Many Americans say they’ve interacted with deceased family members in dreams, study says

The connections people experience with their loved ones don’t necessarily end after death, a recent Pew Research Center survey’s results suggest.

Just over half of 5,079 surveyed American adults – 53% – reported ever having been visited by a dead relative in dreams “or some other form,” according to the survey results released Wednesday.

And 44% of respondents said they’ve experienced at least one of these three encounters in the past year: feeling a dead relative’s presence, telling a late family member about their lives or having a deceased relative communicate with them, according to Pew Research Center.

The center conducted the survey among its American Trends Panel members between March 27 and April 2. The survey included responses from “Americans of all religious backgrounds,” including Buddhists, Jews and Muslims, the center said.

The results showed moderately religious people – measured partly by how often they attend religious services and whether they said they prayed daily – were more likely to have experienced interactions with dead relatives.

That is partly because some of the most traditionally religious groups and some of the least religious people, like atheists, are less likely to report interactions with deceased family members, two of the center’s researchers wrote in a report on the survey.

“When it comes to religion, about half or more of Catholics (58%), members of the historically Black Protestant tradition (56%) and mainline Protestants (52%) say they have had at least one of these three experiences in the last year – significantly more than the 35% of evangelical Protestants who say the same,” researchers Patricia Tevington and Manolo Corichi wrote.

Women – 41% – were also more likely than men – 27% – to report recently feeling the presence of a dead relative, the survey found.

The survey’s yes-no questionnaire didn’t ask for explanations about the nature of these encounters from respondents.

Because of this, the researchers wrote that they “don’t know whether people view these experiences as mysterious or supernatural, or whether they see them as having natural or scientific causes, or some of both.”

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