Supernatural Survey Results

Lilly MacDonald ’17, Lyssa Test ’16, Emily Utter ’16

Click here to view our presentation of our survey’s results.


For our survey, we polled a total of 77 college-age students from Washington and Lee University and 10 other schools. The purpose of our survey was to compare beliefs of ghosts and the supernatural across religious affiliations, birth month, gender, and college universities. Our survey consisted of 11 questions: (1) Sex, (2) Date of Birth, (3) What college do/did you attend?, (4) Major(s) and Minor(s), (5) Religious Affiliation, (6) Do you believe in life after death?, (7) How do you define “supernatural”?, (8) Do you believe in the supernatural?, (9) Have you had a supernatural experience?, (10) Did you classify ghosts as supernatural?, and (11) Do you believe in ghosts?. We used Google Forms to send out our survey.


As stated above, our sample consisted of 77 college-ages students. Within our sample, there were 58 female and 19 male participants. The females and males of this survey represented a wide range of universities. In total there were 11 Universities in this survey; 55 of the students study at Washington and Lee University, while 22 attended other colleges: Middlebury College, Stony Brook University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pittsburgh, Davidson College, United States Naval Academy, Boston University, Temple University, and Ursinus College. Additionally, there was a large variety in religious preferences among the respondents; in total there were 16 religions, with the two largest religious being Christian and Agnostic.


Overall, we found that a majority of our respondents believe in life after death and the supernatural and that these statistics are the same – 66.2% (33.8% saying no). The similarity between these statistics makes sense because both have to do with belief in something more than visible and understandable. When we asked participants whether or not they believed in ghosts, 36.4% responded “no” and 63.7% responded “yes” or “undecided”. This increase in people outright saying “no” could be caused by the Protestant claim that purgatory does not exist, but that any supernatural existence is due to angels or demons, not ghosts. We did have some Protestant respondents who probably account for this change. 24.7% of our respondents had a supernatural experience and these experiences range from ghostly encounters, to general senses of negative auras, to seeing or sensing deceased family members. Overall, our results showed that many people had personal supernatural experiences and many still believe in the existence and possibility of the supernatural and ghosts.

W&L v. other colleges
Comparing responses from other schools to those of Washington and Lee show us interesting things about our student’s beliefs. 72% of Washington and Lee students believe in life after death, while only 50% of those at other schools do. This large gap also appears in the responses to our question on the existence of the supernatural – 71% of Washington and Lee students responding yes and 55% of other students doing so. As shown before these questions are linked because they have to do with unexplainable phenomenon. The slight difference in numbers then is strange but could have to do with religion, many answering that they are agnostic or atheist and therefore have different beliefs in the afterlife than other religions. This could be one of the causes for the change. When asked if participants had a supernatural experience similar numbers of people responded yes, 25% of Washington and Lee Students and 23% of students from other schools. This is important to note because even though they have similar percentages of personal encounters many more Washington and Lee students believe in the supernatural. When asked about the existence of ghosts, Washington and Lee and other students had similar “yes” responses, 38% and 41% respectively. More students from other schools also responded “no” to the questions roughly 45% versus 33%. The most interesting statistic from this questions is the relatively high percentage of undecided responses from Washington and Lee Students. Though it is the lowest of the three percentage wise, it is significant because compared to other schools many more students from Washington and Lee are undecided on their opinions on ghosts – 29% vs. 14%. This shows that when given the option Washington and Lee students are not as strong in their opinions as their peers at other schools. Though it is important to note that the number of students from school was a smaller pool so could skew the data.

Religious Differences
To compare beliefs across different religions, we classified our respondents into three categories: Christians, Non-religious, and Other religions. Christians were the biggest believers in life after death, the supernatural, and ghost. Non-religious and Other religion responders were almost tied for their beliefs in life after death (70% and 72%, respectively, believed in the dead). Respondents practicing religions other than Christianity were next in line to believe in the supernatural, with 70% convinced in its existence. Non-religious people were the least likely to believe in the supernatural, as only 43% believed in these other worldly forces. Lastly, in terms of ghost beliefs, 33% of non-religious respondents believed in ghosts, 43% of Christian respondents, and 40% of respondents practicing other religions. Curiously, Christians has the highest percentage of undecided responses, with 32% voting they were unsure about the existence of ghosts.

