One cannot turn on their television these days without seeing some program on ghosts or ghost hunting. It seems to be one of the most popular topics in documentaries, live action shows, and everyday table top. In a recent study, it was shown that 48% of the people polled believed in ghosts; as opposed to the 43% that do not. 1 But how in a time of scientific enlightenment can such a large population of people believe in ghosts? We have cell phones, the nuclear bomb, we have been to the moon, and yet so many of us believe in ancient superstitions. How can this be?
One answer to this question is that it simply offers an explanation to us psychologically as to the BIG questions of life. 2 As such, it is all in our minds, so to speak. Although we are living in a technologically advanced society, our evolutionary history is far more archaic and we believe in
things that had helped us to survive for hundreds of thousands of years. But this hardly explains many aspects of our values and logical powers. By this same reasoning, our own reasoning, logic, and scientific thinking would be nothing more than an evolutionary development psychologically to help us survive, not way of helping us understand what is true.
Another answer to this question perhaps lies closer to the mystery of the cosmos, of reality itself. As Hamlet observed, “There are more things in Heaven, Horatio, than can be dreamt of in your philosophy.” Maybe, just maybe, we believe in ghosts because it is a rational conclusion
to the strangeness of our experiences. And maybe this is why there is so little material evidence for their existence? 3 After all, if there are ghosts, it would seem that they are immaterial, metaphysical, spiritual. If we are spiritual beings at base, and our minds distinct from our brains, this would explain our hearing and seeing otherworldly beings without
material evidence, since material is but one of many features of reality. I am not saying ghosts are real, but I am not saying they do not. The point is, many people believe it. And no amount of evidence, to the contrary, at least material evidence, will change that. 4
1 CBS News. “Poll: Majority Believe in Ghosts: CBS.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-majority-believe-in-
2 Kohler, Sheila. “Why Do We Believe in Ghosts?” Psychology Today July 17, 2017.
3 Radford, Benjamin. “Are Ghosts Real? The Evidence Has Not Materialized.”