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We’ve collected hundreds of stories from people living in haunted houses, and we’ve seen certain trends that appear over and over again. How to know if your house is haunted: are any of these common signs happening in your home?

How to know if your house is haunted? Sometimes it can be hard to tell from the outside.

Common myths about haunted houses

Before we go into signs of a haunted house, let’s talk about some common misconceptions of hauntings:

  • Haunted houses do not need to be old. In fact, even new construction homes might harbor a spirit or two (remember Poltergeist and Stir of Echoes?)
  • A house can be haunted even if no one died on the property
  • Not all hauntings are malevolent. We’ve talked to people who love the ghosts they live with (though some professionals argue that it’s unhealthy to coincide with lingering spirits)
  • Hauntings sometimes aren’t from the house at all–maybe you have a haunted object in your home
  • The ghosts in a haunted house may not be there permanently–they could just be “passing through”

Scary things about hauntings that we’ve heard too many times not to believe

There are certain scary horror movie tropes that we used to think were myths, but they’ve happened to a lot of people we’ve talked to. If you think your house is haunted, have you or anyone you live with done the following?

  • Recently remodeled your home
  • Played with a spirit (Ouija) board or attended a séance of any sort?
  • Recently visited a cemetery or a haunted location (yes, ghosts can follow you home!)
  • Talked at length about ghosts, or watched a lot of horror movies

Okay, for that last point we need to make a clarification. Many people believe that talking about spirits will “give them strength” and make it possible for them to manifest more easily. Yeah, that’s not the way it works; at least not according to the data we’ve gathered.

What really happens is you become more attuned to the activity around you if you’ve been primed by recent conversations or things you’ve watched. Sometimes, horror movies can cause nightmares, too, if you have unresolved fears that the movie created.

Watch our video on how to dispel nightmares from horror movies before they manifest.

So how to know if your house is haunted?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know if a house is haunted before you purchase or rent it. Unless, of course, you or someone you know is a medium. Many hauntings start slowly and work their way into your lives over time, long after you’ve signed the contract saying you’ll stay there.

Some people know their house is haunted because they see or hear ghosts, in which case we’d love to talk to you on our show! But some hauntings are more subtle–and yet they can be just as menacing.

First of all, look for these signs within your house

  • Unexplainable cold spots
  • Things going missing or moving when you’re not looking
  • Flickering lights
  • Pipes bursting
  • Strange smells
  • Pets avoiding certain parts of the house or staring/growling at what seems to be nothing

These are all great things you can look for. However, as you know, some houses just don’t have good bones. Some houses have cold spots, flickering lights, and pinhole leaks because the contractor cut corners. Hauntings, however, can cause other, less physical problems for you and your family.

Next, see if any of the following happen on a regular basis

  • Everyone keeps getting sick after moving into the house (please check for mold if this is happening).
  • Healthy pets go missing or die.
  • You feel “off;” nothing seems to be working out the way it should.
  • You fight with your co-habitants more often over trivial things.
  • Someone in your home has consistent nightmares.
  • Children in the home have new imaginary friends.
  • You are more tired than usual.
  • A part of the home has an unusual, sudden infestation of some sort that you can’t seem to get rid of.
  • In your gut, something feels wrong.

We all go through spells of bad luck. But if we experience particularly bad luck right after moving into a new home, even when we’re doing everything right, Occam’s Razor suggests the house is probably the cause. And that makes sense whether or not the house is actually haunted.

Listen to an episode about a house so haunted it caused a breakup (or did it?)

You determine your house is haunted. Now what?

In horror movies, the family never moves out of the haunted house until it’s too late. And you’ve seen a thousand tropes explaining why. But that doesn’t have to be you. You can take charge of your situation and keep it from getting so bad it becomes a real horror movie at a later date.

There could be a thousand things that appear to be a haunting. How to know if your house is really haunted could be that all the things listed above are happening, and you have a funny feeling in your gut that things aren’t right. Even then, you will probably have a hard time convincing yourself or others that you are living in Amityville. You and I both know this house is haunted at this point, but it’s reasonable to expect the majority of people to be skeptical of your claims.

