I’m a certified Halloween loser. The only haunted house I’ve enjoyed is the one at Disney World. I was up for weeks after watching “The Silence of the Lambs.” I was scarred by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, for crying out loud. In the light, I’m skeptical of ghosts, demons, and evil spirits, but I keep myself up at night thinking about what’s peering out at me from my closet, even though I just checked, and it’s still clothes. Basically, I’m only into Halloween for the cute couple costumes and those tombstone brownies you find at parties.
But for those of you who know the truth is out there, you’re not alone.
A new study by Halloween Express surveyed more than 1,000 Americans to find out what we consider to be baloney, and what we actually believe might be haunting us. It seems I’ve got good reason to hide beneath my sheets.
Let’s start with the most common denominator: Extraterrestrials. I saw “E.T.” when I was four and was so traumatized I never watched it again – though to be fair, I think I was more freaked out by the CDC’s hazmat suits than the alien himself. But if you’re laying in bed nightly wondering if we’re alone, you’re not in the minority: 62% of Americans believe there is other life in the universe.
With the increasing presence of scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking making the case for intelligent life-forms outside of Earth, the question has become less of a Halloween scare tactic and more a platform for scientific debate. Unsurprisingly, the region with the most alien-seekers is the Southwest, home of the Roswell incident and the mysterious Area 51. (If you get an invite, let me know – it’s my dying wish to know what’s inside.)
We may never prove the existence of aliens, but never fear! There are plenty more mysteries right here on planet Earth. One in 5 people await evidence of a Yeti or Bigfoot, both giant ape-like creatures that roam the Himalayas and the Pacific Northwest, respectively.
Ghosts are another popular legend, dating as far back as Ancient Rome. Ghosts come in several forms, including poltergeists, demons, spirits, mists, and the boogeyman. Most aren’t rumored to be friendly. More than half of all Americans believe that the souls of deceased people or creatures roam the earth, and more than 1 in 3 think that much of the havoc wreaked in the world is the work of poltergeists. Don’t worry, I haven’t ever brought myself to endure that particular film, so I’ll spare you tales of my sleepless nights.
I can hear you skeptics scoffing right about now. “Ghosts and goblins,” you snort, “what we should really fear right now is the political turmoil in this country!” Well, we thought of that, too. Turns out Trump, Clinton, and Gary Johnson supporters share most beliefs in the same three creatures: spirits, aliens, and ghostly mists. (Two out of three Hillary supporters also support the alien theory, by the way.) So there you have it: No matter who you voted for, you probably share some of the same fears as your opponents. There’s some common ground to bring up if your Halloween party turns political!
The bottom line: Don’t let anyone tell you you’re weird for doing a running jump into your bed to prevent something from grabbing your ankle. There are plenty of people out there who share your spooky beliefs. It may just be extra sweaters and dust bunnies under there, but maybe, just maybe, something else is lurking. If there is, don’t tell me. I’ll be at the buffet table, eating the rest of those tombstone brownies.
This post was written by Laura Dzwonczyk, a lover of mayonnaise, matcha, and movies that top out at four hours (and alliteration – how did you guess?), Laura recently ditched the mid-Atlantic winters for sunny South Florida. When not writing, she spends her time listening to her newest favorite song over and over until she ruins it for herself and everyone else around her.