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How to Stop Fearing Ghosts and Paranormal Phenomena

Last Updated: August 16, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Jennifer McVey, Cht . Jennifer McVey is a Spiritualist, Seer, and the Spiritual Director of Spiritual Answers and Solutions. With more than 22 years of experience, she specializes in manifesting, ghosts and spirit attachments, hypnotherapy, channeling, and spiritually based life coaching. Jennifer has also published 13 Affirmation Image and six Word Search Puzzle books in spirituality and self-help and has produced over 600 audio sessions. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 20 testimonials and 85% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 356,916 times.

Many people fear the paranormal, whether it's ghosts, telepathic powers, or some other supernatural phenomenon. However, there's really no reason to fear these things. Even though the fear may feel very real, it's important to confront what you're afraid of to take away its power. By disarming your fears, learning to feel safer in your environment, and questioning the world around you, you'll be able to stop fearing ghosts and other paranormal phenomena and start enjoying life in the present moment.

Overcoming Your Phobias

Step 1 Confront your fears.

  • Identify what you're actually afraid of and why. [3] X Research source
  • Ask yourself, "What's the worst possible outcome if these fears were to come true?"
  • You should also consider why you have that fear in the first place - most anxieties are based on something much deeper, like a fear of being alone or dying.

Step 2 Ask yourself reasoning questions.

  • What am I afraid will happen to me if I meet a ghost? Will it try to scare me, say “boo” like a cartoon, or do something annoying like open all the cabinets?
  • Am I afraid because of a fictional piece of work, like a scary movie or an urban legend? Am I afraid because of something that is not real?
  • How likely is it that there is actually a ghost?
  • Can a ghost kill me? Is a ghost capable of harm at all, or is it just scary and annoying?
  • Is there a reasonable explanation for what happened that doesn't involve ghosts or the paranormal?

Step 3 Use humor to disarm your fear.

  • Try to make a point of imagining ridiculous, cartoonish ghosts and monsters. The more absurd you imagine these creatures, the less likely you are to be scared of them in the future.
  • Whenever you find yourself feeling anxious or fearful, think about how silly you've imagined the creatures you're afraid of. It's hard to be scared of a ghost when you picture ghosts as smiling, goofy caricatures.

Step 4 Question the existence of ghosts.

  • The easiest way to break your fear of ghosts and the paranormal is to question the proof you have of these phenomena.
  • Ask yourself honestly, "What proof do I have that ghosts exist? Or that anything paranormal exists?"
  • Try to remember that you've been alive for years and you've never been haunted or attacked by a ghost. If you've made it this far without a real paranormal attack, it's safe to assume that you will never experience one.
  • You will quickly realize that most of your "proof" that ghosts exist was based on feelings and intuitions rather than concrete, observable facts. The fact is that while ghost hunters may exist, scientists do not recognize the existence of ghosts.

Step 5 See a therapist.

  • Therapy is usually recommended when long-standing fears and anxieties persist or worsen. [7] X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source
  • Fear of the paranormal may be related to some traumatic event in your life. A therapist can help you identify the cause of your anxiety and work on resolving the underlying issue(s).

Feeling Safer

Step 1 Assess your environment.

  • When you're at home, make sure you lock the doors before going to bed at night. That way, if you think you hear something in the middle of the night, you'll know that there's no one inside your home.
  • Remove things that may frighten you. For example, if you have tree branches that scrape against the house, trim back the branches so you don't question what that sound is every time the wind blows.
  • Don't leave things hanging from the ceiling or in doorways at home. You may see these figures at night and frighten yourself into thinking that they're ghosts.
  • Try leaving a nightlight on when you turn the lights out. Having a light source may help disrupt your fears of what might be "lurking" in the dark. [10] X Research source

Step 2 Avoid watching scary movies.

  • If you cannot avoid scary TV shows and movies, make sure you at least avoid watching them for about an hour before you go to bed.
  • Giving yourself a break from scary things before going to sleep will make you less likely to lie awake at night thinking about paranormal things.
  • Try to watch something light or funny before bed so that you go to sleep relaxed and amused rather than frightened.

Step 3 Develop a relaxing ritual.

  • You can establish a relaxing ritual for any time of day, but at the very least you should find ways to relax before going to sleep.
  • Take time to unwind and de-stress, but be consistent in how frequently you follow this routine (ideally on a daily basis). Making your routine familiar helps you know what to expect each day, which can reduce your anxiety and uncertainty. [13] X Research source
  • You might try taking a warm bath or shower, going for a long walk, or trying relaxation techniques like yoga , meditation , or progressive muscle relaxation .

Step 4  Build your...

  • Recognize your strengths and accomplishments. By identifying what you're good at and the things you've achieved, you may start feeling stronger and better about yourself. [15] X Research source
  • Allow yourself to feel good about your achievements.
  • Turn your achievements into self-affirmations. For example, if you feel good about how you played basketball, allow yourself to really believe that you're a good player and a valuable team member.
  • You can also build your self-esteem and reassure yourself by telling yourself that you are capable of handling anything, even the unknown.

Step 5 Reaffirm your safety.

  • Remember that ghosts aren't real.
  • Even if you believed that ghosts were real, they are immaterial beings without physical bodies. Therefore, there is no way that a ghost (if it were real) could actually harm you or anyone else.
  • Your fears are most likely linked to some deeper, underlying anxiety that you haven't fully addressed. Managing your anxiety will help you feel safer and break out of your fear of ghosts.

