Why Humans are Afraid of Ghosts

The topic of why humans fear the unknown seems relatively easy to grasp on the surface, yet the link to anxiety and trauma is rather complex. It is no surprise that the majority of humans feel uneasy with a lack of control. It is why common fears revolve around falling, insects, and physical altercations. Over the past few years, the belief in paranormal activity has grown, with more young Americans believing in unexplainable phenomena every year. Humans like their comforts. Due to social media constantly pelting younger generations with constant news, the exposure to traumas has drastically increased causing a normalization of human destruction. However, as many young adults are becoming more comfortable with (seemingly) controllable disasters, many are finding anxiety in those events that are not tangible or not easily rationalized. Some say that ghosts attach themselves to lonely people– meaning people that feel a certain level of desperation or anxiety are more perceptive to paranormal activity. Why is this so? Is it because the brain is preoccupied with other activities that there is a gap and ghosts fill that gap? As more Americans are identifying with feelings of depression, will there be an increase in exposure to paranormal phenomena?

Retrieved from the CDC. Click the image to go to the original link.

This is rather difficult to answer. It is possible that only time will tell; however, I believe that it will increase. So, why are humans afraid of ghosts? I propose that because they (specifically Americans) are already vulnerable to life’s stressors, that it might be “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Culturally there is more exposure on things such as conspiracy theories, with trends towards talking about unsettling historical events that are socially perceived differently than they were executed. This can be seen with speculative media and movies.

With this cultural belief as a basis, it is likely that younger Americans are more attune to “uncomfortable truths” and possibly find joy or pleasure in triggering this fear. So, are they afraid, do they like the fear, or is it more complicated than that?