urban legends

Ghost test

Are you able to see ghosts? There are an unexpectedly large number of people who don’t realise they can. I’m going to introduce you to a simple test that will let you know whether you can see ghosts or not.

First, find a quiet spot and close your eyes. Then imagine the front door of your childhood home as accurately as possible. Once you’ve done that, open the door and walk in. Then open every window in the house, one after the other.

Once you’ve successfully opened all the windows, proceed to close them all in the opposite order to how you just opened them. Then, finally, leave the house and it’s all over. You can open your eyes again.

Question. Did you happen to see anyone in the hall or rooms while you were imagining your house? Supposing you did, then there is a good chance that you are able to see ghosts. The more attuned you are to seeing ghosts, the more people you will see in your house.


The above urban legend stresses that people have varying levels of ability to see ghosts. The idea of reikan, or someone’s ability to sense the supernatural, is very strong in Japan, and just like your favourite action heroes, it come with varying levels of ability. You can have strong or weak reikan; you may be able to see some ghosts but not others, or sense some supernatural events whilst being completely blind to the rest. How can you tell if you’re a regular human or a Super Saiyan on the reikan scale? The classifications are as follows:

1. You didn’t see anyone.
In this case it’s unlikely you have any ability to see ghosts. Sorry.

2. If you saw any family members or pets.
There’s a good chance you have the ability to see ghosts. However, if your family or pets looked how they always do, then your ability isn’t very high. If they looked strange, however, there’s a chance you’re in danger.

3. If you saw any strangers.
You have a strong reikan, and will likely experience many supernatural events after this. But who was in the house? If it wasn’t a friend or someone you knew, this could mean trouble. If you happen across that person in real life, chances are very high that they’re already a ghost.


This isn’t the only way to test whether you have a strong or weak reikan, however. You can also try the following:

1. The pinky test
Check the length of your pinky finger and ring finger on your left hand. If your pinky is longer than the first joint on your ring finger, you can see ghosts. If it’s not, you can’t. The longer your pinky finger is, the stronger your ability to sense ghosts is.

2. The dinner test
What did you eat for dinner last night? Try to remember. If you remember what food you had, you’re unable to see ghosts. If you see yourself eating dinner in third person, or from far away, then you have a very strong reikan.

3. The kitsune test
Make the shape of a kitsune with your hand (hold your middle two fingers against your thumb while your index finger and pinky remain in the air). Now try to press your index finger and pinky together. If you could, you can see ghosts. If you couldn’t, you can’t.

4. The self-check test
People who have several of the following factors are said to have an extremely strong reikan:

1. Your family (especially parents or grandparents) can see ghosts.
2. You have a powerful imagination.
3. You have intense impressions of things.
4. You often have trouble sleeping at night.
5. You often question people about their complexion.

If you have over half the above list, then you have a strong ability to see ghosts. Reikan is said to pass down through the generations, so especially if you answered yes to number one, then there’s no mistaking it.

5. The clasp test
Clasp your hands together. The index finger from which hand is on top? Left or right? If the index finger from your left hand is on top that means you have the ability to see ghosts.

Try it again, this time deliberately putting the other hand on top. Feels strange, doesn’t it? That’s because this action is controlled by either the left or right side of your brain. If your left-hand ends up on top that means you work predominately with the right side of your brain. People who work with the right side of their brain are said to be dreamers, artistic folks who can see that which isn’t really there.

As a side note, I personally tried this test when I was working at a junior high in Japan. The teacher brought it up one day and asked all the kids to clasp their hands together without telling them why. He made them check which index finger was on top, but rather than it being your ability to see ghosts or not, this test supposedly revealed whether you had a male or female spirit. Cue a lot of kids forcing their hands to switch places if they got the gender they didn’t want!

These days you can even download a bunch of apps that will tell you whether you have a strong reikan or not, simply through a series of questions that usually mirror everything you see above. The story with the windows is the most popular of all, however, and you can often find people’s answers to how many people they saw in the comments of various blogs that post the story. Why not try it and see for yourself? You never know who you might see.


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