Gender differences
In addition to comparing the different viewpoints of Washington and Lee students to students from outside schools, we also looked into the differences of female and male supernatural beliefs. What we found was that in general, females were more likely to believe in all supernatural occurrences than men. Firstly, 72% of women believe there is life after death, while only 53% of men hold this same belief. Furthermore, 72% of women believe in the supernatural, compared to only 47% of men. This gender gap is also present when asked if the participants have ever had a supernatural occurrence; 35% of females believe that they had, but only 5% of men believe the same. Consequently, when the participants were asked if they believe in ghosts, more females said yes (50%), then males (5%), and more males said no (58%), than females (29%). Interestingly though, the percentage for males who were “undecided” (37%) was higher than that of females (21%), which showcases that females are more resolute in their beliefs or disbeliefs than males. The only question were there was not a huge gender gap was when participants were asked if they would classify ghosts as a supernatural occurrence; 95% of women said yes, and 90% of males said yes. Therefore, we can see that overall there is a large gender gap in the belief in supernatural occurrences, this outcome, though, could be swayed by the fact that our sample had a higher percentage of females than males. This may have skewed the information to show a more drastic difference.

Birth Month
Another comparison we looked was to see if the month in which one was born has any effect on one’s beliefs in ghosts. The hypothesis was that people born in months with more Christian holidays, such as Easter, or supernatural based holidays, like Halloween, would be more likely to have belief in the supernatural/ghosts. What was found was that December babies had the highest percentage of believers within this sample. This may be due to the spiritual connection during this time of year, and the high percentage of Christians we had in this survey. Tied for second place with 50% were 5 months: January, April, May, June and October. Originally, we expected participants who were born in October to have a high percentage of ghost believers due to Halloween, therefore this result was not surprising. Additionally, with Easter sometimes taking place in April, and Christmas in December, we assumed these holidays might rub off on the beliefs of people born during these months.The other 3 months were very surprising though. Finally, we saw that the month with the lowest percentage of ghost believers was August, where no one believed ghost to be real.

Are Ghosts Real?

Sidney, Riley, and Mary Helen

“Are Ghosts Real?” Full Survey Results

In our survey, Are Ghosts Real?, we wanted to see if age, gender, home region, and religious practices had an impact on ghost beliefs. We surveyed a total of 35 individuals. Out of the 35 subjects, 23 were female and 12 were male. Also, we compiled answers from 14 adult respondents and 21 young adult respondents. The majority of our subjects were from the Northeastern (13) and Southeastern (12) regions of the United States. However, we managed to interview individuals from the Midwest and West as well. We also asked our subjects how often they attended religious services. Our options varied from weekly, monthly/yearly, only on religious holidays, and never. Not only did we want to evaluate ghosts beliefs, but we wanted to observe each individual’s beliefs on the supernatural such as angels and demons. We hoped to obtain diverse results by surveying a variety of individuals.

Although we interviewed more females than males, and more young adults than adults, which resulted in slightly skewed data, we observed all of the results as a whole before evaluating the subcategories of age and gender. We asked our respondents six questions regarding ghosts and the supernatural: “Do you believe in ghosts?”, “Do you believe you have ever encountered a ghost?”, “Do you know someone who has encountered a ghost?”, “Do you believe all ghosts are inherently evil?”, “Do you believe in angels and/or demons?”, and “Do you believe in the supernatural/are you superstitious?”.

