3 Ways to Tell if Your House Is Haunted

1. There’s a Distinct Smell, and You Can’t Find Its Source

These are known as "phantom scents," and Pennace’s not talking about that strange smell from the back of your fridge. In this case, it’s a very specific scent that wouldn’t otherwise exist in your home.

"If you smell perfume [that isn’t anything you own], why would you? What’s going on there? That could be a sign of something," she says. "Same for cigar smoke," if you’re not a smoker. Still, her team would be quick to look into other potential causes before saying it’s paranormal. (On that note, one NIH study hypothesized that phantom odors that only one person can smell may be the result of dry mouth or a reaction to certain medications.)


Things Arent Always Where You Left Them

If you have children, check with them before you assume you’ve got a ghost in the house. According to Spooky Stuff, “Some ghosts are mischievous, and some like to play around with objects they used regularly in life. Of course, if you actually see the object flying through the air you’ll know something is amiss!”

4. Doors slamming shut

It’s happened to all of us – you’re alone in a building when you hear the dreaded, distant sound of a door slamming shut. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, assume your building is haunted and flee the scene while you still can – but not so fast! Are you sure your facility doesn’t have any leaky windows that could be causing strong drafts of air that push doors shut on their own? Other reasons for unexplained air flow can come from air systems from other rooms that escape under doors or through hallways. You may want to check before you start panicking. Fixing leaks can be part of making your building more sustainable. 

Feeling watched

Though “feeling watched” isn’t a quantifiable factor, people who live in genuine haunted houses do report it a lot. Many believe in a kind of sixth sense. Basically, you might be in a house with a really bad vibe. “Cold chills move throughout the room,” Newkirk details, “and even just the feeling of being watched. Sometimes whispers, or being awoken in the middle of the night because of the feeling that somebody’s standing there.” Whether there is a normal explanation for this sensation or a paranormal one is hard to know for sure, but it’s definitely a contributing factor for nearly any house that is afflicted by spirits.

You Feel Like Youre Being Touched

If you feel someone touching you, but there are no humans in your house, this is a huge indicator that you have spirits living with you.

4. There Are Mysterious Noises

Again, this is where Pennace’s team tries to debunk first: "Do you have a rodent problem? A raccoon in your chimney? They could get in and out, and you’d never know," she explains.

What Pennace looks for is the frequency of the noises and the type of sound. "Every house settles, but you start to learn your house and what’s normal," she says. "I’m just going off my own experience, but when you’re downstairs, does it sound like someone’s running around upstairs? Anything that’s out of the ordinary is worth investigating."

She cites one building the society examined in Staten Island, where the entire team heard the sound of footsteps, even though no one else was there. The noise kept happening throughout the night, eventually hitting a point where it sounded like someone was charging at them, full-speed—sending a Subway footlong wrapper flying as the sound "passed" that spot—only to stop abruptly the second it seemed like the invisible intruder was about to collide with them.

"It sounded like bare feet on wood running—that’s a very distinct sound," she says. "I have no idea what happened. It was very odd."

Book a market appraisal

The data provided here is based on local property price changes as provided by Land Registry and do not take into consideration improvements made to the property or current local market trends. These are not to be relied on for property sale. We strongly recommend you to book a valuation with your local property expert for a Market appraisal of your property.

2. Spikes in electromagnetic field (EMF) readings

If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show, you may have noticed one of the most common pieces of equipment they use to detect paranormal entities are electromagnetic field (EMF) meters. An EMF is a field that surrounds an electrically charged object. Many hypothesize that when we die, the energy from our bodies gets converted into electromagnetic energy, so the presence of a ghost can be detected by an EMF spike. If you’ve noticed a high EMF reading in your building, it could be a ghost, but it could also be faulty wiring. You may want to call in your local electrician before you call in your local medium.

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6. Animals Or Not

Often people report hearing unusual sounds, such as scratching and footsteps. Anything from rats to woodlice can make your mind wander with all sorts of ideas. Sometimes, it is the most simple of explanations. If these sounds continue, call an exterminator to have a look around, especially in attics and basements. If nothing is found, congratulations you have yourself a haunted house.

What Should I Do If My House Is Haunted?

The first thing you should do is stop panicking. Though your home may be haunted, there are some things that you might want to try to make life easier. The following steps can be remarkably helpful.

  1. First, determine if the ghost is friendly. In many cases, ghosts are friendly and mean no harm. In these cases, learning to live with them is often the best option. Sometimes, just asking them to tone down their activity can do the trick. 
  2. If the ghost is clearly hostile, try to tell it to leave. Believe it or not, it works in a lot of cases. A firm voice will usually help make the ghost realize that you are serious. 
  3. Should the ghost get violent or otherwise scare the daylights out of you, try to do a home cleansing or blessing. At this point, you have a hostile entity in your room and it’s not happy. You need to find a way to oust it if you want to live in your home peacefully. 
  4. If you notice extreme hostility, call a spiritual leader immediately. Any spiritual expert will be able to help out, or at least refer you to someone who can help cleanse the home of whatever is fighting you. 

Should You Use A Ouija Board To Talk To The Ghost?

Absolutely not. Ouija boards are not safe and can actually act as a portal to open up the spiritual door to other less-friendly ghosts. Do not even think of bringing one into your home. If you don’t believe us, just Google some of the horror stories that can come with a ouija board. 

Personality change

When we think about possession, our minds immediately go to demons, demons, demons. Ghost hunter Newkirk says that more often than not, demonic possession and even a demonic presence is not behind whatever it is you’re experiencing. A “normal” ghost can possess you too. The tip-off is if someone you know is acting extremely strange all of a sudden. “We see cases of possession or influence by a spirit all the time,” he says. “If you start to notice someone has taken on a pretty distinct personality change, that can be a sign of that.” These chilling real-life ghost stories will make you believe!

How To Tell If Your House Is Haunted: The Fast FAQs

Trying to handle a ghost in your house is not exactly the most normal issue that you could have. However, it’s still an issue you need to be aware of. There’s no single way to figure out if it’s legitimately haunted. With that said, these questions can help you find the truth.

1. Can you find out if someone died in the house?

One of the easiest ways to get a partial confirmation of a haunting is to ask your real estate agent if someone died in the house. In several states, your agent has the legal obligation to tell you if a home has a “stigma” attached to it. 

If you aren’t in an area where Stigma Laws exist, your best bet is to uncover what state records have to say about deaths in the home.

2. Should you ask your neighbors?

YES! Most of the time, long-term neighbors can tell you volumes about the family who last lived there. In most small towns, neighbors talk about what’s going on. If your house has a reputation for being haunted, it’s your neighbors who will be most likely to let you know. 

3. Should you hire a psychic?

If your neighbors remain mum on the topic, then a psychic might be able to help you out. However, there are a lot of people claiming to be psychic who aren’t. In some cases, it may end up being a cheap bid for money. So, if you choose to go this route, you may want to check a reference or two. 

About This Article

About the book author:

Zak Bagans is the host, lead investigator, and an executive producer of Travel Channel’s popular series Ghost Adventures. He travels to domestic and international locations rumored to be haunted in search of evidence proving the existence of the supernatural. He founded the world’s largest paranormal organization, The Ghost Adventures Crew.