Discussions around ghosts tend to be accompanied by bold assertions about ghost belief and its relative rise or decline, usually made irrespective of cultural commentary by ‘experts’. Since the Second World War, for example, opinion polls suggest that stated belief in ghosts has doubled in Britain, and similar trends can be seen elsewhere. Recent polls suggest that around 30-35 per cent of the British population state a belief in ghosts (Gill, Hadaway and Marler 1998: 512-13, Populus 2005: 31), possibly in tandem with the re-emergence and development of neo-pagan new religious movements and paranormal media culture. Yet even as this post-war trend was unfolding, historian Keith Thomas claimed bluntly that witchcraft and ghosts were among the things ‘now … rightly disdained by intelligent persons’ (Thomas 1978 : ix). This rather patrician comment appeared in hardback and paperback in the same years as the popular hardback and Hollywood film of William Blatty’s iconic text The Exorcist (1971 and 1973). Like Thomas’s, Blatty’s work has had an enormous influence, although in a rather different way and (perhaps) among different audiences. Blatty’s success in finding a fertile and responsive audience can, at the very least, be said to problematise Thomas’s claim.