The folks over at Movoto Real Estate blog say they were curious about belief in the supernatural throughout the 50 U.S. states. Not necessarily because they are believers or skeptics themselves; but more because they were looking for an interesting topic as a basis to crunch numbers. And the findings are interesting.
From the blog post at Movoto:
Have you ever wondered if there are aliens? If bigfoot is real? Have you ever thought maybe you were psychic or that your house could be haunted by its previous tenants? You aren’t alone. A huge portion of the U.S. population—75 percent, by some estimates—believes in, or at least is fascinated by, these supernatural subjects, in some areas more than others. But in which areas exactly?
We’re not a bunch of skeptics, but we are math nerds, so we decided to rank the states using numbers rather than our own opinions.
Using everyone’s favorite social media site, Facebook, we checked to see what percentage of the state’s population had an interest in:
- The paranormal (UFOs, ghosts, possessions, etc.)
- Cryptids (mythical creatures, mysterious beings, bigfoot, etc.)
- Psychic phenomena (seances, palmistry, messages from beyond the grave, etc.)
- The Illuminati (conspiracy and shadow organizations)
After that, we ranked each place in each category from one to 50, with scores closer to one being more supernaturally inclined.
Because they went to Facebook for the data, this map should be understood to represent states where people like to dish about paranormal topics, rather than actual belief in the supernatural. True one sheds light on the other, but still, I think the difference is significant enough to take note of.
Incidentally, using Facebook to gain data regarding your thoughts and feelings on various issues, or even to conduct psychological studies (sometimes without your consent) is becoming more commonplace. Take these two recent news stories:
fin24.com: ‘Dating site admits to Facebook-style experimentation’
NY Times: ‘Facebook Tinkers With Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment, Stirring Outcry’
On the one hand, none of that is quite at the level of NSA and FBI using Facebook to snoop on us, or hack our computers. But on the other hand, no one likes to find out he or she has been made into a lab rat.
But I digress…
As I said above, the results are interesting. Why? Because, as the folks at The Anomalist have pointed out in the August 21, 2014 post, there are an awful lot of southern ghost stories and yet, according to Movoto’s findings, southern states seem to be at the bottom of the list.
It’s odd — watch any season of something like Ghost Hunters or read up on American ghost stories or unexplained mysteries, and you will find a lot of phenomena centered around old southern hotels, theaters, ranch homes and the like. But as I said, this is data gleaned from people who share such things on the Internet — specifically, on Facebook.
Some interesting tidbits from Movoto:
1. New Mexico: The UFO Crash Heard ‘Round The World
You probably won’t be surprised at this being No. 1 when you hear this word: Roswell.
Yes, this is the state where a mysterious craft crash landed all those years ago, sending the area into a panic. Since then, this place has attracted UFO hunters from around the world.
New Mexico had the second most people who list the paranormal as an interest. It had the 10th most people who like cryptids, and the eighth most people who are fascinated by psychic stuff.
The biggest number here, though was the highest number of locals who are interested in the Illuminati. With all the conspiracy rumors and potential cover ups that happened surrounding the Roswell incident, we suppose it makes sense that this state would be more than a little suspicious.
2. Wyoming: Oh Give Me A Home Where The Jackalope Roam
If you go into the capitol building of Wyoming and look up, you’ll see the mounted head of a strange little rabbit with antelope horns. That, dear readers, is a Jackalope, one of the unofficial state animals.
While many contend that the animal is a myth, there’s still a large portion of people who believe these things are alive. Is it any wonder, then, that this place had the highest percent of people that show interest in cryptids?
Of course, Wyoming is a lot more supernatural than just a horned bunny. The state ranked third for people interested in the paranormal and eighth for those interested in the Illuminati.
Even the 11th place rank for people interested in psychic phenomena is a very high score, and helped boost this state into second place.
3. Nevada: Classy And Classified
While we don’t know what exactly goes on at Nevada’s infamous Area 51, we do know that the state’s residents are crazy (in a good way) about conspiracies.
It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of UFO sightings in this state, and that it’s a hotspot for conspiracy theorists, placing it third for interest in the Illuminati and sixth for interest in the paranormal.
While the rankings for cryptid interest and psychic interest were slightly lower at 12th and 15th respectively, those scores are still pretty high, and worthy of this stellar rating.
