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Canadian Paranormal Beliefs Revealed: Spooky Insights for Halloween

It’s time to carve the pumpkins, binge scary movies and find your creepiest outfits as Halloween is nearly here.  

While ‘spooky season’ is well underway, the team at PlayOJO decided to find out just how many Canadians believe in ghosts and spirits.  

We conjured up a survey of 1,417 Canadian residents to gather their beliefs on the paranormal and identify which types of encounters they have experienced.  

Which Canadians believe in the paranormal? 

According to the data, half (50%) of Canadian residents said they believed in ghosts and spirits. Only a third (34%) of the country were skeptics and declared that they did not believe, meanwhile around a fifth (17%) were unsure.  

When it comes to ages, Gen-Z are the biggest believers with a whopping 53% of those born between 1995-2002 believing in the paranormal. ‘Boomers’ (born 1946-1964) seemed to be the most skeptical, however 47% still stated that they believed in ghosts and spirits.  

Women tended to believe in spirits and ghosts more than men. Six in 10 female respondents said they believed in spirits and ghosts, whereas just four in 10 male participants followed the same thought process. 

Most common Canadian hauntings 

Haunting manifestation, which is any kind of noises heard, items moving, or spirits felt with no explanation, is the most common paranormal encounter in Canada with one in five experiencing it.  

An unlucky 13% of Canadians admitted to seeing a ghost or poltergeist and one in 10 experienced manifestations of the living, which is seeing or hearing a person that is not actually in said location.  

While Halloween is famously in October, the month also includes National Black Cat Day. Black Cats have historically been linked to the supernatural and 16% of Canadians said they have spotted one.  

When switching from the paranormal to the extraterrestrial, one in 10 residents say they have spotted a UFO. Interestingly, seven Canadians who were surveyed commented that they have once spotted a dragon. Meanwhile, four people have had the misfortune of encountering a vampire and the same number of people have spotted a werewolf.  

Preventing the paranormal 

Whether it’s Hollywood or historical superstitions, there is no shortage of ways to allegedly keep ghouls away. We dug deeper to see which methods Canadian paranormal believers are turning to in order to fight the supernatural. 

Keeping the lights on was the most popular preventative measure according to the survey, with four in 10 Canadians using this method to keep ghosts away…at the expense of their electricity bill. While 34% of Canadian believers are not sure how to react to their paranormal encounters, 19% turned to holy water or other religious imagery or symbols. 

One in 10 Canadians have decided that sprinkling salt could be an answer to possible paranormal problems. However, burning sage or lavender seemed to be a more popular solution with 18% turning to this method. 

Spooky Cities 

Calgary was the city with the highest percentage of residents who were believers, with 54% of people from “Cowtown” answering that they believed in ghosts and spirits.  

Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton, and Montreal were the other major cities who also had half or more than half of their residents being believers. On the other hand, Ottawa was the most skeptical city. Only 41% of Ottawans agreed that the paranormal is real.  


The survey of 1,417 CA respondents (all aged 21+) was carried out on October 16-18, 2023  by online research platform, Prolific.  

Author: Alan Flores