We ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Some people believe in haunted houses and ghosts, and others don’t. And that’s fine. There might be common reasons (it’s just the wind) for the strange noises or occurrences in your home, or it might be something else.
You don’t live near a pet cemetery, do you?
How do I know if my house is haunted?
The good news is movies are usually more exciting than real life. Even if there is something paranormal happening, you’re probably not going to see the ghostly form of some child from the 1800s haunting your guest bathroom.
There are much more subtle and telling signs if your new home came with an otherworldly roommate that doesn’t involve backward writing on your bathroom mirror or your furniture suddenly appearing on your ceiling. Look for more subtle clues to see if you live in a haunted house.
1. Mysterious smells
Does your home have a weird smell that you just can’t seem to trace? And not just any scent coming from the laundry hamper or the cat box. No matter how much you clean or spray or light candles, does that odd scent persist?
For example, does your home smell like cigarette smoke even though you’re not a smoker? Is there a persistent smell of perfume or cologne that no one in your home wears? Is there a persistent scent of eggs or sulfur no matter how many air fresheners you plug in?
Strange or unusual odors in your home can be a physical sign that your home has a ghost. You could get some scented candles and crack a few windows, but that will only cover up the problem. The only surefire way to ensure the scent is gone is to rid your home of the ghost.
2. Weird noises
Houses make weird noises in the middle of the night. Maybe it’s the house settling into the foundation after a windy day. Perhaps it’s the wood framework creaking from the seasonal temperature swings. And sometimes, a baseball glove on a chair near a window casts a shadow that looks like a werewolf and will scare you so bad you’ll sleep with a nightlight until you’re 8 — hypothetically speaking.
Keep an ear out for any random or unexpected sounds or noises in your new home. Are you jolted awake in the middle of the night by items falling off shelves or the wall? Some ghosts like silence and will cut off your music by meddling with the Wi-Fi. Others will mess with your computer or smart speaker playlist in the middle of the night.
If you’re suspicious, turn on your phone’s voice recorder when you go to sleep and by morning, you should have your answer. And if you don’t hear a ghost, at least you’ll have documented evidence that your partner snores. That’s just good to have on file.
3. Unexplained cold spots
Strange or unexpected cold spots in your home or a random frigid breeze through your home is another sign your house is haunted.
Have you ever been hanging out at home and suddenly felt a chill run down your spine? That full-body shiver that isn’t exactly a chill from an overused air conditioner? An area of your new home that’s inexplicably colder than the rest of the house or the odd icy breeze blowing through your home are common signs that your spectral guest has unfinished business on this plane of existence.
If that mysterious cold spot moves from place to place in your home or if it feels as though the chill follows you from room to room, it’s entirely possible your home isn’t only haunted, but the ghost may have latched onto you.
4. Items go missing
If your things go missing or turn up in odd places, that could be the work of a ghost. But we’re not talking about leaving your wallet in the jacket you wore last night or your keys being on the kitchen counter instead of the coffee table.
If belongings, especially items with deep sentimental or emotional significance, move from room to room on their own or never seem to stay where you leave them last, it could be the work of a mischievous spirit.
Experts note when this happens, it’s rarely a sign of hostility but rather a ghost who likes playing tricks. Maybe they don’t have Netflix in the afterlife and this is how they pass the time?
5. Bad TV reception
There used to be a time when ghosts would come at you through your TV. They’d hide in the static between channels or ones with bad reception. But with streaming, those days are gone.
Speaking of online: You should still keep an eye on your online shopping accounts. There’s a chance you may have a ghost that also likes to drink wine and shop online. So, don’t be surprised when all those pottery wheels and Righteous Brothers albums show up on your doorstep.
Or at least you claim it was a ghost…
6. Devices lose their charge quickly
It’s a well-known fact that having ghosts in your home could wreak havoc with your electronics and gadgets. Have you ever plugged in your phone to 100 percent battery only for it to drop to single digits in seemingly no time at all? Maybe radio static or interference is coming through your expensive soundbar or Bluetooth speaker? If that sounds familiar, a haunted home could be the cause.
Otherworldly beings can absorb and discharge tremendous amounts of energy, including television, radio and cell phone signals. So, if your TV is malfunctioning, or if you suddenly can’t get a cell phone reception in your living room, now you know why.
7. Your walls are bleeding
This one seems obvious. Moving on…
8. “Imaginary” friends
Young children and animals are especially susceptible to making contact with ghosts. Some believe children’s minds are more open and their imaginations are less restrictive than grown-ups, which means they’re more open to a new or familiar outside energy. So, if the kids start talking about a new imaginary friend with specific or peculiar details, maybe their new friend is more otherworldly than imaginary.
And be on the lookout for any unusual behaviors from your dog. Not that full-body pretzel thing they do when they sleep. That’s not a ghost. That’s just dogs being weird. If your pet starts showing aggressive behavior like growling or agitated barking when there’s no one there, consider the possibility there is, we just can’t see them.
9. Weird things appear in photos
If you’re lucky, ghosts can be caught on video and recorded. Sometimes your home motion detector will activate even when there’s no one in the room. Maybe a weird figure appears on video in the middle of the night. You may not get the sharpest picture, but it can be the strongest proof of a ghostly presence.
10. There was a past crime at your home
There are stories and movies about homes being haunted because the previous tenants were murdered or suffered some otherwise grisly fate. The fact is many people wouldn’t know. Oftentimes, real estate agents aren’t obligated to disclose it to prospective buyers. It’s known as “stigmatized property,” and is a property that tenants and buyers avoid for reasons other than its appearance or condition.
If the house were the scene of a crime or a death, it becomes less desirable for a new tenant or owner. So, it’s left out of the sales pitch. In severe cases, like the Amityville Horror House, the home is destroyed, and the land is either sold or a new house is built on it. Realtors aren’t required to disclose such incidents in many parts of the country but must answer honestly if asked. So, ask the question. It’ll only feel silly for a second.
Living in a haunted house
Ghosts are like the people they were when they were alive. They don’t want to cause problems, and they don’t want to be in anyone’s way. If you find yourself in a new home with the disembodied spirits of the previous tenants, just ask them nicely to leave. They want to know that their home is in good hands. And once they do, they’ll be on their way.
They’ll pick up the pottery wheel later.