Nearly one-third of Americans say they've possibly seen a ghost

Nearly half of us believe in ghosts. That’s more than the percentage in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll who think aliens have landed on earth, and more than think you can put a curse on somebody. But have we seen ghosts? Just 15% say they have.

Women are much more likely than men to believe in ghosts. But they are no more likely to think they have seen one.

As many people who know they have seen a ghost say they might have seen one. Seeing is believing. 95% of those who have seen a ghost believe; so do 79% of those who might have seen one. Just a quarter of those who have never seen a ghost believe they exist. 

Belief in ghosts is in part a matter of age: 55% of those under the age of 30 believe in ghosts, compared with only a third of those 65 and older. The least religious are the most skeptical. A majority of those who say religion is important in their lives believe in ghosts, a majority of those who say the opposite don’t.

Religious Americans are also more likely to say they believe you can be cursed. Overall, 30% say that is the case, compared with 37% of those who say religion is very important in their daily lives. A majority of Hispanics (56%) think you can put curses on other people. 34% of women, and 26% of men say some people can curse others.

But if you believe in ghosts, you are more likely to believe in curses. Half of those who believe in ghosts say you can be cursed; only 15% of ghost skeptics agree. 

As for interplanetary or interstellar visits from an alien, only a third think that has happened. On this question, there are only small gender, age, religious or political differences. 

But one thing is clear. Belief in ghosts or curses or alien visits are all related. 56% of those who believe in ghosts also believe aliens have visited earth; just 16% of ghost skeptics agree. Those who believe in curses are twice as likely as those who do not to think aliens have landed on earth.

So look out for ghosts, for curses, and for alien visitors this Halloween!

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