Hear from the dead? Slightly more than half of Americans say they have


Slightly more than half of Americans surveyed said they’ve had interactions with deceased relatives, with many saying such events have happened in the past 12 months, the Pew Research Center said Wednesday.

Women and those who are “moderately religious” are more like to report these experiences than men, or those who are either “highly religious” or not at all religious, researchers said.

Pew said 53% of adults report being “visited by a dead family member in a dream or some other form.” The largest number – 34% — said they’d “felt the presence” of a deceased relative, while 28% said they “told a dead relative about their life,” the group said.

The District-based group said 15% of those surveyed said they’d had a dead family member communicate with them.

The research group surveyed 5,079 adults on its American Trends Panel between March 27 and April 2 of this year and said there was a plus or minus 1.7% margin of error on the results. While it included “Americans of all religious backgrounds,” Pew said not enough Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus responded to allow separate data reporting for these communities.

Among Catholics, however, 66% said they’d had “some form” of contact with a dead relative, while 67% of “historically Black” Protestants said the same. Just 42% of evangelical Christians reported any manner of contact with a deceased relative, Pew said.

Among the 48% of religiously unaffiliated Americans who reported contact of some kind with a deceased relative, there are differences among those responding. For those saying their religion is “nothing in particular,” 58% reported having such experiences, something only 34% of agnostics and 26% of atheists reported.

Pew conceded there were some shortcomings in the polling. The survey did not ask for explanations of what these experiences were, or what respondents meant when reporting a “visit in a dream” from a dead relative.


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