How Do I Know If My House Is Haunted?

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    Many websites list certain points to look for if you believe you have a spirit or other manifestation invading your residence. But unlike most of those, this list will give you specific things to address if you feel you are in such a situation. It will ask questions of you and you must give a thoughtful answer, not just a superficial one one based on what you want to be the case. Applying these may well resolve your crisis...

    1. Hot Spots or Cold spots. Are you sure? Have you actually measured the temperature? The body is a very poor thermometer since it determines temperature by nerve endings and these are influenced by air movement as well as humidity. No ghosts needed ! What about obvious sources of heat or cold? Windows open, cross ventilation? Furnace ducts or air conditioning? Sounds silly, but each or these has been identified as causes in past investigations.

    2. Doors opening or closing by themselves. Have you checked them for how easy they are to move? Any air currents possible from an open window or furnace blower activating? And how deep does the latch engage the strike on the door jamb? Are the door frames square and level? And any pets running loose in the house?

    3. Electrical devices turn on or off by themselves. Do they have a remote? No remote controlled device is ever actually turned off even when it appears off. It's only in a sleep mode, otherwise how could the remote manage to turn it on when you pushed the power button next time? And in a sleep mode the device is susceptible to outside interference, EM Fields, power surges, or even a static discharge. Besides, why would a ghost want to mess with your TV set anyway?

    4. Feelings of fear or being watched. Time to look at your own state of mind. If you are concerned about a threat from a spirit, then that concern itself leads to more apprehension. This in turn simply increases the fear, and the condition feeds on itself. Once you understand this, then the fear goes away, and so does the dark entity you feared. The mind is very powerful in the influence it has over our perception. And if one wants to see a spirit, often the mundane is twisted to what we expect, not what really is.

    5. Orbs In Your Photographs. First, did you actually see them or do they only appear in photographs? If only in pictures, Clean your house! Orbs in pictures are particulate matter (dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.) While this may not eliminate orbs, at least you know where they come from. Dust is everywhere, and has no paranormal connection.

    6. But I saw the orb with my own eyes! It's probably not dust but the eye can easily be fooled. Did you see it clearly for a period of time or just a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of your eye? Unless you were looking directly at it for a period of time, question it. Peripheral vision is very poor at resolving detail. Its purpose goes back to our ancestors who lived in trees. Something would catch our attention and cause us to look and see if what we thought we saw was maybe a tiger lurking nearby. The central vision is more attuned to identify what is really there. So if the "ghost" disappeared when you looked closer, it was never really there.

    7. Footsteps or other banging sounds. These are widely diversified in nature. Bangs can be building expansion or contraction from changes in temperature or humidity. They might also be something falling from a tree outside onto a roof or porch. "Footsteps" are often a series of bangs as adjacent floor joists compensate for changes in compression or expansion. One releases its stress with a thump which puts similar stresses on the one next to it. It thumps, causing the stress to shift to the next, and the next, creating a series of thumps which "walk" across the floor.

    8. Animals "watch" things in the room. Animals have more acute senses than we and can become fixated on something we can't hear or see. They may watch a fly on the ceiling, hear a mouse in the wall, or maybe even watch a speck of dust float by. Thus we may not see what has attracted their attention. Why would the fact an animal sees something quite normal to them, that we can't see, make us think they are watching a spirit?

    9. Finding something you lost where you looked for it before. Why would you attribute a casual failed search to a spirit? Are you sure you really looked for it here? Might someone, or even a pet, have carried it off and been responsible for moving it. Even if it was a momento of one who has passed, would it be so unusual for you to find it?

    10. Unexplained smells or odors. Might they be coming from outside filtering through the walls? Food smells linger in the walls, often for days. The use of floral air fresheners over time also builds up as an accumulation in the house itself which can return under the right conditions. The smell of someone who smoked can stay in a house for years. The smell infiltrates even the framework of the house itself. This is often brought out again by heat and humidity. So even if you don't smoke, if a previous tenant ten years ago did, the smell likely lingers in the walls.

    11. Muted sounds or voices. Is the TV or radio on in another room? People have been known to leave such things on with the volume down. Yet if it's very quiet and conditions just right, the sound may still be heard. Maybe someone outside is talking. The neighbor's TV may be turned up and you hear it through the walls. Sounds may filter through ductwork from another part of the house. If an appliance is running and making noise you may be hearing pareidolia in the background sound. Or the sound of a radio in a passing car could be responsible. In any event, no proof the house is haunted.

    12. Being touched or pushed by something. Again here we have sensory input to contend with. How sure are you that what touched you wasn't an insect flitting by? Or a puff of air? Or the shove wasn't just you losing your footing? Any of these is much more likely than a ghost pushing you down!

    13. Finding coins, stones , or a feather. How sure can you be you or a family member didn't drop it and you later found it? And the feather could easily come from a bird which either carried it in or lost it in flight. Before claiming a spirit brought it, rule out the obvious first! Besides, where would a spirit acquire a coin to drop in the first place?

    14. Mists or shadows. Time to get your thermometer and hygrometer out! Measure the air temperature and humidity to determine the dew point. If the actual temperature and dew point are close, be aware any minor drop in temperature will cause condensation and fog. And with a bit of imagination any haze can become a ghost.

    15. Light bulbs burn out frequently or Electrical Equipment fails. Have you confirmed no electrical surges? Is your line voltage stable and correct? Do you frequently turn things off and on? This itself shortens the life expectancy of electrical devices. Finally consider the quality of light bulbs these days. Sometimes they don't work right out of the box, so how well can we expect them to be made? One surge and POOF, out goes another bulb!

    Now you have it! Read through this list of symptoms of hauntings and some of the causes. Could any possibly apply to your case? Even if none do, apply some logic and determine if possibly something just as common could fit your situation. If so before attributing the paranormal, try addressing the real problem. Though this list may not be complete, your symptoms may differ, it will at least get you thinking toward finding the real answers before putting the blame on ghosts or spirits. No need to run out and get Holy Water, throw salt around, or burn weeds and stink up the place. Instead use some common sense, find the real problem, and correct it.

    But suppose you have come to the end of your analysis and still have questions. That is when you may want to bring in an investigator who has more experience. There is nothing wrong with that. But even so, this has still not reached a level where one could say what you experience is paranormal. It only means that more investigation is required to find the answers you seek. A seasoned investigator can dig deeper based on evidence he recovers and move the investigation in that direction.

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© FEB 2014 - J. Brown . . . . . . .