitions. But he admits he was young, going through a difficult time and had just woken up. He’s of the belief—as many people are—that the human mind is the greatest unexplored mystery and that it is at fault for all of these sightings and for most of the paranormal phenomena occurring in the world.
Who knows, maybe that was also the case for the famous Enfield haunting. Or maybe, as is more likely, it was just a case of a very mischievous girl doing her thing and a team of adults who really wanted to believe, no matter what facts they were faced with.