The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the
dead is widespread, dating back to animism
or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures.
Certain religious practices—funeral rites,
exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism
and ritual magic—are specifically designed to
appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are
generally described as solitary essences that
haunt particular locations, objects, or people
they were associated with in life, though
stories of phantom armies, ghost trains,
phantom ships, and even ghost animals have
also been recounted.