Your Insights on Belief in Ghosts and Other Supernatural Entities

Insights West Jack-o-lanterns

According to our BC Halloween poll, a surprisingly large number of BC adults believe in the supernatural, from the afterlife (60%) and angels (54%), to ghosts (48%), demonic spirits (36%), Satan (37%), and spirits of deceased individuals (41%).

Most residents (73%) celebrate Halloween, with the most popular activities being handing out candy to kids (80%) and carving pumpkins (67%).

Vancouver, BC – In the spirit of the Halloween season, Insights West conducted an online poll of 838 British Columbians and found that a significant number of adults believe in the supernatural.

The majority of British Columbia residents believe in an afterlife of some shape or form (31% believe completely, and 29% believe somewhat), and angels (54%), while nearly half believe in ghosts (48%) or haunted places (48%). Fewer, but still a significant number believe that spirits of deceased people can come back as ghosts (41%), and a similar number believe in the Devil or Satan (37%), or demonic spirits (36%).

Women, on average, are about 12% more likely to believe in supernatural entities than men are, particularly in angels (63%, vs. 44% of men) and an afterlife (67%, vs. 51% of men). Those between the ages of 35 to 54 are also more likely to believe (average of 53% for all items), while both younger (18 to 34) and older (55+) groups tend to be more skeptical (average of 45% and 40% believe, respectively).

Perhaps even more shocking is the number who say that they have actually experienced various forms of ghostly phenomenon. A small, but surprisingly large number have experienced some form of haunting (19%), seen a spirit of a deceased individual (12%) or a ghost of any kind (12%). A smaller number (8%) claim to have seen an angel.

And in the spirit of the Halloween season, we found that 73% of British Columbia residents celebrate Halloween in some shape or form. The most popular activity by far is handing out candy to kids, where 80% of those who celebrate Halloween participate, followed by 67% who carve pumpkins. Just over half (52%) decorate their home, while just over two-in-five attend or throw parties (44%).

“My team was quite surprised about how high the numbers were in this particular poll,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “It shows that Halloween fun is widely participated in — but the foundations of it exist in the minds of the majority of the population.”

Results are based on an online study conducted October 23-27 2013, among 838 British Columbians aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for BC for age, gender and region. Results have a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778-891-4762
stevemossop@insightswest.com