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Tags ghosts , superstition

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Old 25th September 2021, 08:50 AM   #1
dann
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46 Percent of Americans Believe in Ghosts

... up 400 percent over the last four decades

Quote:
Do you believe in ghosts? Turns out a lot of people do in this country … more than 45% of us. That's up almost 400% in the last 40 years! So what happened?
What statistics can tell us about Americans' skyrocketing belief in ghosts (CNN, Sep 21, 2021)
Margins of Error Podcast: How The Paranormal Became, Well, Pretty Normal (CNN, Sep 21, 2021)


Pfizer’s Booster Gets Approved & 46% of Americans Think Ghosts Exist (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Sep 24, 2021 - beginning at 2:02)
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 25th September 2021, 09:05 AM   #2
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So we have four times as many ghosts as fourty years ago.
that's a big Twinkie
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Old 25th September 2021, 09:09 AM   #3
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Whenever I see a poll result like this, I feel like we need to take a hard look at how the survey is constructed and whether the results are being interpreted correctly.

When my wife was in grad school, I read a published journal study that concluded that cigarettes were more addictive than heroin. The conclusion was based on higher relapse rates for smokers as opposed to junkies. Seemed to me that despite the proper peer review, the commonsense understanding that cigarettes had virtually no social stigma or consequences, were perfectly legal, and not significantly consciousness-altering was factored in at all.

For example: if this was an online survey titled "Do you Believe in Ghosts?", more respondents who were ghostie believers might respond than a more random sampling. If an online survey was put up around Halloween, casual respondents might playfully be taking the proverbial piss.
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Old 25th September 2021, 10:09 AM   #4
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Ten bucks says that 46% is a concatenation of several different questions and answers, and is almost entirely made up of various forms of "well, I don't rule them out."
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Old 25th September 2021, 10:20 AM   #5
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The article claims that "many believers see ghosts as a friendly reminder of friends who have left us." Maybe a looser interpretatuon of the nature of 'ghosts' than a reader would assume?
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Old 25th September 2021, 01:17 PM   #6
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The actual poll results (in a very summarized form) from the poll taker are here:

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/halloween-2019

Quote:
Almost half of Americans believe that ghosts are real (46%), and a third believe that aliens visit earth (32%), while only a small amount believe in vampires (7%) and zombies (6%).
For details on how the poll was taken read the website at the url.

You may adjust your speculations as you see fit.
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Old 25th September 2021, 01:30 PM   #7
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So that's what happened to my sweet roll this morning. It all makes sense now. Hungry damn ghost.
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
The actual poll results (in a very summarized form) from the poll taker are here:

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/halloween-2019



For details on how the poll was taken read the website at the url.

You may adjust your speculations as you see fit. : w2 :
Enh. My speculation is that it's more about hating America than about saying anything interesting or useful. Not sure that needs much adjustment, but I'm always open to new data.
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:18 PM   #9
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Got as far as the survey being 1000 respondents, and indeed run a few days before Halloween 2019. Will be interested to see the context and structure of the questions later.
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:21 PM   #10
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The USA is a very religious country. Why wouldn't Christians believe in ghosts?
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:42 PM   #11
Thermal
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
The actual poll results (in a very summarized form) from the poll taker are here:

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/halloween-2019



For details on how the poll was taken read the website at the url.

You may adjust your speculations as you see fit.
I don't see anything about the questoons on the site. It does say that in a similar poll in 2008, also just before Halloween, 57% of Americans the small polled segment believed in ghosts. Wonder why they framed it like belief is on the rise, when their own data says it has declined?
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
So that's what happened to my sweet roll this morning. It all makes sense now. Hungry damn ghost.
Yes, that's the reason...

*Khajit thief sneaks off*
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Old 25th September 2021, 04:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
The actual poll results (in a very summarized form) from the poll taker are here:

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/halloween-2019



For details on how the poll was taken read the website at the url.
You may adjust your speculations as you see fit.
I'm curious about the correlation between ghost believers and Trump believers.
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Old 25th September 2021, 05:03 PM   #14
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I believe in 56% of Americans.
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Old 25th September 2021, 05:48 PM   #15
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Not surprising given the high religiosity of the US.

Given that belief in the Holy Ghost is a given if you are are Christian. No great leap of faith to throw a few more in.
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Old 25th September 2021, 07:18 PM   #16
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The moment you are religious, then any type of irrationality can be accepted.
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Old 26th September 2021, 12:02 AM   #17
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40% isn't the odd thing. 400% increase in 40 years is.

The US, like Europe, has seen a steady drop in religiousity.


You would need to ask the exact same questions, which pollsters will do just to draw such a conclusion.
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Old 26th September 2021, 02:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Got as far as the survey being 1000 respondents, and indeed run a few days before Halloween 2019. Will be interested to see the context and structure of the questions later.
1000 isn’t really a problem as that is a fairly standard sized sample. The problem is whether or not you have a representative sample. The methods of collection as well as the questions themselves could skew the results. If you are not using landlines or contacting people in certain demographics you may end up with an older or otherwise more religious/supernaturally inclined sample.
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Old 26th September 2021, 05:40 PM   #19
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Would anyone really be shocked at 46%? I would be shocked if it were ever 10% or less. Bogus survey conclusion.
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Old 26th September 2021, 06:16 PM   #20
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Some more data.

