If you find yourself with an unwanted roommate of the ghost variety, heed this advice. Plus, see what happens when a couple chooses charm over potential ghosts on an episode of House Hunters.
Haunts of the South: Carr House
This home in Duplin County, NC, was once the primary residence of the Carr family from Ireland. It was turned into a boarding house and rumored to be haunted by the former residents. A graveyard is also located on the property.
Photo by: Anna Abner
Matt Chambers never believed in ghosts until he recently encountered one in his house. While in the bathroom, Chambers heard his wife Jennifer in the nearby kitchen, egging on his cat Mukky to kill a spider it was swatting his paw at. “Get it, Mukky,” Jennifer urged several times. Then, on the other side of the bathroom door, Chambers heard a man’s voice say, “Mukk!”
Chambers stiffened, baffled because the voice almost sounded like his own, and of course, that was impossible. Then it came again: “Mukk!” Chambers quickly left the bathroom and asked Jennifer if she had heard anything while he was in the bathroom.
“Yeah, you mumbling,” Jennifer replied. “But I couldn’t tell what you were saying, so I didn’t answer. I was just waiting for you to come out and repeat it.”
Encountering a ghost sounds like the stuff of campfires and Hollywood movies – unless, of course, you’ve actually had an encounter with someone from the other side. Chambers admits that he would have once laughed at the idea of taking an article titled, “Living with Ghosts,” seriously: “I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the paranormal,” insists Chambers, a 34-year-old graphic designer who lives with Jennifer and their two young children in Germantown, Ohio. “I’ve had friends and family tell me story after story of their ghostly experiences and truly believed they were sincere in the fact that they believed these things actually happened. Most of the time, I’d just bite my tongue and act interested, just to avoid being rude.”
And then he met John, the man who had taken an interest in their cat. He can’t say for sure, but after talking to neighbors, he is pretty sure that the voice belonged to his house’s former occupant, a man who died of cancer in hospice, just about a year before the Chambers moved into their new chambers. Yes, as unbelievable as it may sound, Chambers is pretty sure that the previous owner of his house never really left.
So what do you do when your living arrangements suddenly involve the dead? Watch the movie Ghostbusters for some insight? Call the police? Run out of the house, screaming? Well, you could do one or all of the above — or you could keep reading for our advice for living among the afterlife.
A writer crossed the country looking for folks who consider ghosts to be part of the family. Surprisingly, they weren’t hard to find.
If they love a house enough, homebuyers are willing to overlook just about anything. Garish colors? We’ll paint over ’em. Tiny kitchen? We’ll blow out that back wall. Ghosts? Well, why not?
In fact, a 2018 realtor.com poll revealed that one-third of prospective buyers wouldn’t think twice about buying a haunted house if the price, location, and amenities were appealing enough. And 18 percent said, in effect, “Hey, a ghost is all the amenity we need! We’ll take it!”
While lawyers refer to haunted houses as “psychologically impacted” or “stigmatized” properties, a surprising number of people just call them “home.” I crossed the country looking for folks who consider ghosts to be part of the family. Surprisingly, they weren’t hard to find.
Understand, I’ve never believed in ghosts, and I’m pretty sure I still don’t. But how, then, do I explain the weird event that’s been haunting me for a couple of months now?
I was enjoying dinner with my wife, Carolyn, and her old friend, Mary, at a charming, century-old, Victorian home-turned-restaurant in historic Lewes, Delaware. The three of us were seated at a table with four chairs. Just as we began digging into our entrees—and you’ve just got to go with me here—the bottle of wine that we’d ordered started to slide, like a piece on a chess board, across the table toward the empty chair.
As we watched in silence, our forks hovering halfway between our plates and mouths, the bottle continued off the edge. But instead of falling, it rose over the tall back of the vacant chair, then descended gently to the floor and landed with a dull thud rather than a crash. There we sat, forks still frozen, mouths hanging open, our eyes darting back and forth.
We were still in that stunned state when our server rushed from across the room. As she replaced the bottle on the table, she muttered, almost to herself, “It’s the ghost.”
It turns out someone…or something…has been pulling otherworldly pranks like this for years at the establishment. It took some time, but the owner and staff eventually came to terms with sharing the property with an unseen entity. That seemed odd to me, but as I set out in search of haunted homes, I was surprised by how many people share that attitude.
A sprinkle is falling from a blanket of low-hanging clouds, and thunder is rolling in the distance. The atmosphere seems perfect as I stand along historic Bath House Row in Hot Springs, Arkansas, waiting for John Cooksey to show me his haunted house.
The human history of Hot Springs reaches back three millennia. Behind the bath houses rises Hot Springs Mountain, where 142-degree waters have attracted visitors ranging from the earliest Native Americans to 1930s gangsters. Ghost stories abound regarding the town’s old hotels, violent speakeasies, and shady brothels.
Cooksey pulls up in his car, which is comfortably cluttered with the tools of his multiple trades, including videographer, local broadcaster, and real estate agent.
“Actually, I’ve got two haunted houses,” he tells me jauntily as we head away from downtown and into the surrounding hills. “My wife and I live in one, and we rent out the other, right next door.”
It doesn’t take long to get there. These are no Addams Family-style Victorian manses, nor do they have spooky, eye-like windows, a’ la the Amityville Horror house. They’re just a couple of low-rise brick homes with struggling lawns and trash cans out front.
“This is Bill,” Cooksey tells his wife, Annie, as we enter the couple’s kitchen through a side door. “He’s here about the ghost.” Annie nods, as if she’s been told there’s a man here about the plumbing.
“Did you tell him about the smoke?” she asks. “That was…interesting.”
On the ride here, I’ve already heard about the mysterious late-night footsteps, and the occasional glowing eyes that appear in the dark, but not the smoke. Cooksey steps through an arched doorway into what is now the laundry room.
“One night we smelled something like cigar smoke,” he tells me. “We followed it around the house and finally discovered it was coming from in here. As we came into this room, the smell just vanished. Didn’t dissipate, like you’d expect. It was just…gone.”
Cooksey calls his unseen boarders “friendly ghosts.” “We like them,” he says. “Every once in a while, they just do something to remind us that they’re still here.”
Of course, it’s one thing to happily cohabit with something otherworldly, and quite another to rent a haunted house to someone else.
We head next door to a residence much like the Cooksey’s place. The couple rents this house on a short-term basis, usually to tourists. Pausing on the porch, Cooksey confesses that he doesn’t tell prospective renters about the mysteriously moving items, the odd noises, the flickering lights.
“They usually come over and tell me about them,” he says. “We had a blind woman stay here once. One morning, out of nowhere, she said to me, ‘Tell me about the spirits in this house. I can sense they’re here.’”
We enter. Directly inside the front door, a dark wooden staircase winds to an upstairs room. We creak our way to the claustrophobic second floor, where there are a few beds and a window at the far end.
“I’m gonna go back downstairs,” Cooksey tells me abruptly. “Why don’t you hang here for a few minutes? Come down when you’re ready.” And then he’s gone.
I stand there in the silence, trying to discern if the uneasiness I feel is born of an unseen presence, or simply the creep-inducing power of suggestion. Either way, I decide, I’m ready. I flee down the shadowy stairs and back to the gray outdoors.
October 13, 2021 4:07 pm
If landing your dream home comes with dealing with some otherworldly houseguests, then so be it, Boston.com readers say.
After a recent survey by Real Estate Witch suggested that most home buyers have no issues purchasing a haunted house, we asked readers for their reactions and to share their own spooky experiences. Fifty-eight percent of the 48 readers who responded to our poll said they’d never lived or stayed in a haunted house, while 42 percent said they had. S ome of our readers consider themselves among the group unfazed by haunted real estate.
Some cited past experiences with ghosts to justify why they’d be comfortable in a haunted house.
“While unnerving at first, living in a haunted house is not all bad or scary. It helps to know whose spirit may be there and why,” said Karen F. of Newburyport, who said she’s had past experiences living with a ghost. “We knew who was walking our halls and why — gassed during World War I — so we kept providing information about those he was looking for and considered him a part of the family.”
There were, of course, some readers who have no qualms about living in a haunted house, not because they aren’t afraid of ghosts, but because they don’t believe in the paranormal.
“I don’t believe in such things as a house being haunted,” said David of Ayer. “If it deters other buyers, that works to my advantage.”
For those readers, there are plenty of real-life frights that come with homeownership to worry about instead. Forty percent of the readers polled said the real horror comes from problems with a home’s foundation.
Other top concerns included mold and water damage. Some readers named other potential issues that weren’t included in our survey like natural disasters and annoying neighbors.
Although most readers polled said they don’t have any personal experience with living in a haunted house, they still had opinions about whether or not they would be open to the idea. Below, you’ll find a sampling of responses from readers — both supernatural believers and not — about whether or not they could see themselves sharing a home with ghostly roommates.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
“It wouldn’t dissuade me”
“In this market, if the price for securing a home is a few unwanted ghostly housemates, I’d do it. So long as we all can come to an agreement about the space, why not!” — Anonymous
“I see ‘ghosts’ or whatever you want to call it all the time. They’re everywhere. I don’t seek it out, but if I loved the house and it was a good price it wouldn’t dissuade me from the purchase.” — RB, Marlborough
“I unfortunately just recently bought a town house with a myriad of problems that weren’t apparent at the inspection. Water damage, mold, bugs, and structural issues on top of noise and difficult neighbors. I’d gladly trade all these things in to be haunted daily by the paranormal. What a welcome relief that would be.” — Em, Canton
“[Going to] haunted houses when I was a kid was always fun. I bet living in one would be even more fun. Who wants to be packed into a sardine can luxury box apartment?” — Jake, Chelsea
“I was always nervous about what was going to happen next”
“I lived in a haunted house for 10 years. I came close to selling it within the first year I bought it because there was a lot of activity and I couldn’t sleep. After the first year, things quieted down (but occasionally unexplained things would happen) and I grew to love the house. It was my favorite house, but I would not move into a house again that I knew was haunted. It’s a lot of work!” — Nancy, Peabody
“After living in a house built in the late 1700s for about 10 years, I vowed never to do that again. I had things thrown at me, lights in a room blow out when footsteps were heard, and saw apparitions. It got to the point I couldn’t sleep as I was always nervous about what was going to happen next. Never again!” — Tim S., Waltham
“The idea of it interests me, but I think once I actually heard a bump in the night I would be running out of that house — no shirt, no shoes!” — Keith, Dorchester
“I grew up in a haunted house and I would not live in one as an adult. I want my home to be a space for my energy and the energy of my family, not the energy of all those who were in the space before.” — Elizabeth, Medford
For a Surprising Number, the Answer Is: Yes
Louisiana agent John Martin once attached a “ Not Haunted ” placard on a for-sale sign in front of one of his listings. On another occasion, the St. Ignatius Catholic School in Yardley, Pennsylvania, placed an “ Open House ” sign in front of its cemetery.