When asked if people believed in ghosts, 57% of people said they were unsure, 20% said yes, and Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.41.44 AM23% said no. Although disappointed in the number of people who were unsure, we understood their unwillingness to commit to a definite answer. Males were split 25% believing in ghosts, 25% not believing in ghosts, and 50% unsure. 17.39% of females believed in ghosts, 21.74% of females did not believe, and 60.87% of females were unsure. Our results were slightly different than the rest of the class’s in that they found that more females believed in ghosts than males. However, as we discussed in class, women tend to be insecure more often so the fact that more women were unsure than men seemed reasonable.

We found that no one over the age of thirty admitted confident belief in ghosts. Very few stated explicit disbelief, and most adults answered that they were unsure, even though some reported personal ghost encounters.

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In terms of the supernatural and superstitious, 63% of people overall said yes, they are superstitious. Males and females were similar in that 66.67% of men and 61% of females were superstitious. When asked if ghosts are inherently evil, most people, 83%, answered with a resounding no. Not a single person answered that they believed ghosts were inherently evil. However, only 17% of people said that they did not believe in ghosts in response to this question. This is interesting because when asked explicitly if they believed in ghosts Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.41.34 AM20% of people overall said no. This 3% difference should not have occurred. We attribute the difference to a lack of attention when answering the
question, or answering it in hypothetical terms saying that if ghosts actually were real they would not all be evil. Also, no participant in our survey solely believed in demons. When faced with the question “do you believe in angels/ demons?”, the answers fell between yes, both angels and demons, yes, but only angels, and no

Survey on the Belief in Ghosts


The survey above was created by Hannah Austin and Christina Gordon to gather information about belief in ghosts among students on W&L’s campus. It was sent out to the fraternity and sorority houses on campus and to the members of the Washington and Lee University Singers via email, and was completed online. The survey consists of the following ten questions.


  1. What is your gender?
  2. What is your class year?
  3. What is your major/field of study?
  4. If you are doing a double major, what is your second major?
  5. What is your religious affiliation?
  6. Do you believe there is enough evidence to support the existence of ghosts, demons, or angels?
  7. Do you think it’s possible that ghosts, demons, or angels exist?
  8. Have you ever been in a situation or had an experience which you could not explain?
  9. Has a friend or family member ever attributed an unexplainable event to ghosts, demons, or angels?
  10. Do you believe in ghosts?
    • And, a fill in the blank question attached to the one above, “Please define ‘ghost’ in your own words.”

The survey had a total of 77 responses. The breakdown for each question is as follows.

69.74% of people who took the survey were female, and 30.26% were male.

Most people who took the survey were from the class of 2019, with 35.53%. In descending order, the rest of the classes are as follows: 2017 with 25%, 2016 with 22.37%, and 2018 with 17.11%.

The following majors were selected from the list by people who took the survey: Accounting (5.33%), Anthropology (1.33%), Art and Art History (2.67%), Biochemistry (5.33%), Biology (8%), Business Administration (20%), Chemistry (2.67%), Computer Science (1.33%), Economics (5.33%), Education (1.33%), Engineering (2.67%), English (2.67%), Geology (4%), History (4%), Journalism and Mass Communications (6.67%), Mass Communications (2.67%), Mathematics (2.67%), Music (5.33%), Neuroscience (4%), Psychology (9.33%), and Spanish (2.67%).

The following second majors were selected from the list: Art and Art History (2.94%), Biology (1.47%), Business Administration (1.47%), Classics (1.47%), Economics (2.94%), Engineering (1.47%), English (4.41%),  Environmental Studies (1.47%), French (1.47%), Geology (1.47%), History (2.94), Journalism and Mass Communications (4.41%), Mathematics (1.47%), Music (1.47%), Philosophy (1.47%), Psychology (1.47%), Sociology (1.47%), Spanish (4.41%), and Studio Arts (1.47%). 58.82% of people who took this survey answered N/A to this question.

In terms of religious belief, the breakdown was as follows: 21.05% of people who took the survey identify as Catholic, with 47.37% identifying as Protestant. 7.89% identify as Jewish. 14.47% of people answered None, and 9.21% answered Other. Of these, however, 0.57% of people who answered Other filled in a form of Christian belief.

