The first step is to determine whether or not you truly have a legitimate haunting or if the phenomenon is being caused mechanisms that can be explained by basic inquiry, or if it is being caused by environmentally or psychologically induced suggestions.
Remember, not all haunting occurrences are alike, each case may exhibit a variety of phenomena that is different from the last, some having a single feature that defines the events where others have occurrences that range from strange sounds to full-blown spectral apparitions. Here is a list of some of the most common phenomenon that may indicate a true haunting.
This list in is no way all inclusive but it does give the reader an idea of what to look for in the event of a true haunting.
- Apports (or DOP = Disappearing Object Phenomenon), that is, objects disappearing and reappearing some time and later in a place where they may not normally be found. It’s as if the object was borrowed by someone for a short time, then returned. Sometimes they are not returned for days or even weeks, but when they are, it’s in an obvious place that usually could not have been missed by even a casual search.
- Unexplained sounds such as footsteps, knocks, banging, rapping; scratching sounds, sounds of something being dropped and other audible occurrences that would tend to be abnormal.
- Doors, cabinets, cupboards, drawers or closets that open and close of their own accord. Most often, these phenomena are not seen directly, but the victim either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing –or- the victim will return to the room to find a door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the opposite position. Sometimes furniture seems to have been moved as well.
- Electronic Malfunction such as lights, radios, televisions, and all manner of electronic devices turning on and off of their own accord and / or behaving in other unexpected ways.
- Unexplained shadows or movement you see in the corner of your eye. Many times the “shadows” have vaguely human forms, while other times they are far less distinguishable.
- Animals behaving abnormally, skittish or aggressive. Dogs may bark at something that is unseen, they may cower without apparent reason or they may refuse to enter a room they normally would. Cats may seem to be watching something cross a room, hiss at an unseen enemy, or run from something that you may not see. The animals in certain areas also.
- Feelings of being watched – this is not an uncommon feeling and can be attributed to many things, but it could have a paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a particular part of the house at a particular time.
- Occurrences of mild psychokinetic phenomena such as small objects moving about on their own accord, doors or windows unlocking and / or opening while someone is there to witness it, chairs or other small pieces of furniture shifting.
- Feelings of being touched or other physical contact. Some people feel something brush past them, something touching their hair or the feeling of a hand on their shoulder. Some feel a gentle push or nudge, sometimes a tug on the shirt or the occasional pulling of the blankets off of the bed at night. Also someone sitting on the bed or standing nearby is common in this type of situation.
- Cries, whispers, conversations, muffled voices, moans, music etc. from some unknown source and other sounds such as these that would normally be made by sentient human presences.
- Cold spots are a “classic” symptom of a haunting, but any instance of a noticeable variance in temperature without a discernable cause could be considered to be evidence of paranormal activity. However, it should be noted to check for obvious sources of false cold spots such as air conditioning vents and such.
- Unexplained smells such as perfume or cologne, especially one that you do not have in your house, cigar, cigarette or pipe smoke, or other smells such as these that you would not normally encounter. The phenomenon may come and go without any apparent cause and may accompany other phenomena, such as shadows, voices or psychokinetic phenomena. Foul odors can happen in the same way.
- Strong instances of psychokinetic phenomenon such as large moving or levitating objects, dinner plates flying out of the cupboard, pictures flying off walls, doors slamming shut with great force, heavy furniture sliding across the floor. These types of events are much more rare than most.
Rarer still are more extreme phenomena, some of which have been called poltergeist phenomena, and can be quite strong evidence of a true haunting:
- Physical assault such as scratches, slaps and hard shoves. Note: This kind of personal assault is extremely rare but it is obviously disturbing.
- Miscellaneous physical evidence such as unexplained writing on paper or walls, handprints, footprints of floors, imprints on linens, and so forth.
- Apparitions or other physical manifestation of a spirit or entity. These phenomena are also very rare and can take many forms: human-shaped mists or forming mists of some indistinguishable shape; transparent human forms that disappear quickly; and most rarely, human forms that look as real and solid as any living person, but that disappear into a room or even while being viewed.
A person who has experienced some of these phenomena might have cause to believe that his or her house is haunted. But maybe not. In fact, according to most experts, probably not. The human mind and human senses (as any magician will tell you) are easily fooled. And people can often mistake explainable (if unusual) occurrences in their homes for the paranormal. as real as some of these things might seem to you, they really could be just products of your imagination.
Before you decide there’s a ghost in your house or move out from fear, do your best to find rational explanations for what you are experiencing. Virtually all of the phenomena listed on the previous page could have perfectly natural causes:
- noises could be house settling, plumbing or even vermin such as mice and squirrels
- opening and closing doors could be faulty hinges or caused by drafts
- DOPler phenomena could just be carelessness and forgetfulness
- shadows could be just that – shadows caused, perhaps, by a passing car’s headlights
Get help in finding rational explanations for the phenomena. A plumber might help you find the cause of that banging. A carpenter can fix that door from closing on its own. A friend or neighbor might be able to look at your particular experience in a different way and offer a reasonable explanation for your “haunting” that you might not have though of. In short, make every possible effort to prove that your house is not haunted.
If you are really convinced that your house is haunted then proceed to the next step