Becoming a Skeptic

Step 1 Recognize the power of suggestion.

  • Resist the urge to engage in superstitious activities like crossing yourself, crossing your fingers, knocking on wood, etc.
  • Wear a rubber band on your wrist. Whenever you find yourself engaging in ritualistic activities or believing in superstitions, snap the rubber band against your skin to bring your focus back to the present moment.

Step 2 Look for logical explanations.

  • There is usually a logical explanation for whatever you're experiencing at any given time. Just because you can't see or understand it, that doesn't mean it's a ghost.
  • If you're worried that a ghost is in your home, you're probably just home alone and (subconsciously) looking for any break from the familiarity of your house.
  • Some other common scientific explanations for paranormal experiences include atmospheric/geomagnetic activity, altered states of consciousness, stress-induced changes in brain chemistry, and changes in hormone concentrations.

Step 3 Accept coincidences.

  • Remember that there is no such thing as fate, luck, or paranormal intervention. The things that happen in life are governed by chance and the choices you make, not by ghosts.
  • Resist the urge to categorize people and situations in advance. Wait until you're experiencing something to decide whether it's good or bad, then reflect on how the opportunity arose (usually through a series of decisions, not anything paranormal).

Expert Q&A

Jennifer McVey, Cht

  • Do something to take your mind off of your fear, like listening to music or watching something funny on TV. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
  • If you are religious, you can try praying. This may make you feel more secure and safe, and it will help distract you from your fears. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Try to control your imagination and do some meditation! Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

im not afraid of ghosts

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Talk to the Dead

  • ↑ Jennifer McVey, Cht. Spiritual Director. Expert Interview. 21 December 2021.
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201009/overcoming-fear-the-only-way-out-is-through
  • ↑ https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fear-and-anxiety-children
  • ↑ https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/cfs/cfs-169-w.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rationally-speaking/200908/evening-paranormalists?collection=59621
  • ↑ http://my.clevelandclinic.org/childrens-hospital/health-info/diseases-conditions/hic_sleep_in_your_babys_first_year/hic_Strategies_for_Overcoming_Nighttime_Fears
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-ooze/201507/why-some-people-see-ghosts-and-other-presences
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201604/5-ways-you-can-boost-your-self-esteem
  • ↑ http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141030-the-truth-about-the-paranormal
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201005/make-your-own-luck?collection=133013

About This Article

Jennifer McVey, Cht

To stop fearing ghosts and paranormal phenomena, remind yourself that ghosts and spirits aren’t real so they can’t hurt you. If they were, they would be all over the news! Sometimes our brains imagine things and jump to conclusions because they’re trying to keep us safe. Think about the lack of scientific proof we have for the existence of supernatural beings. If you find yourself feeling scared and imagining ghosts in the house, turn the thought into something funny, like a ghost slipping on a banana or passing gas. If you hear a creepy sound or see a light flicker, ask yourself if there’s a rational explanation, like the wind blowing against the house or an electrical fault. For more tips from our co-author, including how to make your room less frightening, read on. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Quote Investigator®

Tracing Quotations

I Do Not Believe in Ghosts, But I Am Awfully Afraid of Them

Edgar Allan Poe? Germaine de Staël? Bert Leston Taylor? Charles A. Dana? Anonymous?

im not afraid of ghosts

I do not believe in ghosts, but I am awfully afraid of them. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’ve been running from them all my life. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I don’t want to see one.

The master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe sometimes has received credit for the second statement. Would you please explore this group of jokes for Halloween?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Edgar Allan Poe employed one of these quips.

Germaine de Staël was an author and influential French intellectual who died in 1817. The physician Sir Henry Holland met Madame de Staël on multiple occasions and dined with her; in 1872 he published a memoir titled “Recollections of Past Life” which included a quotation from de Staël in French about revenants, i.e., ghosts. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI : [1] 1872, Recollections of Past Life by Sir Henry Holland, Quote Page 113, Longmans, Green, and Co., London. (Original text has “revenans” for “revenants”) (HathiTrust Full View) … Continue reading

Another trait she discloses, speaking of les revenants: ‘Je n’y crois pas, mais je les crains.’

Here is one possible translation of the French:

‘I do not believe, but I’m afraid.’

When Holland’s book was reviewed in “The London Quarterly Review” [2] 1872 January, The London Quarterly Review, American Edition, Review of Sir Henry Holland’s Recollections, Start Page 82, Quote Page 88, The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, New York. (Google … Continue reading and “Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine” [3] 1872 April, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, American Edition, Review of Sir Henry Holland’s Recollections, Start Page 82, Quote Page 88, Leonard Scott Publishing Company, New York. … Continue reading the remark from Madame de Staël was reprinted which widened its distribution.

