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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."

—Voltaire

"Ghost Hunters" Paranormal Survey Results

Conducted and Summarized by C.M. Hall

C.M. Hall, a dear friend of SAPS and fellow skeptic created a survey gauging belief in the paranormal and discovering where exactly such beilefs come from and whether TV shows and their representation of the paranormal have any effect on the beliefs of viewers.

Below you will find a link to the survey results, and an essay written by C.M. Hall summarizing them.

-- Alison, SAPS Founder

Click here to see the survey results

This flash survey was conducted from August 1-30, 2006. A list of 20 questions ranging from demographics, paranormal beliefs and how watching Ghost Hunters had changed the participants’ beliefs were presented. Participants were also asked to rate the scientific validity of investigation methods used by the Ghost Hunters team. The purpose of this survey was to gauge overall belief in the paranormal and see if the SciFi channel’s Ghost Hunters TV show has influenced current popularity of the supernatural. This survey’s link was posted on various forums on the Internet. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), the investigators featured on Ghost Hunters, refused to cooperate and let the survey link be posted on their forums. As the TAPS forums boast over 4,000 members with 55,000 hits per day, the majority of Ghost Hunters viewers on the Internet were excluded from this survey.

A total of 166 respondents took the Internet survey. As many people skipped questions, Stellar Survey calculated percentages based on the total number of actual responses to individual questions. To summarize, the majority were female (59.90 percent), from the Southern US (31.10 percent), aged 25-35 (30.30 percent) and 36-45 (31.50 percent). Only 18.8 percent possessed an education at or below high school. A surprising 97 percent believe in some form of paranormal phenomena. Although 56.6 percent of respondents consider themselves religious or spiritual, belief in ghosts slightly exceeds belief in God or a deity (8.40 percent vs. 7.80 percent). Nearly 70 percent of respondents watched Ghost Hunters on a regular basis. Although 59.70 percent of respondents feel their interest in the paranormal has stayed the same, 80.4 percent feel Ghost Hunters has made the paranormal more popular in general. When asked if TAPS uses scientifically proven methods to monitor paranormal activity, 41.2 percent agree they do. Almost 35 percent of respondents believe Ghost Hunters to be a fact-based program.

In June 2005, a Gallup poll showed 75 percent of Americans believe in the paranormal. A study conducted by Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma shows belief in the paranormal is on the rise in college students. Although this flash questionnaire is certainly not as scientific or as extensive as the former surveys, belief in the paranormal is very high among those who participated in this questionnaire. Respondents were also educated beyond high school. The Ghost Hunters TV show is certainly making the paranormal more believable.

To find something positive in this data, 41.5 percent of respondents did think Ghost Hunters is purely entertainment and not factual. Perhaps the seeds of doubt will flourish in these individuals and skepticism will eventually take root.

To view the individual questions and results of the survey: Stella Survey Results http://www.stellarsurvey.com/Analyzer/SharedSummary.aspx?s=4752&u=2764

E-mail C.M. Hall about this survey at: survey82006@hotmail.com

References:

Back to the reports.

All content © 2007 by Alison Smith
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