When I found it was addressed in H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, it was not the first time I heard or pondered about the increasing population of the spirit world. Basically, having seen what might be a ghost in the future, the Time Traveler wondered how numerous they would have to be after countless generations.
Assuming spirits exist, how many spirits are there? And how crowded could the Earth get with ghosts? Do ghosts eventually dissipate as some mystics suggest?
These are things we just can’t know.
In Shinto there is a saying that there are eight million spirits (or alternatively eight hundred and eighty), but this is not a literal eight million, because in Japanese, eight million can also mean; too many to count! Well, it makes since really, if there’s currently around 6.5 billion people on the planet and countless generations before, how do you figure out how many of them became ghosts, added to the various non-human spirits of Shinto belief?
Of course some religions limit the number of spirits much more. Some cult-like Southern US churches claim that the only spirits that exist are God, x-number of angels, and x-number of demons, never increasing. Honestly, I don’t know what bible they’re reading from, because there are clearly human ghosts and spirits described in the Holy Bible. But they still don’t have, to the best of my knowledge, a head count for the number of spirits.
As far as paranormal investigation goes, an increasing number of spirits could be an exciting prospect. In just the past couple weeks I got two new leads without even looking for leads, both an office building and a church, which may have paranormal activity.