Also in 1872 the notable writer and conversationalist Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. published “The Poet at the Breakfast-Table” in which he presented a slightly different version of the quotation and ascribed the words to an unnamed “famous woman”: [4] 1872 Copyright, The Poet at the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Quote Page 346, George Routledge and Sons, London. Boston, Massachusetts. (HathiTrust Full View) link

We are all tattoed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were early implanted in his imagination; no matter how utterly his reason may reject them, he will still feel as the famous woman did about ghosts, Je ne les crois pas, mais je les crains, — “I don’t believe in them, but I am afraid of them, nevertheless.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

In 1878 a medical treatise on hallucinations titled “Visions: a Study of False Sight (Pseudopia)” by Edward H. Clarke M.D. included a case study with testimony from a woman who referenced an English version of the statement of Madame de Staël: [5] 1878, Visions: a Study of False Sight (Pseudopia) by Edward H. Clarke M.D., Case IV, Quote Page 26 and 27, Houghton, Osgood and Company, Boston, Massachusetts. (Google Books Full View) link

My earliest recollections are of a life made miserable by the daily companionship of a crowd of dreadful beings, visible, I know, only to myself. Like Madame de Staël, I did not believe in ghosts, but feared them mortally. When I was about fifteen, we went to Europe for two years, and the change of scene, and of constant external interest, broke up my invisible world, and I have only entered it since in times of excitement or great fatigue.

When “The Edinburgh Medical Journal” reviewed Clarke’s book, the statement about ghosts in the excerpt above was reprinted and achieved wider dissemination. [6] 1879 January, The Edinburgh Medical Journal, Book Review of Edward H. Clarke’s “Visions: A Study of False Sight (Pseudopia)”, Start Page 629, Quote Page 631, Published by Oliver and … Continue reading

In 1883 a journalist working for the “New-York Tribune” was stopped by a policeman late at night in Central Park. The gift of a cigar elicited tales of the park from the constable: [7] 1883 September 9, New-York Tribune, Central Park at Night, Quote Page 4, Column 4, New York. (Newspapers_com)

There is a clump of trees right near the Mall where three men shot themselves in two days. We call it ‘Suicides’ Hollow,’ and some of us cuts shy of it now. No, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I don’t want to see one.

In 1890 “The Philadelphia Inquirer” of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, [8] 1890 March 22, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gossip of the Day, Quote Page 4, Column 4, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com) “The Daily Inter Ocean” of Chicago, Illinois, and other newspapers printed a short filler item containing a dialogical instance of the remark: [9] 1890 March 26, The Daily Inter Ocean, Didn’t Believe in Them, Quote Page 12, Column 5, Chicago, Illinois. (Newspapers_com)

Mme. de Stael , the wittiest woman who was ever known in literature, was speaking once on the subject of ghosts. “Do you believe in ghosts?” she was asked. “No,” she replied, “but I am awfully afraid of them.”

In 1898 a Freemason publication examined “The Book of Dreams and Ghosts” by Andrew Lang, and the reviewer referred to the quotation: [10] 1898 March, The Freemasons Repository, Volume 27, Number 6, The Book of Dreams and Ghosts, Quote Page 323, E.L. Freeman & Son, Providence, Rhode Island. (Google Books Full View) link

It was Madame de Staehl, we think, who on being asked if she believed in ghosts , replied, “No, but I am awfully afraid of them.” This would seem to be Mr. Lang’s attitude in regard to the subject he treats in a most interesting manner. He nowhere expresses his own belief in ghosts, but he presents numerous well authenticated stories favoring their reality.

In 1911 “Knowledge: A Monthly Record of Science” published an article by J. Arthur Hill. [11] 1911 November, Knowledge: A Monthly Record of Science, Volume 34, Psychical Research by J. Arthur Hill, Start Page 419, Quote Page 419, Column 1, Knowledge Publishing Company, London. (HathiTrust … Continue reading A couple months later the piece was reprinted in “Scientific American” under the title “Psychical Research: The Attack of Modern Science on the Realm of Occultism”. The author began the article with an instance of the quotation: [12] 1912 January 20, Scientific American Supplement No. 1881, Psychical Research: The Attack of Modern Science on the Realm of Occultism by J. Arthur Hill, (Article reproduced from the journal … Continue reading

It is related of Mme. de Staël that she did not believe in ghosts, but that she was afraid of them all the same—”je ne les crois pas, mais je les crains.” The witty Frenchwoman’s epigram contains deep psychological truth; for our emotions are not ruled by our reasoned beliefs.

In 1919 a columnist named Bert Leston Taylor in “The Chicago Daily Tribune” [13] 1919, November 6, The Chicago Daily Tribune, A Line O’ Type or Two by B. L. T. (Bert Leston Taylor), Quote Page 6, Column 3, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest) spoke skeptically about the “gift of healing” and ascribed an instance of the joke to a famous newspaper editor named Charles A. Dana who had died many years earlier in 1897. The same column appeared in “The Boston Herald”: [14] 1919, November 10, The Boston Herald, A Line O’ Type or Two, Quote Page 10, Column 7 Boston, Massachusetts. (GenealogyBank)

One may believe that the “gift of healing” is nothing more than the application of imaginary balm to non-existent disease, but if one says so he gets into a jolly row with people who consider an open mind synonymous with credulity. Our own state of mind was accurately described by Charles A. Dana: “I don’t believe in ghosts,” said he, “but I’ve been afraid of them all my life.”

In 1922 Bert Leston Taylor published “The So-Called Human Race”, and the excerpt above with the words ascribed to Dana was reprinted in the work. [15] 1922, The So-Called Human Race by Bert Leston Taylor, Quote Page 156, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. (Google Books Full View) link

In 1940 an article in “Esquire” magazine referenced the words ascribed to Dana: [16] 1940 August, Esquire, Will Power for Rent by Boyden Sparkes, Start Page 33, Quote Page 33, Published by Esquire Inc., Chicago, Illinois. (archive.esquire.com)

Do you believe in vitamins? Paraphrasing Charles A. Dana’s comment on ghosts, neither do I but I have been afraid of them all my life; or, at any rate ever since it was first published that food should contain vitamins.