What do you do if your house is haunted?

Time to take charge and go through the following steps.

Step 1: Rule out non-paranormal causes

Hire an electrician to look at the lights, and a plumber to see what’s up with those leaking, banging pipes. Get a mold inspection, check your HVAC system, and maybe find a better pest control service. Even if your house is haunted, you don’t want physical problems preventing you from finding the source of the haunting.

Step 2: Investigate the history of the area

Talk to your neighbors, especially the ones that have lived there forever. Find out what stories and lore surround not just your home, but also the neighborhood. Go to the local library and look at old maps–is your home on what was once a crossroads? Is your street called “Hidden Dead People Way?” These are clues about what might actually be going on.

Step 3: Look at your own life

Are you in over your head with rent or a mortgage and it’s causing stress? Did you just take a job you shouldn’t have? Is there a particular food that you used to crave, but now you think you’re allergic to it? Are you pregnant?

All of these things can cause profound change in our lives and our relationships, and not always for the better. If you want to combat the ghosts in your house, you need to combat your own personal demons first.

Step 4: Cleanse your home

You can hire someone to cleanse the ghosts from your home, or do it yourself. And “cleanse” means more than “clean” (though clean houses produce less stress, less places for ghosts to hide, and generally are healthier places so you should clean that house, too).

Smoke out your house with sage or some other herb, give your home a sound bath with a bell or singing bowl, sprinkle salt and water in the corners, etc. There are many guides on how to cleanse your home. Or, if you’re not confident on how to do it yourself, hire a professional who is.

Step 5: Protect yourself from future hauntings

The best way to keep the ghosts at bay is to keep a positive attitude and repel negative energy from your home. We wrote an article on folk knowledge for positive homes, which is a great place to start. Take care of yourself, eat healthy, and exercise.

Also, keep your home as clean as possible, open your windows and air out your home when it makes sense to do so. Some people like to place crystals around their home (selenite is good for repelling darkness and bringing light). Others swear by certain herbs such as eucalyptus and lavender (I keep dried bunches of both in my bedroom). Not only is this just general good advice for mental and physical health; it also makes your home less hospitable for the ghosts.

Should you move out of your haunted house?

We’ve had professional psychic mediums on the show who tell us that it’s not necessary to move out of a house due to a haunting. This is because earthbound spirits and shadow people can all be forcibly relocated by an experienced medium, or by some accounts, even by an intrepid homeowner.

There may be some types of hauntings, however, that can’t be completely eliminated.

Residual hauntings

For example, residual hauntings may be unlikely to stop after taking the above steps. This is because residual hauntings aren’t due to the current presence of spirits. They are usually attributed either to a time slip, or an event in the past that was recorded, almost like a cassette tape, onto the surrounding land. The recording plays, and the living witness the events as a kind of ghostly mirage. But the ghostly images we see in a residual haunting cannot interact with us, as they’re not conscious, or even technically present, any more than the image on a movie screen.

What to do for a residual haunting

Apart from removing all the mineral deposits from the property (a practically impossible task), we know of no good way to eliminate a residual haunting. The good news is, by the accounts we’ve heard, residual hauntings can’t directly harm the living. The bad news is, they often happen unexpectedly, giving us a startle. Or, they will occur at night, interrupting our sleep.

Many people just get fed up with watching the same recording night after night, and decide they’re ready to move out. We’d love to live in a world where it’s perfectly acceptable to list your house for sale as-is due to a “harmless residual haunting.” But in some places, such a statement would get you laughed out of the HOA. In that case, they might seek advice from a professional medium on how to sell a haunted house ethically.

Do you live in a haunted house?

We love haunted houses. From the real haunted houses we grew up in, to the ones we see in our nightmares, they all fascinate us. We made a tutorial all about how to draw a haunted house, and our first t-shirt design was of a cartoon haunted house that Becky drew.

If your house is haunted, we’d love to hear your ghost stories! Send us a note on our submit page, and we’ll be in touch. Until next time, have a spooky day!

Listen to our interview with a medium who had a hard time finding a non-haunted house to purchase: