Destination America, the only television network that celebrates the people, places, and stories of our country, today released the results of a Nielsen Entertainment online study that reveals Americans’ behaviors and attitudes surrounding paranormal phenomena. The survey of more than 1,000 men and women aged 18+, found that most Americans (79%) claim some belief in ghosts. What’s more, over half of Americans claim to have experienced paranormal activity – seeing (57%), hearing (53%), or feeling (51%) something they can’t explain – like the people featured in Destination America’s all-new TV series WHEN GHOSTS ATTACK. Airing Sundays at 10 PM E/P, the series exposes stories of real people who believe they have been attacked by an evil paranormal force.
Americans’ belief in the paranormal is so strong that, despite polarizing views among political parties, it transcends party lines with two-thirds each of Republicans, Democrats and Independents saying that they strongly or somewhat believe in ghosts. Of the survey respondents, 57% believe in ghosts while 47% believe in aliens; they would want Abraham Lincoln’s ghost to haunt them but, if the tables turned, they’d most prefer to haunt a loved one; and while six-in-ten enjoy horror movies, more than half (55%) would pass on the opportunity to buy a haunted house. Unfortunately for the folks featured in WHEN GHOSTS ATTACK, they didn’t find out their house was haunted until it was too late.
Survey results include:
There’s one thing political parties can agree on: belief in the paranormal
In a media age where few hoaxes go un-exposed, most Americans still claim some level of belief in ghosts and ghost-like phenomena, leaving a mere 21% of Americans who claim to “not at all believe.”
Among those who affiliate with a major political party, two-thirds each of Republicans, Democrats and Independents say that they strongly or somewhat believe in ghosts.
As folks become older and wiser they become less likely to believe in ghosts, aliens, monsters, and the like, with 31% of participants age 55+ claiming to “not at all believe.”
Better brush up on your history lessons
· Of those who believe in the paranormal, more than half think ghosts “seek to resolve unfinished business” (53%). It’s not surprising, then, that Americans would rather be haunted by historic figures who died tragically before their spotlight was up.
· More than one-quarter (27%) of participants would most like to be haunted by Abraham Lincoln, followed by Marilyn Monroe at 23%. Of note, the higher the household income, the higher the likelihood of choosing Honest Abe as their ghost of choice.
· African Americans’ top pick for household haunter is Martin Luther King (44%) followed by Michael Jackson (25%).
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Given the opportunity to haunt anyone in the afterlife, participants said they would prefer to visit a family member (28%) followed by an ex (22%), as the surprising second choice.
Most Americans love a good scare, but only from the safety of their living room
Nearly six-in-ten (59%) Americans “very much” or “somewhat” enjoy horror movies and, when asked which film most accurately portrays the paranormal world, most chose “The Sixth Sense” (41%).Despite their genre preferences, a majority of the population (55%) would not want to buy a haunted house and 41% would not choose to communicate with a ghost.Among those more willing to speak with the dead, most would use either a psychic medium (26%) or prayer (26%) to “summons or communicate with a ghost.”
Oooh I’m a believer! Women are more likely to believe in the existence of ghosts, while men are out of this world in believing aliens exist
When asked about specific paranormal phenomena, more than half (57%) of Americans believe in the existence of “ghosts,” followed by the next most popular choice of “aliens” at 47%.
Men (53%) were significantly more likely than women (40%) to say they believed in aliens, while the opposite is true for the existence of ghosts with 64% of women believers vs. 50% of men.
Americans who hold a higher importance of religion in their lives were more likely to say they believe in ghosts. Consequently, less-religious Americans were more likely to believe in aliens.
“Did you hear that?” More than half of Americans claim to have experienced paranormal activity
Among those who claim to have had direct experiences with the paranormal, 57% said they “saw a ghost or apparition,” 53% “felt something unexplainable,” and 51% “heard something [they] can’t explain.”
Whether or not you’ve experienced paranormal phenomena, a majority of Americans “ain’t afraid of no ghost,” with 38% claiming to be neutral in their fear of ghosts and just one-quarter (24%) claiming to be at least somewhat afraid.
The past is calling…
Among the 43% of Americans who believe in reincarnation, 18% believe they were animals in their past lives. This statistic was driven by high scores among Americans with household incomes of $100k or more (26%).
Almost twice as many men (12-13%) than women (3-6%) believed they were political figures or a criminal/outlaw. Meanwhile, women were almost twice as likely than men to believe they were an artist or part of nature (11-15% women vs. 7-8% men).
African Americans were most likely to believe they were an “actor/singer/entertainer” in a former life (25%).
Tune in to Destination America’s all-new series WHEN GHOSTS ATTACK, continuing Sundays at 10 PM E/P. In new episodes, relive what happened when an evil demon not only revealed itself to the living but struck with terrifying force. Hear first-hand what went through the victims’ mind as their experiences escalated from threatening whispers and dark omens to scratches, shoves, and the anguish of having to share a home with their invisible enemy.
About This Research
Between September 19 and September 22, 2013, Destination America commissioned Nielsen Entertainment, a division of Nielsen (www.nielsen.com), to survey a nationally representative sample of 1000 U.S. adults about their beliefs and interest in the paranormal. The online survey included questions about behaviors and attitudes surrounding ghosts, aliens, and the afterlife. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
About Destination AmericaDestination America is the only television network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States. The inclusive network targeting Adults 25-54 is available in more than 60 million homes, emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. Destination America features travel, food, adventure, home, and natural history, with original series like BBQ Pitmasters, A Haunting, Epic, and Buying Alaska. For more information, please visit DestinationAmerica.com, facebook.com/DestinationAmerica, or twitter.com/DestAmerica. Destination America is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 218 countries and territories.