Here's "16 Signs That Your House is Haunted"...
You hear heavy footsteps in the upstairs hallway when you know no
one is up there. Doors slam unaccountably. Commonly used items
disappear and reappear without cause. The kitchen light turns on by
itself. There's the unmistakable scent of a strange perfume in the
These may be indications that your house is haunted. True hauntings
are rare occurrences, and it may be difficult to determine whether
or not any strange phenomena you are experiencing in your home
might be due to a haunting.
For one thing, no one really knows what a "real" haunting is - what
causes it or why it starts. But if you think your house may really be haunted, What can you do about it?
The Signs of a Haunting
The first step is to determine, as best you can, whether or not you
truly have a legitimate case of a haunting. Not all hauntings are
alike, and they may exhibit a variety of phenomena.
Some hauntings feature a single phenomenon - such as a particular
door slamming shut that occurs repeatedly - while others consist of
many different phenomena, ranging from odd noises to full-blown
Here's a partial list of phenomena that might indicate that your
house is haunted:
* Unexplained noises - footsteps; knocks, banging, rapping;
scratching sounds; sounds of something being dropped. Sometimes
these noises can be subtle and other times they can be quite loud.
* Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing - most
often, these phenomena are not seen directly. The experiencer
either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing
(homeowners get to know quite well the distinctive sounds their
houses make) or the experiencer will return to a room to find a
door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the
Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been
moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the
phenomenon taking place.
* Lights turning off and on - likewise, these events are seldom
seen actually occurring, but the lights are switched on or off when
the experiencer knows they were not left that way. This can also
happen with TVs, radios and other electrically powered items.
* Items disappearing and reappearing - this phenomenon, which we have
dubbed "the DOPler Effect" (DOP = Disappearing Object Phenomenon),
has been examined in the article "The DOPler Effect."
Others have called this "the borrowers" phenomenon, and it's the
familiar experience of not being able to find a regularly used item
- say, your set of car keys - which you believe you placed in a
spot you routinely place them. But they're gone and you look high
and low for them with no success.
Some time later, the keys are found - in exactly the place you
normally put them. It's as if the object was borrowed by someone or
something for a short time, then returned. Sometimes they are not
returned for days or even weeks, but when they are,it's in an obvious
place that could not have been missed by even a casual search.
* Unexplained shadows - the sighting of fleeting shapes and
shadows, usually seen out of the corner of the eye.
" Many times, the shadows have vaguely human forms, while other times
they are less distinguishable or smaller.
* Strange animal behavior - a dog, cat or other pet behaves strangely.
Dogs may bark at something unseen, cower without apparent reason or
refuse to enter a room they normally do.
Cats may seem to be "watching" something cross a room. Animals have
sharper senses than humans, and many researchers think their psychic
abilities might be more finely tuned also.
* Feelings of being watched - this is not an uncommon feeling
and can be attributed to many things, but it could have a
paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a
particular part of the house at a particular time.
Those are some of the most common experiences of those who think
their houses are haunted. Yet even stranger things can happen...
The following phenomena are more rare, but could be stronger
evidence of a haunting:
* Mild psychokinetic phenomena - hearing a door open or close is
one thing. Actually seeing it happen is quite another. Similarly,
actually seeing a light go on or off by itself is greater proof
that something unexplained is happening.
Do you see the TV or radio turn on? Or perhaps you're present when a
child's powered toy begins to operate on its own. Doors and windows
are locked or unlocked.
Some people report that when they are in bed they can feel and/or
hear something sitting on the bed.
* Feelings of being touched - the feeling of being watched is one
thing, and actually feeling like you are being touched is quite
another. Some people feel something brush past them, something
touching their hair or "a hand" on the shoulder. Some feel a gentle
poke, push or nudge.
* Cries and whispers - on occasion, muffled voices, whispering and
crying can be heard. Sometimes it's music from some unknown source.
People hear their names being said. This phenomenon, as is true for
the one above, gains more credibility if more than one person hears
or sees the same thing at the same time.
* Cold or hot spots - cold spots are classic haunting symptoms, but
any instance of a noticeable variance in temperature without a
discernable cause could be evidence.