You could say, as Consumer Reports did, that the good people at St. Ignatius made a “ grave mistake. ” But Martin, of Waterman Realty in Metairie, probably knew exactly what he was doing. After all, the New Orleans area is infamous for its superstitions and mystique – and not just around this time of year.
As it turns out, a lot of people have no desire to live in a haunted manse, no matter where it ’ s located. In this year ’ s Halloween-centric poll of 1,500 souls by Clever Real Estate, 4 out of 10 said “ no thanks ” when asked if they would buy such a place.
“ A non-negotiable deal-breaker, ” Clever researcher Francesca Ortegren called it. And that ’ s even though 3 out of 4 respondents believe in the supernatural.
60 Percent Would
Still, that means 60 percent are open to sharing a house with specters and spooks – but not without a concession or two. Most said they would need a deep discount, and many said they would take the plunge only if the apparitions were friendly.
Either way, 4 out of 5 buyers told Clever ’ s researchers that a haunting would impact their buying decision, one way or another. Yet, if they were selling instead of buying, less than half would disclose the presence of wraiths unless required by law to do so. And 1 in 10 would not disclose even then.
And therein lies the rub. Disclosure laws vary from state to state. Only nine states have some requirements: Five states require disclosures of a death on the property, and four require disclosures of any paranormal activity if it impacts the physical condition or the value of the property.
Alaska and Wisconsin require disclosure of a burial site on the property. Five other states require such a disclosure, but only if the seller or the agent is asked directly.
According to Ortegren , New York has the “ most infamous ” law. Known locally as the “ Ghostbusters Ruling, ” the state Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that if a house is haunted, information about paranormal activities must be provided in all future listings.
“ The case sets legal precedent in the state, requiring disclosure of hauntings if the home was declared haunted publicly, ” Ortegren said.
The rest of the states have no rules compelling sellers to disclose hauntings, specifically, or to reveal anything that might “ psychologically stigmatize ” a property more generally.
For what it ’ s worth, 1 in 4 respondents said they have lived in a haunted house, and only a third of those knew it was haunted before moving in.
How Many Hauntings?
Nobody knows how many houses around the country are inhabited by poltergeists. The Census Bureau doesn ’ t keep count. It can tell you the number of places where trick-or-treaters have to climb steps to fill their sacks (57.4 million) and the number of costume rental establishments (892), but not the number of haunted houses.
There are almost 1.6 million so-called “ zombie houses ” – industry jargon for vacant homes – in the United States, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. And 216,000 of them are in the process of foreclosure, making them ideal spots for spooks to set up housekeeping – and to haunt their new owners when the houses are eventually sold. New York has the highest number of zombie foreclosures, followed by Florida and Illinois.
There are some scary places in other states, too. Tombstone, Arizona, floats readily to mind. But how about Yellville, Arkansas; Transylvania County, North Carolina; Slaughter Beach, Delaware; or Scarville , Iowa?
And speaking of scary, what frightens homebuyers more than ghosts? Clever asked that question, too. Mold was the top worry, followed by foundation issues, termites, asbestos and a leaky roof. In total, 93 percent of the respondents were more worried about repair issues than goblins.
How will you know if your place is inhabited by more than the living? Perhaps unexplained noises, like footsteps in the night, will be the tip-off. Or chairs moved without your knowledge. Lights flickering on and off. Objects levitating. Your dog acting strangely – say, barking at nothing, or at least nothing you can see. Or just an eerie feeling.
Any of these are telltale signs, and 1 in 4 people told Clever they ’ d move out immediately if they discovered they weren ’ t alone. The rest would stay but would try to rid their homes of the unwanted guests. A third of those would try to cleanse their places by “ smudging, ” a contemporary spiritual rite derived from some Native American religious practices and aimed at clearing out – or blessing – apparitions. About 25 percent would hold an exorcism, and 1 in 4 would hold a seance in an effort to make contact with their ghosts. Some would salt their entryways; others would simply remodel in hopes of driving them away.
But 17 percent would take an entirely different approach: Rather than try to make the ghosts move out, they would make their homes more hospitable – the better to ensure their “ roommates ” remain friendly.
At these super-scary haunted houses in the U.S., get ready for ghost stories and sightings, too
Anyone can claim a house is haunted. But as more and more creepy occurrences pile up, it gets harder and harder to deny that some homes really are cursed. There are haunted houses in the U.S. with stories so gripping and gruesome (murders, suicides. sometimes both) they’ve inspired movies, countless documentaries, and serious cult status.
From the country’s most famous tales of death and mayhem (like the home of Lizze Borden, the little axe murderer from Massachusetts) to lesser-known haunts across the country, these houses are wicked all the way from their peaked attics to their dark, dark basements.
While you can spend the night at a select few of these haunted houses, you can bank on spooky stays at a whole trove of haunted Airbnbs and haunted hotels if you’re keen to sleep with your eyes open. For other good scares, don’t miss the many ghost tours that run both seasonally and throughout the year in haunted neighborhoods from Savannah to Seattle. But for now, take a look at these haunted houses in the U.S. where ghosts allegedly go bump in the night.
RECOMMENDED: The creepiest ghost towns in the USA
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During a week-long live-streaming event, US video community The Dark Zone invites online audiences to join a family lockdown in a notorious haunted home studded with cameras and opportunities for audience interaction.
Starting at noon ET on May 9, the platform is going to live stream 24/7 from the real house that inspired the 2013 horror film The Conjuring. Paranormal investigators from shows like US networks A&E’s Ghost Hunters and Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught on Camera will visit to conduct explorations and seances. Global viewers will be able to interact with the house’s occupants, track multiple cameras, and flag spooky activity in real time. Twenty-four-hour passes to the event will cost $4.99, while full-week access is $19.99 (some of the proceeds go towards Covid-19 relief charities).
With millions trying to pass time in lockdown, receptive audiences are found with longform content – like Apple’s five-hour one-take tour of Russia’s Hermitage Museum or French developer Ubisoft’s reveal of its next game via an eight-hour live stream of a game artist at work. The interactivity of live streaming, however, will keep consumers coming back beyond lockdown. Always-on content experiences where interactive audiences check in, create, and socialise are common in online gaming – check out Pop Culture Round-Up: Spring 2020 to read about how Nintendo’s hit game Animal Crossing uses real-time game mechanisms to make visits to its virtual world a long-term habit. Now, other sectors are unlocking live streaming’s potential as a tool for audience integration: in Music in Lockdown: Future Fan Engagement, we highlight how musicians are staying closely connected to their fans by turning their creative process into must-see episodic content.
For strategies on extracting commercial opportunity from live connections, check out Leveraging Live-Stream Commerce.
Illustrated by Be Boggs
Ten Octobers ago, my family moved into our San Gabriel Valley home, and people started knocking on the door. Some knockers were neighbors. Some were trick-or-treaters.
And some were looking for Steve.
I had no idea then who Steve was. I didn’t know that he was dead or that Steve wasn’t his real name.
But I would learn the story of the gentleman who had lived in my house. While my efforts to reach his family would be unsuccessful, the knockers kept coming, and the neighbors filled in details. Among the story’s larger lessons: you should count yourself lucky to occupy a haunted house—if you’ve got the right ghost.
Stavros Koutis — whom the knockers called Steve — was born in 1909, on the island of Ikaria, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Ikaria is named for the mythological Icarus, who died young after flying too close to the sun. But Ikarians are famous for extremely long life spans — a talent that is attributed to diets rich in vegetables, goat’s milk and herbal tea, and lifestyles full of walking and social gatherings.
Stavros, too, would be blessed with long life — and vigor that would awe his California neighbors well into the 21st century. But his journey took him far from home.
In a tribute published in an Ikarian-American magazine in 2011, Stavros’ daughter said that, as a teenager her father, unable to become a teacher because of the region’s poverty and wars, began working as a sailor, transporting coal around the Aegean. In 1938, he married. To support his four children, he joined the merchant marine. In the 1950s, he jumped ship at a U.S. port, and worked in painting and construction in various cities, while dodging immigration authorities.
Eventually, the family was able to immigrate legally in 1966. Two years later, they purchased the 1,400-square-foot house where I now live for $20,500, county records show.
Stavros became a community pillar. When he wasn’t babysitting grandchildren, he chatted with neighbors on long walks to visit friends and discuss Ikarian history. He also had the greenest of thumbs. On the small lot he grew peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and other vegetables, and cared for trees producing avocados and various citrus. He shared some of this bounty with grateful neighbors and used the rest in his own skillful cooking.
After his wife’s death in 1997, Stavros chose to stay in his home — and aged so gracefully that he became a local marvel. How could any person, of any age, be so generous, know everyone, and have the energy to exercise so vigorously in his yard? At age 100, he did 1,000 repetitions on his rowing machine.
After he died in 2011 — eight days after his 102nd birthday — the neighborhood couldn’t quite believe it. Which is why people were asking us about Steve when we bought the place eight months later, and why neighbors were still talking about him at our 2019 block party.
I’ve written about the history of other Californians’ houses, but not my own, because I didn’t know the place.
But when the pandemic kept me home, I couldn’t help but feel Stavros’ presence. His fruit trees still produce reliably, his roses bloom, and the avocado tree grows more bountiful every year. The front stoop remains the place to be social with the neighbors.
Our family is no emblem of healthy living. But we have avoided getting COVID-19, at least so far. Maybe that’s just luck. Or maybe, somehow or somewhere, a great, Greek ghost is still watching over his place.
Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.
Joe Mathews is Connecting California columnist and California editor at Zócalo Public Square, an Ideas Exchange that is a project of New America and Arizona State University.
