It seems like every town in the U.S. claims some otherworldly entity as its own, from the White Lady of Union Cemetery to the Jersey Devil to Point Pleasant's Mothman. Despite what local legends would have you believe, new data from costume supplier Halloween Express suggests that creepy creatures are more concentrated in certain regions of the country than others.
Its survey of over 1,000 Americans found that ghosts were most frequently spotted in the West South Central region of the U.S. (which encompasses Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana), with 36% of respondents there reporting sightings. Just to the east, 34% of people in the aptly-named East South Central region (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky) had encountered a spirit.
Strangely enough, the second-most ghostly region is home to the fewest believers. Only 5% of the residents in the East South Central states said they were "receptive to the paranormal." By comparison, 23% of the neighboring South Atlantic region called themselves believers. The second-most receptive group, at 18% of inhabitants, was found among Washingtonians, Oregonians, Californians, Alaskans, and Hawaiians.
Nationwide, about 50% of Americans said they believe in ghosts. For the more discerning paranormal investigators among us, roughly 37% named a specific belief in poltergeists. Unfortunately, this particular survey made no mention of friendly ghosts.
For those of you who do believe, swinging by these locales around Halloween will increase your chances of seeing a spirit even more. Within Paganism and other nature-based faiths, October 31 marks the sabbat of Samhain, during which time the veil between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead grows thin — and otherworldly entities may cross over to walk among us.
Should you encounter a ghost in your Halloween escapades, don't panic, but don't get too friendly, either. Simply greet the spirit with a cordial "Hey there," and continue on your way. To stay on their good side (and to avoid getting arrested) steer clear of graveyards after dark. Happy hunting!