How to Tell if Your House is Haunted ( and What to Do if it is)
There are a few questions that pop up in paranormal chats regularly. Is this an orb or just dust? Is my dead pet trying to contact me? The number one question I see pop up in these chats, however, is always how to tell if your house is haunted.
There is a lot of information out there when it comes to potentially paranormal phenomena. Some sources are more credible than others. Others use flat out sensationalism and shock factor rather than generally accepted standards about the paranormal.
There are ways to rationally look into what could be paranormal. I know your first reaction may be one of fear or confusion. Before jumping to any conclusions your first step should always be to gather as much information as possible. By doing this, you can rule out natural causes and find what may be abnormal.
Once you have gathered your information and located something anomalous there are a few options you can take. We’ll go over those later but for now, let’s talk about what to look for and how to find it. By the end of this article, you should be well on your way to answering the age-old question of “Is my house haunted?”
More often than not when out on an investigation I will meet a homeowner who is 100% positive that they have a ghost. With a little investigation, we occasionally find that there is a perfectly normal explanation for what is going on.
Sometimes animals can get into a home and hide between walls to make all kinds of noises. That faint scratching? It could be a rat. Random bangs and booms? Sometimes birds or even bats can get caught in strange areas of older houses.
Tree limbs hanging over a home can cause strange bangs, booms, taps, and scratching. Other times there may just be faulty wiring making a light flicker.
In some instances, there can be things that, while not paranormal, may still be true hazards to the homeowner. Some gasses that can leak into the home can cause those living there to have physical or mental symptoms. In some cases, these potentially toxic substances can make people feel more on edge or even hallucinate.
While commonly thought of as paranormal, high areas of EMF from household appliances can occur. These areas of high EMF can affect the human bodymuch as you would expect from paranormal phenomenon.
Ok, I know. This doesn’t sound nearly as fun as the guys running around in the dark yelling into corners with cameras. To get to that part, for those that do, it’s important to know what you are dealing with. Nobody wants to look like a fool trying to talk to an entity when what’s going on it a TV that puts off a little too much EMF.
There are many ways that you can go about documenting what is going on in your home. Some like to journal their experience. Others want to get straight to the gear and set up cameras to catch a ghost.
I am of the opinion that you have to know your possible entity and the environment you are in well. For this reason, I’ve come up with a fairly detailed checklist to help document things. I use this checklist for all home investigations that I take part in.
I request one from all of my team members when in a group. One is done on both daytime walkthroughs and night ones. This allows us to have more data to compare to find any anomalies.
To do this alone I would recommend doing one during the day, and one at night a few days a week. Of course, if you have a strange occurrence you can do an on the spot assessment of the moment to gather as much information as possible.
You always want more data, if possible. Ghosts are cool on their own, but to truly understand them we have to use science to fully look at them. This information will help you to understand if you have something strange going on but also help point to exactly what it may be.
Several different parts of this checklist will help you analyze all aspects of a possible haunting. Not only does it ask about sounds, scents, and sights but also things like moon phase, temperature, and even weather.
While some of it may seem a bit odd to ask when looking at a possible ghost they are all factors that can increase or inhibit activity. Keeping track of each of these aspects can help you to identify any patterns that may exist with things going on in your home as well.
It’s not important to buy any fancy equipment at this point unless you plan on making a hobby out of ghost hunting. However, there are a few things that might be handy to have available.
A point and click infrared thermometercan help you to determine if there are any areas in your home that stay unusually warm or cold. They are also great to verify a difference if you feel a cold touch or find a cold spot that seems to breeze past.
A digital voice recorder can be a great tool to have on hand. However, the voice recorder app available on most smartphones does just fine in a pinch. I don’t recommend getting any special “ghost apps” or even trying to ask direct questions to anything at this point. For now, all you are going to do is leave the recorder out to passively pick up noises that may be present.
Note: Trying to ask direct questions or purposefully interact with an entity can cause the activity to increase in some cases. This may or may not be what you want for the situation. In most cases, it’s best to wait until you have verified what is there before interacting with it.
Finally, a Farmer’s Almanaccan be a great reference book to have on hand. I know that may seem a bit odd when talking about ghosts, but they are great for knowing moon phases and more. Of course, there are plenty of phone apps you can get for this as well if you prefer to stay completely digital here.
If you happen to witness something such as a door closing, object moving, or even an apported objectappearing, it is always a good idea to try to recreate it if possible. This can help you to rule out things such as a window draft, a certain angle of the sun, or other things that can cause strange occurrences but may be quite normal. By using this checklist you can be sure that you have set up the same situation that the occurrence happened in.
There’s no point in collecting a variety of possible evidence of the paranormal if you aren’t going to try to analyze it. This is the part that they often fast forward through on most ghost shows. There’s a reason why for that, and put simply… it’s boring!
It can be so easy to glaze over while reviewing evidence and miss things. This is why it is important to do a little bit at a time and take brain breaks rather than powering through a 12-hour recording of what may well be a whole lot of nothing.
It is best to wait until you have a few days of evidence to compare. This can help you find the source of noises that may occur every night. This could be things like snoring, a clock in another room, or a furnace turning on. All kinds of other common household noises may go overlooked if you aren’t directly listening to them.
There are great free or low-cost computer programs that you can get to help go over any evidence you may have. They can make it much easier to single out anything strange and analyze it a little bit closer.
A great option for clearing up audio evidence is a program by the name of Audacity. You can use this program to cut out any background noise or single out certain tones. This free program has been an extremely valuable asset for me on many occasions.
Programs like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroomcan be great for clearing up photographic evidence. You can invert images to look for any anomalies, sharpen some images, or even increase exposure on some images to get a better look.
Now that you have your evidence gathered and think you have found something you can begin to try to figure out who (or what) is haunting your home. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t found anything to prove or disprove a haunting. This is fairly common.