Courteney Cox’s role as a mother who encounters a malevolent ghost on the new Starz horror comedy “Shining Vale” isn’t her first brush with the supernatural.
The “Friends” star said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Monday that she once lived in a haunted house in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles that she immediately decided to sell one day after a chilling observation by a delivery driver.
Cox, 57, said legendary singer-songwriter Carole King and 1950s burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee previously lived in the home before Cox moved in and learned a disturbing fact about it.
“So Carole King came over to my house, and she said that there had been a divorce that was really ugly and there was a ghost in the house, and I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever,'” Cox told Kimmel. “But other people who had stayed there, friends of mine, said they felt an encounter with a woman (who) was sitting on the edge of the bed. I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever.'”
This February 2021 photo offers a look at Carole King’s former home where her Tapestry album cover was photographed. The house is also the former residence of Courteney Cox and Gypsy Rose Lee. Barry King / Alamy
Considering she survived being chased by various knife-wielding slashers across five “Scream” movies, Cox was not going to be scared that easily.
She even conducted a séance with King in the house.
“And I was just so in awe of her, I didn’t listen to a word,” Cox said.
Cox was not aware before she bought the home that there may be a spirit inside that still wants its alimony.
“Usually you don’t have to tell somebody about a divorce (before selling the home), it’s more of a death,” she said.
Years before she played a mother who encounters a ghost played by Mira Sorvino on “Shining Vale,” she may have been in the presence of another apparition.
If you live in a house with a reputation for being haunted, you may, understandably, think that potential buyers may be put off it. And yet, recent research* shows that anything but is the case.
It turns out that if you live in a home that’s known for being haunted or even just a house that has an association with a famous horror film, you may not need much property advice for selling it – it is guaranteed to be in demand, and sell for more than other comparable properties in the area.
From The Conjuring to the UK’s most haunted
If you happened to be the lucky owner of 284 Green Street, Enfield, London, is the home featured in the film The Conjuring 2, you could expect to sell it for £431,000 – £100,000 more than the house was worth only in 2016. The original Conjuring house, located in Rhode Island, is currently being sold for $1.2 million, however, it was originally bought for only $439,000. That’s an increase of $761,000 since the release of the movies. The appetite for horror film houses transcends borders.
Image credit: Matt Champlin/ Getty
The Cage, a former medieval prison in St Osyth, also known as the spookiest house in Britain, is 17 per cent more expensive than similar properties located in the same area. And 39 De Grey Street in Hull, often referred to as The Hostel, has experienced a 53 per cent increase in price compared to other properties on the same street. That’s despite claims that the supernatural happenings inside the house are so terrifying that no one will in it.
Image credit: Hilda DeSanctis / Alamy Stock Photo
Video Of The Week
But by far our favourite is the fate of 30 East Drive, in West Yorkshire, which has been voted most haunted house in Britain by the Most Haunted TV show. This house last sold for £132,000 and is now estimated at £145,000. That’s despite the fact the house hasn’t been decorated since the 1970s. It is now worth £23,000 more, although other houses on the street are fully refurbished and well maintained. It turns out that if your house has the ‘haunted trademark, you could even get away with not refurbishing it. The only issue, of course, is that you’ll have to put up with things that go bump in the night while you’re living in it.
Want some advice on how to live in a haunted house? Here is some help
Every once in a while, while giving one of our Savannah ghost tours we will have someone approach us after the tour. After everyone leaves they pull us aside and talk in hushed tones. They will proceed to tell us about all of the paranormal happenings in their house, how they often sense there is an evil presence in their house. Sometimes there is even children involved. As one can imagine, dealing with a possible paranormal experience in your house can be an unnerving and even frightening experience.
Keep in mind, most of the time paranormal experiences can be explained by things that have nothing to do with ghosts. Rattling pipes, drafts, energy given off from electronics, and many more completely natural things are sometimes confused with ghosts and hauntings.
If you think you might be having paranormal experiences in your home here are a few things you can do to help the situation.
I know this is hard at times, but the most important thing to remember is to relax. 99.9% of the time the entity which is in your house is completely harmless and only wants attention. Or it is simply residual energy, which while frightening, has no way to interact with you.
Two: Ask the Spirit to Leave
Yep, sometimes it is that simple. Ghosts are people just like us…just dead or in another parallel. If it is an intelligent haunting they may do what is asked of them and move on, or at the very least quit bothering you. We have seen this simple approach work time and time again. If you have asked the spirit to stop, but it hasn’t, you may be dealing with either a residual haunting or a stubborn spirit, which leads us to another possible step in dealing with living in a haunted house.
Three: Document Everything
When you or someone in your household has an experience with a ghost, or other strange happening, write it down. Make note of the time, what happened. and also note if there was anything out of the ordinary. If you want to get real in-depth, make note of the weather outside, the moon phases.
When you document all of the experiences in the house it helps to establish a pattern. Maybe after a few weeks you will notice that things only happen when people are arguing in the house, or during a full moon. While this won’t make the activity stop, it does help you develop a game plan for dealing with it. If you know what may be triggering it, you may be able to put a stop to it.
Four: Call a Paranormal Group
I am sure everyone has seen these shows on TV such as Ghost Hunters. All across the country there are people who have dedicated a chunk of their live to finding out the truth about ghosts and the paranormal. They use this knowledge to help others, or for their own reasons. If you seek out a Paranormal group to come into your home and help you there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure they are reputable. Don’t just invite anyone into your home. That is just stupid and could led to bigger problems that just a ghost waking you in the middle of the night. If you find a local group who comes highly recommended don’t hesitate to call them. If they are a group who takes what they do seriously they will start out by simply asking you questions about your current situation. They may research the history of your house or even do an investigation inside of your home. Many times these paranormal investigation groups can help you find the answers to your problems. Most of the times your hauntings have perfectly natural answers. The group will be able to tell you if this is the case. If they do find something paranormal going on they can give you further advise on how to deal with your particular haunting based on what they find.
Five: Have your home Blessed
Depending on your religious beliefs this may be an option for you. If you think there is a spirit in your house talk to your preacher or pastor. They may be able to come over and say a few prayers or perform a ceremony to help whatever spirit is there move on. I personally find this approach a little dubious, but it is your right to try it if your belief system calls for it.
Six: Investigate it yourself
This step should be exercised with caution. I know it seems silly for the uninitiated, but dealing with the paranormal can be a dangerous business. Entities, especially bad ones, can attach themselves to you or to your loved ones. We have heard of cases where a resident tried to do their own investigations only to have the spirits become more aggressive. You really should have an idea of what you are getting into before proceeding. However, if you really want to try, the easier way to get answers quickly is to go out and purchase a digital voice recorder. Do an EVP session in your home. See if you get any responses.
Dealing with paranormal experiences in your own home can be a frightening experience. If you feel uncomfortable in your own home because of these occurrences take steps to ‘take your home back’.
The ideas above are suggestions and is not mean to be an all-encompassing list.
If you are dealing with a paranormal experience and live in the Savannah area please contact us at 855-999-9026. We will be happy to put you in touch with groups in our area who are highly respected and skilled in the paranormal field.
Like many scary stories, this one started on a dark and stormy night. The lights inside the house were flickering and I could hear glass shattering as the windows broke one by one. Suddenly, the interior of the home glowed an ominous red and I jumped as a man shone his flashlight in my face. I was beginning my walk through the haunted house inspired by Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” at Universal Studios Florida’s Halloween Horror Nights, and there was no turning back.
I navigated all 10 haunted houses and five outdoor scare zones at Universal that night, and save for a scratchy throat from screaming, I survived — dare I say, I actually enjoyed myself enough to go back for a second go-around a couple weeks later.
My success in overcoming my scaredy-cat ways was thanks, in part, to two Universal Orlando creatives whose job it is to impart this torment on unsuspecting guests like me: Lora Sauls and Charles Gray. Sauls and Gray lead Universal Orlando’s entertainment creative-development team in bringing the park’s marquee events like Halloween Horror Nights to life.
I turned to them for some tips on how to survive Halloween Horror Nights — and other haunted houses.
Walk confidently through haunted houses and other scare zones
“You have to walk with confidence,” Sauls told me. “Not overly confident, but you can’t walk scared and timid and shy, because that’s a clue to them that they’ll get a really good scare out of you.”
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done when you’re being chased by a chainsaw-wielding killer. Based on anecdotal evidence I gathered during my visits, when I was screaming and showing fear in the houses, I seemed to get more monsters in my face than others who were able to temper their reactions. When I was constantly looking over my shoulders in the scare zones, I could sense the scareactors watching me and waiting for the right moment to pounce.
An important final note on this from Sauls: “Stay off your cell phone in the scare zones.” She let me know the scareactors are always looking for people who aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them. They’re easy targets.
Take a daytime tour of the haunted houses
On select days during HHN, guests can take a lights-on daytime tour of three or six haunted houses with not a scareactor in sight. During the tour, a guide takes small groups through the houses, pointing out props and minor details they may not notice during a regular walkthrough.
“The daytime tour guides are so knowledgeable about the houses and you can ask them as many questions as you want along the way,” Gray told Insider.
But, Gray said, taking the daytime tour may not erase all your screams.
“Depending on where you are in the line, you may hit the beginning of a show moment (or scare) one time or the end of it next time,” Gray said. “You could have a different experience each time you walk through the house.”
Still, learning more about the houses and getting familiar with the layout may help prepare you for the scares to come when you visit at night.
This one was my own personal experiment, and it’s one I highly recommend. One of the reasons the haunted houses are so scary is that you are walking in the near dark and, bam, lights flash and loud noises blare as a scareactor pops out at you.
I have a pair of Earpeace Earplugs that are designed to allow sound through, but at a lower volume. I tried them in a couple of houses to test the difference and I could still hear every sound, but it wasn’t quite as startling.
Try a dose of liquid courage
In my experience, a drink or two can act as a nerve-calming buffer in social situations.
Your mileage may vary, but this peanut butter chocolate milk stout beer float alleviated the nervousness I felt before navigating the houses.
Do something else to get a break from being scared
Even though I was enjoying myself, I still found I needed a few moments to recover after some of the houses (specifically the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” one). Luckily, Universal built in some ways to take a break and still take part in the event.
“In addition to our haunted houses and scare zones, we have two all-new live shows,” Gray said. “If you’re somebody who wants to chill out and watch a show, you can go do that.”
