Signs That Your House Might Be Haunted
Things That Go Bump in the Night
We've all had the unsettling experience of hearing a strange noise coming from the basement or attic when we are sure we are home alone. We calm our frazzled nerves by reasoning that it was just the house shifting or a large truck passing by. These are logical explanations that make perfect sense. There are, however, other reasons for those sudden noises that make our hearts skip a beat. Those reasons are the stuff of nightmares.
This leads us to the first indication that your house might be haunted:
1. Unexplained Noises
It is thought that once a soul leaves the body, it loses that physical form. In other words, the essence of who that person was in life is carried into the next plane of existence. Since they no longer possess an actual body, they make their presence known in the only way they know how—through noise.
I have written extensively on the subject of hauntings. Many of the people profiled in my books shared similar experiences, particularly when it came to noisy spirits. Normally, the noises would be so insignificant that the home's occupants barely noticed that anything was amiss. Perhaps the floorboards would creak in the hallway during the night or a scraping noise could be heard behind a bedroom wall. In most cases, these sounds would be written off as mice or imagination. It was only after the noises progressed to slamming doors, whispering or shouting voices, moaning, maniacal laughter, disembodied screams and loud pounding that people realized that something was very wrong inside their homes.
Poltergeists, or noisy ghosts, are prime suspects when a house suddenly erupts in chaos at the hands of something unseen. These are spirits who wish to make their presence known and will do anything to accomplish that mission. They utilize their power to move objects as well as their ability to create noise at will. It is not unheard of for a mischievous poltergeist to move things right in front of the disbelieving eyes of anyone who happens to be nearby. They are not afraid to be found out. Poltergeists are not known to be harmful to the living. They seem to want to interact with people on some level and choose one person as their prime target. Since they cannot be seen, they communicate by using sound and by physically moving objects from one place to another. They have been known to touch, pinch and even bite their unwilling hosts.
If you have experienced any of the following: objects moving about on their own, items coming up missing for no reason, levitation of objects, knocking sounds, slamming doors, screams, laughter or unexplained voices—you might just have a poltergeist who has latched onto someone in your family.
At other times, the noises you hear might be a former occupant of the home who has died, but refuses to leave their earthly home. In these cases, the spirit might not even be aware of your presence in the home. Parallel universes can exist whereby the current occupant and the deceased former owner are sharing the same place, but on different planes. If such a spirit is present, you may, at times, hear a door close or see a light flicker on and off for no reason. This type of ghost means no harm to the living. Sadly, they are unaware that they have passed on. They go about their "lives" in a sort of limbo, not fully understanding that the life they had is no more. A cleansing or blessing of your home will usually send the spirit into the afterlife where they will finally come to terms with their mortality.
If you experience lights flickering or turning on and off by themselves, doors opening and closing when no one is in the room, footsteps, water faucets turning themselves on and off, sudden cold spots or drafts, the feeling that someone is watching you, unfamiliar odors or perfumes, pets behaving strangely, or the sounds of moaning or crying—you might have an actual ghost haunting. Again, these spirits will usually go willingly with a little push from a medium or member of the clergy.
2. Electric Blues: Your Appliances Are Constantly on the Fritz
I know from my own experience that spirits can manipulate electrical appliances. I became acutely aware of this in the home my husband and I lived in for several years when we were first married. As is usually the case, we didn't see the signs that there was something sharing our home with us until they made themselves known by damaging one appliance after another.
We began to suspect that something wasn't quite right when the light bulbs in our dining room would suddenly shatter, sending shards of broken glass all over the room. This occurred on more than one occasion. Fearing that we had a problem with the wiring in the house, we consulted an electrician who could find nothing wrong. He was baffled as to why the bulbs were shattering. Little did we know at the time, but our troubles were only just beginning.
In quick succession, the kitchen stove stopped working when all of the elements burned out. One after another, we had to replace DVD players when they would abruptly quit working. The window air conditioning unit, which was brand new, suddenly started spewing water everywhere before completely sputtering to a halt. Our televisions would go on the blink time and time again. First the washing machine and then the dryer went kaput. We were at our wits end, never knowing which expensive appliance was going to go next.
We didn't realize until later on when the ghosts in our house (there were two) began to terrorize our baby, our cats and ourselves that they were the ones responsible for the demise of anything in our home that ran on electricity. We ended up moving out after a particularly terrifying event in which our floor furnace crashed into the basement. A blower, installed by one of the men who ended up haunting the house, saved us from a fiery death by preventing the gas line from severing.