The Paranormal Profiles: New Study Probes Into People Who Believe in Ghosts

https://www.prweb.com/releases/the_p...eb16643035.htm

You can "test" your paranormal beliefs here: https://www.queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm

(I scored 4.)
Quote:
Always the skeptic, practicality and common sense are your weapons of choice when fighting against any supernatural spook or green alien.


If you don't want to take this test, the Security Guard Test on the same page might be for you. (I did not take it.)
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Old 26th September 2021, 06:34 PM   #21
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I think it was Chesterton who said something along the lines that as people stop believing in God, they'll believe in anything.

Maybe the sum total of belief in (God + ghosts) is roughly constant.
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Old 26th September 2021, 10:43 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
The USA is a very religious country. Why wouldn't Christians believe in ghosts?
Because Jesus said the dead will stay in their graves until judgement day?
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Old 26th September 2021, 11:30 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Not surprising given the high religiosity of the US.

Given that belief in the Holy Ghost is a given if you are are Christian. No great leap of faith to throw a few more in.
I feel like we've had this conversation before, but most denominations talk about the Holy Spirit (to the Catholics, Spiritus Sanctus), which bears no resemblance to what most people consider a ghost, which is the image of an actual person, usually a dead one. "Holy Ghost" is a mistranslation at best.
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Old 27th September 2021, 03:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Ron Obvious View Post
I think it was Chesterton who said something along the lines that as people stop believing in God, they'll believe in anything.
He didn't.

In any case it's absolute drivel.
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Old 27th September 2021, 09:54 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
40% isn't the odd thing. 400% increase in 40 years is.

I don't think it is.
Considering the number of TV series in the past 20 years, fiction like Medium or 'reality' TV like Ghost Hunters or Long Island Medium, it doesn't surprise me that 46 percent of the population believe in this kind of nonsense.
The TV producers must have known that a considerable segment of the population is interested in this even before they started filming, and the shows have then contributed to convincing more people of the existence of ghosts.

That a poll about this is somehow "about hating America" is insane, but I can see why American TV shows that encourage people to believe in ghosts may make some people anti-American. They don't exactly make me want to sing The Star-Sprangled Banner.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 27th September 2021, 10:05 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Because Jesus said the dead will stay in their graves until judgement day?
No one believes what the Bible actually says.
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Old 27th September 2021, 10:08 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
The moment you are religious, then any type of irrationality can be accepted.

Christianity isn't exactly famous for its tolerance of non-Christian types of irrationality.
Remember Christians' hate of Harry Potter?
In my own country, a vicar staged a lynching of Christmas pixies, a Danish tradition, because they were demonic.
The wrong kind of superstition is almost as bad as atheism to many Christians. Many of them can't even stand alternative beliefs in the (more or less) same Abrahamic god.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I don't think it is.
Considering the number of TV series in the past 20 years, fiction like Medium or 'reality' TV like Ghost Hunters or Long Island Medium, it doesn't surprise me that 46 percent of the population believe in this kind of nonsense.
The TV producers must have known that a considerable segment of the population is interested in this even before they started filming, and the shows have then contributed to convincing more people of the existence of ghosts.

That a poll about this is somehow "about hating America" is insane, but I can see why American TV shows that encourage people to believe in ghosts may make some people anti-American. They don't exactly make me want to sing The Star-Sprangled Banner.
And Youtube as well.

Travel Channel is almost 100% ghost and paranormal programming, and Discovery Plus added all of their A-List ghost hunting shows to entice subscribers. All the shows gave up the appearance of objectivity long ago, and continue to add camera-friendly gadgets that beep, chirp, and or light up to indicate "a presence". Too many people eat this crap up.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:24 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
And Youtube as well.

Travel Channel is almost 100% ghost and paranormal programming, and Discovery Plus added all of their A-List ghost hunting shows to entice subscribers. All the shows gave up the appearance of objectivity long ago, and continue to add camera-friendly gadgets that beep, chirp, and or light up to indicate "a presence". Too many people eat this crap up.
But do you believe that the percentage of believers was really ever 10% or less?
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Old 27th September 2021, 01:35 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Whenever I see a poll result like this, I feel like we need to take a hard look at how the survey is constructed and whether the results are being interpreted correctly.

When my wife was in grad school, I read a published journal study that concluded that cigarettes were more addictive than heroin. The conclusion was based on higher relapse rates for smokers as opposed to junkies. Seemed to me that despite the proper peer review, the commonsense understanding that cigarettes had virtually no social stigma or consequences, were perfectly legal, and not significantly consciousness-altering was factored in at all.

