Half of Americans believe that demons can possess humans, but thankfully most think it only happens rarely.
Exorcism has been a staple of American horror culture since 1967 after the novel and subsequent film, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ was written by Ira Levin. This isn’t merely a Hollywood phenomenon, however, as many religions believe that people can be possessed. Recently in the news were three Arizona teens, who after completing training in martial arts have crossed continents to exorcise the demons which apparently prompt many of the sins we commit.
The latest YouGov research has found that over half of all Americans believe in possession by evil spirits. Regardless of religious identity levels of belief top 50%, except for Jews, who theologically reject the idea of a sentient Satan. Born-again Christians are the most likely to believe in possession, with 72% saying that it is possible.
Among people who believe in possession, very few Americans say that it happens with any frequency. 45% of Americans who believe in possession say that it happens ‘rarely’, while 29% say that it happens ‘occasionally’. 9% say that it happens ‘frequently’ and only 6% say that it happens ‘very frequently’.
57% of Americans believe in the devil – only marginally more than the 51% who believe in possession – but belief in the devil is higher among older Americans than younger Americans. 62% of people aged 45-64 believe in the devil, along with 59% of people aged 65 or above, compared to 50% of people aged 18-29.
Full results can be found here.