One misconception that many these days have is that ghosts behave like trained seals. Just wanting them to appear usually isn’t a good enough reason for them to manifest. It’s important to remember that each time they do it takes a considerable amount of energy.
This energy expenditure is believed to be one reason why ghosts make themselves known through scents, mists, and yes, on occasion even orbs.
If you did not get acceptable evidence by observing your environment you can always keep trying, or you can contact experts to try to find more answers.
Learning the History
A great place to start looking when you think your house is haunted is the history of the house itself. Look for information on families that lived in the house before you did.
Learn what was on the land before your home was built there. Go back in time as far as you can to get a clear picture of everything that took place where your house now sits.
Many people forget this part and only focus on the previous owners of the home or any deaths that may have taken place there. However, spirits are often more attached to the land a house is on rather than the house itself.
This is especially true in a newer home. For example, say your house was built in 2008 but there was another home in its place during the Civil War that was used as a hospital. You would be very confused to find a soldier haunting your home if you only looked at the current build on the lot.
Understanding the Environment
While going through your checklist it is important to take into account any natural or environmental factors that may be present in your home.
Is someone going through a period of heightened emotions such as a traumatic breakup or a death? Is there a lot of anger or fighting in your home? Certain entities can not only cause these types of emotions but may be drawn to and feed off of them.
The natural environment surrounding your home can play a part in the type of entity in your home as well. Many types of entities can be drawn to running water from streams or creeks. Certain rocks and natural minerals can draw entities. You want to include all aspects of the area your home is in when considering what may be haunting it.
Different Types of Entities
We’ll be going into much more detail on the different types of entities in upcoming posts but for now, it’s important to identify simple things that may point to a nonhuman houseguest.
Spirits that were once human will cause a mostly similar experience. There will be cold spots. Things will get moved around. There may be an eerie feeling in the air or strange sounds will be heard. They could make you uneasy but generally, they are going about their day.
Some once human spirits are residual energy. This means that they are a kind of imprint on the environment. These types of spirits won’t generally interact with you and may not even know you are there. They can appear on certain days of the year, at a certain time, or randomly.
Intelligent spirits are those who are interacting with you or the environment around them. This type of ghost usually knows when humans are around and will make their presence known in our world. Just as people have different personalities in life these ghosts could be friendly with you or be total assholes. Just as people are nice, funny, or angry and abusive so too are ghosts.
While uncommon in most areas there is a chance that your home is being haunted by a non-human entity. This means that it is an energy that has never lived life as a human. Examples of these entities are things like demons, elementals, and things like a poltergeist.
These types of hauntings tend to be far more intense than the average ghost. There can be physical attacks. One’s mental health can take a drastic decline from the presence of these energies. Physical illness can also occur.
The poltergeist is a unique, and fairly rare, case. This is a type of energy that is manifested by an individual experiencing strong emotions. Some believe this to not be a true spirit but rather just the mind of the disturbed individual acting in a drastic and unexplained way.
Note: If you believe that you are dealing with a non-human entity it is best to contact a professional paranormal investigation team or a medium to assist rather than trying to take a DIY approach.
What to do if Your House Is Haunted
You’ve done the work. You’ve got what you believe is evidence of a haunting in your home. So, what do you do with this information?
In many cases, this answer will depend on just how much that haunting is disrupting your life. If it’s a few noises here and there and you aren’t that bothered by it you can let things continue as they are. Many people cohabitate with ghosts who may justbe lost or lonely.
If you feel that the entity in your home is causing physical or emotional pain it may be time for more drastic measures. It is especially important to act quickly if you have someone in your home who is very young, very old, or who is going through a severe illness.
While it may be uncomfortable, most who are in good health can withstand living with a bothersome entity feeding on their home. For some, however, it could turn into a dangerous situation.
Smoke Cleansing the Energy in Your Home
Some will try to take a DIY approach by smoke cleansing their homewith substances such as sage or palo santo. While this can be an effective way of clearing a presence from your home you must do it correctly.
If you choose to go this route you must take the time to find ethical sources. Both white sage and palo santo are being overharvested to an alarming degree in some areas, leaving them in danger of becoming extinct.
While mostly harmless you must educate yourself on the process before trying to attempt it. For example, many who are new to smoke cleansing don’t open windows for negative energy to leave and wonder why it isn’t working.
It is also important to know the entity in your home well before attempting to do a smoke cleanse or other methods of clearing energy. If you are using a pagan method such as a smoke cleanse to try to clear the spirit of someone who held strong beliefs from another religious tradition it may not go over very well. In extreme cases, it may just anger the entity in your home rather than clearing them.
There are many different types of individuals that you can contact for help if you believe that your house is haunted. Some may choose to talk to their church. Others may contact a medium to try to connect with the entity. A professional paranormal team can help you collect more evidence and try to solve the mystery of your haunting.
Many times an investigation will include a day time walkthrough of your home and a night investigation. Some teams will allow you to remain in your home during the investigation. However, others will ask you to stay in a hotel or with friends to help decrease the potential for noise contamination. It is important that you work with a team that you trust, as well as a team that respects your home and your beliefs.
Not sure where to look for a paranormal professional in your area? Feel free to fill out the contact form below and let me know a little bit about your situation. I’ll do my best to connect you with the right people to help in your situation! I’m also happy to try to answer any questions or point you in the direction of someone who can so don’t be shy!
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Lorilei is an eclectic witch, paranormal historian, and mom of 2 living in the Southern United States. You can find her on The Country Witch's Kitchen where she shares her favorite recipes, The Odd Mom where she shares gentle parenting tips, crafts and homeschool projects, or on Ghastly Girl where she writes on witchcraft, mental health, and the paranormal.
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