Two in Five Americans Believe Ghosts and Demons Exist

Two in every five Americans believe ghosts and demons exist, and aren't just fantasy characters in books and films, according to a recent poll by YouGov in the run-up to Halloween.

The poll, published earlier this month, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults between October 8-12.

It found that 43 percent of Americans say they believe demons exist, while 41 percent said the same for ghosts.

Some 39 percent of Americans said they didn't believe in demons, while 18 percent said they were not sure. And, 39 percent said they didn't believe in ghosts, while 20 percent weren't sure.

Americans were much more likely to believe in demons and ghosts rather than wolves and vampires. Nine percent believe in the existences of werewolves, while eight percent believe in vampires. Meanwhile, 31 percent think that "other supernatural beings" exist.

The poll found that Americans with post-graduate degrees were less likely to believe in ghosts and other monsters. Of that group, only 28 believed in ghosts. Americans who completed post-graduate education programs were also less likely to believe in demons, at 31 percent.

Some of the believers said they had personally encountered the monster or supernatural entity. One in five Americans—or 20 percent—say they have personally encountered a ghost, the poll found.

Less said they had personally encountered a demon (11 percent), and hardly any said they had come across a werewolf (4 percent) or vampire (3 percent). About one in nine (11 percent) said they had encountered supernatural beings of a different type.

Gender may also impact how likely people are to believe in ghosts: women were found to be more likely (50 percent) to believe in ghosts than men (31 percent). Women were also more likely to believe in demons, 48 percent versus 38 percent of males.

Women are more likely than men to say they have had at least one experience with a ghost, 25 percent against 16 percent, respectively.

Despite having fewer years to encounter the paranormal, Americans under 30 (27 percent) were found to be the most likely age group to say they'd had a personal experience with a ghost. This compares to 16 percent for ages 30-44; 20 percent for ages 45-64; and 20 percent for those 65 and older.

Political affiliation made no difference when it came to believing in ghosts, but when it came to demons, Republicans were most likely to believe in their existence (51 percent). This compares to only 46 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats.

Newsweek has contacted YouGov for comment on the results.

With Halloween upon us on October 31, here's a list of some of the best family-friendly horror films to watch for the spooky celebration this year.

Stock image of demon
A stock image of a demon. A recent poll by YouGov found that two in five Americans believe demons exist. Getty