I remember a study released during the height of the "power lines cause cancer" panic that claimed to show that using an electric razor caused leukemia. Their data showed that people with leukemia were x% more likely to have used an electric razor for a certain amount of time each week than people without leukemia. There was no data on leukemia frequency among electric vs. non-electric razor users. What the study actually indicated was that leukemia causes electric razor use, not vice versa.
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Old 27th September 2021, 06:19 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
But do you believe that the percentage of believers was really ever 10% or less?
I have no way factually answer this question. I never took a poll.

Spiritualism, which ghosts as a subject fall under, ebbs and flows as societies pass through history. In times of war and the years immediately afterword there has always been a rise in belief in ghosts, and spirits, and communication with the dead. We saw it with the the Black Plague, the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, in the US during Vietnam, and this uptake coincides with the Global War on Terror with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

I'd never trust a poll on this subject because beliefs are subject to social approval. In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s a belief in ghosts was not socially acceptable enough to be discussed casually. And in my years of research I have found that people tend to say they believe in ghosts because they are seeking attention. I have also found that my being open minded allowed people to open up about weird things that happened to them.

So a poll about believing in ghosts is going to be hard to conduct if one wants an accurate picture. You need a wide cross-section of society, and the poll has to be set in a neutral condition. This poll was not. It was a Halloween poll, the result should not be a surprise.

I doubt 40% of Americans really believe.
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Old 27th September 2021, 08:09 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I feel like we've had this conversation before, but most denominations talk about the Holy Spirit (to the Catholics, Spiritus Sanctus), which bears no resemblance to what most people consider a ghost, which is the image of an actual person, usually a dead one. "Holy Ghost" is a mistranslation at best.
It's not a mistranslation. Old English gast had a more general meaning than its modern descendant. In the Old English version of the Visio Pauli or Apocalypse of Paul, for instance, gast is used to refer to angels and demons as well as the souls of the dead. Halig gast was a perfectly cromulent translation of Spiritus Sanctus, although it now sounds odd.
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Old 27th September 2021, 08:13 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Lucian View Post
It's not a mistranslation. Old English gast had a more general meaning than its modern descendant. In the Old English version of the Visio Pauli or Apocalypse of Paul, for instance, gast is used to refer to angels and demons as well as the souls of the dead. Halig gast was a perfectly cromulent translation of Spiritus Sanctus, although it now sounds odd.
Interesting. But the basic gist of what I was saying still applies. When Christians refer to the "Holy Ghost" they're not talking about the spirit of a dead person.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:01 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s a belief in ghosts was not socially acceptable enough to be discussed casually.
I can't speak to the 60's, but my life experience does not reconcile with that. Maybe a geographical thing or something, I don't know.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:22 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
I can't speak to the 60's, but my life experience does not reconcile with that. Maybe a geographical thing or something, I don't know.
I agree. The 70s were the era of In Search Of..., Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Chariots of the Gods, Project Blue Book, and countless magazines and periodicals dedicated to the paranormal and/or unexplained.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:26 PM   #36
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I was first exposed to that stuff in the 70s and bought into it completely. I didn't acquire the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate it rationally and reject it for decades.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:31 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
I was first exposed to that stuff in the 70s and bought into it completely. I didn't acquire the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate it rationally and reject it for decades.
Yeah, me too. One of my greatest fears as a 9-year old was that I would one day spontaneously combust.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:43 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I agree. The 70s were the era of In Search Of..., Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Chariots of the Gods, Project Blue Book, and countless magazines and periodicals dedicated to the paranormal and/or unexplained.

I disagree. There is a difference between von Däniken and Medium. Yes, there were shows back then that catered to people's belief in pseudoscience, but believing in ghosts goes beyond that. I noticed that some of my most susceptible high-school students in the 1990s were also made more gullible by the X Files, but that was still different from being fed whole series of shows, season after season, about psychics allegedly helping the police solve murder cases or helping owners of allegedly haunted houses get rid of the ghosts. Shows iike that flourished in Denmark in the early 2000s.
Ouija boards were also fringe before that time.
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Old 28th September 2021, 12:05 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I disagree. There is a difference between von Däniken and Medium. Yes, there were shows back then that catered to people's belief in pseudoscience, but believing in ghosts goes beyond that. I noticed that some of my most susceptible high-school students in the 1990s were also made more gullible by the X Files, but that was still different from being fed whole series of shows, season after season, about psychics allegedly helping the police solve murder cases or helping owners of allegedly haunted houses get rid of the ghosts. Shows iike that flourished in Denmark in the early 2000s.
Ouija boards were also fringe before that time.
In Search Of... ran for six seasons between 1977 and 1982, and it was only one such show at a time when cable TV was nonexistent. But TV was not the only medium by which such ideas spread. As I said, I was very influenced by popular magazines.
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Old 28th September 2021, 12:06 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Interesting. But the basic gist of what I was saying still applies. When Christians refer to the "Holy Ghost" they're not talking about the spirit of a dead person.

Some languages use different words for the two concepts: In Danish the Holy Ghost is called Helligånden (ånd = spirit), whereas houses are supposed to be haunted by spøgelser (= ghosts).
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