What Do You Believe: The Demographics of Superstition

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Watch out for ghosts: superstition is on the rise in America

Todd Warnock

NewsFeed believes in Bigfoot. Sorry, haters.

Superstitious beliefs are becoming more common in Americans, says a new book from two sociologists. According to Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture by Christopher Bader and Carson Mencken looked at anecdotal evidence throughout the culture, and came to the conclusion that increasing numbers of Americans believe in the paranormal.

While Bader and Mencken found that there is little demographic data that separates believers from nonbelievers, they did discover interesting slices within the superstitious, depending on what they believed in. Some sampling:

Women were more likely to believe in ghosts and poltergeists, or at least, more women were convinced that their house or apartment was haunted. Is this a sign that ghosts are targeting helpless single females for romantic purposes?

More highly-educated people reported having out-of-body experiences. Could it be typical urban ennui making them want to “get away”?

In news that will delight lovers of stereotypes, single white men were more likely to believe in UFOs. But on the upside to alien conspiracy theorists, at least the study didn’t mention anything about basements.

But the most shocking — and tragic — discovery was of the type of people who believe in Bigfoot: successful, professional people. And the belief often ended up ruining their lives.

“Imagine the stress that would put on your life,” Bader said. “You consider yourself a normal, smart guy, and you think you just saw a giant monkey walk in front of you. Now, you have to fit that into your life.”

So, readers: Are you smart and successful enough to believe in Bigfoot? Watch this video, and report back:

(via Discovery)

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