Is Your House Haunted?
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 apparitions.
Here's a partial list of phenomena that might indicate that your house is haunted:
- 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 opposite position.
Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been
moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the phenomenon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 spots are classic haunting symptoms, but any instance of a noticeable
variance in temperature without a discernable cause could be evidence.
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.
levitating objects (severe psychokinetic phenomena) -
sliding across the table; pictures flying off walls; doors slamming shut with
great force; furniture sliding across the floor.
Scratches, slaps and hard shoves. This kind of personal assault is extremely
rare, but obviously highly disturbing.
physical evidence -
Unexplained writing on paper or walls; hand prints and
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.