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

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