More Than 45 Percent of Americans Believe Demons and Ghosts Are Real: Survey

If you've ever been afraid of something evil lurking in the dark, you're not alone, according to a new survey. Data website YouGov recently found that 45 percent of Americans believe demons and ghosts really exist. That's four in 10 Americans. Additionally, the survey found that Republicans are statistically more likely to believe in demons, ghosts and aliens than Democrats.

The data, compiled from 1,293 respondents between September 30 and October 1, paint a spooky picture. The survey asked respondents, "Generally speaking, do you believe that each of the following do or do not exist?" Respondents then had four options: demons, ghosts, vampires and other supernatural beings (like aliens).

Of the true believers, 22 percent said demons "definitely exist," while 24 percent said they "probably exist." Similarly, 20 percent said ghosts "definitely exist," and 25 percent said they "probably exist."

When it comes to "other supernatural beings," 46 percent said they either "definitely exist" or "probably exist," indicating that Fox Mulder from The X-Files was right: The truth is really out there, and Americans believe.

More Than 45% of Americans Believe that Demons and Ghosts Are Real: Survey
Data website YouGov recently found that four in 10 Americans believe demons and ghosts exist. Getty Images / iStock / Randomerophotos

But if vampires do exist, they're going to be disappointed by the YouGov survey's findings. Turns out that only 13 percent of Americans believe in them. On the bright side, a lack of belief in the undead probably makes a vampire's job a whole lot easier.

The survey data was weighted and is representative of U.S. adults who are 18 and over, with a 3 percent margin of error.

For nonbelievers, trying to understand how and why people believe in demons or ghosts can be difficult. Christopher French, a professor of psychology and head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, told The Atlantic in 2014 that a belief in demons and ghosts stems from trying to explain the unexplainable.

"What we have is people trying to make sense of something that, to them, seems inexplicable," French said. "So you get the misinterpretation of noises or visual effects that do have a normal explanation, but not one that people can think of. People assume that if they cannot explain something in natural terms, then it must be something paranormal."

But there's also an "emotional motivation" to these beliefs, French added. "The vast majority of us don't like the idea of our own mortality. Even though we find the idea of ghosts and spirits scary, in a wider context, they provide evidence for the survival of the soul."

Besides this divide between believers and nonbelievers, there's one between Republicans and Democrats, the YouGov survey found. Of the respondents that self-identified as Republican, a whopping 54 percent said that demons either "definitely" or "probably" exist, compared with 34 percent of Democrats. In fact, Republicans across the board are more likely to believe than Democrats, with 46 percent of Republicans saying they believe in ghosts (compared with 41 percent of Democrats), 14 percent believing in vampires (compared with 8 percent of Democrats) and 50 percent believing in "other supernatural beings" (compared with 41 percent of Democrats).

When it comes to aliens, one powerful Republican is out to find the truth: President Donald Trump. Back in June, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about a video from the Navy that appeared to show unidentified flying objects. Trump told Stephanopoulos he had a meeting about UFOs.

"I think it's probably—I want them to think whatever they think," Trump said about the flying objects. "They do say, and I've seen, and I've read, and I've heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they're seeing UFOs."

Trump went on to say he doesn't particularly believe in them. "Do I believe it? Not particularly," he said.

Will we ever learn the truth about aliens, ghosts and demons? Probably not. But many Americans believe, and if we learned anything from Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, all it takes to keep something alive is to believe in it.