In 2006 a correspondent for the cable news network CNN spoke to an unidentified man who implausibly credited Edgar Allan Poe with a humorous statement: [17] CNN Transcript (Rush Transcript), American Morning, Air Date: October 31, 2006 – 07:00:00 ET, CNN Anchor: Soledad O’Brien, (Halloween theme story with correspondent Sumi Das at former … Continue reading

DAS: Reporter: Even Kelly, a self-professed skeptic admits if there’s anyplace that would be haunted it would be here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There’s that quote from Edgar Allan Poe where he says, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’ve been running from them all my life.

In 2008 a message from the twitter handle “alternativereel” credited Poe with a variant: [18] Tweet, From: alternativereel @alternativereel, Time: 10:01 AM, Date: December 29, 2008, Text: “I don’t believe in ghosts but they have been chasing me my whole life.” – Edgar … Continue reading

“I don’t believe in ghosts but they have been chasing me my whole life.” – Edgar Allan Poe.

In conclusion, Germaine de Staël may be credited with the quotation in the 1872 book by Sir Henry Holland although the probative value of the evidence is weakened by its late appearance. The saying evolved to yield multiple versions in English. The remark ascribed to Charles A. Dana probably was derived directly or indirectly from the 1872 statement. The remarks ascribed to Edgar Allan Poe appeared long after the death of the well-known writer.

Image Notes: Portrait of Madame de Staël (Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein) circa 1810; accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Three ghosts from Alexas_Fotos at Pixabay. Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe taken by Edwin H. Manchester circa 1848.

(Great thanks to Sara O’Leary whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)

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What Is Fear of Ghosts (Phasmophobia)?

Phasmophobia is a persistent and intense fear of ghosts. People with phasmophobia might know that their anxiety isn’t founded. Still, they can’t control their fear, which can cause significant distress.

Many people get a few goosebumps while listening to a ghost story or watching a horror movie. But people with phasmophobia fear the supernatural, which can seriously limit their lives through avoidance behaviors. For example, someone with phasmophobia might avoid social gatherings, feel afraid of being alone in their home, or avoid exposure to TV shows or movies due to their fear.

Read on to learn more about phasmophobia, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Image Source RF/Steve Prezant/Getty Images

Phasmophobia is an intense, persistent fear of ghosts. According to the " Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders " (DSM-5), phasmophobia is classified as a specific phobia . These phobias fall under the broader category of anxiety disorders .

A specific phobia is an intense fear or anxiety triggered immediately by a specific object or situation. Specific phobias are also life-limiting, ongoing, and distressing.

For example, someone with phasmophobia might be afraid of the supernatural and ghosts to the point that they're frightened by the mere mention of a ghost story, haunted house, or scary movie. They may feel that someone is “watching” them or that their home is haunted. They may also experience related phobias, such as thanatophobia (the fear of death), nyctophobia (the fear of night or darkness), or sciophobia (the fear of shadows).

How Common Is Phasmophobia?

Specific phobias are fairly common anxiety disorders. In fact, around 12.5% of adults in the United States will experience a specific phobia in their lifetime. They're more common in women than in men.

Someone with phasmophobia will experience intense anxiety and fear when exposed to images or ideas related to ghosts or the supernatural. This might lead to symptoms of anxiety , including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Excessive fear or worry
  • Muscle tension
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cautious, avoidant behavior
  • Difficulty with sleep and associated problems, such as lowered productivity and concentration

Research indicates that people with phasmophobia are particularly affected by insomnia , daytime sleepiness, and a chronic lack of sleep.

They may find it difficult or impossible to sleep alone due to their fear of ghosts.

Phasmophobia isn't a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Instead, your healthcare provider can diagnose you using the criteria for a specific phobia. They may ask you questions about how often you experience an intense fear of ghosts and how that fear affects your daily life.

To qualify as a phobia (rather than a temporary or situational fear), someone’s fear of ghosts must meet the following criteria, according to the DSM-5:

  • The fear leads to avoidance behaviors or other forms of distress and dysfunction, whether at work or in social situations.
  • The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger, and exposure to images or ideas related to ghosts or the supernatural almost always provokes immediate fear or anxiety.
  • The fear of ghosts lasts for six months or more.
  • The anxiety isn’t better explained by other health conditions, whether mental or physical.

Other Conditions

Before a formal diagnosis, your healthcare provider will likely want to rule out other possible health conditions that could be mistaken for phasmophobia. These could include conditions such as dementia , some forms of epilepsy , psychosis , nocturnal panic attacks, and other phobias.

Phasmophobia and other specific phobias are often caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Here are some of the potential causes of an intense fear of ghosts:

  • Genetics : There is some evidence that genetics can play a role in the development of intense fears like phasmophobia. While the data on the heritability of phobias is still scarce, some twin studies suggest a moderate link between genetics and the development of certain fears.
  • Learned experiences : A fear of ghosts could also be learned. For example, a negative experience with a haunted house or horror movie as a child could lead to persistent, intense anxiety about the idea of ghosts. A child who sees that their parent is afraid of ghosts could also “learn” from their caregiver’s fear.
  • Traumatic experiences : A traumatic experience, such as the death of a loved one, could contribute to the eventual development of phasmophobia in some cases.
  • Cultural influences : A belief in the supernatural alone doesn't mean that someone has phasmophobia. However, certain religious or cultural beliefs about ghosts may predispose someone with underlying anxiety to develop a phobia.

