Whether you're a committed believer that ghosts exist, or you just enjoy getting the odd scare watching a scary film or reading a ghostly tale on a dark night, there's no denying all of us have at least some interest in ghosts. But have you ever thought you'd like to come back as a ghost? Perhaps you like the idea of roaming your favourite place on Earth as a spook, or just scare your friends and family a bit, but how can you guarantee you will become a ghost after you die?
No ghosts have actually given us that information, so we've rolled up our sleeves, broken out our science and maths textbooks (remember them?) and we're applying the scientific rule of crunching the data from the world's most well known hauntings to allow us to conclusively show you what you'll need to do to get your place in the spirit hall of fame.
Ready for our statistically-based guide to how to become a ghost? Let's go...
Cause Of Death
One of the most important factors which seems to guarantee that someone will come back as a ghost is the cause of death. A high percentage of ghost are alleged to have died accidentally, either in accidents on roads, or in the line of work. The next most common cause of death for ghosts is death in battle. Tales of soldiers from civil wars, world wars and medieval battles are amongst the most common amongst reports of hauntings.
So assuming you can't deliberately kill yourself accidentally (that would be suicide, right, fact fans?) and you're not in the military, what's your next option?
Well, you're not going to like it. The number one cause of death for ghosts is murder. The majority of reports of hauntings in English speaking countries involve spirits which were killed. Often the spirit has returned to try to uncover their killer or to expose them. This is their unfinished business.
So, if you want to return as a ghost, your chances are hugely increased if you get yourself murdered.
Having unfinished business also massively increases your chances of becoming a ghost. Unfinished business can include watching over a loved one, guarding a building or location, or having a message to deliver. In the case of Castell Coch in Wales, the castle's resident ghost is said to have unfinished business in the form of hidden treasure. The spirit is described as a man dressed in a cavalier uniform. It's believed that in life he was lucky enough to have laid his hands on a large amount of gold, which he buried somewhere in the grounds of Castle Coch. Even to this day, visitors to the castle say they have seen him roaming the grounds, checking that his hidden riches are safe.
So, how do you go about ensuring you have legitimate unfinished business? How about, getting all the money you can get your hands on, the keys to your prized car, mobile phone or all of the above, getting completely drunk and burying them somewhere, then getting more smashed. When you wake up, you'll have no memory of where you buried your stash. Just remember to tell your drunk self to bury the hoard somewhere your sober self would never suspect.
Location Location Location
Where you live or spend your time in life can also effect your likelihood to return as a ghost. Some of the most commonly haunted locations in the UK are parks, schools, hospitals, and hotels. So being murdered in a park will help you achieve your dream of becoming a ghost. It may also help to be a teacher who died in a classroom. Doctors or patients with a strong attachment to a hospital also stand a good chance, as do hoteliers or frequent visitors to a hotel.
But according to records of reported sightings, theatres are almost always haunted often by a murdered actor. One famous example of a case of this nature is at London's famous Adelphi Theatre. The theatre's stage door at the back of the building was the scene of a murder in 1897. An actor by the name of William Terris was stabbed by a fellow actor as he arrived for the evening's performance of the play 'The Secret Service'. As Terris lay dying on the floor he vowed to gathering spectators that he "would be back". Since then, tourists walking past the stage door have reported seeing a shadowy figure. Witnesses later identified the figure as the murdered actor.
In the case of the Adelphi Theatre, William Terris was a well known actor of the time and it seems that being known helps when it comes to coming back as a ghost. There are countless reports of notable people and prominent members of society returning from beyond the grave. The list includes President Abraham Lincoln who is said to haunt the White House. There's also King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn who's spirit has been spotted at the Tower Of London. Another well known ghost is that of King Arthur. He is supposed to lead his ghostly troop of knights down the slopes of Cadbury Hill in Somerset, the legendary site of Camelot.
So, becoming famous will definitely help you in the afterlife. Who knows, it might even help you before you die!
There's one factor which will influence your chances of becoming a ghost which you can't change and that's your sex. But, it's good news if you're female as 69% of the most famous ghost sightings in the USA are female. In the UK, one of the most famous ghost sightings of all time is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. There are also countless other famous female ghosts besides her. Scattered all over the country there's grey ladies, ladies in white, women in red, headless nuns, and of course Bloody Mary. She was a murdered witch who shows herself in the mirror to those who summon her.
So should all the males out there give up? Well, sex change operations are available, and in these enlightened times, why should the sex you were at birth affect what you get up to in the afterlife?
Putting It All Together
Statistically, your chances of becoming a ghost are hugely increased if...
- You are female
- You have a connection to the arts/theatre
- You're famous or married to someone well known
- You have unfinished business
- You were murdered by an unknown assailant who you are trying to find
Having input our findings into a computer (fancy eh?), we believe the most likely candidate to becomes a ghost, provided they are murdered, which we obviously hope doesn't happen, is...
- 'The Mary Poppins' star had an illustrious film and theatre career, was married to the writer and director Blake Andrews. Her unfinished business? She rose to fame playing Eliza Doolittle in the theatre production of 'My Fair Lady', but when Hollywood came a-calling, she lost out on the part of Audrey Hepburn.
Cate Blanchett - Known for her roles in 'The Lord Of The Rings' movie series, Cate is another perfect candidate. She's a gifted performer wth plenty of film and stage experience including her recent Broadway debut in 'The Present'. She's married to a well-known playwright and screenwriter, Andrew Upton and had unfinished business in the form of an Oscars snub. Cate was nominated for her role in the 1998 movie 'Elizabeth' but lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow for her role in 'Shakespeare in Love.' But perhaps that role itself was cursed as Paltrow's film career has been as illusive as a ghost ever since.
Sigourney Weaver - Regarded as "the Sci-Fi Queen", Sigourney is an experienced Broadway actress and much-loved star of the cult classics 'Ghostbusters' and 'Alien'. She also fits the profile of a potential spook perfectly. She's been married to stage director Jim Simpson since 1984 and has some pretty major unfinished business. Sigourney is an outspoken activist opposing the threat to the oceans posed by deep-sea trawling. One day fishing crew might experience the wrath of Sigourney's spirit in open waters unless they start to fish more ethically.