Halloween has come and gone, but there are many Americans who still have ghosts on their minds.
According to UPI, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center concludes that 18 percent of Americans say they have been around or seen a ghost. More Americans, 29 percent, believe they have been in touch with someone who died not long ago.
Apparently, more people have encountered ghosts than years prior. According to the survey, percentages doubled within 13 years.
Unfortunately, the survey from the Pew Research Center was published in 2009, and only now is it getting some attention.
According to the Pew Research Center, religion doesn't seem to have much to with a person's belief in ghosts and his or her experiences in ghost sightings and the feeling of ghostly presences. People who attend church regularly have less ghost sightings than those who do not attend church regularly, according to the survey.
There are some who believe these sightings have a more grounded explanation, such as sleep paralysis. Dr. Alice Gregory from Goldsmiths University explains how a person may think he or she has seen or felt a ghost, but it was really just a symptom of sleep paralysis.
"Hallucinations may occur during this experience. And those suffering from [sleep paralysis] may be unsure whether the hallucination was a dream or not. Features of REM sleep -- this time the dream aspect -- appears to be carrying over into wakefulness."The survey also determined that women are more likely to see a ghost than men.
Amazingly, a total of 65 percent of Americans surveyed believe they have experienced something supernatural or spiritual in their lifetimes. The survey is based on around 1,000 telephone interviews with adults and was given by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
These experiences should not be discounted, no matter what a person feels about them. The person who experienced seeing the ghost or feeling a certain way surely believes the incident occurred, even if it didn't.
According to the News Journal, people who think they saw a ghost probably did see a ghostly figure, but not the type that we automatically think of when we think of traditional ghosts.
Christine Simmonds-Moore, a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia, says people see things they can't fully explain, but humans are hardwired to find some familiar meaning in everything. Perhaps people draw meaning from a memory or some other feeling. The result is the image of a person, the feeling of a presence, or something else.
The person who has experienced the phenomenon legitimately feels as though what has happened was real, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was.
Sights and sounds can trick a person into believing a paranormal experience has occurred, especially if a person is expecting something to happen in a so-called haunted place or if the person is a bit scared.
Of course, paranormal experts would disagree and claim that ghosts are everywhere, existing because they are stuck between this world and the next.
Adrian Scalf, a skeptic-turned-paranormal investigator, told the Free Weekly that ghosts do exist.
"I used to think people would be so stupid to believe there's such things as ghosts. Now I'm one of those idiots. I'm not out to prove the existence of ghosts. When people say 'I don't believe you,' I'm like 'I don't care. I'm not out to prove to you, I know there's such thing as ghosts.' "
Whether you are one of those who believe in ghosts or not, there is no denying that interest in the paranormal is high. Halloween may have come and gone, but there will always be an appetite for something dark and ghostly.
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