Find all our Student Opinion questions here.

Have you ever heard strange noises in the middle of the night? Have you seen household objects mysteriously move or be suddenly gone? How about free-floating, full-torso vaporous apparitions, in the famous words of “Ghostbusters”?

Have you experienced more strange, perhaps paranormal, phenomena during the pandemic? If yes, you are not alone.

In “Quarantining With a Ghost? It’s Scary,” Molly Fitzpatrick writes:

It started with the front door.

Adrian Gomez lives with his partner in Los Angeles, where their first few days of sheltering in place for the coronavirus pandemic proved uneventful. They worked remotely, baked, took a two-mile walk each morning and refinished their porcelain kitchen sink. But then, one night, the doorknob began to rattle “vigorously,” so loud he could hear it from across the apartment. Yet no one was there.

In mid-April, Mr. Gomez was in bed when a nearby window shade began shaking against the window frame so intensely — despite the fact that the window was closed, an adjacent window shade remained perfectly still, the cats were all accounted for, and no bug nor bird nor any other small creature had gotten stuck there — that Mr. Gomez thought it was an earthquake.

“I very seriously hid myself under the comforter, like you see in horror movies, because it really did freak me out,” he said.

Now, though neither he nor his partner noticed any unexplained activity at home before this, the couple can “distinctly” make out footsteps above their heads. No one lives above them.

“I’m a fairly rational person,” said Mr. Gomez, who is 26 and works in I.T. support. “I try to think, ‘What are the reasonable, tangible things that could be causing this?’ But when I don’t have those answers, I start to think, ‘Maybe something else is going on.’”

They’re not alone … possibly in more ways than one.

For those whose experience of self-isolation involves what they believe to be a ghost, their days are punctuated not just by Zoom meetings or home schooling, but by disembodied voices, shadowy figures, misbehaving electronics, invisible cats cozying up on couches, caresses from hands that aren’t there and even, in some cases — to borrow the technical parlance of “Ghostbusters” — free-floating, full-torso vaporous apparitions.

Some of these people are frightened, of course. Others say they just appreciate the company.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

  • Does the article change your views on the existence of ghosts? What do you think best explains the strange phenomena experienced by Mr. Gomez, Ms. Hill and the others described in the article?

  • Do you or does someone you know have a personal ghost story? Did it involve disembodied voices, shadowy figures, misbehaving electronics or invisible cats cozying up on couches? Tell us about it.

  • The article cites a 2019 YouGov survey that revealed 45 percent of U.S. adults believe in ghosts and a 2009 Pew Research Center report that found 18 percent of Americans believe that they have seen or otherwise encountered one. Are you surprised by these results? What do you think they tell us about ghosts — or humans?

  • Kurt Gray, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says: “In quarantine, you are physically confined and also psychologically confined. Your world narrows. You’re trapped at home, you’re needing human contact — it’s comforting to think that there’s a supernatural agent here with you.” Do you agree? Why do you think there has been an increase of reports of haunted houses and other paranormal activity during this time of quarantine and social distancing?

  • Do you enjoy movies, television shows and books about ghosts and the supernatural? Why or why not? Why do you think they are so popular?


Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.