BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — If you’re hoping for a frightful encounter with a ghost this Halloween, you’re in the right place. North Dakota is the state with the second-most ghost sightings across the entire United States.

A recent countrywide study performed by took a list of ghost sighting reports from and then cross-referenced this with population figures from the U.S Census Bureau for towns and cities.

According to the data, while Maine is the state with the most ghostly experiences, (boasting 57.8 for every 100,000 individuals), North Dakota isn’t far behind, boasting an impressive 52.5 sightings. It isn’t just our state either: states like South Dakota and Montana are also extremely high on the list. The top ten states with the most ectoplasmic encounters compared to the population are as follows:

StateGhost Sightings per 100,000 People
North Dakota52.5
South Dakota47.4
West Virginia33.8

Although ND may not have any major cities that are notable for haunted places or ghost sightings, this could be a reason for our spectral superiority: the study also reports that an overwhelming majority of ghost sightings take place in smaller towns.

More than half of all paranormal sightings were reported to have occurred in areas with a population of 25,000 or fewer. Combined with the number of relatively small towns in North Dakota, it only makes sense that we would maintain these numbers with an abundance of small communities and ghost towns.

City Population Where Encounter ReportedPercentage of Ghost Encounters
Up to 1,00012%
1,000 – 9,99931%
10,000 – 24,99915%
25,000 – 49,9999%
50,000 – 99,9997%

The study also finds that Americans tend to encounter ghosts in some places more than others, with homes being the primary location of these encounters. Only approximately 14% of these experiences are stated to have taken place outdoors in locations other than cemeteries. Here are the most common locations for a ghost to be encountered, according to the research:

Area where Ghost Was EncounteredPercentage of Encounters
Cemeteries (Outdoor)4%
Parks (Outdoor)4%
Hills (Outdoor)3%
Bridges (Outdoor)2%
Fields (Outdoor)2%
Hotels, Offices, Bars, BarnsAll Roughly 1%
Highways, Trails, Beaches, Alleys (Outdoor)All Roughly 1%

Surprisingly, not many of these ghosts appear in the most commonly expected areas — cemeteries are only the third most common encounter location on the list and are far lower than schools and homes. It seems that when it comes to specters, there’s no place like home….or is that a former home?

When it does come to residential revenants, the specific area of the house is subject to studies, with certain areas reportedly being more favored by phantoms.

Encounter Location in HomePercentage of Home-Based Ghost Encounters
Other/Not On List14%
Living Room9%

Even the forms of these ghost sightings are able to be organized. While a majority of ghostly encounters have unidentified forms, some trends in ghost genders have been identified as well.

Reported Identities of Ghosts EncounteredPercentage of Ghost Encounters
Unknown/Unspecified Child8%

For the complete study and more details regarding ghost sightings in the United States, visit this page.