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What can I do about an unexplained jingling sound?


Question: What can I do about an unexplained jingling sound?

"I live in Little Rock, Arkansas," reports Cheryl. "Here, recently, I started hearing the sound of keys jingling. The last time was a few seconds ago. It occurs so often that I started paying close attention, even searching my house trying to figure where the sound is coming from. I find nothing.

"My husband and I moved into this house just a few months ago. The keys jingling started a few days after Valentine's Day. Could you give me any information on this? I'm sure I have even heard my name being called, even though my husband would be at work. I am afraid to talk to someone because a lot of people won't understand or believe me."


Cheryl, the first thing to know is that you're not crazy and probably not imagining the sound. The fact that you've heard it with consistency on numerous occasions strongly suggests that it is a real sound somewhere in your environment and not an auditory hallucination (although this cannot be ruled out).

Here is what I think you should do:

  • Keep looking. Continue to look for rational explanations for the sound. Perhaps it's a neighborhood cat with a jingling collar, wind chimes, or something like that.
  • Try to record the sound. Get a voice recorder (cassette or digital) to see if you can get hard evidence. You might not know when the sound will occur, so you might have to leave the recorder on "record" for some time. These recorders, depending on the kind of cassette tape or the amount of memory they have, can record for hours. Getting the sound on tape will serve two functions: 1) it will confirm that it is a real sound and not imaginary; 2) you will be able to play the recording for other people who might be able to provide an explanation or at least another idea.
  • Get another person to listen with you. Another live witness to the sound will serve the same function as the two mentioned above. And perhaps the two of you can investigate further.

What if you cannot find a rational explanation? Does that mean it's paranormal in nature? Not necessarily. Just because you cannot find a rational explanation doesn't mean there isn't one; you just haven't been able to discover it.

For the sake of discussion, however, we can consider the paranormal possibilities:

  • Poltergeist activity. Many people shiver when they hear "poltergeist," thinking it has something to do with ghosts, evil, or demons when that is almost certainly not the case. Also known as "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" or RSPK, this is a psychic phenomenon created unconsciously by an "agent" (in this case, you), and can manifest as mysterious sounds, odors, movement of objects, and effects upon electric devices. (See 7 Signs of Poltergeist Activity.)
  • Residual ghost. If the jingling sound is ghost activity, it might be a residual ghost - a kind of recording on the environment. The repeating nature of the sound lends to this possibility.
  • Intelligent spirit. If the same entity is the cause of the jingling and is calling you by name, then it could be an intelligent spirit that is trying to get your attention.

What can you do about it?

Poltergeist activity usually goes away on its own after several days or a few weeks. (Rare, severe cases can last much longer.) If it's an intelligent spirit, you can try to communicate with it through EVP, and tell it in kind but forceful terms that its noises are bothering you and you want them to stop. Residual ghost activity might be more difficult to stop, but you can try altering the environment, which might disrupt the "recording." Or it might just cease on its own.

It doesn't sound like the activity is too bothersome, so you might want to just wait it out. If it becomes more severe, however, consider seeking the assistance of a reputable paranormal investigator.

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