Are you afraid of ghosts? You’re not alone.
This year’s happily titled Chapman University Survey of American Fears (Wave 7) asked over 1,000 U.S. adults what they fear most, and some of their responses are surprising. While the top 10 are pretty much what you’d expect out of the year 2021, going down the list reveals an eclectic mix of topics, ranging from deep lakes and public speaking to sharks and murder hornets.
Coming in at 9.3% of respondents, however, is a fear of ghosts. According to the survey, the percentages include those who ranked themselves as “Afraid” or “Very Afraid” of the topics, taken from a pre-selected list made by the university.
Other fears? 24.7% say they’re afraid of reptiles, while another 9.3% would prefer to avoid a zombie apocalypse. 5.6% don’t like clowns, and a full 15.9% fear technology that they don’t understand.
Read more: Why are we afraid of ghosts?
But fear doesn’t necessarily say much about belief. For that, we can look at another recent survey, conducted by OnePoll for Phantom Wines.
Out of the 2,000 people surveyed for that poll, 63% believe in some kind of paranormal activity. And at the top of that list are, in fact, ghosts — 57% of respondents say they believe in them, while 49% claim to have felt a ghostly presence at one time or another. What’s more, 39% believe in “visitors from other planets,” while 27% think Bigfoot may indeed be wandering around out there.
That’s a decent chunk of people.
How about a slightly different topic, though? Say, time travel. I got a little curious, and wouldn’t you know it — CBS News ran a poll earlier this year asking Americans if they think humans will ever be able to travel through time. At least 39% say it’ll be possible, while 56% say no. As for where they’d travel to (if they could do so “safely,” whatever that means), 53% would visit the future, while 40% would hop back to the past.
So, according to these surveys, ghosts might be on the table, and a good number even fear them. But time travel? Most people just aren’t convinced.