And chill out, I did. “Marathon of Mayhem: Carnage Factory” uses lights, music, and video projections to highlight some of the spooky stars of HHN, and “Halloween Nightmare Fuel” is a sexy stage show featuring aerial performers, dancers, fire dancers, and pyrotechnics. They weren’t at all scary, but kept me in the spirit of the event.
Some of Universal’s thrill rides also stay open during the event. Because most people are there for the haunted houses, you can hop on the rides with only a very short wait.
Overall, I still screamed my head off — but I had a great time doing it
Of all these tips, I think the most important one is to just go for it. After the tall ghost in the bowler hat from “The Haunting of Hill House” lunged at me one final time just before I exited my first haunted house of the night, a sense of relief washed over me that assured me I could survive the rest of them.
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Live at the Haunted House: May 18, 1968 Review
by Richie Unterberger
Between their first and second albums, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band taped a May 18, 1968 performance at the Haunted House night club in Hollywood for possible future use. Edited versions of a half-dozen of the songs appeared on their 1968 album Together, and an edited version of another (“Bottomless”) was issued as a B-side. But this two-CD set, issued on Rhino Handmade a good 40 years later, has about two-and-a-half hours from the performance, with complete and uncut versions of the aforementioned songs. On the one hand, it’s a valuable historical document; there aren’t all that many live recordings of significant late-’60s soul-funk bands, and this one has both very good sound and very tight performances. On the other hand, it’s not the group at their most interesting, since all but three of the songs are covers. Granted, they sound like one of the best cover bands you could have possibly heard at the time, playing with both guts and precision, and taking some liberties (some improvisational) with the source material, though not too drastic or lengthy ones. They’re certainly versatile as well, taking on hits from Motown, Stax, James Brown, Sly Stone, the Impressions, Jackie Wilson, and others, as well as the occasional surprise or relatively obscure tune, like Willie Bobo’s “Fried Neck Bones” and Otis Redding’s “Sweet Lorene.” Yet the hit-dominated set list just isn’t the place to hear the outfit at their most original and innovative, though they offer fair original instrumentals in Wright’s “The Joker” and Gabriel Flemings’ “Bottomless.” It does, however, also include the jam that grew out of “Funky Broadway,” “Do Your Thing,” that with some editing turned into their first hit. As usual, Rhino Handmade’s packaging of this archival release is excellent, with lengthy historical liner notes.
Photo by Adobe Stock | Zef Art (House photo) & Doomu (Sign photo)
Strange stuff has happened in my Yonkers house. Staunch believers in the paranormal would say it is inhabited by ghosts.
I take the safe position that there are things in this world I simply cannot explain. In other words, I keep an open mind. Anyway, if there were such things as ghosts, you would think an old, history-rich Rivertown, like Yonkers, with all its mossy graveyards and Victorian fixer-uppers would be lousy with them.
My house, built in 1906, is a three-story domicile featuring several architectural eccentricities, including winding staircases in the front and rear. It is supposedly haunted by two spirits, an elderly married couple who had previously owned the house and loved it so much, they simply couldn’t leave after their natural deaths. This was revealed to me many years ago by a psychic, who, while taking an investigative tour of the premises, sensed that one of the invisible ghosts was mischievously hiding behind the shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom. Holding a candlelit séance, she gently coaxed the couple to complete their journey to “the other side” — or at least claimed she did.
Well, it didn’t quite work. Long after the psychic had departed, the strange stuff continued. Like nesting squirrels and wood-eating termites, ghosts are apparently not all that easy to expel.
The odd goings-on are never malevolent but can be loud and a bit startling. Most of the disturbances would be diagnosed as poltergeist activity — proverbial bumps in the night. It should be noted that we’ve never heard voices, been touched, or physically harmed in any way. Nothing was ever levitated, and no one ever actually saw what could remotely be termed a ghost…except one time.
It happened in the summer of 2009. And yes, it was a dark and stormy night. Adding to the hoary cliché, we lost our electricity just at the stroke of midnight. That’s when my son, who was home from college, saw a shadowy figure of a man lurking in the upstairs hallway. He thought it was me. Only it wasn’t me, which became evident when I walked out of the bathroom.
After he told us what he had seen, I became convinced my son wasn’t kidding. I grabbed a flashlight and a baseball bat and searched the house, looking for an intruder. But I knew I wouldn’t find anyone — and I didn’t. The shadow man vanished and hasn’t been seen since.
I wrote a humorous story about it at the time, which I now realize may have been a mistake that could have easily come back to, well, haunt me. For this Halloween season, I present this as a word to the wise. According to a judge’s decision in the 1991 New York court case Stambovsky v. Ackley, if I ever decide to sell my house, I must disclose that it is “legally haunted,” regardless of whether I believe in ghosts or not. This is troubling because many people are freaked out by haunted houses and won’t buy them no matter how much of a price discount is offered.
Photo by Stefan Radtke
If I ever decide to sell my house, I must disclose that it is “legally haunted,” regardless of whether I believe in ghosts or not.
Shelby Green, a professor of law at Pace University in White Plains, told me that Stambovsky v. Ackley, popularly referred to as the Ghostbusters ruling, is discussed in many first-year property texts and taught in classes on real estate. The case centered on a stately riverfront home in Nyack that was said to be occupied by three ghosts.
“Apparently, the owner had marketed the home as such and gave public tours of it,” Green says.
The haunted house was also featured in a Reader’s Digest story and in several local newspaper articles. It seemed that everybody in Nyack knew about the house and its ghosts. The buyer, Stambovsky, who was from New York City, knew nothing.
When he found out, he sued.
Green said that under the principle of caveat emptor, sellers at that time were not obligated to divulge “defects about the condition” of a property — except in instances when the conditions were created by the seller and might affect the value. In Stambovsky, the court — in a decision riddled with ghost puns — noted that the house was reputed to be haunted, a condition that was created by the owner, who joyfully blabbed about it to the press. According to the ruling, that condition needed to be disclosed to the buyer.
Earlier this year, the Nyack house sold for $1,795,000, almost three times the asking price from 30 years ago. Not bad.
Still, there is a lesson to be learned: If you think your house is haunted, save yourself some trouble and keep it to yourself.
Do strange, unexplainable things keep happening in your house? Do you get the shivers as you walk through a room? It’s quite possible your home is haunted – why not take our fun quiz and find out?
Halloween is just around the corner, so what better time to check whether you’re currently living in a haunted house – after all, everyone knows that 31st October is when all the ghouls and gremlins come out to play. So, whether you believe in the afterlife or not, here’s a quick quiz to find out if your house has some occupants from “the other side”…
Will being “haunted” affect my property’s value?
There’s no precise answer to this, but we do know that buyers across the country love properties that come with an intriguing story. After all, if your home has a ghostly tale to tell it is far more likely to capture the imagination of prospective buyers. Would it put buyers off? Possibly, however we recently asked followers on our Facebook page: “Would you live in a haunted house?” And surprisingly, a huge 78% of those who responded said they would, with some commenting that they think they already do.
If your property’s ghoulish past has already become common knowledge in the local area, it’s likely that it will attract significant interest when you put it on the market, not least from the local press who will be keen to cover the story. And a fascinating history will be the obvious starting point for your estate agent when it comes to marketing the house and conducting viewings.
Want to know more? Contact your local Romans branch to speak to one of our property experts – they’ll be happy to advise you on the current market value. Alternatively, request a free property valuation online today.
Dinosaurs decorate Ammon Smith’s Salt Lake City yard for Halloween on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly 1 in 4 Americans say they’ve lived in a haunted home. And that’s just one of the findings from Realtor.com’s new haunted real estate report.
What’s going on: The home search website conducted a report that looked into how many people feel they lived in a haunted home and how many people would want to live among ghosts (assuming, of course, they’re real). Realtor.com worked with Harris Interactive for the report.
Here are a few of the interesting findings from the report:
- 1 in 4 people feel they lived in a haunted house.
- 44 percent of people suspected or were fully aware they were moving into a haunted house.
- 54 percent of people said hearing strange noises made them believe their house was haunted.
- 45 percent said “odd feelings in certain rooms” made them think their house was haunted.
- For 35 percent of people, erratic pet behavior was a clue their home was haunted.
The dilemma: The report also found that not everyone cares if they know upfront about ghosts lingering the walls.
Would you be OK living in a house with ghosts?
A new report finds more than 4 in 10 New Jersey residents believe they’ve already lived in a home that was haunted, and they would be fine doing it again.
The study, which was conducted for Clever, a real estate data company, finds most homeowners are more afraid of mild foundation issues, a leaky roof, bugs, radon and a broken furnace than ghosts, and they would rather live with ghosts than near the scene of a violent crime, a former meth lab or within a mile of a prison.
The report also finds in today’s competitive real estate market, 73% of respondents would consider a buying a haunted house but 52% said they would not pay full market value for it.
L’Aura Hoffman, the founder and director of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, said it’s not surprising so many Garden State residents believe they’ve been living with ghosts because many homes are indeed haunted.
Most ghosts don’t even know they’re dead.
“A conservative guesstimate for New Jersey, I would say a good 30 to 40%,” she said.
She said most ghosts are basically harmless because “9 times out of 10 they don’t even know that they’re dead, so they don’t even know they’re a ghost, they don’t recognize the change in the landscape around them, they still see the house as they remember it.”
Hoffman said during séances she cautions people to not say to ask ghosts when they’ve died because that knowledge “could be quite a shock.”
She pointed out if you’ve remodeled the house where you live and put in a wall where there used to be a door, “that’s why you see sometimes a ghost walking through a wall because they still see the door that was there.”
Another reason not to be spooked by ghosts is “they can only manifest enough telekinetic energy to move a couple of little things. Maybe you’ll feel a tap on your shoulder or your waist if it’s the height of a child.”
Other signs of haunting
Lights turning themselves on or off.
Television changing channels on its own.
Objects going missing and reappearing in places where you didn’t leave them.
The Yankees fan
She said one of the nastiest ghosts she ever encountered was a big New York Yankees fan when he was alive, and the ghost was in a home where a woman enjoyed watching the show “Melrose Place.”
“If the Yankees were playing he would switch the channel over to the Yankees game, and she kept fighting and putting it back to ‘Melrose Place,’ and then at one point he just blew out the TV,” she said.
