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13 Ghostly Quotes To Raise Your Spirits

We all remember the spooky stories we first heard while gathered around a campfire or snuggled in a sleeping bag. Those tales frightened and thrilled us, prompting screams and exhilarated giggles.

The ubiquitous experience of sharing ghost stories can be traced back to the earliest oral traditions of many ancient cultures and a universal curiosity about death and the afterlife. Some scholars believe that an ancient Babylonian tablet from roughly 1500 BCE shows the first known depiction of a ghost. In a collection of letters written around the first century CE, Roman writer and magistrate Pliny the Younger recorded one of the first ghost stories, describing a “ghost rattling its chains over [a man’s] head.”

Stories about ghosts are grounded in the belief that our spirits are separate from our bodies and can continue to exist even after death. From novels and movies to podcasts and TV shows, pop culture is chock-full of paranormal tales about wandering spirits, haunted houses, and the supernatural. Sometimes a ghostly narrative serves as a cautionary tale that unresolved conflicts in this lifetime may carry over into the next realm. Others, such as the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, serve as allegories that reflect the darker parts of society and warn of their consequences.

Here are some haunting and atmospheric quotes about ghosts — spectral, ephemeral, and even metaphorical — to remind us of the enduring and entertaining traditions they’ve inspired.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us.
Scottish folk prayer

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We are all the ghosts of yesterday, and the phantom of tomorrow awaits us alike in sunshine or in shadow, dimly perceived at times, never entirely lost.
Daphne du Maurier

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Our revels now are ended. These our actors, / As I foretold you, were all spirits and / Are melted into air, into thin air.
William Shakespeare

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The rain / Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh / Upon the glass and listen for reply, / And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain / For unremembered lads that not again / Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

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I don’t want to have to drive ten miles to see somebody else’s ghost. I want one of my own on the premises.
Edith Wharton

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Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth / Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
John Milton

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The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.
Arthur Conan Doyle

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And as to being in a fright, / Allow me to remark / That Ghosts have just as good a right / In every way, to fear the light, / As Men to fear the dark.
Lewis Carroll

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Well, the highway is alive tonight / But nobody’s kidding nobody about where it goes / I’m sitting down here in the campfire light / Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad.
Bruce Springsteen

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To be haunted is to glimpse a truth that might best be hidden.
James Herbert

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Her beauty climbed the rolling slope, it came into the room, rustling ghost-like through the curtains.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I know what a ghost is … And I know what it isn’t, too … it isn’t a scarification or a flapping sheet, so pooh and pish to all that bunkum. What’s a ghost? Unfinished business, is what.
Salman Rushdie

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Ghosts may be a part of the terror of Halloween, but our love of ghost stories betrays a far more fragile desire: that we do not fade so easily from this life.
Katherine May

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Featured image credit: objectdd/ Shutterstock

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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