If you suspect that your house is haunted, here's what you can do to find out, then take some action
IF THERE ARE weird, unexplained things going on in your house -- unexplained sounds, sights, movements, or other signs of a haunting -- here are the steps you should take.
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 experiencing. Virtually all of the phenomena listed in "16 Signs That Your House is Haunted" 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 drafts
- Disappearing objects (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 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 thought of. In short, make every possible effort to prove that your house is not haunted.
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, 2011; 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, 2011; 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.
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.