* Unexplained smells - the distinct fragrance of a perfume or
cologne that you do not have in your house. This phenomenon comes
and goes without any apparent cause and may accompany other
phenomena, such as shadows, voices or psychokinetic phenomena.
Foul odors can happen in the same way. Rarer still are more extreme
phenomena, some of which have been called poltergeist phenomena, and
can be quite strong evidence of a true haunting:
* Moving or levitating objects (severe psychokinetic phenomena) -
dinner plates sliding across the table; pictures flying off walls;
doors slamming shut with great force; furniture sliding across the
* Physical assault - scratches, slaps and hard shoves. This kind of
personal assault is extremely rare, but obviously highly disturbing.
* Other physical evidence - unexplained writing on paper or walls;
handprints and footprints.
* Apparitions - physical manifestation of a spirit or entity. These
phenomena are also very rare and can take many forms: human-shaped
mists or forming mists of some indistinguishable shape; transparent
human forms that disappear quickly; and most rarely, human forms
that look as real and solid as any living person, but that
disappear into a room or even while being viewed.
Rule Out Rational Explanations
A person who has experienced some of these phenomena might have
cause to believe that his or her house is haunted. But maybe not.
In fact, according to most experts, probably not.
The human mind and human senses (as any magician will tell you) are
easily fooled. And people can often mistake explainable (if unusual)
occurrences in their homes for the paranormal.
Before you decide there's a ghost in your house or move out from
fear, do your best to find rational explanations for what you are
Virtually all of the phenomena listed on the previous page could have
perfectly natural causes:
* noises could be house settling, plumbing or even vermin such as
mice and squirrels
* opening and closing doors could be faulty hinges or caused by
* DOPler phenomena could just be carelessness and forgetfulness
* shadows could be just that - shadows caused, perhaps, by a
passing car's headlights
* as real as some of these things might seem to you, they really
could be just products of your imagination
Of course, the more extreme the phenomena, the harder they are to
dismiss. And, as noted above, if multiple witnesses experience the
same phenomena, they are likely to be taken more seriously.
Get help in finding rational explanations for the phenomena. A
plumber might help you find the cause of that banging. A carpenter
can fix that door from closing on its own.
A friend or neighbor might be able to look at your particular
experience in a different way and offer a reasonable explanation for
your "haunting" that you might not have though of.
In short, make every possible effort to prove that your house is not
Keep A Journal
If you feel you have ruled out rational explanations for the
phenomena that are taking place in your house, and they are still
occurring on a more or less regular basis, document them. Keep a
journal of the phenomena as they happen. For example:
* June 2, 2002; 10:30 p.m. - Was sitting watch TV when the bathroom
light switched on by itself. Went in and turned it off again.
* June 10, 2002; 9:14 p.m. - Was in the kitchen and heard the
footsteps crossing the upstairs hallway again. No one was up there.
Went up to investigate and could find no cause.
A journal such as this could help with any formal investigation of
the phenomena by experts.
If you hear unexplained noises, attempt to record them with a
portable tape recorder. If there are physical phenomena of any
kind, photograph or videotape them. Keep your journal, recording
and camera equipment readily available so you can document the
phenomena as it happens.
Call the Experts
When should you call a paranormal investigator? Only when you have
ruled out any rational explanations for the phenomena you are
experiencing and are thoroughly convinced that your house is truly
haunted should you contact the experts.
Of course, if the phenomena are extreme and you feel that you and
your family are in any kind of physical or psychological danger, you
should call for help right away.
Who are the experts? There are hundreds of paranormal investigation
organizations across the U.S. and Canada. You can find a state-by-
state listing of many of them here, although I cannot vouch for the
expertise of any of them.
Most certainly, they vary in expertise and in the degree of their
practical experience, so you should be careful in your choice.
Troy Taylor, in his article "A Ghost In Every House,"
provides some very good advice for choosing paranormal investigators,
including the qualities they should have and specific questions you
should ask them before inviting them to check out your home. Despite whatever strangeness you are experiencing, your house probably
is not haunted. But if it is, perhaps it is a benign spirit or phenomenon that
you can live with. Usually, it is something you need not fear.
by Stephen Wagner About.com
Some of the views expressed in the above article DO NOT necessarily express the views or opinion of Ghost Hunters Incorporated.