The next two questions were answered on a scale of “Strong Agreement” to “Strong Disagreement.” Overall, people answered that there was both more evidence for the existence of angels and demons than of ghosts, and more people believed in the possible existence of demons and angels than ghosts, accordingly. For the specific breakdown, please consult the following two tables.

The overwhelming response to question eight was No, with 55.26% of the answers. 19.74% of people who answered the survey said Yes, but I would NOT attribute the phenomenon to ghosts, angels, or demons. This leaves 25% of the answers voting in the positive to the question, and in filling in the requested explanation of the experience, turned up some interesting answers. Some of the more interesting ones are noted here:

“I’ve seen people healed instantly of broken bones, cancer, and spinal misalignments. These all happened in front of me. I’ve also felt a demonic presence in my room before, or at least what I thought was one.”

“After my friends’ father passed away, there were multiple times that after I was having a tough day I would feel this unexplainable warm feeling come over me. The only thing I could attribute it to is his spirit/ angel in me.”

“When I was younger, I used to have brief, unexpected flashes of scenery completely different from where I was at the time–never for long, only for the briefest half a second, just long enough to absorb roughly what was seen and for the vision itself to disorient me. I used to remember them vividly, and a number of years later (maybe 5 or 6; I’m not really sure), I began to run across the scenes themselves in my real life. There are two I can remember distinctly now, so many years later: one I found when I was on a cruise ship in middle school, coming down some very ornate red-carpeted stairs; the other was my freshman high school English class. That vision was the last one I found, and with that, all the visions I’d had when I was younger were completed.”

Of the three responses given above, all three stories were taken from female respondents – a trend which will be explained in the final analysis of the survey. The first respondent strongly disagreed with the possibility of the existence of ghosts, while the second two agreed that it might be possible. These three stories are all very different phenomena that have been attributed to supernatural causes, and while they may not seem ghostly, especially not in the case of the first, whose respondent does not attribute it to ghosts, they are still experiences which surpass the understanding of the witness, which makes them applicable to supernatural phenomena.

Question nine was a simple yes/no question, and 45.45% of respondents answered in the positive while 54.55% answered in the negative. Respondents were also asked to briefly explain the experience if they answered yes, and here are some of the stories:

“My family is Christian and believes in the concept of spiritual warfare. They believe that angels, demons, and the devil influence everyday actions and choices.”

“The lights in my home will flicker on and off only while preparing food for major holidays or events. My mother attributes this to her grandmother who has passed away.”

“They were on the highway and about to go over a bridge across the river and he saw an angel that told him to not go this way. So he turned around and little later part of the bridge collapsed.”

Again, these strange appearances/stories all hold their root in supernatural belief, and while only one is specifically attributed to a ghost, these three are just a sampling of the responses.

The final question had four options for participants to select from. The breakdown for these answers are as follows: Yes (20.78%), No, (20.78%), No, but I believe in angels and demons (16.88%), and I’m skeptical or would need to see a ghost to believe it (41.56%). Attached to this question, participants were given the opportunity to define “ghost” in their own words. Of the 35 comments, nearly all gave a response including the word “spirit” or “soul” in relation to a deceased person. Only half of the responses insinuated that this spirit or soul had returned for some purpose: in the words of one respondent, for “unfinished business.” Only one respondent included the possibility of animals as ghosts in their definition.

The final analysis concludes that there is no correlation between major/field of study and ghost belief. However, there does seem to be a correlation between gender and ghost belief. Females answered Yes (22.64%) or I’m skeptical… (43.40%) more than answering No (16.98%) or No, but I believe in angels and demons (16.98%), and on the whole they answered in the positive more often than males did. For males, the breakdown was as follows: Yes (17.39%), I’m skeptical… (34.78%), No (30.43%), and No, but I believe in angels and demons (17.39%).

