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Saturday, October 27

More Americans believe in ghosts than in their president

It's October.
Cue the ghost stories on the Discovery Channel.
Cue the latest AP/Ipsos poll.

Poll: American Belief in Ghosts, Spells, Superstition
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Oct. 27 2007 08:54 AM ET

A third of Americans say they believe in ghosts, a pre-Halloween poll showed.

The same proportion, 34 percent, say they believe in unidentified flying objects, according to a poll by The Associated Press and Ipsos, and 23 percent say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one's presence.

Those most likely to have experienced that are single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. Three in 10 have awakened sensing a strange presence in the room.

Nearly half (48 percent) believe in extrasensory perception, a drop from the 66 percent who said they accept ESP in a similar question asked by Newsweek in 1996. Those with a higher education were found to be more likely to accept ESP - 51 percent of college graduates compared to 37 percent with a high school diploma or less.

Nineteen percent believe that spells or witchcraft exists. Urban dwellers, minorities and lower-earning people are more likely to believe in spells and witchcraft.

A 2006 Barna Group poll found that the supernatural world is more readily believed by teens. In the midst of the Harry Potter phenomenon, the Barna report revealed that 73 percent of America's youth have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity beyond media exposure or horoscope usage. Moreover, 30 percent of all teens claimed they had supernatural encounters. Evangelical teens (26 percent) were nearly three times less likely than the non-evangelicals (69 percent) to have engaged in witchcraft or psychic activities.

More than 10 percent of youth claimed they communicated with the dead.
I find it not surprising that Catholics are among believers. I grew up Catholic. We were expected to believe in fantastic happenings in accordance with our religion. Therefore other unexplained phenomena was easily chalked up to the supernatural and the spirit world. In fact, it's easy to engage in a conversation about a brush with the spirit world with most any Catholic (even Republican Catholics). I have dozens of stories.

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