How Can You Tell If a House Is Haunted?
My Experience Living in a Haunted House
I've always been sensitive, and from what I've learned over the years is that there is a strong line of paranormal sensitivity on my dad's side of the family, which is Lithuanian and Polish. Paranormal sensitivity generally involves the ability to sense things—visits by relatives as they are transitioning or passing from this life, premonitions in dreams, voices, sights, etc.
I grew up in a haunted house. It sort of paved my understanding of the supernatural world. For many years—from childhood to adulthood—I kept my experiences to myself until I was finally able to open up to my dad, who indeed confirmed what I was experiencing. I have since lived in several places and have had either more intense or less intense experiences depending on the energy in the home.
Are There Different Types of Ghosts?
Yes. Spirits can either be really active or inactive—there are even non-human spirits (scary). Some spirits are active and haven't transitioned. They may try to engage with the living. Residual spirits simply repeat movements or experiences over and over again—like walking back and forth, back and forth—and may not even feel scary.
How Do You Know?
You will know if you've experienced the paranormal if you can't talk yourself out of what you saw, heard, or felt. I tried to deny what I was experiencing when I was younger, but when I finally accepted it, I was able to find some resolution.
Is My House Haunted?
Every house will have random noises, shifting, pops, etc. with settling foundations, weather, and heat exchange, but hauntings are much different. The easiest way to confirm a haunting beyond first-hand experience is confirming a death by researching the house's history. More on this later.
Here is what I experienced in my haunted home:
The First Time I Was Ever Alone
When you are alone you will know if there is a ghost or spirit around. You will feel as though you are under a magnifying glass. This sensation can come from behind you—like someone is watching in your periphery, or it can be an overall enveloping feeling . . . kind of like a bug under a magnifying glass. The air grows thick and heavy, slow, and you can really "hear" the air particles pinging. You may hear your heart beating or feel chills.
I experienced this the first time my dad ran an errand. He ran around the corner to get something from a neighbor. I was so excited to be home alone for once! But then, as soon as he left, a horrible feeling of being watched crept in. I slowly threw a blanket over my head and leaned up against the couch paralyzed until he came back. It was a bad feeling.
You Will Have Strange Dreams
I did sleepwalk quite a bit when I was younger—and never again after moving out of that house. I did, however, have some trippy dreams. If you have dreams where you are living as someone else quite vividly, acting out activities that are beyond you, this may very well be an indication that you are channeling the spirit's energy and memories.
I had some pretty startling dreams of a woman when I was younger. She was wearing a green and white striped shirt. Later, my dad confirmed that he once saw a woman disappear into his bathroom in that same shirt. He also used to feel his bed sink as if someone was sitting down on the edge of it everytime he napped. Moral of the story: Pay attention to your dreams.
You Will Hear Things
At the worst of it, I heard a growl in the middle of the night. I will not forget it to this day. I've also been in heavily haunted places where I've heard my name called in my roommate's tone of voice . . . pretty serious stuff. This is enough to keep you on edge. You may hear movements in the house, too, like doors swinging, footsteps, sounds of people moving around even though no one is there. You will know when you hear it. Don't be fooled if you have an active household or animals—they can make odd noises, too.
You Will See Things
I've seen quite a lot. My dad saw quite a lot in our house, too. Every night when I used to go to sleep and the lights were out, I would make out the silhouette (translucent, white, and smokey gray) of a man walking back and forth in the hallway. I never sensed any kind of malevolence, but I did see him regularly. I used to run down the hallway and sleep between my parents. I would also see shadows up in the ceilings of the walls shifting.
I've also seen people—yes, relatives, figures. The most prominent figure I ever saw was at a hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio. I woke up to a woman wiping the dresser in my hotel room. She was wearing catering clothes. I could hear her ring slapping the wood as she wiped with a cloth. I was so disturbed by it that I almost said, "Don't you see us sleeping in here?!" because she looked real and fully formed! I looked at the clock and saw that it was 3:00 am in the morning. Immediately, I turned on the light and she was gone.
