Halloween is for Anthropologists

1 Nov

Fascinating post, though I don’t think I’d like to live in “a culture more permissive and accepting of the supernatural.” Permissive, yes. Accepting? Not without empirical evidence.

The Geek Anthropologist

By Emma Louise Backe

Halloween, it seems, was made for anthropologists. While many anthropologists devote their time in the field to studying supernatural belief systems, arcane rituals or traditions still infused with spiritual and symbolic significance, the Halloween season encourages Americans to uncover the skeletons in their closet and confront the ghosts that still haunt our culture. Although we often ignore the supernatural undertones of American culture, a Huffington Post/You Gov poll revealed that 45% of Americans believe in ghosts (Spiegel 2013), while 18% of adult Americans believe that they have seen or been in the presence of a ghost (Lipka 2013). On a more pernicious note, witch-related killings have begun to spike, particularly in parts of Florida. Quite apart from being one of the most religious countries in the developed world, the United States has often downplayed its belief in the supernatural. Much of the modernizing discourse…

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