The notion of ghosts has been long debated, whether it’s the existence of Casper, Anne Boleyn’s lost spirit lurking, or your neighbor’s grandma visiting from the afterlife. Ghosts are remnants of the bodies of people that have died and are commonly discussed in folklore. Apparitions can range from a simple strange presence to the aura of a living being. Roughly half of all Americans believe in ghosts or life after death according to a website called Ghosts and Gravestones. Many within the population of believers have shared perceived experiences of the phenomenon, or share a strong belief life after death. In addition, many believers are also religious: numerous religions discuss life after death in one form or another. Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation, and Christianity, Islam, and Judaism believe that the soul is eternal and will continue to exist after death.
People believe in this idea because no one knows what happens after death and wants to believe that there is some form of life, and that maybe humans are able to visit their loved ones after passing on. According to the previously mentioned website, Ghosts and Gravestones,
“We seek explanations for what’s happening around us. It’s just the way the human brain is wired; we need to know why things occur or what’s causing something. And when it comes to inexplicable, mysterious happenings, the only logical explanation is often the presence of something supernatural.”
Information regarding ghosts can be found all over the Internet and on television. There are websites substantiating this belief, but most are reiterating that the idea is false.
The notion of ghosts has been around for thousands of years. One of the only websites I found on the origination of ghosts is Wikipedia, which says that stories of ghosts originated in early Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. Furthermore, ghosts were written into Homer’s the Odyssey and Iliad. In the Bible, Jesus was at first believed to be a ghost before convincing his followers that he rose from the dead. Furthermore, ghost stories circulated during the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, all throughout history until today. More people believe in ghosts in the modern day than they did in the past, with more and more people believing each year, along with the amount of evidence against ghosts increasing over time.
Ghosts are considered extraordinary because the idea of them is unable to be authenticated by science. There is no replicable experiment known that can validate a ghost’s presence; people coming back after death as spirits defies all scientific laws of nature. Besides hope, the belief of ghosts continues to live on through oral stories that are passed on from person to person. Those in favor of the existence of ghost are mostly believers because they cannot attribute their experiences to normal circumstances. The belief is solely built on personal experience with the help of religious beliefs (life after death, reincarnation, etc.) to explain what happens in the afterlife. According to HowStuffWorks, “the evidence for ghosts is all around us, but only living beings with a certain sensitivity can feel their presence.” In addition, the website states that technology is not yet advanced enough to create physical proof. According to some quantum physicists, “we still do not fully understand the interaction of the human mind and external matter at the quantum level” (HowStuffWorks). Moreover, ghosts may not be dead humans but merely humans from other points in time.
On the other hand, those against the premise of ghosts are more backed by science than those in favor. Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor, claims that the stories of ghosts switch between being able to walk through walls but still be able to move them, and that these contradicting ideas go against the laws of physics. Furthermore, he claims that if these spirits were truly lost and had unfinished business, then mediums would be able to help them in a multitude of ways (solve their murders, identify killers). Those who claim to have evidence like ghost hunters use pseudoscience to demonstrate their claims: electromagnetic field meters, cameras, thermometers, and other equipment are used to detect any changes in energy. The change in energy is automatically assumed to be the presence of a supernatural being. Jumping to the conclusion that any change in the atmosphere is due to paranormal causes is logically incorrect; people misinterpret the results due to confirmation bias, only looking for evidence that strengthens their beliefs in ghosts.
All in all, the notion of ghosts is one that has originated and survived over a long period of time. A large percentage of the world’s population believes in ghosts in one form or another, whether it’s life after death or the eternal existence of human energy. Many of these believers claim to have personal experiences with ghosts, while others only believe because of their religion or hope. There is conflicting evidence to whether ghosts exist, as the premises backing them is controversial and up for debate. Perhaps advances in technology over time will give us a final answer or ghosts will make contact with the public themselves.
Ghost. (2019, February 07). Retrieved February 10, 2019 from
Ghosts & Gravestones. (2018). Why Do People Believe in Ghosts? Retrieved February 5, 2019, from https://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/believe-in-ghosts
Radford, B. (2017, May 17). Are Ghosts Real? – Evidence Has Not Materialized. Retrieved February 9, 2019, from https://www.livescience.com/26697-are-ghosts-real.html
Stuff Media. (2019). Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know: Ghosts: The Evidence. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://www.stufftheydontwantyoutoknow.com/videos/ghosts- part-3-evidence-video.htm
26 thoughts on “Ghosts: Fact or Fiction?”
When I was young I was always told that ghosts are bad souls, and spirits and good souls. Ghosts attach themselves to bad people and people who have week souls, whereas spirits are good and their presence makes situations better and positive. Spirit it’s try to protect people that they love from ghost. Is there anyone else who believes this or is it just me?