If you experience an unusual amount of turnover when it comes to your appliances, both large and small, don't assume that you are buying the wrong brands. Things break and electronics wear out over time. However, if you are having to replace or repair your appliances every time you turn around, something else might be going on.
3. Something in the Air: Noxious Odors
The following sign that your house might be haunted is usually not subtle, and seldom pleasant.
Harmless ghosts who refuse to leave the home they knew in life usually don't manifest with foul smells. This method of contact is generally reserved for a more sinister haunting. The aromas can run the gamut from soft perfumes to the overpowering stench of sulfur. If you happen to smell the latter, you might want to think about moving ASAP.
Many of the people I've spoken to who suspected that their houses were haunted described unexplained smells as one of the first clues that they were not alone. One woman, who had recently moved into a condo with her family, was visited by the ghost of her deceased grandmother. She knew immediately who the visitor was by the sweet scent of familiar perfume that wafted through the rooms. Likewise, a close friend of mine whose mother had passed away reported that the aroma of her favorite perfume would fill the house every year on the anniversary of her death. Her family took great comfort in the yearly ritual and were saddened when it ended abruptly several years after it had begun.
My aunt lived in an apartment that was rich in paranormal phenomena. One of the more alarming aspects of this activity was the nauseating smell of sulfur that would come from nowhere and leave anyone unfortunate enough to be in the apartment gasping for air. As suddenly as the horrible odor appeared, it would disappear. It has long been thought that the smell of sulfur is associated with the presence of something demonic that has never lived in human form.
The stench of rotting garbage would also assault my aunt, sometimes forcing her to leave her home until the smell cleared. Eventually, she was driven from the residence when whatever was terrorizing her broke down a door that had been dead bolted. The door was opened with such force that it had knocked a hole in the wall. Most frightening of all for my aunt and uncle was the fact that there was no one around when this occurred. They moved out the next day.
Another woman related to me that her home would fill with the odor of smoke. She would be certain that something was on fire, but upon further investigation could find no source for the burning smell. She, too, eventually moved. The fear that this was some kind of warning that a fire would erupt sometime soon became more than she could bear.
A family who had lost a baby when the child was not yet six months old claimed that they would be sitting on a chair watching television when the aroma of baby powder would envelop them. It seemed to be on their clothing, as well as in their hair and on the furniture. Like so many other unexplained smells, it would occur suddenly and be gone just as quickly. They saw this as a sign that their baby was close by. Again, they took comfort from these visits.
Not every unexplained smell is proof of paranormal activity, but they can be indicative of a haunting when other signs are also noted.
4. Sixth Sense: The Knowing Mind of Your Pet
How many times have you wondered just what your dog is looking at when he/she stops what they're doing to stare intently at some invisible source of fascination hovering near the ceiling? If you have a dog or cat in your home, it probably won't surprise you to hear that they are usually the first family members to sense when someone, or something, from another world is residing in your home.
When my family was living in the aforementioned haunted house, we shared the space with our two cats. They had the run of the place and roamed freely throughout each room, except for one. For reasons unknown to us, they would not set foot in the spare bedroom. The cats would walk to the threshold and then pass right by the room. In the years that we lived there, neither of them ever stepped through the doorway. We found out later that two men had died in that room. We didn't know that at the time, but the cats did.
My sister owns and operates a very successful pet sitting service. On one occasion, a lady phoned her and requested a full-time sitter for her dog. She explained that he was petrified to be left in the house alone. Something was terrorizing him to the point that he would try to tear the door down in order to escape. Not only that, she had witnessed him flinching as though he were being pinched or poked by unseen hands. The dog would whimper and hide between the wall and refrigerator in the kitchen in an attempt to protect itself from the constant abuse. The potential client went on the tell my sister that she suspected her house was haunted, but she owed too much on the place to move.
Although sympathetic to the plight of both the woman and the dog, my sister turned down the job. She feared that whatever was lurking in the house would attach itself to her. It was a risk she was not willing to take.
Michelle Hughes shared the story of the harrowing experiences she and her husband endured in the house that was supposed to be their dream home. It was their dog, Heidi, who first alerted them that something sinister existed behind the beautiful façade.
