And nearly half of women have felt the presence of a spirit
The origins of Halloween trace back to the 2,000-year-old Celtic festival of Samhain, a dark, ritualistic holiday where sacrifices were made in order to appease the vengeful spirits said to wander the earth on October 31st. Not only did the Celts consider this the day of ghosts, but also of increased psychic activity, heightening the fortune-telling abilities of priests and Druids. With the historical roots of today’s holiday in mind, YouGov Omnibus polled over 1,000 adults on their experiences with the occult.
While just one in five (22%) US adults have ever consulted a psychic or medium, many have had an otherworldly experience of their own. For example, one-third of respondents (34%) believe they’ve had some sort of psychic episode – such as correctly predicting the future. Psychic occurrences are, however, more common among women (40%) than men (29%).
Despite the number of Americans who claim they’ve had their own bout of clairvoyance, just 24% believe there are actually individuals who possess the ability to see the future. There is a gender split here as well; 28% of women think this power exists, while only 19% of men think the same.
Similarly, 38% of US adults report feeling the presence of a spirit sometime during their lifetime. Again, women are more likely than men to have sensed a ghostly entity – nearly half (46%) of women, in comparison to 30% of men. As with belief in psychics, belief in mediums – individuals with the power to contact the dead – is low, at 21%.
Americans are even less likely to buy into more niche elements of divination. For example, only 7% think palm reading is effective, and just 9% believe tarot card readings can accurately predict the future. In fact, nearly half of US adults (47%) are of the opinion that most people who advertise as psychics or mediums are fakes. Individuals over the age of 55 are more skeptical than other age groups about the authenticity of those who claim to have special powers. The majority of those 55 and older (54%) think self-proclaimed psychics and mediums are largely frauds, while 39% of millennials feel similarly.