Strange noises in the middle of the night. Cold chills in heavy air. That feeling of someone watching you in an otherwise empty room. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the haunted house is a staple of horror, folklore, and maybe even reality. Here are just ten signs that your house may be haunted, in no particular order.
10. Electronic Disturbances
A light switches on. Or off. Maybe your television changes channels by itself, or a strange interference occurs on your radio or telephone. It’s hard to say whether or not such things might be caused by unintended house guests, but if you ever find a toaster dancing on your counter top, you know who to call.
9. Disappearing Objects
Ever lose something — car keys, the remote, your cell phone — only for it turn up again in the strangest of places? Or worse, right back where you know you left it? This may be the result of something called Disappearing Object Phenomenon. Where do the objects go? I don’t know. A parallel universe, a slip through time. It could just be a case of you missing it the first time you looked…or it could be a mischievous spirit playing tricks.
8. Strange Noises
Hauntings can manifest as faint whispers or grumblings, or a mysterious rapping on the wall. The sound of footsteps in a hallway. There have even been reports of guttural, animalistic sounds, in the case of demons and possessions. If you ever hear something like that, or what sounds like a little doll running around upstairs, maybe think about getting a new place.
7. Rogue Shadows
Shadow people come in many shapes and sizes, or so I’ve heard. Dark spectres, outlines, black masses, menacing silhouettes in the shapes of humans. Some are clearer, perhaps, like the Hat Man. Whether they’re demons or simple ghosts or, well, eye floaters, lurking shadows in the corner of your eye may be a sign that your house is haunted.
6. Abnormal Animal Behavior
They say animals, and even small children, are particularly sensitive to the goings-on in the paranormal world.
I even saw a show once where rabbits – yes, rabbits — were experiencing a Paranormal Activity scenario (which, I admit, I thought was a little weird). But it’s true: dogs and cats react to things we can’t see, even if it’s just infrasound from rattling pipes. If your pets are acting strangely — like a dog barking around certain areas of the house, or a cat following an invisible force with its eyes — you may have something going on.
5. Strange Dreams and Nightly Terrors
Sleep paralysis, or hypnagogia, can explain away a lot of various and terrifying sensations — awakening to a feeling of terror or a presence in your room, hearing footsteps, and even feeling the weight of a wicked witch pressing down upon your chest. But strange dreams involving people you don’t know and recurring night terrors are said to be a sign that something else may be afoot. Are spirits trying to contact you from the other side?
4. Unexplainable Feelings
Dreams are one thing, but have you ever felt like you’re being watched? That there’s someone in the room with you even though you know you’re alone? You may also feel chills in the air or, even more unsettling, the feeling of being touched by an invisible hand. If these sensations occur regularly in specific areas of your home, you may be living in a haunted house.
3. A History of Darkness
Every house has a story, some darker than others. If your house is an older one, it may worth learning its history, if for no other reason than to satiate your curiosity. But you may find that your home played a role in a darker past — murder, suicide, strong emotional turmoil. All of these are said to increase the chances that your house may be haunted, or that residual spiritual energy may remain. Having a house built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground is particularly bad news.
2. Psychokinetic Activity
Psychokinetic activity is a fancy word for things moving around without any visible reason. Cupboards flying open, doors swinging wide, or glasses flying off tables might be a sign that a ghost or poltergeist is making its presence known. And if your entire kitchen erupts in a flurry of open cupboards and silverware a la Paranormal Activity 2…I don’t know. You’re on your own on that one.
1. Ghostly Apparitions
And last but not least, there’s always one sure-fire way to know your house is haunted. Well, usually. They may be rare, but full-body apparitions and ghostly wisps of light are definite signs that something extraordinary is happening. Take a picture, if you get the chance.
Well, these are the things I’ve heard, anyway. I’ve never been haunted, myself, or experienced too much in the way of paranormal activity. Maybe I’m lucky. Or unlucky. At any rate, do you know any other characteristics of a haunted house? Ever lived in one? Leave your comments below…
Image credit: Barbara