Q: What is a Ghost?
A: A ghost is believed to be the soul or spirit of a deceased person; a spirit appearing after death. When ghosts make themselves known to humans through various means, it is considered a haunting.
Q: What is Ghost Hunting?
A: Ghost hunting is the search for paranormal activity.
Q: Are there different types of haunting?
A: Yes. There are 3 common kinds of hauntings:
- Residual Energy Hauntings are said to form from stored energy that lingers from a past, often emotional, event. Many believe it is like a replay of a past event or activity. This is the most common form of haunting.
- Active (Intelligent) Hauntings are like residual hauntings except that the ghost or spirit is aware of and interacts (responds to) stimuli in the current environment.
- Poltergeists (aka, "Noisy ghosts") are believed to be a mischievous or malicious spirit that will torment humans by throwing objects or physically touching them. It is also believed that poltergeist activity has a strong connection to water so will often happen in the kitchen or bathroom.
Q:What is Paranormal Activity?
A: Anything that falls outside of the range of normal experience or scientific explanation. According to the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), Paranormal Activity falls into one of the following 5 classifications:
- Unaccountable movement of objects.
- Unaccountable noises, including voices and music.
- Apparitions, mysterious lights and shadows.
- Unaccountable touches, pushes, smells, and temperature changes.
- Feelings of fear, disgust, horror caused by an unseen presence or force.
Q: How do I know if my home is haunted?
A: The first step is to determine, as best you can, whether or not you truly have a legitimate case of a haunting. Not all hauntings are alike, and they may exhibit a variety of phenomena. Some hauntings feature a single phenomenon - such as a particular door slamming shut that occurs repeatedly - while others consist of many different phenomena, ranging from odd noises to full-blown apparitions.
Here's a partial list of phenomena that might indicate that your house is haunted:
The 16 Signs of a Haunting:
- Unexplained noises - footsteps; knocks, banging, rapping; scratching sounds; sounds of something being dropped.
- Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing - most often not witnessed directly.
- Lights turning off and on
- Items disappearing and reappearing
- Unexplained shadows - the sighting of fleeting shapes and shadows, usually seen out of the corner of the eye.
- Strange animal behavior - a dog, cat or other pet behaves strangely.
- Feelings of being watched
- Mild psychokinetic phenomena - hearing a door open or close is one thing. Actually seeing it happen is quite another. Similarly, actually seeing a light go on or off by itself is greater proof that something unexplained is happening. Do you see the TV or radio turn on? Or perhaps you're present when a child's powered toy begins to operate on its own. Doors and windows are locked or unlocked. Some people report that when they are in bed they can feel and/or hear something sitting on the bed.
- Feelings of being touched - the feeling of being watched is one thing, and actually feeling like you are being touched is quite another. Some people feel something brush past them, something touching their hair or "a hand" on the shoulder. Some feel a gentle poke, push or nudge.
- Cries and whispers - on occasion, muffled voices, whispering and crying can be heard.
- Cold or hot spots - cold spots are classic haunting symptoms.
- Unexplained smells - the distinct fragrance of a perfume or cologne that you do not have in your house.
- Moving or levitating objects (severe psychokinetic phenomena) - dinner plates sliding across the table; pictures flying off walls; doors slamming shut with great force; furniture sliding across the floor.
- Physical assault - scratches, slaps and hard shoves. This kind of personal assault is extremely rare, but obviously highly disturbing.
- Other physical evidence - unexplained writing on paper or walls; handprints and footprints.
- Apparitions - 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.
Q: What do I do if I think my home is haunted?
1. Rule Out Rational Explanations
A person who has experienced some of these phenomena might have cause to believe that his or her house is haunted. Remember that 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.
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
- as real as some of these things might seem to you, they really could be just products of your imagination
2. Keep A Journal
If you feel you have ruled out rational explanations for the phenomena that are taking place in your house, and they are still occurring on a more or less regular basis, document them. Keep a journal of the phenomena as they happen. A journal such as this could help with any formal investigation of the phenomena by experts.
- June 2, 2002; 10:30 p.m. - Was sitting watch TV when the bathroom light switched on by itself. Went in and turned it off again.
- June 10, 2002; 9:14 p.m. - Was in the kitchen and heard the footsteps crossing the upstairs hallway again. No one was up there. Went up to investigate and could find no cause.
3. Call the Experts
When should you call a paranormal investigator? Only when you have ruled out any rational explanations for the phenomena you are experiencing and are thoroughly convinced that your house is truly haunted should you contact the experts. Of course, if the phenomena are extreme and you feel that you and your family are in any kind of physical or psychological danger, you should contact us right away.