Do YOU believe in Ghosts ? Most educated men nowadays, it may be anticipated, would answer, No. A majority, or at lowest, a substantial minority of educated Europeans, at any date within the last two hundred years, would probably have given a similar answer had the question been put to them. But by the greater number of the human race at the present day, and by learned and unlearned, civilised and uncivilised alike, at any previous period in the world's history, an answer would unhesitatingly have been returned in the affirmative. In fact the belief in ghosts has been so widespread that it may almost be claimed as universal. The very conception of a future life is intimately bound up with the belief: it has left its traces on all the religions in the world. The elaborate arrangements for embalming the dead amongst the Egyptians, the offerings to the dead which formed part of the funeral ceremonies in early civilisations, and are still found throughout a great part of the world at the present day, are obviously associated with the belief or at least the hope of the survival of a quasi-material soul a soul having form and substance, appetites and desires. Among the Egyptians the soul which was weighed in the balance and found wanting was doomed to be devoured by the Eater of the Dead.
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