Do You Believe in Ghosts?

In China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand, the seventh month of the lunar calendar ushers in the 
Hungry Ghost Festival, when it is believed that ghosts of the deceased are temporarily released from the lower 
realm to visit the living. In Taiwan, some people believe that the presence of wandering ghosts during Ghost 
Month can cause accidents to the living. At least one study has shown that people avoid risky behaviors during this time, including those in bodies of water, reducing the number of deaths by drowning.

“Like in the West,” McDaniel says, “people in Asia have kept their belief in ghosts despite the rise of science,
 skepticism, secularism, and public education. In places like Japan where secularism is very strong, the belief in 
ghosts is still high. Even hyper-modern and liberal Scandinavia has a high percentage of people believing in 



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