Are Ghosts Real? We Asked The Public

Most people are naturally curious about the paranormal and supernatural realms, and some have quite strong beliefs. Are ghosts real? We asked the public. According to our survey, half of Britons believe in ghosts — but belief in the paranormal doesn’t mean everyone fears supernatural beings.

To analyse the differences, we surveyed 994 people in the UK about their beliefs and fears related to ghosts, supernatural creatures, and other paranormal and extrasensory phenomena

The ghost of an old man sat in a chair in his living room

Key Takeaways

  • Half of Britons believe in ghosts, but only 1 in 5 trusts the government.
  • More people believe in ghosts (50%) than astrology (23%) or magic (12%).
  • 18% of Britons believe they’ve had contact with ghosts.
  • Not everyone who believes in ghosts fears them — 50% of respondents believe in ghosts, but only 23% are afraid of them.

Britons Belief in Ghosts

Half of respondents said they believed in ghosts. Women were much more likely to believe in ghosts (54%) than men (32%). And Catholics were most likely to believe in ghosts (64%), followed by Christians (53%), agnostics (42%), and atheists (37%).

Britons believed in ghosts more than they believed in many other things. For example, they are about twice as likely to believe in ghosts than they are to believe in psychics, mediums, astrology, or fortune-telling.

Moreover, more Britons believe in ghosts than believe that Big Brother is watching them (38%). And Britons are over two times more likely to believe in ghosts than they are to trust the government or trust the media.


what supernatural things to Britons believe in


What do Britons believe in more than ghosts? Nearly 3 in 5 believe in déjà vu, a feeling you’ve seen something or been in the same situation before. Similarly, nearly 3 in 5 believe in aliens. 5% of respondents have even seen or interacted with a UFO.

Less Than 1 in 4 Britons Fear Ghosts

While half of respondents believe in ghosts, just under a quarter (23%) fear them. Women are twice as likely to fear ghosts than men. Just over 1 in 4 women (26%) fear ghosts, while only 13% of men fear them.
Of the religions we surveyed, Catholics are most likely to fear ghosts — 1 in 3 do. Atheists are least likely to fear ghosts. Just under 1 in 5 (17%) fear them.

One-third of Generation Z individuals are afraid of ghosts, making them the most fearful generation. In comparison, only about 1 in 7 Baby Boomers (16%) are scared of ghosts. This makes sense since the respondents who have had a paranormal experience did so at a young age. More on that below.

What do Britons Fear?

If only a quarter of Britons fear ghosts, what do they fear?

  • 3 in 4 fear climate change.
  • Over 3 in 5 (65%) fear cyberattacks.
  • Over half (55%) fear germs and illnesses.

30% of Britons Have Had a Paranormal Experience

When we asked about phenomena including but not limited to ghosts, we found that 30% of participants said they’d had some kind of paranormal experience. Again, this was not specific to ghosts, though nearly 1 in 5 said they’ve interacted with one.


How many Britons have had a paranormal experience


Age was an interesting factor: Of those who have had a paranormal experience, the vast majority (90%) had the experience before 30 years old and nearly 2 in 5 had the experience before 10.

Nearly 3 in 5 respondents (59%) said their paranormal experiences happened more than five years ago, while 19% said their paranormal experiences happened over one year ago. Meanwhile, just 15% of participants said they had a paranormal experience within the last year.

Only 15% purposefully set out to have a paranormal experience, and only 6% have paid money for a paranormal experience. (Among those who did pay, 45% said they paid less than £25 and 43% paid £25 to £49.)

Ghosts are a part of our world, our beliefs, and yes, even our fears. If you’d like to understand the supernatural world better, you can track ghosts and even contact them using the equipment available to assist the curious and those who already believe. Whether a curious beginner or avid believer, you can find the right equipment from trusted professionals to enhance your paranormal journey.  And, there are many haunted houses you can book online if you want to experience something for yourself.


To find out if ghosts are real, we conducted a UK survey. On March 22, 2022, we surveyed 994 people living in the United Kingdom regarding their views about supernatural and paranormal beings as well as their beliefs in and fears of common dangers. Of respondents, 73% identified as female, 25% identified as male, and 2% identified as another gender or preferred not to say; the average age was 38. 32% of respondents identified as Atheists, 28% identified as Christian, 14% identified as Agnostic, 6% identified as Catholic; 20% identified as another religion or preferred not to say.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!