Thanks for the good question - especially this time of year!
In the Bible, we are told that man's judgment follows death:
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment ... (Hebrews 10:27)
There are no second chances.
From Jesus' relating the after-death experiences of a rich man and Lazarus, we see that both souls were transported to their respective abodes, hades (also called, "torments")and paradise (also called, "Abraham's bosom"). These souls were not permitted to cross sides, and they were not permitted to return to earth, even to warn family or friends to repent and avoid condemnation!
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' " (Luke 16:19-31)
Please note the power attributed to the Scripture and to the resistance of the hardened heart. The gospel message can turn the open heart, but if one refuses to hear the gospel, he will not be truly persuaded, even if he is visited by a ghost! ... I think this a sobering message for us, that we should have tender hearts, open to receiving God's Word, but I digress...
As to the existence of "ghosts", it depends on what you mean by the word. If one means the spooky, lingering spirits of the dead or demons, then the answer is, no. The dead are not permitted to remain or return, but instead they must face their judgment. Demon possession was prophesied to be extinguished during Christ's coming as part of His sacrifice and the forgiveness of sins (Zechariah 13:1-2
). No, demons do not exist to haunt men today. However, both of these spirits exist, demons and men, but they exist on a plane separate from our physical one, awaiting their final sentence from the Lord (Jude 1:6; Revelation 20:11-21:8
I pray this helps. If you have any comments or additional questions, I would love to hear them.