There is also a correlation between religious belief and belief in ghosts. Between the Christian religions, reported belief in ghosts was stronger for Catholics, but overall positive or questioning for both the Christian religions, with most respondents answering Yes or I’m skeptical or would need to see a ghost to believe it. These two answers combined for Catholic participants constituted 75%, while they constituted 55.55% for Protestants. Between the two Christian religious affiliations, Protestants were overwhelmingly more likely to answer that they believed in angels and demons, but not ghosts (30.56%) than Catholics (12.50%). Those who selected Jewish as their identification were more likely to answer No (33.33%) or I’m Skeptical… (50%) than Yes (16.67%). 45.45% of people with no religious affiliation answered that they do not believe in ghosts, while 36.36% answered that they were skeptical. And those who selected Other for their religious affiliation were tied for Yes and No, with 28.57% each, and 42.86% saying they were skeptical.

Modern Ghost Belief in the Broader Historical Timeline

Project Overview

Group Members Mary-Frances Hall, Molly Bush, Katey Smith

Ghost belief is one of the few pieces of phenomenon that transcends throughout history. However, reported encounters and told ghost stories have shifted over time periods based on social, religious, and cultural context. Reality is entirely based on perception. Thus, ghost stories act as “present realities” depictive of historical attitudes towards death, religion, theology, and science.

Students in Washington and Lee’s Ghosts of History class set-out to design surveys aimed at evaluating modern ghost belief in our community. Our particular survey was created with the goal of determining how present ghost belief fits into the greater historical timeline. In particular, we were interested in looking at the ways in which ghost belief has stayed consistent and diverged from 20th century themes. The way in which people tell ghost stories is very telling; our survey was designed to look carefully at storytelling techniques and the way in which people presently think of ghosts from a physical, religious, and personal standpoint.


Our survey was made online using Google Forms and distributed via email. Each of the three members of the group collected responses from a minimum of ten subjects. A description of the participants surveyed is provided below. To check out our survey and, perhaps, take it for yourself click here.

Surveyed Participants

Responses were collected from a total of thirty-three participants. The group of participants were comprised of predominately females.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.12.27 PM

We chose to survey two distinct groups of people, the first being of college-aged students (between the ages of 17-24 years old), and the other being of adults of the older generation (between the ages of 40-80 years old). Both age groups were comprised of both male and female subjects. We chose this design as we felt is best allowed us to evaluate our original research questions.

The large variety in age, gender, hometown, generation group, and religion made it difficult to divide our results into incredible specific groups. Ultimately, we ended up making general analyses by observing overall themes.

Overall Findings

The first four questions of the survey were structured based on a Likert scale of 1 to 10 and asked people to rate belief in ghosts or paranormal beings, level of superstition, level of anxiety/fear about death, and level of a connection between religious and theology and ghost belief. We then organized the data based on the demographic questions asked at the beginning of the survey (age, gender, and religious affiliation) using a data analysis software called SPSS and acquired the following results.
Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.19.05 PM

Figure 1 Gender Correlations

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Figure 2 Age Correlations

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.21.50 PM

Figure 3 Religious Affiliation Correlations

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Figure 4 Religious Affiliation and Ghost Belief

For our analysis, we examined the results obtained from SPSS in order to ascertain whether there existed any correlations within the three demographic breakdowns. First, we examined the relationship between age and the mean responses to each of the four likert scale questions. As you can see in figure 2, though the mean responses for the questions belief in ghosts, anxiety about death, and the connection between death and religion are very close for both the 17-24 and 40-80 age groups, there are slightly higher numbers for the 17-24 age group. Also, the 17-24 age group shows a significantly higher level of superstition than the 40-80 age group. These findings are consistent with the idea we have discussed in class about the trend of college aged students having a higher belief in ghosts. This is due to many colleges, especially Washington and Lee, having ghost stories associated with the campus that act as a way to unify students around commonly held beliefs and to make them feel more at home at the university.

