IT is generally believed that Scots are sceptical about the supernatural and things that go bump in the night.

But a new Survation poll, published by Humanist Society Scotland, has revealed that many are still clinging on to ancient beliefs.

A new research report published by Humanist Society Scotland says that nearly a third of Scots have a 'total belief' in angels and around one in four feel the same about demons and evil spirits.

One in five, in the Survation poll, firmly believe that divine miracles from God really exist.

Some experts believe a continuing belief in the metaphysical may be linked to class, and uncertain times caused by current concerns such as the impending exit from the European Union.

HeraldScotland:

Dr Chris Cotter, a University of Edinburgh religious studies scholar who is co-founder, co-editor-in-chief, and co-host of the The Religious Studies Project podcast said: "Whilst the cultural cache of religion and orthodox beliefs associated with 'it' are declining in Scotland, this doesn't mean that folk won't look beyond science for meaning.

"There is a quite convincing line of argument that the less secure we are - financially, economically, socially, and so on - the more likely we are to look beyond what we can see and hear...

"And with Brexit, Trump, etc this is unsurprising."

Nick Kyle, former president of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research believed that the belief in angels, especially was a comfort and showed that churches remained influential, to a degree.

"Angels would be a positive thing, would be reassuring for people, it's consoling for people who are grief stricken, and obviously it is a nice thought that angels surround us at the point of death and take us to an afterlife and heaven.

"So with such a positive concept, taught by the established churches, it doesn't surprise me that some people believe in it. It is nice to believe in something that's positive and nurturing and encouraging.

"That's not to say that angels are real.

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"Even if there's a decline in orthodox, established religion, it still supports the common person's belief that maybe such things exist. So you've got an input through the established churches and I think particularly the Catholic church in encouraging a belief in the presence of heaven and hell, God and Satan and so on."

He said surveys by the Society for Psychical Research in London, 100 years apart, found approximately 11% of the population in the recent survey and 10% of population 100 years ago believed in spirit communication, ghosts, and anomalous experiences.

"So the figure of 25% believing in demons and evil spirits and 29% believe angels, I would say it's higher than I expected. But, I am not surprised that there's a culture of belief in these things amongst the common people."

The survey also found that most people in Scotland self-identify as non-religious (59%) with women being more likely to be non-religious (62%) than men (55%).

Most people do not believe in life after death (51%), most people never pray (53%) with 60% reporting they never attended church outside of weddings or funerals they are attending.

Professor Callum Brown, a social and cultural historian at the University of Glasgow said that professional people were more likely to have a "rationalistic" view of the world but expected the proportion of believers should be higher.

"It's a matter of what how you interpret the word 'belief' and how people who are asked the questions interpret the word 'belief'," he said.

"People will give a casual answer, or may say when they experience bad luck in their lives that they regard that external forces are influencing circumstances.

"I think there may well be very strong risidual legacy of beliefs in forces that influence people's lives, but belief in after life and heaven and hell tends to be strongest with within religions and is also strongly related to social class. It tends to be higher amongst working class occupations than middle class occupations."

The Humanist Society Scotland said their findings showed the majority of Scotland's population do not identify with a religion nor believe in key aspects of spiritual belief and that "by all measurements Scotland is no longer a faith based country - and has not been for some time".

Fraser Sutherland of HSS said: "Humanists often find it challenging to understand why some individuals might believe in something with no robust evidence.

"For us belief in angels is no more difficult to understand than any other supernatural beliefs. We asked these questions because it is often asserted by religious leaders that despite the majority of the population reporting they are non-religious - they assert the population is still likely to be spiritual.

"The findings in this report shows the majority are not by any measurement."

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “Angels and demons are woven through many ancient stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

"Angels and demons are therefore quite well established metaphors in our culture for good and bad influences beyond ourselves.

"Some may take it literally and others may use the language more figuratively. Angels and demons do not feature in the major creeds of the Christian Church.”

A Catholic Church spokesman added: “Human beings are spiritual by nature and there’s no doubt that Scots reflect this reality. They may no longer go to church or identify with a particular religion but the yearning for spiritual meaning and identity is as old as humanity.

"The doors of Scotland’s churches will always be open to those who wish to engage with that spirituality.”