Hoffman also noted sometimes you may encounter a ghost in home that has a “residual haunting.”
“It’s like an audio or videotape that’s in a loop and just replays itself, either on an anniversary or just repeats itself at a certain time of day or month,” she said.
Notable haunted homes in N.J.
Spy House in Port Monmouth, built in the 1600s, where many ghosts of children and the British troops who enjoyed drinking pints of beer during the Revolutionary War have been repeatedly seen.
Ringwood Manor in Passaic, a 51 room Victorian –era mansion that reportedly has been a ghost hotbed for decades.
The Hermitage in Ho Ho Kus, where spirits and voices of the dead are frequently reported.
Hoffman said there are not more ghosts floating around as we approach Halloween, it just may seem like that because people are more keyed into hauntings and the occult at this time of year.
By Katie Gallagher | October 5, 2017
House hunting just got a little bit scarier – that is, if you worry about some unwanted paranormal roommates.
Although paint touch-ups and landscaping can boost the appeal of your home, it may be smarter to host a séance. That’s because a haunted house can spook away homebuyers.
We found that most Americans consider both deaths and hauntings when finding their next home. Millennial men are the exception, with some possibly dying to live in a haunted home, according to Trulia’s September survey, conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,098 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
With Halloween just around the corner, many Americans have fun celebrating this spooky time of year. But how many Americans really believe in the supernatural? Who is checking the basements and closets for ghosts and ghouls when they’re in an open house? Where do people draw the (chalk) line on how much horror they can handle at home?
Turns out, many Americans may fear the sinister in their homes. When asked if they would consider purchasing a haunted house, 43% of Americans say they would be less likely to buy a home if there was suspicion that something ghostly occurred there.
- Bring on the Scare: Only three in 10 Americans (30%) answered yes when asked if they would live in a home where a death had occurred.
- Macho Millennial Men: 28% of millennial men (ages 18-34) say they would be much or somewhat more likely to buy a home if there was suspicion that the property may be haunted.
- Seniors Aren’t So Spooked: 61% of those ages 65 and above say they are no more or less likely to buy a haunted house, compared to 45% of those ages 18-54.
- More Degrees, More at Ease: Only 33% of Americans with a graduate degree are somewhat or much less likely to buy a haunted house, lowest of any other education levels. This compares to 50% of those who completed some high school or less, 45% of those who completed high school/GED, 42% of college graduates/those who completed some graduate school, 41% who have associates degree or job-specific training.
Fear of Aging? Or Aging Away Fear?
Although many Americans may be spooked, there are some demographics that seem to be more afraid. Age and gender appear to have a strong influence on people’s feelings about the unnatural. What we found is when it comes to ghosts, the more gray, the more blasé.
Seniors were by far the age group most likely to be unfazed when it came to living in a haunted home. Compared to 45% of their younger counterparts (ages 18-55), 61% of seniors, aged 65 and older, say they are no or more less likely to buy a haunted house. When it came to living in a home where a death had taken place, older adults were also most likely to be unfazed, with 39% of those ages 55+ saying they would live there compared to only 24% of those ages 18-54.
Not So Afraid of Monsters Under Their Beds
While seniors are not disturbed by the prospect of hauntings, some millennial men appear to be not only unafraid but possibly eager to live in a haunted home. Of all male age groups, millennial men are the most likely to say they would purchase a home if there was suspicion it was haunted – 28% of millennial men would be more likely to purchase a home that may be haunted compared to just 7% of men ages 35+. Perhaps they are too busy looking at their phones to realize there is a ghost lurking.
Not in My House
Determining who’s most sensitive to hauntings came down to relationship status and education. It could be that having a partner around gives more peace of mind for the creatures that may be under the bed, because only 18% of singles said yes, they would live in a home where a death had taken place. This compares to 31% people who are married or living with a partner.
Levels of education also impact people’s likelihood to live in a haunted home. 50% of Americans without a high school degree are somewhat or much less likely to buy a haunted house, the highest proportion of all education levels to feel this way. Compare that to 45% of high school grads/GED’s, 42% of college grads/completed some graduate school, 41% with associates or vocational training and 33% of those with graduate degrees. So that’s what higher education is teaching these days.
Location, Location, Location
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a fright or avoiding the fear, it may be helpful to find out what lurks in listings. From streets with bad omens to live-in ghosts, we analyzed listings data to find the States with the Spookiest Homes. We looked at the most recent listing to find homes that included words like haunt, haunted and haunting. In addition, we checked our listings to find homes currently for-sale on streets named Elm, Fleet, Cemetery and Blood as well as homes that included some ghoulish terms in the listing descriptions.
The most sinister?
- Texas has the spookiest listings in the U.S. with 198.
- Looking for your own Nightmare on Elm Street? There are currently 46,680 homes for sale across the U.S. that are located on an Elm Street.
- Which state has the most? California with 5,455.
- If a demon barber is more your style, head to Maryland as there are 333 listings on a Fleet Street. But beware any bakeries or barbershops on your street.
- Across the U.S. there are 1,536 listings on a Fleet Street.
Whether you’re a believer or a denier, stock up on plenty of sage, salt and garlic this October and have a Happy Halloween.
Your great aunt left you the house of your dreams, or so you thought. Now, as you listen to the sounds of scratching on the walls, you realize this is the house of your nightmares. And since you’ve seen your fair share of horror movies, you know living in a haunted house will not end well for you.
Yes, we know there’s no scientific proof of ghosts, but there are countless reports of hauntings all over the world. According to a 2019 YouGov poll, 45% of Americans believe that ghosts “definitely” or “probably” exist. And the other 55% have obviously never stayed in a haunted house.
People in a haunted house may see visual signs including “full-bodied apparitions,” or items that have moved without anyone touching them. So if you walk into the living room and find everything rearranged, maybe it’s time to call the Ghostbusters. Or someone else.
When should you call a medium? What should you do to the mirrors? And how could your spice rack save your home?
The idea of ghosts has persisted for millennia. It’s based on our interest in death and the possibility of an afterlife. And ghosts need somewhere to live, which is why haunted houses have been around for centuries too. Incidents of haunted houses in Europe and the U.S. increased significantly from 1848 to the late 1920s.
With the increase in hauntings also came the increase in people who said they could speak to ghosts and get rid of them. These people were known as mediums, but they’ve also evolved into other forms, such as ghost hunters over the years.
Greg Newkirk is one such ghost hunter, and anxious homeowners have called him to many haunted houses to determine why they are haunted. According to Newkirk, there are three types of hauntings.
An intelligent haunting, also known as the “classic haunting,” happens when a ghost notices or acknowledges the people living in the house and interacts with them. Think of Casper, or for something really dark, The Haunting.
A residual haunting is when the spirit or ghost does not acknowledge or notice the people living in the house. It may happen due to a terrible event that happened in the house. And finally, there’s the intentional haunting.
This is not a haunting by a spirit, but a belief that’s so strong it manifests a haunting. These places attract attention from people such as kids or paranormal bloggers. Whichever type of haunting you’re experiencing, here are some tips to help you survive.
Step 1: Go Big or Go Medium
If you believe your house is haunted, contacting a medium may not be the worst idea. A medium can visit and assess the home and see how strongly the ghost is attached to it. The medium may decide that your home needs a sage cleanse, which is one of the oldest methods for getting rid of bad energy and unwanted spirits.
Burning sage is scientifically proven to remove 94% of bacteria from the air and release negative ions that put people in a better mood. And if it gets rid of spirits along with that, then you should probably open some windows and doors, so they have somewhere to go.
Step 2: Don’t Clown Around
Mediums often recommend that you keep a sense of control and “make a firm statement” towards the intruding spirit. This can include saying out loud that you want the ghost to stop or leave.
Remember, people who mock the supernatural are generally the first to be harmed by a ghost. This is not the time to clown around. And if you believe the movies, don’t keep dolls around. Especially clown dolls or anything resembling Annabelle.
Step 3: Cover the Mirrors
The phrase “the mirror is your enemy” takes on a new meaning when your home has a ghost. According to some cultures, spirits can become trapped in mirrors. So cover all the mirrors.
Step 4: Stay With Others
We’ve seen this countless times in haunted house movies. There’s always a person who goes to check on the noise and never comes back. If something is going bump in the night, have friends or family stay with you in the haunted house. This will help assert your presence. And you’ll be less likely to feel anxious and jumpy.
Step 5: Wear Sensible Shoes
If you do encounter something floating near you, you may want to be able to run away. So wearing high heels may not be helpful.
Step 6: Think Logically
Whether you do or don’t believe in paranormal, you must get your home checked for carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause memory loss, confusion, emotional instability, disorientation, and hallucination.
If your home has a faulty or abnormally functioning furnace, it could produce carbon monoxide fumes, and they could poison you. Often, after the carbon monoxide leaks are fixed in “haunted” houses, the hauntings stop.
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. , Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 60 percent of people who have lived in a haunted house didn’t know it was haunted before they moved in, according to the realtor.com ® , fourth annual Haunted Real Estate Report, which was released today. The findings, which might cause a fright, begs the question: would you consider living in a haunted home?
The survey of 1,000 people across the United States was conducted earlier this month by Toluna Research through online interviews. Here are some of the spooky findings:
Forty-three percent of respondents may have had a ghost as a roommate
According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents said they have never lived in a haunted home, 23 percent of respondents said they have lived in one, while 20 percent think they may have lived in a haunted home. Of those who felt certain that they lived in a haunted house, 58 percent had no idea it was haunted before moving in and 37 percent knew it was and decided to go for it anyway. Five percent said maybe.
Strange noises and shadows are the most common spooky happenings
So what made them think it was haunted? Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said strange noises in the house made them think it was haunted. Fifty-two percent said strange shadows in the house, followed by 48 percent who said items moved on their own, 47 percent said certain rooms felt haunted, 46 percent said they would feel touched, and 44 percent said their home had hot and cold spots.
“Moving into a new home is a really exciting time, but finding out that your new abode has an unwanted guest can definitely put a damper on the celebration,” according to Nate Johnson , chief marketing officer at realtor.com ® . “We conduct this survey annually and it’s always interesting to see the results. This year, we were surprised by how many people had unknowingly moved into a haunted house at some point in their lives, and even more so by how many people knew and decided to move in regardless.”
