Belief in the Supernatural is Going Up

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life provides yet more evidence that belief in things supernatural continues to rise.

“Roughly three-in-ten Americans (29%) say they have felt in touch with someone who has died. Nearly one-in-five say they have been in the presence of a ghost (18%), while 15% say they have consulted a fortuneteller or a psychic.”

In 1990, 17% said they were in touch with someone who had died, and 9% said they had seen a ghost. (The number of people going to psychics has not changed.)

There are other interesting findings about mystical and religious experiences, and those increases are even more dramatic. In 1962, 22% of the respondents said they had a religious or mystical experience and in 2009, the number had gone up to 49%. And 24% believe in reincarnation.

“In total, upwards of six-in-ten adults (65%) express belief in or report having experience with at least one of these diverse supernatural phenomena (belief in reincarnation, belief in spiritual energy located in physical things, belief in yoga as spiritual practice, belief in the “evil eye,” belief in astrology, having been in touch with the dead, consulting a psychic, or experiencing a ghostly encounter).”

The complete results can be found here.

[The picture came from the catalogue for the 2005 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled, “The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult.” It’s a 1938 shot of medium Colin Evans, photographed in complete darkness using infrared film.]

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