As we approach Halloween , note that most American adults in the 21st Century say that they believe in life after death and in the devil; over one-third say that they believe in the spirits of the dead coming back; about that many also say they believe in haunted houses. In the 1980s and ’90s, about 4 in 10 said that at least once they had “felt as though [they] were really in touch with someone who had died.”
Lest you think this is all just a vestige of an older, passing, superstitious age: Belief in ghosts has soared in recent decades, from one in ten Americans to one in three. Moreover, young Americans are about twice as likely as old Americans to say they have consulted psychics, believe in ghosts, and believe in haunted houses.
(Oh, and political liberals are more likely than conservatives to endorse these beliefs.) 
One of the motifs in writings about modern life is that its central features – commerce, education, secularism, and especially science – have “disenchanted” the world. Once, goes the argument, the rising of the sun, the awakening of plants, people’s illnesses and recoveries, and even odd rock formations were all infused with spirits and mystery; now we see all of them as mechanical, mundane, and manipulatable. The magic is gone. Maybe.
This text was excerpted from a blogpost: “Boo! Americans and the Occult”
Claude Fischer, Professor of Sociology at Berkeley, U of CA, 10/29/13 Data from the General Social Survey [items “postlife” and “spirits”]; the Gallup Poll (here, here, and here); a Baylor University survey (pdf); and CBS News poll, 2011 (via the Roper Center iPoll). Soared: 1978 Gallup poll compared to a 1999 poll (source: Roper Center iPoll.)
Cross-posted from Claude Fischer’s blog, Made in America: Notes on American Life from American History.