Majority of people prefer to live ghost free
When asked if they would ever consider moving into a haunted house, 54 percent of respondents said there was no way. Twenty-one percent were prepared to dust off the ole’ Ghostbusters costume and brave whatever spooky happenings might be plaguing the house, while 21 percent were on the fence and responded with “maybe.”
Interestingly, survey responses were not that different even if the home buyer didn’t actually buy the home. When asked what they would do if they inherited a haunted home, 51 percent of respondents said they would take the money and run by selling it immediately. Just under a quarter — 23 percent — would try to flush the ghosts out with a new kitchen or floors by renovating the home. Twenty percent of these brave souls are willing to take the risk and would simply move into their new abode, while 6 percent aren’t taking any risks for themselves or others — they’d tear the place down.
But respondents don’t mind a neighborhood ghoul
While the majority of respondents were against the prospect of choosing to live in a haunted house, the survey found they were much more amenable to living next to one, rather than in one. Nearly 43 percent of respondents were willing to live next to a house they believed was haunted, compared to the 21 percent that would actually be willing to live in one. Still, 31 percent have seen the movies and they just aren’t willing to take the risk of living next to a house they believed was haunted.
By Dena Pepple, R.N. for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group.
We’re not far from Halloween… Are there monsters under your bed or ghosts in your closets? Do you hear creaks and noises in the night? Are you afraid to go to the basement alone? Maybe, you live in a haunted house!
Most of you are laughing or rolling your eyes right about now, but I’m here to tell you that your house may very well be haunted and those dangers are lurking before your very eyes. How do I know this? Unfortunately, it’s all in the numbers.
The National Safety Council says more than a third of child injuries and deaths happen at home. Every year, 3.4 million children are injured unintentionally in the home. About 2,000 of these children (age 14 and under) die as a result. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, every 17 minutes an injury from a home furnishing tip-over occurs. The National Safety Council also states that medications are the leading cause of child poisoning.
The causes of these unintentional injuries include burns, suffocation, drowning, firearms, falls and poisoning.
Every cause is equally important and must be addressed in every home where children live or visit. The following web sites are overflowing with great information, handouts, education, interactive games, videos, safety checklists, and more:
One of the causes of unintentional home injuries that I want to discuss in more detail during this Halloween season are poison look-alikes.
I recently received a pamphlet from the Missouri Poison Center (PDF) that had some eye-catching and disturbing pictures of these poison look-alikes. Rat poison pellets look like Nerds candy. Nicotine gum and Dentyne gum come in similar little white squares. Some cleaning solutions and Gatorade have the same purple color. Gummy bears can be candy, vitamins, or even CBD infused. Of course, we all know the old joke of x-lax and chocolates.
Can children tell the difference?
We adults can see or read what the look-alikes really are, but our children may not be able to tell the difference.
In 2017, the Poison Control Centers in the United States received 2.12 million phone calls for human poison exposure. They state peak poison frequency occurs between one and two years of age, and 45% of poison exposures occur in children under the age of 6 years.
So, what can you do?
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF REACH, AND LOCKED UP should be your mantra for all medications and other potentially hazardous materials in your home. Keep all medicines and products in their original containers.
Be clear with your children that candy is candy and medicine is medicine. Do not tell your children medicine is candy so they will be more inclined to swallow. As you are thinking about trick-or-treating and candy bags, look and see what else could be on that look-alike list. Keep the Missouri Poison Center phone number in a prominent place at home and in your cell phone. Most importantly, if you even suspect a poisonous ingestion CALL, CALL, CALL the poison center number!
Missouri Poison Center Phone Number: 1-800-222-1222
There is another safety issue hidden in plain sight in our homes. Our home furnishings can cause tip-over injuries. 195 deaths were caused by furniture tip-over accidents between 2000 and 2016. Sadly, from 2015 to 2016 the number of tip-over accidents increased by 33%, raising the total number of deaths to 26 per year. ER visits from tip-over accidents are estimated at >30,000 between 2014 and 2016.
The fix here is the use of furniture straps on every potential tip-over furnishing.
Dressers, televisions, bookcases, and any other tip prone furniture should be securely attached to the wall. These straps can be found online at many stores (Home Depot, Target, Walmart, Lowes, and more).
You can also get these straps for free at Charlie’s House.
Charlie’s House is a non-profit organization started here in Kansas City, in memory of a beautiful little boy named Charlie. Charlie died in his home in a dresser tip-over accident. They educate on home safety and are in the process of building a real safety house to better educate parents about these safety issues, and ultimately save lives. They also offer other home safety devices such as cord covers, drawer latches, outlet covers, and more.
Thirty-two years ago I child proofed my home for the first time.
We read about home safety advice, put up gates, attached drawer locks, had poison control numbers ready, and used a “real” car seat to bring our baby home. We were ready to keep our kiddo safe… or so we thought.
That baby (my daughter) is now having her own babies and childproofing her own home. She makes me look like a rookie. She has multiple gates, doorknob grips everywhere, soft furniture corner covers, a locked medicine box, furniture straps, cabinet locks, and more. I teased her that her house was almost grandma proof! But she did it right and knows that it’s an ongoing, evolving and everyday process. I am proud of her and her vigilance to protect her children.
As our family fun month of October continues, enjoy the cooler weather, school activities, pumpkin spice everything, and of course Halloween candy and parties. Have fun with your scary costumes and haunted houses. But don’t forget the scares in your own “Haunted House”. Be prepared, stay alert, use the resources listed, and protect your little goblins.
Let’s keep the haunted houses in Halloween where they belong!
When you do an initial walk-through of a house, you’ll ask about the plumbing, the utility costs, and any previous damage. But you probably wouldn’t even think to ask if the home has any “permanent” inhabitants.
Although homeowners are required to disclose information about the home’s physical condition, they also have to reveal if there have been any murders or suicides in the home. However, when it comes to paranormal activity, the law is a bit vague.
If the home has been declared “haunted” by a government organization, then the owner must disclose that information. However, if there has never been an official record of ghostly visitations, the homeowners can stay tight-lipped about their apparition guests.
Would you live in a haunted house? Would you host spooky parties and séances for your friends, or would you run screaming from an unfriendly ghost? We searched high and low for famous haunted houses in the U.S. to find out how ghosts have treated the houses’ inhabitants. Judge for yourself if the haunted lifestyle is for you.
The Joshua Ward House
Joshua Ward was a wealthy sea captain turned merchant who built his home in 1784. Unfortunately, he chose the site of George Corwin’s house and jail. George Corwin served as sheriff during the infamous Salem witch trials. He personally interrogated and sentenced to death dozens of suspected witches. His methods were sadistic: he tortured and killed his suspects to elicit confessions.
Corwin’s home was eventually torn down and replaced with Joshua Ward’s. According to some accounts, victims of Corwin’s cruelty have been seen roaming the halls. Some have seen an older male ghost believed to be Corwin.
Today, the home is a commercial building for small businesses in the Salem area.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
The Amityville House
Amityville, New York
Six members of the DeFeo family were found brutally murdered in their home in 1974. The oldest son, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., was found guilty of shooting and killing his parents and four siblings. Eighteen months later, George and Kathleen Lutz moved into the property. They stayed only 28 days.
The Lutz family reported unexplained noises, strange sensations of “being embraced,” and apparitions of a demon-like pig creature with fiery red eyes. Their story inspired the novel “The Amityville Horror,” which has also been made into a feature-length film.
Today, the home is still a residential property. It was sold in August 2010 for $950,000.
Villisca Ax Murder House
Photo Credit: http://www.villiscaiowa.com/
On June 10, 1912, the six members of the Moore family and two young overnight guests were bludgeoned to death. The weapon was discovered to be an ax, but the murderer (or murderers) were never found. No one knows why the Moore family was targeted.
Over time, visitors to the house reported hearing children’s crying voices, seeing a door that opens and closes mysteriously, and feeling wandering spirits.
In 1994, the home was purchased by Darwin Linn and renovated as a museum. In 1998, the Moore home was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, it still stands as a museum that offers daylight and overnight tours to brave visitors.
The Lemp Mansion
St. Louis, Missouri
The Lemp family immigrated to Missouri in 1838. In the 1860s, they started a successful brewery and built the Lemp mansion for the family. The family may have been quite wealthy, but they had a pattern of unhappiness-four family members of different generations committed suicide. In the early 1900s, Charles Lemp had a son with Down syndrome who was a product of an affair. The boy was confined to the attic and died at about age 40. His father killed his dog and himself soon after.
In 1975, the mansion was restored to its former glory after many years of disrepair. During the renovations, contractors reported feelings of being watched by invisible spirits. According to visitors, the spirits seemed to approve of the work being done.
Today, the Lemp Mansion is an inn and restaurant. The employees and guests alike have seen and heard paranormal experiences, including mysterious piano playing, self-stirring drinks, and the sound of a dog panting and clicking his nails on the floorboards.
St. Francisville, Louisiana
The Myrtles Plantation was constructed in 1796 by General Bradford, who came to Louisiana to escape persecution for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Legend has it that Chloe, a French governess to Bradford’s grandchildren, had an affair with Bradford’s son-in-law, Judge Woodruff. Woodruff punished Chloe for listening in on a business meeting by cutting off her ear. She retaliated by poisoning a cake for his eldest daughter’s birthday. The poison killed Woodruff’s wife and two daughters.
Today, the mansion functions as a bed and breakfast inn. Visitors frequently have paranormal experiences. Some report the presence of a green-turbaned black woman, thought to be Chloe. She wakes guests by lifting the mosquito netting around a bed and staring intently. Others say they have seen the specters of two little blonde girls peeking through the windows.
Still not sure if you would live in a haunted house? Be sure to ask the realtor about the history of the home before you make a final offer. For more tips and tricks about home buying and moving, check out our other blog posts.
If your house is plagued with spooky problems, follow our fixes to get rid of them.
Every house has its secrets. Sometimes, doors open or shut by themselves. Lights flicker randomly. A toilet flushes on its own. And there’s that deathly odor. You’ve been catching whiffs of it for years now, but you still can’t seem to locate the source. If you need help with the scary problems plaguing your home, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Popular Mechanics, we named it spooky house syndrome (SHS) and we’re ready to help you solve the problems that go bump in the night with some easy DIY tips and some trusty tools.