4. Maine: Watch Out For Shadows In The Woods
For many years, Maine locals have heard stories and even caught glimpses of strange monstrous dogs roaming their state. Apart from sounding like something out of “Cujo”, that alone should be enough to make this state one of our most paranormally inclined.
Maine walked away with a first place ranking when it came to interest in psychic phenomena, and (perhaps unsurprisingly given the monster dog thing) the ninth most people interested in cryptids and the eighth most people interested in the paranormal as a whole.
The state’s belief in the Illuminati was only middle of the pack, which probably means that locals are less bothered by secret overlords and more concerned about the giant mutant canines prowling their woods at night.
5. West Virginia: Celebrating The Supernatural
Like Maine, this state wasn’t so hot on the Illuminati, but then again residents have their own much more pressing concerns. This state had the highest percent of people who were interested in the paranormal, and the second most people interested in psychic stuff. The state also boasted the eighth most people interested in cryptids, and given their lore it’s easy to see why.
If you head to Point Pleasant, you’ll see a freaky looking statue of a huge bipedal creature with wings. This is the Mothman, a local cryptid with a history of flapping about and terrifying people with its glowing red eyes.
Are West Virginians scared? Heck no! They have a museum and festival dedicated to the creepy bug-person-thing.
6. Oklahoma: Ghostly Places And Strange Creatures
While Oklahoma may not have any famous cryptids (unless you count a fabled giant lake octopus) this place is pretty darn ghost friendly. Between haunted mansions and poltergeist activity, it’s a hotbed for those who haven’t quite yet said goodbye to this earthly plane.
Given that, its numbers here make sense. The seventh most people here believe in cryptids, the 10th most people have interest in the paranormal, and the 18th most people are fascinated with psychic phenomena.
Between the ghosts and giant octopuses, this place is perfect for those into the supernatural side of life.
7. Rhode Island: Was Mercy A Vampire?
In 1892, there was a young woman named Mercy Brown who died, along with most of her family, from tuberculosis. After she died, there were more mysterious deaths in the village and people began to suspect that someone in the family was a vampire.
They exhumed the corpses and, horrifyingly, Mercy’s body was not decomposing. In a fit of brilliance, they burned her heart and mixed it with water as a drinkable cure for her sick brother, who died anyway. Not exactly a tale you want to tell kids before bed, but that happened in Rhode Island.
Besides being a really, really creepy tale, this gives Rhode Island a pretty strong connection to the supernatural and vampires in general. The third highest amount of people here were interested in psychic phenomena, and the ninth most people were interested in the paranormal.
8. Washington: Those Are Some Awfully Big Footprints…
While this state might not have the highest rankings across the board, there were enough standouts to keep it in the top 10.
For starters, the 14th most people here were interested in the Illuminati, and the 20th most people here were interested in the paranormal. Of course, the best score here was the fourth place ranking for cryptids interest, thanks to someone you might have heard of.
Surprisingly, Washington has the most sightings in the nation of bigfoot. Yeah, you were probably wondering when he’d show up on our list.
Bigfoot hunters from all over come to this state to try to track down the most mysterious game of all time. Maybe someday they’ll catch him, but ‘til then, he’s still out there keeping Washington supernatural.
9. North Dakota: It’s a Bird. It’s A Plane. No, Wait, It Is A Bird.
Somehow scoring far above its southern neighbor, North Dakota has its own very unusual creature, probably helping with its No. 4 rank in cryptid interest.
The Thunderbird, showing up in petroglyphic art and with sightings as recent as 2009, is a huge perhaps not-so-ancient avian. While thunderbirds have possibly been sighted in other states, this one downright celebrates it, and has the most sightings in the nation.
The cryptid score wasn’t the only standout number, however. This place also had the seventh highest interest in the Illuminati.
10. Kentucky: Home Of The Original Green Goblins
You’ve heard the term “little green men” before, right? Ever wonder where that came from? Well, we can tell you: it came from an incident in Kentucky.
In 1955, dozens of people reported strange lights and small, green, goblin like creatures infiltrating their farmhouses. One police officer even put in a report about seeing UFOs that night. This sighting is one of the most well known in history, and probably is one of the reasons this place ranked fourth for interest in the paranormal.
Of course, you can’t get on our top 10 without some decent scores in other areas. The fifth most people here were interested in psychic things, and the 17th most people listed cryptids as an interest.
We’re not sure if these little green men were necessarily animals or not, but we do know they’re supernatural enough to keep Kentucky on our list.