I was never told that there was a difference in title of good or bad ghosts but it was always discussed within my family that some ghosts are nicer and some are not. I don’t know how much I still believe in ghosts but I think there are spirits and representations of human souls somehow. I’m not religious and never have been but I find it hard to believe that people die and then disappear without leaving a trace of themselves behind. It could just be me, but it makes sense that ghosts could exist especially when something notable like a murder or traumatic experience occurs.
Your comment made me wonder, that is it just our copping mechanism when we are not ready to accept that people who die just leave this dimension. I think it a way people accept their lose so that they can continue to live. If people consider souls of their relatives to be around them, it would be easier for them to move on. Do you think I am right or do you really believe in life after death?
I like how you took a very neutral stance for this post! It leaves us to look at the information you gave and make our own decisions. As someone who believes in ghosts and the supernatural I found it interesting that you found so much information stating believers are those who are looking for a way to explain weird phenomena in their lives. I have never actually had any “weird” experiences, but yet I still find myself believing. Perhaps I just want to believe there is more for us after this life because I am not religious enough to be certain one way or the other.
I read your comment and started wondering why you still believed in these supernatural phenomena’s even after reading convincing arguments about how it is untrue. I was just curious to know how your belief functions. I mean I have experienced weird things, but I still keep thinking that there have to be alternate explanations to why it might have happened.
My friends and I love watching the show Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagans. On one of the episodes of the show they used an Xbox Kinect to look at the locations of ghosts. The episode I watched had them catch on the connect figures “dancing on the stage.” While I don’t necessarily believe in all of these television ghost hunting techniques, I was just wondering if you came across anything on using the Xbox kinect to hunt ghosts?
When I first read your post I could not believe that this was actually a thing. I mean hunting ghosts with Xbox kinect, sounds like a made up story. That’s why I decided to do some digging. When I first looked this up on the net it took like milliseconds for the internet to come up with a ton of posts regarding this. As I started reading the articles one by one I realized hat this is really considered true. I was really shocked to see claims that harmless Xbox’s were used to hunt ghosts.
I have seen this episode too and at first thought it was a total joke that they were using an xbox. But i think that is some of the appeal of shows like that. they use so many different tools to try and communicate with spirits and sometimes it is really convincing. I know I have always wondered about if they are ever faking anything. On one hand I find it very hard to believe that spirits are capable of moving and throwing objects but on the other hand the amount of work they would have to do to stage things and make it look convincing is staggering and to keep it up for 14 seasons…. leaves me kinda torn on my beliefs.
I was curious reading your response. I was wondering if you continued till the 14th season, because it was really convinction or because you wanted to know how far they could stretch this belief? Just asking out of curiousity.
The belief in ghosts or some form of sentient life-after-death version of our loved ones has always seemed like a comfort mechanism to me. Much like beliefs in magic allow people to assert power over natural but frightening processes, I wonder if it is so easy for us to believe in ghosts because it allows us to feel less scared of death and the loss of the people we care about.
This is so interesting. I never really think of ghosts as an extraordinary belief, and I’m not really sure why. I definitely think that there is some version of truth to it, its hard to sign on to the belief that nothing at all happens after your loved ones pass away,and that they’ll never see you again. I own a ouija board and it does feel nice to even think you’re communicating with someone that you miss so much. However, i dont think i put much stock into the whole possession, scary ghost thing. It’s a slightly larger reach from “a loved one visiting” for me to start thinking “its a strangers ghost and its mad and trying to get me!”. I feel like I’m in a pretty average spot with that belief but let me know what you think @anyone else!
So this spring break, my boyfriend and I decided to take a little ghost tour around Ohio (in order to save money), and in doing so, we came across some wild tales surrounding “haunted” cemeteries and bridges that all seemed to vary among individual retellings. I find that this one aspect lends itself to dispelling supernatural belief because without a concrete story of the history of a supposedly haunted place, the account’s credibility is severely limited.
While we did take multiple photos of different locations in order to try and get a glimpse of anything wild, we were left with nothing but plain photos, devoid of any orbs, shadows, blurs, etc. Like you mentioned, until I see some concrete evidence and have an experience of my own, I think I will stand as a nonbeliever.
Oh my god, that would have been so much fun though. I have always wanted to visit haunted places. But I always end up thinking that if the tales are really true, it would confirm a belief that I don’t want to confirm. I would rather think that these thinks don’t exist compared to being proved wrong and being scared for the rest of my life.
So, this is a super random question, but if there was one person in history or the present who you think would be most likely to come back as a ghost, who do you think it would be? For me, I TOTALLY think it would be Nicholas Cage – I mean, if he can’t steal the Declaration of Independence in life, he must do it in death! Or, if he does die (I’m still not convinced he will), I would expect it to be Morgan Freeman!