Some people with specific phobias, such as a fear of ghosts, feel embarrassed about their condition and avoid treatment. But there's effective treatment available for phasmophobia and its related avoidance behaviors.

These are the three main approaches to treatment for phasmophobia and other specific phobias:

  • Exposure therapy : Exposure therapy is often the preferred treatment for phasmophobia and other phobias. In exposure therapy, a mental healthcare provider slowly introduces you to the objects or situations that tend to trigger your anxiety. Then, through a process called “habituation,” you'll confront the source of your fear while practicing guided relaxation techniques.
  • Medication : Medication isn’t usually the first treatment choice for specific phobias like phasmophobia. Still, some prescribed drugs, such as beta-blockers or anti-anxiety medications , may help reduce the intense fear on a short-term basis.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy : Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of talk therapy that can be helpful for people with specific phobias. In CBT, a mental health professional might help a person with phasmophobia change their thought patterns about ghosts and the supernatural.

Outside of formal treatment, there are a few techniques you can do on your own to help manage the symptoms of the specific phobia or other anxiety disorder. They include:

  • Meditation : Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation , can help you to quiet your mind and regulate your thoughts. Try a guided meditation app before you go to sleep or daily meditation practice of just five minutes at a time to start.
  • Relaxation techniques : Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, can help you calm down when you start to panic. You can also try your hand at calming hobbies, such as adult coloring books to focus your attention in a healthier way.
  • Yoga : Yoga can help with feelings of anxiety by having you focus on your breath and be present in your body. Heading to a local class or hitting the mat at home for a YouTube yoga session can help you clear your mind and heal your body.
  • Support groups : Finding peer support and advice from other people dealing with phasmophobia or other intense fears can help you learn to manage your anxiety more effectively. You can join a local support group if there's one in your area or connect online .

Phasmophobia is an intense, persistent fear of ghosts. It's a specific phobia under the larger umbrella of anxiety disorders, according to the DSM-5.

Caused by genetics, learned behavior, and/or traumatic experiences, this phobia can lead to symptoms such as panic attacks, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping.

Phasmophobia and other specific phobias can be treated effectively, usually with exposure therapy or CBT.

A Word From Verywell

Many people don’t seek help for their specific phobia, such as a fear of ghosts, out of a sense of shame. Others simply aren’t aware that treatment is available. But you don’t have to manage the condition on your own. Get in touch with your healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options if you suspect you might have phasmophobia.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Impact of the DSM-IV to DSM-5 changes on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Table 3.11, DSM-IV to DSM-5 specific phobia comparison.

National Institute of Mental Health. Specific phobia .

de Oliveira-Souza R. Phobia of the supernatural: A distinct but poorly recognized specific phobia with an adverse impact on daily living .  Front Psychiatry . 2018;9:590. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00590

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Specific phobias .

Van Houtem CM, Laine ML, Boomsma DI, Lighthart L, van Wijk AJ, De Jongh A.  A review and meta-analysis of the heritability of specific phobia subtypes and corresponding fears .  J Anxiety Disord . 2013;27(4):379-388. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.04.007

Eaton WW, Bienvenu OJ, Miloyan B.  Specific phobias .  Lancet Psychiatry . 2018;5(8):678-686. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30169-X

MSD Manual. Specific phobic disorders .

By Laura Dorwart Laura Dorwart is a health journalist with particular interests in mental health, pregnancy-related conditions, and disability rights. She has published work in VICE, SELF, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Week, HuffPost, BuzzFeed Reader, Catapult, Pacific Standard, Health.com, Insider, Forbes.com, TalkPoverty, and many other outlets.

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Supernatural phobias make ghosts feel all too real.

Horror scene of scary woman's ghost.

Have you ever been home alone and felt certain — certain — that someone was watching you? Afraid to turn around, lest you catch a ghostly visage out of the corner of your eye? 

You aren't alone. In fact, for some people, this feeling translates into a full-blown phobia that makes it difficult or impossible to live or sleep alone. This fear of ghosts may be much more common than usually believed, said Ricardo de Oliveira-Souza, a psychiatrist at The D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) in Rio de Janeiro. 

"It is possibly as common as the common phobias that we meet with every day, such as fear of heights or certain insects," Oliveira-Souza told Live Science. 

Related: What Really Scares People: Top 10 Most Common Phobias

Ghostly fears

Shame and embarrassment, according to Oliveira-Souza, probably prevent many people from mentioning their fears to medical professionals. Oliveira-Souza became interested in the phenomenon after a patient he treated for depression happened to mention that the depression treatment had also cured him of his lifelong fear of ghosts, which had once made him frightened to sleep alone. To Oliveira-Souza, the patient's description matched the criteria for a phobia, a term in psychology used to describe overwhelming fears triggered by a certain situation — in this case, being alone or thinking of horror movies or other supernatural scares. He began to ask around and found that many friends, patients and relatives also reported getting spooked by the notion of ghosts. 