Next, we examined the relationship between gender and the mean responses to each of the four likert scale questions. As can be seen in figure 1, the mean responses for each of the four questions were very mixed between males and females. For our study, male’s mean score for belief in ghosts was slightly higher than that of females. This is very interesting because it goes against the idea we have talked about in class of women believing more in ghosts and the supernatural than men. This result may have been due to the larger number of females than males who participated in our study, slightly skewing the results. Males also had a higher mean score for the question of how connected are ghosts and religion. Female’s mean score for superstition was higher than that of the males, and they also had a slightly higher response score for the question of how afraid of death are you.

We also looked at the relationship between our responder’s religious affiliation and the mean responses to each of the four likert scale questions. The most interesting finding, which can be seen in both figure 3 and figure 4, is that Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, and Unitarian reported the highest mean scores for belief in ghosts. We have talked about in class how Catholics and Methodists, historically, have had higher levels of ghost belief compared to most of the protestant religions, so it is interesting to see this parallel in the results of our survey. It also makes sense that Episcopalian was one of the highest because their practices so closely mirror those of Catholicism. Looking at the results, we noticed a correlation between scores on the ghost belief and superstition questions, and the ghost belief and connection between ghost belief and religion questions across all religions, either scores are both high or both low. We also noticed even though some participants individually selected scores higher than 7 on the questions, none of the mean scores across all of the religions exceeded 6.5. This indicates a level of uncertainty regarding our questions and ghost belief among the people who participated in our survey.

The next four questions of our survey were open ended, and once all responses were collected we analyzed the different answers given and looked at the common themes of ghost belief across each one. From the answers given of the first short answer question, we noticed that the majority of people believe that ghosts are either semi-transparent beings that have the potential to take many different forms or are a spirit/energy that communicates with a sign or feeling. About half of the participants believed that people never experience the ghosts of their dead loved ones while the other half believe that it is a possibility. Of the people that did believe you can encounter ghosts of loved ones they believed that they would be the most common ghosts a person would encounter.

Based on the answers given for the second short answer question, the majority of our participants believe that ghosts are distinctly different from Angels or Demons, making the separation that Angels and Demons are spiritual beings associated with God while ghosts are spirits that once lived on earth. Most also believed that ghosts can be either good or evil depending on the nature of who they were on earth or why they were sent back. Those who did not believe ghosts were evil thought them to be troubled, lost, or sad. For the third short answer question, half of our participants believed that either physical evidence or a personal experience was needed in order to solidify a belief in ghosts. The other half stated that a belief in ghosts is something that can’t be proved with evidence because it is such a personal experience and for many a religious experience where proof is tied to their faith. For the fourth short answer question, in which we asked them the setting where they believe they would most likely see a ghost, almost every participant gave stereotypical answers that have most likely been fostered through the commodification of ghosts in the media. The majority of people said that they would see a ghost when alone at night, extremely sad, missing someone who has passed away, while in a graveyard, old church, old hospital, or an old house where someone has died.

The final question of our survey asked participants to report a firsthand or secondhand ghost or paranormal story. Responses were evaluated based on common themes and repeated trophs. Many of the stories featured experiences with dead loved ones in the forms of felt presences or perceived signs sent from heaven. The participants’ responses all featured a very “rational guise;” the answers on supernatural phenomena were framed in rationally scientific ways. The stories included descriptions of skepticism; Many participants provided alternative hypotheses as reasons behind their ghostly encounters. Responses were given from a defensive standpoint.


Despite the inherent limitations of our survey, the results of our survey seem to point to a continuation of 19th and 20th century themes in present day ghost belief. Many of our participants reported ghosts as airy, mute, intangible beings without a predominant purpose. These descriptions fit in with those of the 19th and 20th century ghost reports. Perhaps, the media and commodification of ghosts can be blamed towards this stagnant trend. Maybe our image of ghosts is so deeply imprinted into our minds that change in belief is close to impossible. However, there seems to be a theme of re-personalization of ghosts; This came through particularly in the ghost story reports.  

