Is Your House Haunted: Do You Really Want to Know?
by Marjorie Dorfman

This time of year brims with ghostly tales and restless spirits rattling chains and disturbing whatever sort of peace one can find. Are there phantoms living in your home? How can you be sure it’s not some unwanted relative who managed to slip inside unnoticed? Read on. Maybe you will feel better; then again, maybe you won’t.

Whether or not you are a believer, many of the stories about ghosts share similar characteristics, which may or may not mean they are true. Ghosts are things you have to take at face value if you have never seen one, but being that the world as we know it contains so many planes of existence that we know nothing about, being open to them is probably not a bad idea. (This way if they come back to get even, you are safe.)

Some signs that your house may be haunted include:

Heavy footsteps in a hallway when no one is there
Doors slamming
Items disappear and then reappear
Lights turn on and off by themselves
Strange scents in the air

No one can really say what causes a haunting and how it actually begins even though theories abound. Even those that believe fervently in ghosts agree that real hauntings are uncommon.

The Signs of a Haunting

A legitimate case of haunting may not be that easy to determine as there are no two that are alike. Some are said to feature a single phenomenon such as a door that slams repeatedly while others might include odd noises and actual apparitions. Some phenomena that might indicate a genuine haunting include:

Unexplained noises
These can include: footsteps, knocking, banging scratching and sounds of something being dropped. These sounds can be quiet or loud.

Cabinets and cupboards opening and closing
Usually, these phenomena are heard and not actually seen. The person having the experience may either distinctly hear the sounds of the action or may return to a room where a door or cabinet was left closed and find it open (or vice versa). Sometimes, movement is perceived rather than witnessed, such as a kitchen chair left in one position and found in another.

Lights turning on and off
This can also happen with televisions, radios and other electrically-powered items.

Items disappearing and reappearing (Not your mind. If that’s lost, no one can help.)
Known as the "DOPpler effect" (Disappearing Object Phenomenon) and also the "the borrower’s phenomenon," this occurs when you cannot find an object, which you believe you have put in the same place you ordinarily keep it, for example, a set of car keys on a hook. You look all over and can’t find them and then suddenly they are there where they should have been. Sometimes an object can be missing for days or even weeks, but when it is found it is in an obvious place that could not have been missed in previous searches.

Unexplained shadows
Fleeting shapes and shadows usually perceived out of the corner of the eye can have vaguely human dimensions or be smaller and less distinct.

Strange animal behavior
Is your dog or cat reacting strangely to something you cannot see? Do they bark or cower in a corner, refusing to enter a room that has been very familiar to them? Pay attention, as they might know something you don’t.

Feelings of being watched
By itself, this may mean nothing, but coupled with a few of the above, it could be part of a haunting, especially if the feeling occurs in a particular spot in the home at a particular time.

Witnessing psycho-kinetic phenomena
Seeing weird things happen, such as doors opening and closing or lights turning on and off, or feeling an unseen presence sit down on a bed are all examples of psycho-kinetic phenomena and they are certainly more frightening than not seeing them.

Feelings of being touched
Feeling something brush past you when nothing is there or something touching your hair or face are sometimes reported. Sometimes as well, there are pokes and nudges.

Cries and whispers
Sometimes muffled noises or even crying are reported in hauntings. Sounds can also be in the form of music from some unknown source. This phenomenon gains more credibility if more than one person hears the sounds at the same time.

Cold or hot spots
This can occur in any room of the house, and cold spots, particularly, are classic signs of a haunting.

Unexplained smells
It can be a strange perfume or cologne not used by any family member. It can also be a foul odor. Usually when this occurs, other things happen with it such as shadows, voices or psycho-kinetic phenomena.

Physical assaults
This would include scratches, slaps and hard shoves. This type of attack is very rare and probably the most disturbing of all haunting phenomena.

Unexplained writing, handprints or footprints

This is also very rare and these phenomena can take many forms: human-shaped mists or indistinguishable shapes, transparent human forms that vanish in an instant and very rarely, solid human forms that disappear into a room or wall.

So have YOU experienced any of these phenomena? It would seem the only next question that might make any sense would have to be:

How well do YOU sleep at night?

Happy and most disconcerting Halloween to all!

Did you know . . .

Copyright 2008