Rich Robbins, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pa., is something of an expert on the subject. Each October his lecture “Ghosts and Hauntings: Decide for Yourself?” draws a standing-room-only crowd. “We carry a prototype in our mind of what a house should be like,” says Robbins, who holds a doctorate in social psychology. “When something out of the ordinary happens, we may or may not seek to explain it in rational terms.”
Robbins says he’s “agnostic” about ghosts; he’s never seen one but can’t disprove them, either. Luckily, a lot of the things that make it seem like something supernatural is causing the problems in your home can be fixed when you know what to look out for.
Does it look like someone—or something—has taken nails to your hardwood flooring?
Possibility: A ghoul has decided to make your home its haunting grounds and wants you to know it’s here to stay.
More Likely: Your shoes—or the act of moving furniture around—have taken their toll on your flooring and left some scuffs, scratches or gouge marks in the wood.
The Fix: If it’s a tiny scratch that only you notice, you can use stain markers for a quick and easy fix. If the marks are deeper than a small scratch, another option is using paste wax or acrylic wood filler in a color that matches the wood; in the case of the wax, simply apply, let it dry, and remove any excess by gently buffing it out. Using the acrylic filler will be more time consuming since you will have to wait for it to dry before applying additional coats.
If the damage spans the entirety of your flooring, or there’s too much to cover on your own, you may need to call in professionals to completely redo or treat your floors.
You keep a tidy bathroom, so why does it smell as if a possum is buried beneath the vanity?
Possibility: An awful thing took place in there—think shower scene from Psycho—and an olfactory trace of the event remains.
More Likely: The sink trap is dry. Normally it’s filled with water, a simple and effective barrier to odors from the building’s plumbing or the sewer system. But if the drain system has been badly designed or poorly installed, or the vent stack on the roof is plugged with leaves and sticks, the result is the same: Draining water creates a vacuum and sucks the trap dry. Another stink source may be the sink’s overflow hole. The interior cavity leading from the overflow to the drain can become black with nasty-smelling slime.
The Fix: Getting the drain to work properly may involve replumbing it and the vent system, but the remedy could also be as simple as clearing the vent stack with a length of wire or a plumber’s snake. To make slime disappear from the overflow channel, flush it out with a cleaner that contains bleach or a mildew killer.
Bulbs flicker menacingly. An electrical short crackles. There’s a persistent but vague smell of burning plastic. Then—gulp—everything goes dark.
Possibility: After William Shatner plugged it with a revolver, the carpet-covered monster from the famous Twilight Zone episode dropped off the plane’s wing and landed in your basement, where the beast has been chewing on the wiring in your electrical panel.
More Likely: There are dozens of reasons why lights flicker, outlets go dead and circuit breakers trip—none of them good, some of them dangerous. A few of the common problems:1. Spliced wires come apart.
The Fix: Use the right-size wire connector. Line up the stripped wire ends so they are parallel; twist on the connector, turning it clockwise. Give a gentle but firm tug on the splice to check that it’s sound.
2. The house has aluminum wiring, which was commonly used in the 1970s—and is notorious for thermal expansion and loosening at splices, switches and outlets.
The Fix: Have an electrician replace the wiring, or at least check all connections.
3. The light fixture is shot because someone “overlamped” it with a higher-wattage bulb than it’s rated for. This overheats the fixture, its wiring and the splices that connect it to the house wiring.
The Fix: Replace the fried fixture, and install a bulb with the proper wattage.
4. A loose connection lurks at a switch or an outlet.
The Fix: Turn off the power, remove the wire from the device and cut away damage. Strip insulation and wrap the bare wire clockwise around the screw, then tighten firmly.
“My wife and I live in a home whose original construction dates to 1790, and I can’t help imagining what’s gone on there over the years. In cool weather, groaning and squeaking sounds emanate from the southwest corner of the house. The noises originate roughly from the area of the boiler and water heater, so I’m sure there’s a mechanical explanation. But the sounds change pitch and cadence like a human voice, so it’s unnerving” — Joe Bargmann, PM special projects editor
The best answer to any question
What is it like to live in a house with a ghost?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Answer by Logan Forbes, mom, former wildlife rehabilitator, environmental education
The house was originally built by a local banker in the early 1920s. Back then, there was live-in domestic staff, including a gardener, to care for the immense grounds and gardens that surrounded the house.
I’m not sure that I believe such things as ghosts really exist, but I had a few experiences that have caused me to consider the idea that they might.
My first experience happened early one morning. My husband was working 3rd shift, and always arrived home promptly at 7:30 am. This particular morning I had gotten out of bed at 6:00 a.m. I looked at the clock because I saw him lying in the bed in the next room, on top of the covers, in his underwear. I thought it was odd that he was home so early. There was nothing else particularly unusual. He always slept in his underwear, and if the kids were in bed with me, he’d sleep in another bedroom. Sleeping on top of the covers was a little unusual at this time of year. But not any reason for me to think twice as to whether or not it was my husband.
A few hours later, when we were all up, I casually asked why he was home so early. He had no idea what I was talking about and said he arrived home at the usual time – 7:30. I told him my experience of seeing him lying on the bed – he insisted he wasn’t home then. We went back and forth with this for a few minutes. Then I mentioned the underwear detail, trying to convey how I was so sure I saw him. He blurted out, “You saw the gardener!“. “What gardener?“, I asked.
He told me a story of how their nanny would always leave a broom on the bed in that particular room to prevent this “gardener” ghost from taking naps there during the day. Supposedly the gardener also slept in his underwear, according to the nanny, which was the one detail that jarred his memory of this long-forgotten childhood experience.
He seemed to regret having told me the story and whenever I brought it up, he claimed the whole tale was simply a joke meant to frighten me. So, eventually, I forgot about it. He didn’t forget about it though.
From that day on he would brace something up against the closet door in that bedroom, every single night, without fail. He’d get up out of bed, sometimes in the middle of the night to do it, if he’d forgotten earlier. Naturally, I asked him what was up with the closet thing and he mumbled something about a draft. He had never done this before my encounter with the gardener, yet he clung to his story that he had made the entire thing up whenever I tried to talk to him about it. His attitude about the whole thing was just bizarre.
I never was able to get much more information out of him about it other than that he once worked and lived there. I did finally get him to tell me that the nanny instructed them as children to keep the closet door closed as that was how the “gardener” got into the room.
My second encounter with the “gardener” happened shortly before Christmas. I was putting a long strand of garland up along the mantle in the library. I’d securely fastened it using small hooks, the same way I’d done in previous years. It wasn’t going anywhere. I turned around to move on to my next task and down came the garland onto the floor. The first time it happened, I thought, ‘Okay, it must have slipped’. I went through the process 3 more times. The way it fell from the mantle is what made me think back to the gardener episode. It was as though someone had taken the end and slowly pulled it off along the length of the mantle. It didn’t just fall off the way it would if it wasn’t attached properly.
I was feeling like there was something I couldn’t quite identify in the atmosphere in the library. I wasn’t scared. I never felt fear at the thought of the gardener, he seemed harmless enough. I said aloud, “Please stop it, I have a lot to do today”. Well, I guess that did it because I put it back up, the same way I had the last 4 times and it stayed put.
My final encounter with this entity was during a fundraiser performance by a local opera company that we hosted at the house. There was food, buffet style, set up in the dining room. It was a fancy dress occasion. I was mingling, holding a plate of food, nothing particularly messy, something I was very thankful for, as it turned out. I was standing, chatting with one of the guests, holding the plate in front of me. All of a sudden, it felt as though someone hit the plate, hard, from underneath. The contents flew at this man. It looked for all the world like I had intentionally flung the plate of food at him. I thought I’d die of embarrassment.
There were other encounters, here and there over the years. A fleeting glimpse of something in the attic, things mysteriously moving from one place to another.
Whatever this was, it seemed to be mischievous, but peaceful and even helpful. Once, I went to retrieve a load of laundry from the dryer only to find it had been moved to the bed in the gardener’s old bedroom. Unfortunately, he stopped short of folding it.
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Courteney Cox is recounting a scary ghost story!
Courteney Cox has stated that she sold her home after discovering it was haunted. The 57-year-old actress told Jimmy Kimmel Live about the problematic ghost who lived in her old town home while promoting her forthcoming horror comedy series Shining Vale.
However, when Kimmel asked whether she believed in ghosts. Cox said as per ET Canada, “I didn’t believe at first. But I lived in this house in Laurel Canyon, which is in L.A., obviously, and it was Gypsy Rose Lee’s house and Carole King.” Cox further said, “So Carole King came over to my house and she said that there had been a divorce, that was really ugly, and there was a ghost in the house. And I was, like, yeah, whatever. But other people who would stay there with me, like friends of mine, said they felt an encounter with a woman who was sitting on the edge of the bed.”
Despite these statements, Cox dismissed the likelihood of a ghost in her home. Courteney said she even had a séance with Carole but didn’t pay attention since she was so taken with the singer. Cox added, “I was at the house one day not being a believer. The doorbell rang. It was a UPS guy, or something, and I opened the door and he said, ‘Do you know this house is haunted?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, why? Why do you think that?’ And he goes, ‘Because there is someone standing behind you.’ And I was like, ‘Let’s sell.’” Interestingly, she agreed when Kimmel questioned whether she truly sold the home because of the delivery man.
Meanwhile, Shining Vale will debut on Starz on Sunday. Greg Kinnear, Sherilyn Fenn, Gus Birney, Dylan Gage, Mira Sorvino, Merrin Dungey, and Judith Light all appear in the series. Shining Vale was created by 51-year-old Irish comedian Sharon Horgan and 56-year-old former Friends writer Jeff Astrof.
Everything present is made of the past—the cities we inhabit and the language we use and the clothes we wear and what they make us feel.
A human being is a haunted animal.
We live in the knowledge that we will die, and we interpret everything that happens to us through the lens of something past. Ghosts walk our halls and materialize in the dusty sunlight of a lonely midday; they speak to us from the dark at night. We leave memories in everything we touch. If I pick up a pebble, I put it down haunted.
Here’s a simple example. On the bookshelf in my living room I have a friendship bracelet someone gave me, a bracelet I never wore, and then the person died. It can never be thrown in the trash. There it sits. To a tiny but measurable degree, I killed that friend, because my care for him fell short, was limited by selfish reluctance and distraction, and that idea is crystallized in this bracelet. And of course my friend, and the trauma of his last days, are in there too.