In a paper published in November 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry , Oliveira-Souza highlighted a few of those cases. In one case, a 46-year-old hotel attendant who lived with her parents her whole life was bereft after her father died and her mother decided to move away; the woman was terrified to stay alone in the family apartment. When her mother left for a weekend trip before the planned move, the woman lurked in a nearby nightclub and wandered the streets of her neighborhood rather than face sleeping alone. Intrusive memories of her father's funeral haunted the woman when she did try to sleep. 

In another case, a 54-year-old lawyer was hesitant to leave a bad marriage because he was afraid to live alone; he'd slept in the same room as his older brother as a youth and had married hastily after his brother left home because his supernatural fear made him terrified of sleeping alone. The lawyer reported that even when alone in his office, he felt like someone was watching him, or that something would materialize out of nowhere in front of him. This feeling of being watched is also known as "Anwesenheit," a German word that means "presence." 

Related: Top 11 Spooky Sleep Disorders

Being alone, especially at night, triggered fears for all of Oliveira-Souza's patients. One 19-year-old college student slept with her parents out of fears of spirits breaking through her bedroom window. A 63-year-old widow was so terrified that someone or something was in her living room at night that she sometimes wet the bed rather than get up and walk to the bathroom. An 11-year-old girl reported fears that hands would drag her under her bed if she dangled her legs over the floor or that a terrifying apparition would appear in front of her in the darkness. 

Supernatural phobia

The 11-year-old outgrew her fears after puberty, as many people do. Most of the adults, on the other hand, responded well to treatment with antidepressants or benzodiazepines, the most common drugs used to treat specific phobias. 

"Regardless of the content of the phobic symptom in each case, these drugs relieve the anxiety that lies at the core of the dread," Oliveira-Souza explained.

Some patients were concurrently treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, a talk therapy method that works by untangling the specific fear (in this case, ghosts), from the physical and emotional experience of anxiety .

It's also likely that fear of ghosts occurs on a spectrum. A person without full-blown claustrophobia may still feel quite uncomfortable on a malfunctioning elevator after treatment, Oliveira-Souza said. In the same way, a person without a full supernatural phobia can still struggle to banish memories of horror films or Stephen King novels while alone on a dark and stormy night. 

  • Spooky Sites: 7 of the Most Haunted Places in the United States
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Originally published on Live Science .

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Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

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Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.

im not afraid of ghosts

  • (Ghostbusters) If there's something strange In your neighborhood Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) If there's something weird And it don't look good Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) I ain't afraid of no ghost I ain't afraid of no ghost If you're seeing things Running through your head Who can you call? (Ghostbusters) An invisible man Sleepin' in your bed Oh, who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) I ain't afraid of no ghost I ain't afraid of no ghost Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) If you're all alone Pick up the phone And call (Ghostbusters) I ain't afraid of no ghost Ooh, I hear it likes the girls Hm, I ain't afraid of no ghost (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah) Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Mmm, if you've had a dose of a Freaky ghost, baby You better call (Ghostbusters) ow Lemme tell ya something Bustin' makes me feel good I ain't afraid of no ghost I ain't afraid of no ghost Don't get caught alone oh, no (Ghostbusters) When it comes through your door Unless you just want some more I think you better call (Ghostbusters) Ow, Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Uh, think you better call (Ghostbusters) Ha ha, who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) I can't hear you Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Louder (Ghostbusters) Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Who can you call? (Ghostbusters) Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) Uh, it likes the girls too (Ghostbusters) Writer/s: Ray Parker Jr. Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
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Comments: 19

  • Howard L. from Middletown Twp, Pa I thought the kids in the video were members of a (gospel/hip-hop?) band, Newcleus. The wiki article didn't confirm that. Still a minor mystery, if it matters to them after all this time.
  • Siahara Shyne Carter from United States The Orginal Version is the Best! but I also like the Fall out boys version I'm not Afraid I'm not Afraid suddenly Big foot came haha.
  • Jennifur Sun from Ramona How was the opening done? Is it a synth or a guitar?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny On June 7th 1984, the Columbia Pictures movie "Ghostbusters" had its world premier in Westwood, California; and the next day it opened in theaters across the U.S.A. Three days later on June 10th the title song by Ray Parker, Jr. entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #68; and on August 5th it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 10 of those 17 weeks it was on the Top 10)... The song also reached #1 in Canada, Belgium, Spain, France, and South Africa.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, Tx Overrated song for an overrated movie.
  • Frank from Los Angeles, Ca Ray Parker Jr.'s "girlfriend and her friends" that shout the chorus of Ghostbusters might be a young lady named Chapman and her friends. (See my other post)
  • Frank from Los Angeles, Ca When I was 13 during the second half of 1984 - after Ghostbusters had been released 5-6 months previously, Ray Parker Jr. was dating one of the older daughters in a family called Chapman that went to the same school/church, Our Lady of Lourdes in Tujunga, CA, as my sister and myself. I saw him in the church around 5 times and was so excited! He was the first celebrity I had ever seen in a "non-contrived" environment.
  • Charlie from Tulsa, Ok Am I the only one that thinks Ray Parker really ripped off Soul Finger by the Bar-Kays instead of Huey Lewis?
  • Paul from Detroit, Mi Okay.. it sounds similar to I Want a New Drug, but that's about it. How many songs sound similar? I think Huey Lewis got lucky winning his suit. I'm glad Ray Parker got him back in the end. Huey was probably pissed because Ray had a smash hit with the song.
  • Kelsey from Rustburg, Va HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! THIS SONG IS SO BAD BUT SO ADDICTIVE!! My bro was obssessed with GhostBusters when he was a little kid (he's 26 now) He had the posters, the action figures, the ghost catching toys and everything! He used to get in so much trouble cuz he had one of those little pack things that fires a cage or something and him and his friend Chris would fire it in the house and say they "caught a ghost" LOL!!
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, Mi This was a classic when I was a elementary schooler.
  • Rebekah :) from Knoxville, Tn #1 song the day I was born... August 14, 1984. yay!
  • Anne from Dodge City, Ks I will never forget my first trip to New York in the summer of 1984 (I was five). We were stuck in traffic and we could hear cars all around with this song blaring on the radio and their windows down. Being caught up in the excitement people in a lot of the cars started yelling ghostbusters. It wasn't long before tons of people were yelling ghostbusters every time Ray asked "Who you gonna call?"
  • Ryan from Marion, Ia Does indeed sound very much like "I Want a New Drug"...
  • Keith from San Anselmo, Ca "Bustin' makes me feel real good!" What a lyric.
  • Windy from Otway, Oh if the Lost Souls off of Doom 3 come callin',who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!
  • Billy from Otway, Oh Ghostbusters Was My Favorite Movie Ever.Slimer Rocked.Too Bad He Slimed Bill Murray And Was Caught By The Trio. (This Was Before Winston Was A Member)
  • Craig from Madison, Wi When I was a child I was amazed to hear that this song was written and recorded in an afternoon. Hearing it again recently, I'm not all that surprised.
  • Jonathan from Saratoga Sorings, Ny The same year singer songwriter Larry Melvin wrote and recorded his single "Larry Loose", he wrote and recorded "Larry Busters".

