A survey by YouGov.com reveals that Americans have a strong belief in supernatural beings such as ghosts, werewolves, and vampires.
According to the survey, two in five Americans believe ghosts exist, and one in five say they have seen one. It also indicates that 43% of adults believe demons exist, and 11% say they have encountered a demon. Belief in werewolves comes in at 8% and vampires 9%, with 3% saying they have seen a vampire. By vampires, we don’t mean a bat, but a humanoid that drinks blood. By demons, we aren’t talking about spiritual issues. We mean physical beings that can walk and talk.
If you believe the results of this survey, you have to recognize that many people in this country believe in supernatural claims. However, the truth is that there is no evidence that ghosts, werewolves, and vampires exist, even though many scammers have used these ideas to enrich themselves.
People in Jesus’s day held similar beliefs, even the disciples of Christ. In Matthew 14:22-27, when Jesus came walking on the water, the immediate response of his disciples was, “They were troubled saying, it is a spirit, and they cried out for fear” (verse 26). When people are under duress, they are likely to see just about anything. If they don’t know what they are looking at, the response may be fear and attributing it to a ghost.
Many years ago, I escorted eight girl scouts and two adult chaperones down a trail after dark in Ontario. It was so dark that we had everyone hold hands as we walked. Suddenly the northern lights flared up, and the sky to the north of us was ablaze with something the girls had never seen. There was a large, dead tree by the trail right in front of us. It had two holes side by side about 20 feet up the trunk, and one big hole below that. The tree was white, and when the auroras flared up, it looked like a face with two eyes and a mouth. The girls panicked and began screaming and running in every direction. It would have been a simple matter to convince them that they had seen a ghost.
Many years later, I was on a paranormal tour of the Queen Mary, a luxury ship in service from 1936-1967. It is now a hotel in Long Beach, California. Some people claim it is haunted. However, like the tree ghost, everything about the ship that is supposed to be evidence of haunting has an easy, natural explanation. However, dozens of tourists swallow the paranormal story.
Many people turn away from faith in God and the teachings of Jesus because they directly affect how we make choices and how we should live. Believing in ghosts and other supernatural beings makes no demands on a person and gives no instructions on how to live life successfully. In past days, people did terrible things when they believed in witches, ghosts, werewolves, and vampires. Things haven’t changed much. We still have people who want to replace God with some evil being or force that makes no demands on their life choices.
— John N. Clayton 2021
Reference: USA Today for October 29, 2021.