Almost immediately upon moving into the house, Michelle noticed a change in Heidi's behavior. She became unusually skittish. As Michelle put it, "scared of her own shadow." The dog, who had always enjoyed nothing better than sleeping on the couch all day, now wanted to be outside as much as possible. When the time came to come back inside, she would hide underneath the car until someone dragged her out and forced her to go into the house. The nightmare ended for Heidi when she escaped the yard and ran away. Although Michelle and her husband searched tirelessly for their dog, she was never found. Subsequent events convinced the Hughes' that the house was haunted, something Heidi had known all along.
It is normal for pets to stare off into space on occasion or bark at nothing in particular. However, if your pet begins to act unusually fearful or their personality seems to change overnight, you might think about having your house blessed. A dog who frantically barks at the corner as if their life depends on it may be trying to tell you something. An animal who avoids certain areas of the house and shows real terror when coerced into entering that room could know something that you don't know.
If your pet is clearly shaken by something in your house, don't assume that it is nothing. Unlike humans, they don't try to talk themselves out of fear. Listen to your pets. It might save you some hardship in the end.
5. Believe the Unbelievable: The Eyes Have It
It is the easiest thing in the world to talk ourselves out of something that seems implausible. We tell ourselves that ghosts don't exist. There is no such thing as a haunted house. Ghosts and goblins should be saved for Halloween and horror movies. That is all well and good, until the reality hits you where you live, literally.
When we resided in a house that showed us over and over again that we were not alone, we refused to accept what we saw. When the appliances broke, we either fixed or repaired them. When objects would fly off of the countertops and smash onto the floor, we would assure ourselves that the house wasn't level or that a truck had rumbled by causing the house to shake. When we would catch sight of a shadow passing by in the hallway, we would convince ourselves that we were seeing things. It wasn't true, and we knew that it wasn't true, but we allowed ourselves to believe the lie in order to keep our sanity.
Not all spirits manifest physically, but some do. One woman related to me how shadowy figures danced on the walls of her apartment as they moved towards her. She felt frozen as she watched them move closer. At the last moment, she summoned the strength to grab her keys and run out the door. She returned later only to retrieve her belongings. There had been signs for months that something wasn't right in the apartment, but it took her actually seeing the figures on the wall to convince her to leave.
My aunt would feel someone breathing down her neck when she lived in her haunted apartment. Still, she talked herself out of what she knew to be true—something she dare not imagine was residing in her apartment. Worse still, it wanted the place all to itself. In the end, it got its wish.
Most of the stories that have been related to me over the years end the same way, with the occupants of the house moving out. The forces that take possession of dwellings are usually determined to stay at any cost. It seems to be easier for the living occupants to just move out and let them be someone else's problem. If you find yourself in a situation in which you believe your house is haunted, there are a few things you can try that might help you remain in your home.
You can contact churches in your area and request a blessing on your house. Not all clergy will oblige, but most will. It is a rather simple process and can be effective if the spirits are in a state of limbo and just need some help moving on.
Mediums and psychics are available in most areas who will come to the home and perform a cleansing. This usually entails the burning of sage to purify the home and rid it of dark or hostile energy. Again, the results depend on the spirit(s) and how willing they are to leave.
As a last resort, you can attempt a cleansing yourself. Sage can be ordered online or purchased at specialty stores. Burn the sage as you walk throughout each room. Ask the spirit to move on. Ask that the room be cleansed of all evil. Make sure that the smoke is distributed thoroughly in all of the rooms. A prayer for their soul to move on can also be helpful.
In the end, the decision is yours. Some people cohabitate with spirits and the arrangement works for them. They might not like it, but they learn to live with the odd arrangement. For others, like me, that was not an option. Sometimes, the decision to leave is made for you.
Questions & Answers
How does one go about contacting ghosts?
It depends upon your motives. If one wishes to contact a random spirit, then I would say: don't. You can never know who, or what, you might bring into this world.
On the other hand, if you want to communicate with a lost loved one, the method that has worked for me is to request their presence before falling asleep and wait for them to come to you in your dreams. I have been able to reach out to my deceased father using this technique. It is safe, with little chance of a predatory spirit entering the equation.
Whatever you do, do not use Ouija boards, black mirrors, séances and the like in an attempt to conjure up ghosts. They only invite the worst elements. Be aware that not all spirits have good intentions.
In the end, the best tool you have at your disposal is the power of your own will; use it wisely.