Who Believes in Ghosts?

By Melanie Marquis

Who believes in ghosts? The tarotists below do. We asked some of our favorite tarot readers and experts to share their beliefs about spirits of the dead and their interactions with the living, and it’s clear that a belief in ghosts is not at all unusual in our mystically minded community.

Rachel Pollack


World-renowned tarot expert whose extensive works include Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings (Llewellyn, 2008), Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, and The Shining Tribe Tarot



I don't think that ghosts are something you believe in or don't believe in.  They're like Cleveland, if you've never been there you have no experience of them, and if the only people who've been there tell some wild stories, you might think Cleveland doesn't exist.  I don’t seem especially sensitive to ghosts, but I was once on an impromptu ghost hunting team at the college where I teach writing, and we had some very interesting results. More important, various friends of mine have had much more specific encounters. And my nephew lives in Cleveland.

Raven Digitalis

RavenDigitalis_199 (colour)

Tarot reader and author of Shadow Magick Compendium, Goth Craft, and the forthcoming Planetary Spells & Rituals: Practicing Dark & Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies (Llewellyn, March 2010)



I certainly believe in ghosts! I've encountered many over time. Even though "spirit sight" is not my primary ability or power, I've had relatively in-depth experiences with spirits of the departed. I find it sad that so many people are misdirected, or misguided, in life, and end up becoming "earthbound disincarnates," to quote the illustrious Dion Fortune. Spirits of all types are everywhere. As with anything, when approaching the unknown, I feel that a person should have a heavy amount of discernment and even skepticism. It was only last year that I had my strongest ghostly experience, and that was with a spirit I could easily call a succubus. It took some very directive ritual activities to get her off my energy sphere. Occurrences like that make my belief in the spirit realm unshakable! I also do some work with the Archangel of Death: Azrael. This is explored a bit in my first book Goth Craft. Luckily, peoples' fears of death and dying are starting to dwindle a bit with time. After all, death and life go hand in hand! 

Patrick Valenza

Patrick Valenza photo

Creator of the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 2008)



Yes, I believe in ghosts. As a child, I could feel their presence all around me. I was never scared by them, I just wanted them to play with me more. They seemed shy. Nowadays, it's harder to feel them, but I still welcome them to have fun now and then!

Christopher Penczak

A IMG_2601 copy 1

Tarot reader and author of The Witch’s Coin (Llewellyn, October 2009) and the Living Temple of Witchcraft series



Do I believe in ghosts? It's like asking if I believe in the Sun or Oxygen. I think non-physical beings are reality, and ghosts are simply one kind of spirit. Yet when I'm asked to investigate or even bring peace to such phenomenon, I've found most ghosts are not true spirits, but echoes and reflections. Some hauntings are just disturbed energy, but no presence. Some are like broken records, holograms in the astral that repeat over and over again with no consciousness. What most people think of as ghosts are really astral shells, disconnected from both body and soul, but lingering in the shape and emotions of a person. Very rarely have I encountered a true earthbound spirit that has not crossed the veil. I think visitations from ancestors who are not earthbound are far better experiences.

Paul Quinn

Paul cropped

Tarot reader and Author of Tarot for Life (Quest Books, 2009)



One evening during my high school years, several friends and I had a fascinating and terrifying experience involving a discarnate voice in one of our friends’ houses. This was no prank or audio trick; in fact, the technology that would’ve been required to pull off such an effect did not even exist at the time. We had been exploring questions with a Ouija board, and inadvertently invited an unwelcome visitor. The voice was male, and spoke in a chillingly flat monotone, all in gibberish. It spoke about four times that night, each time with increasing volume and in different areas of the house. Disturbing as the experience was, I’m grateful to have learned at such an early age that consciousness beyond what can be perceived by the senses. And I learned to respect the dark and lean closer to the light!

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. 

Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2009

Questions? Comments? Contact us.