Ghost-Related Programming Trends Since 1890

ghost

Are we being exposed to more programming about ghosts as time goes on? I examined the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to see whether there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of ghost-related programming on mediums such as television and film over time. I share my findings with you in this article.

Before I begin, I’ll state my position on ghosts for those who are unaware. I believe “ghosts” are actually evil spiritual beings who simply do not have good intentions instead of the disembodied souls of people.

As with alien programming, IMDb is a far from perfect website to get data from since it is largely user-driven, but it provides enough information to make it possible to estimate trends in programming featuring ghosts over time. The IMDb’s keyword search feature enables users to search for programming that relates to “ghosts”. At the time of this writing, IMDb lists 4146 titles of television shows, movies, video games, and short films that users identified as having something to do with ghosts.

Ghosts in a Variety of Mediums

I utilized the IMDb’s database to create the following chart illustrating the trend in the total number of ghost-related video games, television shows, movies, and short films created from 1890 to the present by decade.

ghosts all

You can see a general upward trend in the number of ghost-related television shows, movies, video games, and short films over the last few decades. The most recent decade saw an explosion in the amount of ghost-related programming according to the IMDb database. While the huge increase in ghost-related programming is startling, it’s unsurprising that the trend is upward since there is currently a lot of public interest in the paranormal.

Ghost-Related Movies

I also utilized the IMDb’s database to create the following chart illustrating the trend in the total number of ghost-related movies created from 1890 to the present by decade.

ghost movies

I expected a gradual, upward trend in the number of ghost movies over time since the topic of ghosts has been on people’s minds for a long time. Instead, you can see a large jump in the number of new ghost-related movies in the 1980s, but this jump pales in comparison to the massive jump in the past decade.

  • I wonder how much impact the Ghostbusters movie franchise had on stimulating public interest in the paranormal in the 1980s.
  • As for the past decade, I wonder how much of a role Harry Potter had to play in stimulating public interest in paranormal topics.

Ghost-Related TV Shows

I also utilized the IMDb’s database to create the following chart illustrating the trend in the total number of ghost-related television shows created from 1890 to the present by decade.

tv ghosts

You can see a major increase in the total number of ghost-related television shows in the past decade, which is unsurprising given the high-level of public interest in the paranormal.

  • I noticed while looking at the IMDb database that there were more television series that focused on ghosts/the paranormal as the main topic than in previous decades. The IMDb often lists each ghost-related episode for television series that relate to the paranormal, so that may explain the large increase in the number of listings for the period 2000-2009.

Notes of Caution

As with the study concerning alien-related programming, there are several limitations to this study that I feel should be recognized like in the study…

1. This study does not account for the frequency that we see ghost-related programming on television. The only way to measure the trends in the frequency that we see ghost-related programming on television is to get a lot of television schedule data and compare the data trends of that over time.

2. This study does not cover one major area where people are exposed to ghost-related information: books. Like with aliens, it would be interesting to see whether there has been an increase in the number of books relating to ghosts in recent decades.

3. Since the IMDb is user-driven, it is possible that some programming included in their database is miscategorized.

4. Another consequence to the user-driven aspect of IMDb is that it is possible that some ghost-related programming is not reported in their database.

Despite the limitations, the results today suggest that we are seeing more ghost-related programming from a variety of mediums, including television, movies, and video games compared to a few decades ago.

  • The concern I have with the growing amount of ghost-related programming is that could help stimulate people’s desire to contact the spirit world, which then puts them at risk of being possessed or being misled by evil spiritual entities.

Regardless of how I feel about the issue, I expect that we are going to continue to see an increase in ghost-related programming because paranormal topics are popular with the public.

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