In today’s world of immense technological and scientific innovation, it seems that we question the validity and legitimacy of that which we can not explain, such as ghosts. However, another layer of these topics exist: the ways in which we shape and explain our voids in understanding. I hope that our survey’s findings and proposed analysis shed light onto the modern day “present realities” that make up our ghosts.


To view our PowerPoint presentation given on the our survey click here.

Ghost Beliefs and Perceptions Survey

Ghost Beliefs and Perceptions Survey

SurveyMonkey was used in order to conduct this poll. Links to our survey were posted on the Alpha Delta Pi “Help a Sister Out” page on Facebook, and sent to GroupMe group messages of which our surveyors were members. By using these mediums of surveying, we sought to engage college students in our poll and establish them as our preeminent demographic of study.

            We asked the following questions of our respondents:

1.     What is your gender

2.     What is your college major?

3.     In which region of the United States do you live?

4.     How religious do you consider yourself? How spiritual do you consider yourself?

5.     Have you had a ghostly encounter?

6.     If yes [to the previous question], please elaborate on your experience.

7.     Do you believe in other supernatural entities (witches, demons, angels, aliens, etc.)?

8.     Do you enjoy watching ghost-themed shows (Ghosthunters, The Haunted, Paranormal Witness, etc.)?

9.     How do you feel about the idea of ghosts?

10. Would you actively seek out a ghost (Ouija Board, Electromagnetic Field Detectors, Bloody Mary, Voicebox, etc.)?

We had a total of 37 participants, with 8 males and 29 females. The survey was skewed towards women, and this was possibly due to the use of a national sorority page and ADPi group messages. The data on major type was extremely varied and and there was not a real correlation between major and ghost beliefs. For region, we had data from every region except New England. As a result, we decided to not conduct a comprehensive analysis on region since we had no data on one region. For spirituality and religiosity, the average for spirituality was higher than religiosity. Both averages were between the “Undecided” and “Somewhat” options on the scale for the question. Most people said they had not had a ghostly encounter, but 25% of participants said they had. We asked people to elaborate on their story if they had one, and the stories ranged from a Civil War soldier haunting a girl’s childhood home to a lamp being turned on repeatedly. 60% of participants said they did believe in other entities. Most people said they did not like watching ghost-themed television shows. For the question regarding feelings towards ghosts, 50% of participants replied they were curious about the idea of ghosts, 25% were indifferent, 10% were frightened, and the rest were amused. In regards to actively seeking out a ghost, the overwhelming majority of 73% said “No.”

For our analysis, we looked at several intersections of the data to draw conclusions.  First we examined the correlation in college majors. We had a very wide range of college majors ranging from English to Nutrition. There was absolutely no correlation between majors – two biology majors gave contradictory answers to ghost belief questions and some science majors who were not religious said they were very superstitious.

We also looked at gender as a tool of analysis.  In men, we saw a large amount of indifference – 5 out of 8 men said they were indifferent about ghosts. Only 9 said they were indifferent overall. No men reported having a ghostly encounter and only one said they would seek out a ghost. This mirrors what we have talked about in class that women are more likely seek out ghosts and report an encounter.

In terms of religion, we found that 4 out of 9 people who had seen a ghost also said they were not at all religious or spiritual.  This is very interesting because we had assumed that more religious people would be more likely to be open to ghostly interactions. Overall we found that religion was largely divorced from specifically ghostly encounters. In the entire Bible Belt area – the traditionally most religious area of the country – only had one report of ghostly interactions.  However, 11 of 15 people from this region say they believe in other entities, but not ghost.  This could be consistent with what we learned in glass about evangelical religions being more grounded in belief in angels and demons rather than ghosts.

We also found that the age at the interaction was also very visible.  Out of the people who provided a description of their interaction, 5 out of 10 people said the incident occurred during their childhood. More cited figures standing in their bedroom or childhood homes.  Almost everyone was under the age of 10.