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Jet Paul McCartney & Wings

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Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine" They're Playing My Song

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Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs Song Writing

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Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts

Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts


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About the book, about the author.

R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine invented the teen horror genre with Fear Street, the bestselling teen horror series of all time. He also changed the face of children’s publishing with the mega-successful Goosebumps series, which went on to become a worldwide multimedia phenomenon. Guinness World Records cites Stine as the most prolific author of children’s horror fiction novels. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jane, and their dog, Lucky.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (December 18, 2012)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442487772
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (Ghosts of Fear Street Book 23)

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Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (Ghosts of Fear Street Book 23) Kindle Edition

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Robbie's got one trick left up his sleeve. And it has to work. If it doesn't, he'll have to give up the ghost business forever.

  • Reading age 8 - 12 years
  • Book 14 of 14 Ghosts of Fear Street
  • Print length 128 pages
  • Language English
  • Grade level 3 - 7
  • Publisher Aladdin
  • Publication date December 18, 2012
  • Page Flip Enabled
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  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B009G43V9I
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Aladdin (December 18, 2012)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ December 18, 2012
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1481 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
  • #1,196 in Children's Fantasy & Supernatural Mystery Books
  • #2,616 in Children's Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural Books
  • #3,217 in Children's Scary Stories

About the authors

R. l. stine.

Why is Tim Jacobus R.L. Stine's favorite illustrator? Maybe because they've done so many scary books together. Tim did the cover paintings for more than 80 Goosebumps books, as well as the six amazing Amazon books. Recently, the two of them got together and asked the questions they've always wanted to ask each other...

TIM (the illustrator) asks R.L. STINE (the author):

TIM: When I illustrate, I can "see" the image in my head before I start to draw. Do you "hear" a story when you write?

R.L.: I hear kids when I write. I try to hear the voice of the boy or girl who is telling the story. I visit schools a lot and talk with kids so I can keep up with what they are saying these days and what real kids sound like. Then I try to hear their voices tell the story as I write it.

TIM: You've written so many books I can't do the math, but I bet you've used millions of words. What's you favorite word?

R.L.: Someone once got in an elevator with a very witty author named Noel Coward and said, "Say something funny." And Coward said, "Kangaroo." Kangaroo has been a favorite word of mine ever since I heard that story. But as a horror writer, I guess my favorite word is SCREAM!

TIM: Where is the strangest place you have come up with an idea for a story?

R.L.: An empty movie theater. My wife and I went to see a scary movie in a big, old movie house-- and we were the only ones in the theater. It was kind of creepy. Then about halfway through the movie, I turned around and saw that the back row was filled with people sitting straight and still. Suddenly, I thought-- They are zombies! I'm trapped in a dark zombie theater! And that's where the idea for the book Zombie Town came from.

TIM: If you couldn't write-- and you possessed all skills-- what would you like to do for a living?

R.L.: I drew comic strips from the time I was in 4th grade, and I always dreamed of being a cartoonist. You can imagine my shock when the other kids told me how bad my art was. They were right. I stunk! I got over my extreme disappointment by starting to write. But if I had the skill, I would love to do what you do, Tim.

R.L. STINE (the author)asks TIM (the illustrator):

R.L.: If you couldn't be an artist what would you like to be?

TIM: I would like to be a "Snowmaker" at one of the big ski resorts, out west, like Mammoth Mountain in California. You work at night when everyone goes home. Set up the snow guns, cover the slopes, and groom them with the Sno-Cat track machine. It's kinda like a snow tank! Then, you get to ski for free! I love that snow!

R.L.: When we were kids, my brother and I used to go to a horror movie every Saturday. We loved them all. The covers on our six Amazon books look like movie posters to me. Were you also influenced by horror movies? If so, which ones?

