Amidst all the adorable trick-or-treaters and fun parties, I all too often forget that Halloween is actually pretty scary – and I’m not just talking about killer clowns. Halloween supposedly signals a connection between this world and “the next.” It’s a time where spirits come alive. That is, if you believe in them.

In 2012, a Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that out of 1,000 adults, 45% believed in ghosts. A past Harris Poll found similar results, showing that 42% of adults believe in ghosts.

Let’s take a look at more current beliefs, and a bigger sample size, to answer the question: are ghosts real?


Graph showing that 46% of adults believe in ghosts, and 22% say they've had an experience with one. Are ghosts real? Seems most people believe so.

As you can see, 47% of adults do believe in ghosts or spirits, and 23% of those people say they’ve had an experience with one. That’s a lot of people. These results are consistent, and slightly greater, than past polls. It looks like belief in ghosts and spirits may be on the rise.

Only 37% don’t believe in ghosts or spirits, while 17% are not sure. I empathize. It really is hard to know what to believe when it comes to these fantastical topics.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2012 study, 41% of adults believed that they had seen or had an experience with a ghost. However, only 23% of adults believe the same now. Though belief in ghosts and spirits may be increasing, less people are claiming to have experiences with them.

You know we have major problems as a country when even ghosts stop visiting us – but I digress.

I also found that those who answered “Yes, and I’ve had an experience with one” are much more likely to be women, and are more likely to favor horror movies over other genres.

Lastly, there is one strong correlation that I find pretty hysterical. The folks who believe in ghosts, and particularly those who say they’ve had an experience with one, are more likely than all other response groups to love the convenience store, Sheetz.

Yes, the most classic way to dress up as a ghost, and also a convenience store.

Coincidence? I think not.