Do You Believe?

Britons are more likely to believe in the supernatural than conventional religion – that’s the verdict of a new study which reveals that one in ten British adults believe that they have a supernatural gift while a quarter claim that they have witnessed something that cannot be explained by science.


The survey of 2,000 British adults was commissioned to mark the launch of Oscar® winning Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams? new TV series Believe on Watch. The poll asked respondents about their beliefs as well as superstitions which still hold sway in 2014.

A staggering one in ten of those surveyed claimed to have supernatural powers themselves with the following the most common.

Top 10 Beliefs in Unexplained Phenomena:

1 - Ghosts (33%)
2 - Sixth sense (32%)
3 - UFOs (22%)
4 - Past lives (19%)
5 - Telepathy (18%)
6 - Psychic ability to predict the future (18%)
7 - Psychic healing (16%)
8 - Astrology (10%)
9 - Bermuda Triangle (9%)
10 - Demons (8%)

A quarter of respondents (25%) claimed their belief was born out of witnessing something spooky themselves, whilst almost one in five (19%) had been convinced by someone they trusted and 16% were influenced by TV or film.

A quarter of respondents (25%) said that reports of supermodel Kate Moss hiring a Shaman to cleanse her new home of evil spirits, and other celebrities endorsing elements of the supernatural, would make people more likely to believe in the supernatural and the unexplained.

A third (32%) of Britons consider themselves to be superstitious, with the following being the most popular.

Top 10 Most Common Superstitions

1 - Walking under a ladder (25%)
2 - Breaking a mirror will bring seven years bad luck (21%)
3 - If you touch wood it will ward off bad luck after tempting fate (18.2%)
4 - To open an umbrella in the house will bring bad luck (18.1%)
5 - Putting new shoes on the table brings bad luck (17.1%)
6 - Finding a penny on the floor and picking it up brings you good luck (17%)
7 - If your ear is burning someone is talking about you (15%)
8 - If you spill salt, throwing it over your shoulder counteracts bad luck (14.6%)
9 - Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day (13.75%)
10 - Forbidding the groom to see the bride in her dress before their wedding (13.55%)

In terms of the amount that Britons spend on supernatural beliefs each year, 4% admit to shelling out more than £100, with one in ten having a tarot reading and 3% having consulted someone who reveals their past lives.

Regional Differences

The research revealed some interesting regional variations, with respondents in the North West the most likely to believe that they have a special ?gift? (14% compared with a national average of 10%). 

Those in the South East are the most superstitious (37% compared with a national average of 32%) but the Northern Irish are more likely to spend in excess of £150 hiring the services of someone who claims to have supernatural powers (7%).