Looking for the best facts about ghosts? From terrifying hauntings, spooky ghost hunts and the most famous ghosts of all-time, read it all here!
How do we separate fact from fiction when it comes to ghosts? Well, hopefully after reading all our facts about ghosts, you’ll have more of an idea what is real and what isn’t.
Headline fact – Did you know that only 40-50% of Americans actually believe in ghosts? However, that number has risen by over 400% since the 1970s, so obviously people are starting to believe a lot more these days!
What about you? Do you think spirits live among us mostly out of sight silently watching our every move? Or are ghosts just a product of our overactive imagination?
Whatever you believe, these ghost facts will cover a wide range from the paranormal, to the songs and movies we love about ghosts, and the new way we’ve used the word ghost since the 2010s.
What is your first memory of a ghost? Was it from a movie or television show? A book? Or did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
Ghost stories have touched everyone in some way and that’s why ghosts are universal. We’ll travel the globe visiting ghosts in Japan, the UK, the USA, and Greece – even to ancient Babylonia.
Have we peaked your interest? Do you want to learn more about the spirit world? Let’s get this ghostly journey started!
21 Facts About Ghosts
1. Where does the word ghost come from?
The word ghost originates from the Old Germanic word gaistaz, meaning soul or spirit. It also shares a root with the word gasp.
You can think of this interesting little piece of trivia the next time you gasp when you see a ghost.
2. What are some of the best ghost movies?
We think ghost stories make some of the best movies! Films that totally give us a chill in a good way are The Innocents (1961), The Shining (1980), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Others (2001) and Spirited Away (2001) to name just a few.
Do you have a favorite ghostly movie? Let us know in the comments!
3. America’s most famous ghost story
The tale of the vanishing hitchhiker is a staple of American folklore with many versions of the creepy legend being handed down over the generations.
The story usually involves a hitchhiker picked up by a good Samaritan, with the hitchhiker disappearing shortly after being picked up. This folktale is said to have originated alongside the invention of the car.
4. Who you gonna call?
The 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters is one of the most enduring ghost films ever made. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Remis as the titular characters, the movie made almost $300 million at the box office and has spawned numerous reboots and sequels.
5. There are friendly ghosts too
Not all ghosts are intent on showing up out of nowhere and scaring the living daylights out of us. There are indeed many examples of good ghosts.
Ghosts have been credited for saving people from accidents, delivering important messages, and emanating an overwhelming feeling of peace and love.
6. Why do ghosts usually come out at night?
Ghost hunters and paranormal scholars agree that ghosts prefer to haunt at night because there is less commotion and electronic disturbances.
Nighttime is the realm of the dead and that’s why you’ll likely spot a ghost in the darkness.
7. Is the White House haunted by ghosts?
Did you know that many former presidents have claimed that the White House is frequently visited by ghosts? There’s something spooky going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
Two of the most prominent ghosts in the White House include first lady Abigail Adams and the 16th president Abraham Lincoln.
8. What’s the fear of ghosts called?
Phasmophobia is the official term for a fear of ghosts. This phobia can also be linked with the fear of the dark.
Even though fearing ghosts goes against science and logic, as there is no concrete evidence of ghosts being dangerous, it still remains one of the most common fears for children and adults.
9. What is a poltergeist?
A poltergeist is a specific type of ghost that is known for being noisy, volatile, and sometimes violent.
A radio turning on out of nowhere, a door slamming shut, a glass falling off the counter and shattering – this is likely the work of a poltergeist. A poltergeist doesn’t represent a human being but is an invisible force of manifested energy.
10. What’s the most famous ghost story?
When it comes to the world of literature, many books have been written and inspired by ghosts. Perhaps the best known ghost story is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The tale follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he’s visited by ghosts of the Christmas past, present and future. Ghosts can help us change for the better if Dickens is to be believed!
11. Sing a song about a ghost
Ghosts have inspired songwriters and musicians for centuries. From sea shanties to country-western to modern pop, ghosts are a popular motif for unique and enduring songs.
Check out these ghost-related tunes: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot, Ghost Song by The Doors, The Ghost Inside by Broken Bells and Midnight in Montgomery by Alan Jackson.
12. The specter at the theater
There’s a haunting at the Drury Lane Theatre in London’s West End where numerous ghosts have been sighted by actors and directors for hundreds of years.
The most frequent ghost is the Man in Grey, a nobleman with a sword. Interestingly, the Man in Grey is a daytime ghost, rarely appearing at night.
13. Japan’s Tsunami Spirits
On March 11th 2011, a 9.1 earthquake struck east of the Oshika Peninsula in Tohoku region of Japan causing a large tsunami.
The victims of the tsunami are said to haunt the streets of the region, looking for taxis to take them home. The phenomenon was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries in 2020.
14. The origins of the ghost story?
The British Museum believes a 3,500 year old Babylonian tablet shows the earliest ever depiction of a ghost. The image, carved in clay, depicts a male ghost being led back into the afterlife.
The tablet is currently on display at the British Museum. Out of all the fun facts about ghosts, this one really amazed us!
15. The ship that haunts the high seas
The Flying Dutchman is a legendary Dutch ghost ship that was cursed to stay at sea forever.
The legend dates back to the 17th century when the Dutch East India Company had a large fleet of trading ships on the route to Asia. This glowing apparition of the sea is still being sighted today.
16. The haunted tower that’s packed with ghosts
Not to mention the grizzly bear ghost, the faceless woman, and the nameless thing. We get chills up our spine just thinking about it!
17. Have you ever been ghosted?
The agreed upon definition of a ghost is the spirit of a dead person – so it kinda makes sense why disappearing from a relationship by cutting off all contact is known as ghosting.
Ghosting first came into the English lexicon in the mid-2010s and was added to the dictionary in 2015. We think honesty may be a better path forward!
18. The most important ghost hunting tool
An electromagnetic field detector is commonly used by electricians to locate electromagnetic radiation, however, ghost hunters believe that spirits emit electromagnetic radiation as well.
This is the most common tool used in professional ghost hunting. Interestingly, strong fields of electric energy can lead to hallucinations, including ghost sightings.
19. A centuries old ghost story
In the first century AD, Roman author Pliny the Younger wrote the first ghost story. He described a ghost he saw in his house in Athens, Greece.
The ghost was an old bearded man fully shackled in chains. Later, many other Greek writers began experimenting with the ghost as a literary character.
20. The feast of the ghosts
In many Asian countries, the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar is Zhongyuan Festival, also known as the Festival of Hungry Ghosts. People prepare food and gifts for the spirits to fill them up for another year.
In east-Asian countries the front row at concerts is left empty on this day because the seats are reserved for the visiting ghosts.
21. How to know if you have a ghost?
Here are the five most common signs that you may have a ghost in your presence: the room gets cold, doors open on their own, whispering, creaking stairs, and pets behaving strangely.
But just remember, there’s no evidence that ghosts can harm you, so try to make your guest feel welcome, they’ve likely been there much longer than you.
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
We really hope you enjoyed all our facts about the paranormal! Did you learn something new?
If there’s any ghost facts we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article!