We've seen all the horror films with flickering lights, stomping, moving furniture. These are common horror film elements. Some people report that a room will get cold, some may notice drained batteries and changes in electronics. Indeed lights may turn on or flicker, things will move. My dad told me about the time he was working on our haunted house. Two things happened:
- He was cleaning the old stove and trying to fix it (he was an electrical engineer and very skilled). He was having a hard time working on it and finally slammed it and said "damn you!" The stove literally lit up right where his hand was.
- He installed a water heater in the attic right before we left for a trip. He mounted it so that it could not tip over. We returned from the long trip and went to sleep. He checked it the following morning and found it down on the ground in a position that likely could've ignited the house.
If you find leftover belongings, you may be able to gauge who lived there before you. Anything like paraphernalia or weird equipment is a telltale sign. We found an old dental cleaning kit (OLD) which was a little bit creepy. I disposed of it far far away from our home. We also found a snakeskin coiled up in the bathroom when we moved in (yikes)—this is suburbia by the way. It's good to clear the space in between owners energetically. I'll explain that farther down below.
How to Find Out If Someone Died in Your House
The previous owners are required to disclose this information depending on your state—some states require notifications based on the number of years that have passed. You can snoop around at your local library to check public records like census records and city directories. You can even look up death certificates. We knew that someone had died in our home, but we thought it was just one individual, so I took things further.
Work With a Clairvoyant
I actually had worked with a clairvoyant for personal reasons but he later conveyed some interesting information. He confirmed that indeed a woman had passed in our house, but that there had also been a homicide-suicide. No wonder our home was vacant in the lot for 10 years before anyone moved in! I felt like this made sense since the energy was so negative in the home.
Cleansing Your Home of Spirits
I do not recommend this if you are new to these kinds of techniques, but this is what I do to clear a house of negative energy, spirits, or any kind of residual things:
If you are a novice, do not attempt this alone or without guidance. You can exacerbate situations. Work with a professional.
- Remove Clutter: Donate anything that carries a strong energy—an older rocking chair from Goodwill, a book from a second-hand shop with weird writing in it. Remove clutter from the corners of your home, closets. You don't want stagnant air. Mirrors, too, are specially charged and may act as portals. I usually don't have mirrors in my home or cover them if they feel "weird."
- Open All of Your Windows: Let the breeze pass through your house and air it. Let the energy escape.
- Light Sage, Palo Santo, or Use Holy Water: Use a bowl to catch ashes or embers that may fall as you walk through your home. Light the end of a sage bundle or palo santo and blow it out so the flame is not alive. It should smoke. Walk through the house room by room, and walk towards all corners of the room, tracing the smoke wall to wall. At the end of this process, you will want to "drive the energy" out of the front door or back door by tracing the four corners of the door with the smoke. You can use holy water in this same way.
- Offer Kind Words: As you address the energy in the house, some experts choose to speak directly to the spirits and encourage them on. I like to walk through my home and simply say "Love and Light" over and over again. You want to bring kind words with you as not to agitate.
- Sprinkle Salt: Sometimes I like to sprinkle salt in all four corners of a room, house, or bed posts. This is an old folk "remedy."
- Be Strong: Don't be a victim but don't be an aggressor. Handle yourself with confidence. If you really feel uncomfortable, go stay at a friend's house or invite a friend over. I have two cats and a dog and they sleep in my room. They make wonderful guardians.
- Cleanse Regularly: You need to cleanse your house like you wash your clothes. Make this a regular thing.
- Work With an Expert: If things are really bad, work with an expert. It's not worth your peace of mind.
Some Spirits Are Benevolent
Some spirits are benevolent. Some serve as protectors, some are playful, and some just continue to exist without causing harm. If you or your family are experiencing negative events, including health events, and feeling terrorized in your own home, work with a professional. Otherwise, learn to coexist. Sometimes, all it takes is accepting the paranormal.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Layne Holmes