TIM: I was a complete "chicken" as a kid. I couldn't sit through any horror movie. The first scary movie I saw was on TV. It isn't really a horror movie. It was the Hunchback of Notre Dame-- the black-and-white version with Charles Laughton. That movie freaked me out! The mutant, Quasimodo, was something that REALLY could exist. Black-and-white movies, black-and-white photos—they all seem more "real" than full color to me.

R.L.: You have painted so many great covers. I think your scariest Goosebumps cover was for The Barking Ghost. And the black cat on The 13th Warning is really creepy. Do you have a favorite cover? Is it a scary one or a funny one?

TIM: It's hard to pick a favorite. But you gotta love the blue bathroom blobs in Monster Blood IV. That one is a little creepy and WAY funny. For just outright scary, I love the ticket taker in Zombie Town!

R.L.: What was the weirdest thing someone ever asked you to draw?

TIM: Oh, I have drawn a lot of weird stuff. One time, I had to paint a pimple! You know... acne! It was a medical illustration. Gross. When I first started illustrating, I painted pictures of food. My food illustrations were used in the Sunday newspaper for the local supermarket. I painted every food you can imagine. I can draw a pretty mean potato!

Nina Kiriki Hoffman

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  1. Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts eBook by R.L. Stine

    im not afraid of ghosts

  2. Emilie Autumn Quote: “I myself am not afraid of ghosts; I am afraid of

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  2. How to Stop Fearing Ghosts and Paranormal Phenomena: 13 Steps

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  3. I Do Not Believe in Ghosts, But I Am Awfully Afraid of Them

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    Definition Symptoms Diagnosis Causes Treatment Phasmophobia is a persistent and intense fear of ghosts. People with phasmophobia might know that their anxiety isn't founded. Still, they can't control their fear, which can cause significant distress. Many people get a few goosebumps while listening to a ghost story or watching a horror movie.

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  12. Lyrics for Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.

    Running through your head Who can you call? (Ghostbusters) An invisible man Sleepin' in your bed Oh, who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) I ain't afraid of no ghost I ain't afraid of no ghost Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters) If you're all alone Pick up the phone And call (Ghostbusters) I ain't afraid of no ghost Ooh, I hear it likes the girls

  13. Ghostbusters (song)

    "Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)", a version of the song by American rock band Fall Out Boy, featuring hip hop recording artist Missy Elliott, was released on June 23, 2016, from the soundtrack of the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters. The cover received negative reviews from critics, who criticized its musical structure.

  14. Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts

    Product Details Resources and Downloads Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts Book #23 of Ghosts of Fear Street By R.L. Stine LIST PRICE $5.99 PRICE MAY VARY BY RETAILER Get a FREE ebook by joining our mailing list today! Plus, receive recommendations and exclusive offers on all of your favorite books and authors from Simon & Schuster.

  15. I'm not afraid of ghosts : r/nosleep

    I'm not afraid of ghosts I'm not afraid of ghosts, but it's not because I don't believe in them. I do. In fact, I know they exist. I've been seeing them all my life, Haley Joel style, and by now I've come to take them for granted. There's certain rules to how I see them, which I've observed.

  16. Bob's Burgers (OST)

    I'm not afraid of ghosts. I'm not afraid of sharks. I'm not afraid of cancer. I'm just afraid of snakes! They really freak me out. Where are their arms and legs? It's not okay! Thanks! .

  17. Personality Disorders

    Credits. I am not afraid of ghosts Lyrics: I am not afraid of ghosts. I am not afraid of the things that haunt my head. You are a ghost now, but you don't haunt my head / And you don't know how to ...

  18. IWTL how to overcome my fear of ghosts : r/IWantToLearn

    If you are seeing or hearing things you can't explain, you may have medical needs that should be addressed. Either way, I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist. It will help with anxiety and make sure you don't have any major health issues you're unaware of. 1. Live-Wrangler2454.

  19. Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (Ghosts of Fear Street Book 23)

    Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (Ghosts of Fear Street Book 23) - Kindle edition by Stine, R.L.. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (Ghosts of Fear Street Book 23).

  20. Who is afraid of ghosts and why? I'm curious. : r/Ghosts

    A lot of people claim to not be afraid of ghosts. Until they come face to face with one. For me it's the unknown. And the invasion of space. Ghost are fascinating but in my own home I don't want them around. [deleted] • 6 mo. ago For me, I'm not scared because I don't believe. Most of the time, there's a logical answer for what happens.

  21. Kristinia DeBarge

    [Chorus] I'm not afraid of ghosts And that's all you want in me I had to let you go But you just didn't wanna leave You can haunt me (On the phone) Haunt me (And we're done) Haunt me, whatever you ...

  22. Why are some people who don't believe in ghosts, still afraid ...

    I'm not over fond of spiders, for example, but I find other people's fear of snakes quite incomprehensible. When looking for a real scare I will typically choose something with ghosts - "The Haunting Of Hill House" scared the absolute crap out of me - because I find ghosts a lot scarier than zombies or vampires or demon nuns.

  23. Ghostbusters │I ain't afraid of no ghosts!

    Ghostbusters │I ain't afraid of no ghosts! - YouTube © 2023 Google LLC This is a Tribute for the Boys in Grey; Ray, Egon, Winston and Peter :D The Ghostbusters! I thought I would make one as...