The New York Times

How We Find Our Way to the Dead

THE GHOSTS OF A CULTURE ARE SHAPED BY ITS MACHINES.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time. Social media gets spookier every day. Among Facebook’s more than 40 million deceased users, an acquaintance who passed away two years ago has a profile page that remains quite active. Dozens of people who knew her post memories and emoji hearts, speaking to the dead woman as if she were only as near or as far as we all are these days — out there somewhere, behind another screen.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a fifth of Americans believe they have “seen or been in the presence of” a wandering soul; nearly a

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times4 min read
Blue Skies Ahead for Cheap Flights, But Read the Fine Print
More no-frills carriers as well as major airlines are offering deals on international flights. Just book ahead and be wary of ancillary fees — they can really add up.
The New York Times4 min read
A Same-Sex Couple Changes Bachelor Nation
Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty’s love story on “Bachelor in Paradise” was handled with nuance and authenticity, two words that run counter to the show’s reputation.
The New York Times3 min read
How to Take Advantage of Shoulder Season
Shoulder season — just before and after peak summer travel time — is when you’ll find warm temperatures, smaller crowds and deals.