25% have had 'ghostly encounter'

Ghosts are busting out all over Britain, according to a new survey which shows record-breaking rates of spooky experiences.

Research by leading psychologist and paranormal investigator Professor Richard Wiseman reveals that a quarter of British adults - more than 11 million people - claim to have experienced a ghost.

In the 1950s, the figure was just 7%, rising to 14% in the 1990s and 19% in 2003.

Prof Wiseman, who does not believe in ghosts, thinks the large number of reports of apparitions, bumps in the night, and eerie sounds may be more to do with TV than psychic activity.

Ghosts have never been so popular on television, with shows such as Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters and Famous And Frightened attracting large numbers of fans.

"It's a surprisingly high figure, and it's interesting that the proportion of people who say they believe in ghosts has remained the same as it has been for many years, which is about a third," said Prof Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire.

"My only thought is that, because there have been a lot of ghost shows on TV, people may just be more likely to attribute certain experiences, like hearing creaky floorboards, to ghosts.

"All these shows are feeding off the perception that these things actually exist and not looking at the psychological perspective."