I just wanted to say I legitimately laughed out loud at this comment. Nicholas Cage would definitely be the one to come back as a ghost, if anything to continue his reign as a meme for our generation. I could also see someone like Shia LaBeouf coming back to encourage us to “DO IT”.
I would say Hitler, I know this might sound a bit random. But according to where I come from, souls come back as ghosts because they could not achieve what they were supposed to. Hitler took his own life (suicide), which means it wasn’t his time to die yet and he challenged the normal order of things. He was not successful with his motives, therefore his ghost would come back to do the needful.
I think one interesting fact about the ghost (or devil) is that many people claimed they have seen a ghost (or devil), it is never the same when they depicting the appearance, but when they were asked to describe the look of the god, they all agree what was him looked like…
I think the ghost is a version of the dead people. Nobody knows where we will go after death, so they try to believe that the ghost exist and they can still company with their family even after they died. I also always think if my ancestors become the ghost and they are watching their grandson. Some people believe after death, the good people will go to heaven, and they punish these evil people to let them stay on the earth. Whatever what happens after death, I believe there must be some places can let these spirit stay.
The idea of ghosts is one that speaks to the human desire to know what can’t necessarily be fully known. According to Terror Management Theory, the ultimate fate everyone will have to face one day is death, and the human psyche tries to manage this terror. And in accordance to this theory, the belief in ghosts is an excellent way to lessen the fear of an eternal loss of consciousness.
This was a great choice for your blog post! I think most people have some idea if they believe in ghosts or not. I think the belief in ghosts vary person to person. Sometimes people may think of them literally like in horror movies and think there loved ones souls still linger around. I think this is an interesting idea to choose because this is something we still lack evidence on as in science. Where do people go where there gone? Do we know what matter or place they go to? There is so much to be known and its really cool to take a step back and look at what we do know. Personally I dont think ghosts are like they appear in movies, like Casper, but it would be interesting and cool to find out the when people leave earth, they still leave a part of themselves or look over loved ones!
One thing I found really interesting in your article is how people believe in ghost would misinterpret the evidence that not equally support their belief. Confirmation bias is so general that we could see it in every day life. But I think the concept of ghost may also have some culture and literature meaning. Just like the fear of death and the trauma of family member’s death. This is really a complicated belief that combine bias in many aspects.
I find it how interesting in the post, you mentioned how ghost might have unfinished business or rather this is why people thing that ghosts are around. However, my family described ghosts as spirits which was different because spirits were good. Essentially, spirits were only sent down to protect. However, I find it interesting how everyone has their own interpretation of what ghosts are. Overall, I think that people who believe in ghosts use it more as a comfort so they can feel like there is something after death and this is why the fall under confirmation bias so much.
Do I believe in ghosts? You better believe it! My mom lost her sister to some sort of cardiac complication at the age of 22, and ever since then my mother has felt/seen/dreamed her presence many times. This is her recollection, but there are other people around the world who visualize ghosts much differently. I like how someone above mentioned the difference between ghosts and spirits and the idea that one is good and one is deemed culturally bad. Some people I know use “luck” as a way to explain a ghost’s presence. Other’s use close calls, or times of overcoming hardship to explain the presence of ghosts/spirits. Overall though, I believe that the belief in ghosts/spirits is maintained only in a space where it is all together accepted. For example, The Holy Ghost is perceived by some of the population to be a thriving spirit that is there for the purposes of guidance and care. But to an Atheist or a non-religious individual/group of people, The Holy Ghost might be interpreted as a sham or a hoax. This is a religious example, but it still provides support for the fact that if there is no fostering of the idea of ghosts in ones local society, then there is overall subtle consequences (however minor) linked with the belief. This post was really enjoyable to read!
I loved reading your blog post. I am someone who does not want to believe in ghosts, but at the same time, when I am in creepy situations or home alone and hear strange noises, I first think “intruder?” and then “ghost?”. I will say I have had multiple strange experiences at my house where I cannot explained what happened so I resort to ghosts. When I was home alone one night, I had my dogs with me and coincidentally they looked at the entrance to my room just as I had taken a snapchat picture to send my good night streaks and when I looked at the picture there was what looked like a “ghostly” figure standing in the door way. I didn’t want to believe it was a ghost, nonetheless I ran out screaming and called my dad.
I think people believe in ghosts because there is comfort in believing there’s life after death. I am not a fan of ghosts and the supernatural, but I know there is supposedly “scientific” proof. Like people who believe in aliens, people also claim to have experiences with ghosts. Other reasons people believe in ghosts for religious reasons or simply because they want to believe their loved ones who have passed away are still there.
Loved your post! You took a very objective side and explained both sides in a great way. Ghosts is a very fascinating belief that exists. I still do not know if I believe in ghosts and spirits or not. I think, sometimes believing in spirits gives people a feeling of hope. It is scary to think of life after death, but believing that there is something after life makes it a little less of a scary thing.
Comments are closed.