- 27% of Canadians believe ghosts are real, 44% believe they are just a myth, and 30% have yet to make up their mind.
- 12% of Canadians say they have had a direct experience with a ghost.
October 30, 2023
It’s nearly Halloween, and to celebrate this year we wanted to understand what Canadians thought about the idea of spirits walking among us. We found that one in four Canadians (27%) believe ghosts are real while 44% think they are a myth, and 30% have yet to make up their mind.
Looking closer, we see some Canadians are more or less likely to believe in ghosts depending on their demographics. Women are more likely to believe ghosts are real (31%) compared to men (22%). Age plays a factor as well with younger residents more likely to believe in ghosts compared to those who are older. Indeed, Gen Z (37%) and Millennials (35%) are more likely to believe than Gen X (27%) and Boomers (20%). While the percentage of Canadians who believe in ghosts is consistent between provinces, Quebec has the highest percentage who believe ghosts are made-up (56%).
Personal experience clearly influences opinions about ghosts. Among those who believe in ghosts, 43% have personally had a direct experience with a ghost (12% of the overall population) while 45% have not, and 12%, who may still be questioning what they saw, heard or experienced, are unsure. Half of those who have had a direct experience with a ghost actually saw one (48%), while the rest either felt, heard, or saw something unexplainable.
We asked those who had a direct experience with a ghost to share some details about their encounter. The brave of heart can read below to hear a few of the ghost encounters Canadians shared with us this month (organized from sweet to scary).
“My grandfather in law suddenly passed away while attending his brother’s funeral. He always wanted to meet his only great grandchild. We stayed in his house and a bright light came across us and landed in front of my child. My child started laughing and followed the bright light. Then the light was gone.”
“After my mom passed away, I would see a shadowy figure in the hallway that would seem to be looking into my bedroom. Or sometimes my dog would stare at it. He never seemed afraid, and neither did I. It never felt evil, more like it was just watching. I always felt it was my mom checking on us.”
“My dearly departed brother’s soul visited me, exactly 12 months after his death in the form of a chickadee. This bird flew into my garage and landed within one foot of where I was working. It actually chirped to me and stayed with me for over 5 minutes. Brother was an avid friend to all animals, especially birds. He fed and looked after birds near his home all of his life. Without a doubt, his soul reincarnated and used this bird as a messenger to tell me of his presence.”
“In a previous home we owned our cupboard doors would randomly open and close. My son who was 2 at the time, was always talking to the “good witch” in his room. He vividly described her and would tell us that she was helpful and nice.”
“I was at my friend’s house playing a video game with them when I was 8 because my friend’s father had just passed away. Then all of a sudden me and my friend see him in the hallway saying ‘get to bed’ and then he vanished before our eyes.”
“I was sleeping in my sister’s old farmhouse. I had a bedroom over the kitchen. One night I saw someone looking in the window which was on the second floor. It was there for a couple of seconds then gone. My brother-in-law told me the next day the room was haunted by the old lady that died there many years ago. She was not evil but would appear when someone new came to stay.”
“I lived in a dormitory before and I went to the basement of the house. No one is there and I feel a cold hand caress my legs. When I look around me I’m still alone that is why I went back upstairs running.”
“I woke up from a scary dream about someone who had recently died and a moment later my daughter’s bedroom door slammed closed. All the windows in the house were closed so no wind or drafts. I went to her room and opened the door and she was awake and a bit startled and our dog was standing on her bed staring up at the skylight.”
“My Dad was driving the car and my mother was in the passenger seat. I was in the back seat (in the middle). As we approached a small bridge on the road (a small secondary paved road), both my mother and I screamed at the same time for dad to swerve to miss a man on the side of the bridge. Both of us waited for the impact, which never came. We were on our way to my Aunt’s house and when he told her, she said people see him all the time.”
“Heard piano playing in an empty wing of the hospital. Music stopped playing as I walked toward the room. Nobody was there and there was nowhere for them to go. It was not self-playing.”
“I was walking up the steps in my house and I looked behind me. When I did, I saw someone going down the hallway. Thinking it was my husband, I gave it no thought until I went upstairs and my husband was upstairs in the room.”
“Visiting the parents of a friend of my wife in old house, went upstairs to use washroom when I came out the hairs on my arms standing up and there was this female apparition floating in the hallway that then vanished. When I returned downstairs the parents of my wife’s friend said you saw her didn’t you. All I could say was that I saw something.”
“My wife and I were investigating an old graveyard and afterwards when reviewing the voice recordings, we were shocked when we heard voices other than ours. That night when we were going to bed we both had physical encounters at the exact same time. Something held my ankle tight for about 30 seconds and at same moment my wife was pulled by the ankle. We were both scared to the point we couldn’t talk we didn’t know it happened to both of us.”
Results are from an online survey conducted in partnership between Narrative Research and the Logit Group. The survey was conducted between October 14th and 16th, 2023, with 1,230 Canadians, 18 years of age or older from the Logit Group’s Canadian Omnibus. Data were weighted based on the 2016 Census by gender, age, and region to reflect actual population distribution. As a non-probability sample a margin of error is not applied.
The questions asked were:
Do you believe ghosts are….?(Real, A Myth/Made-Up, Unsure/Don’t Know)
[IF ‘REAL’] Have you personally ever had a direct experience with a ghost? (Yes, No, Unsure/Don’t Know)
[IF ‘YES] What happened?
For more information, please contact:
Margaret Brigley, CEO & Partner, Narrative Research – 902.493-3830, email@example.com
Sam Pisani, Managing Partner, Logit Group – 416.629.4116, firstname.lastname@example.org
Narrative Research (www.narrativeresearch.ca), is a leading public opinion and market research company headquartered in Canada. The company is certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). As a non-partisan, 100% Canadian-owned research company, Narrative Research is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services.
The Logit Group (https://logitgroup.com/) is a leading North American data collection and market research execution company headquartered in Toronto, conducting large-scale projects for a variety of well-known research agencies and brands. Logit employs industry-best technologies across an array of methodologies, and is independent, experienced and quality-oriented.