On that same bookshelf is a copy of Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities in German. I got it from the bookshelf of my first husband the day I helped his mother clean out his apartment after his suicide. He had leapt to his death from the balcony behind us. He and I had lived in Germany together, and what little German I spoke was colored by his temperament and his intellect. I will never be able to give the book away, although I’ll never be able to read it. Inevitably, when I die, someone else will clean it from my bookshelf.
But an object doesn’t need an association with death to foster a ghost. I have a scented candle I ordered because a friend recommended it. Our friendship had soured by the time the candle came, and when I lit it, the candle had a sweet, ingratiating stench, very typical of cheap candles. Still I couldn’t throw it away. I put it in the bathroom and it’s still there. I can’t stop hoping I’ll come to like the smell, as I still want to love that friend. Every time I go to the bathroom now, it’s about her and that wish, and this isn’t much different from having her haunt my bathroom as a restless ghost.
Any gift is susceptible to haunting, as a thing representing a person—a person who may at any time betray you, move to Australia, or be lost at sea. Souvenirs are likewise hazardous, since they embody a time that will never come again. My husband has an enigmatic chunk of rubble which is complicatedly haunted: He remembers the ex who gave it to him, and even the occasion of the gift, but can’t remember if it comes from the World Trade Center or the Berlin Wall. E ven abstract things—ideas, words, activities—can be homes for ghosts. For me, the act of slicing onions is haunted by the person who taught me a trick for slicing them more efficiently, a man who died from a heroin overdose twenty years ago. Gloomy words are totally infested; for most of us, cancer will sooner or later be terrible with personal history. Then there are the towns where our lost people lived, and the bars where we once drank with them, and the makes of cars they drove. Scents are notorious repositories of ghosts, as is music. Every time a popular song plays in a crowded place, it plays a hundred memories. Proust could declutter his apartment all he liked, but he couldn’t stop people from serving him madeleines.
Still, it sometimes seems as if contemporary people are determined to eradicate ghosts. We see the past as a source of trauma, not significance. We talk about getting rid of our baggage. We’re advised to throw away anything, whatever its significance, if it does not “spark joy.” We are also increasingly encouraged to treat our homes as financial assets, an attitude fatal to the proper development of a haunted house. Many people decorate and renovate with the next buyer in mind, a buyer who’s assumed to favor the generic, the meaningless, and the off-white. When I first stayed in Airbnbs ten years ago, they were idiosyncratic spaces, with family snapshots on the refrigerator, shelves of battered children’s books, the paraphernalia of hobbies everywhere. There always seemed to be at least one seashell and one plastic dinosaur. The club kid didn’t bother to hide his “I Heart Gay Porn” stickers; the Satanist left on the walls his photorealist drawings of horned beasts grappling with naked maidens. All this has been sanitized out of existence. An Airbnb is now a desacralized set of bare rooms and empty closets with a single shelf of guide books and a minimum of cheap, durable furniture.
Of course, hostility to ghosts is not all new. We need look no further for evidence of this than ghost stories, which have always tended to treat the ghost as terrifying and dangerous; when they have a happy ending, it involves the ghost’s banishment. Typically this is achieved by the avenging of a forgotten crime, of which the ghost is a lingering manifestation. Often, too, the crime has a historical dimension. In Candyman , the spirit is the son of an enslaved person killed by a lynch mob for his relationship with a white woman; in The Fog , a town is terrorized by the ghosts of a leper colony robbed and killed by its founders. Vengeful spirits from Native American burial grounds are everywhere, appearing in The Amityville Horror , Poltergeist II , Pet Sematary , and the film version of The Shining . No matter how legitimate the grievance of a ghost, the desired outcome is to make it go away. Even in a film like Ghost , where the haunting is unequivocally good and unthreatening, the story is about exacting vengeance and, in the happy ending, the ghost disappears.
I’ve always disliked this narrative. It turns the victim into an embodiment of the violence committed against them: In Candyman , racist murder is personified not by the lynch mob, but the person lynched. It is the victim and their insistence on remembering that is the threat to the community, or at best a kind of litter that needs to be responsibly tidied away. This narrative also promotes one of the most persistent delusions of modernity: that we can be free of history, that we only have to pay our ancestors’ debts, and the damage will all be gone.
I understand the appeal of erasure. I too can find it exhausting to live with the detritus of my life, and I have dealt with traumatic events through denial, compartmentalization, or simply thinking about something else. I understand why people are drawn to anodyne things when life gets complicated and why it can be tempting to dump all your possessions in a Goodwill and move to a town where you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you. I have, once or twice, walked away from a bad situation with no more than what I could carry on my back. I would happily watch all the Confederate statues in the world being blasted into the sun. I am not saying throwing things away can never work.
But in reality, history can’t go away. Everything present is made of the past—the cities we inhabit and the language we use and the clothes we wear and what they make us feel. Every word in this sentence was first given significance by people now long dead. The stories we tell were given form by stories we’ve heard before, which were given form by stories heard before, and so on back to the campfire tales of Homo erectus . We ourselves are mostly made of ghosts and can’t exist without them, much as our bodies are made by DNA, which is the living persistence of the deep past. There is no real decluttering that does not move us closer to our own extinction, just as there is no real antisepsis that is not universal death.
It’s officially spooky season, which means witches, ghosts, and ghouls can lurk around every corner. A little fright every once in a while is fun, but what do you do if you end up living in haunted quarters and the nightmare lasts past Halloween? When it comes to buying a haunted house, there are a few steps you can take to make sure to protect yourself before, during, and after the deed is signed.
How to Avoid Buying a Haunted House
The key to making sure you don’t end up buying a haunted house is to do proper research. When you’re looking at potential neighborhoods, make sure you review the home’s history, any properties that have been torn down, and the history of your prospective home. You can get a lot of the information you need by asking the seller’s agent directly. If you’re suspicious of anything, you can always use a service like DiedInHouse.com which allows you to access death records at specific addresses.
Of course, not every potential presence can be confirmed with proper research, so make sure you check for spooky feelings or energies when you go to your first home visit. Even if you’re not entirely sure, your gut will know if you’ve found the right home… or the wrong one.
Steps to Take if You Buy a Haunted House
Even if you take all the right steps, there’s a chance you may still end up with some spooky roommates – especially if you buy a particularly old home or if the seller wasn’t upfront about the history. If you end up signing the deed to a haunted house, there are a few steps you can take.
First, check to make sure it’s actually haunted. Cold spots, creaks, or flickering lights may seem like an indication of a paranormal presence, but they could really just mean your new home is particularly old and could use some updating. In many cases, updating wiring, HVAC, or doing other home repairs can fix those problems. If you notice you’re feeling light-headed or have “ominous” feelings when you’re home, it’s probably a good idea to check for a carbon monoxide or natural gas leak, as those can create many of the creepy symptoms you may feel if you think there’s ghosts about.
Once you determine if the haunt is legit, you can take one of two steps. If you’re set on living in your home, you can call a local ministry person of your preference to bless or cleanse the house. A smudge of sage or a blessing can go a long way in ridding a home of spirits if you’re a believer. However, if you feel your encounters are more ominous in nature, you may need to call in an exorcist to rid your home of any evil presences.
If you feel you’ve been scammed into buying a haunted house, it’s time to review your legal options. While you may not be able to get away with suing on the grounds that you bought a haunted house without knowing, it’s possible that you could take legal action because the seller was not transparent about the history of the house. These laws vary from state to state, so make sure you know the history disclosure rules in the state you’re moving. In most cases, the seller and agent cannot obscure any facts about the house, but they’re not legally required to tell you about deaths so it’s up to you to do your due diligence if you don’t want to purchase a home with a grim history.
The most important point to remember (when buying a haunted house or not) is not to deplete your savings on a home purchase. While it is likely going to be your biggest investment, you don’t want to get stuck in a situation you can’t afford to get out. Looking for a lender who will work to help you find the best mortgage for your situation – and strive to make sure you don’t end up with any spooky co-borrowers? Contact one of the experienced lenders at Flat Branch Home Loans today!
Since the new owner moved in there have been a series of ‘spooky coincidences’
- 14:00, 24 JAN 2021
A house which is believed to be haunted has unveiled its mining secrets to its owner in a series of “spooky coincidences”.
Rupert Ellis bought the house in Basset Street, Camborne, a couple of years ago and at that point had no idea of the wealth of hidden local history within its walls.
The owner of popular coffee bar Espressini in Falmouth, Rupert said: “Because of my love of history and a background in archaeology I’m obsessed by the process of putting the features back into the house and discovering hidden treasures.
“I’m in the firm belief that this house chose me and not the other way round. There have been some very spooky coincidences!”
He was unaware when he moved in that the house – which was built by the famous Basset family around 1832 – was the former head office of the Tehidy Minerals Company.
One of the most striking parts of the house that Rupert has unearthed is a mining vault. He believes he may have been ‘helped’ to discover it in an unusual way.
“Talking to several local people, who include the great-grandson of the mine captain who lived and worked here, I’ve discovered a wealth of historical information about the house and contents hidden for a generation including a walk-in vault used for storing mine and mineral maps which had been bricked up and plastered over.
“There’s been this process of taking off layers and getting back to the original. I started chatting to a builder who worked on the house in the 1980s and he said ‘Have you found the vault yet?’ I was like ‘the what?!’
“I spent a week or so tapping the walls, trying to work out exactly where it would be.
“It’s a little bit nuts but I do have a suspicion the house is haunted. There have been a lot of coincidences in this house and things that have happened. I get a distinct feeling that I was chosen for this house, rather than me choosing the house.”
“I had an amazing poster framed from an event I held at the shop, and I’ve had it leaning up against the wall in that room. The headline on the poster says ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’
“So I did about four little test holes in the wall and then got a jackhammer as I can see there’s something at the back of one of the holes. When I expanded it, the badge of T Withers and Sons on the vault door became visible.
“It’s so bizarre because the poster was exactly over the position of the door and had been there for about a year and a half.”
Rupert added that he believes that particular room has been trying to get his attention, perhaps to discover the secret vault.
He added: “About three or four months ago I had an incident with the lights switching on and off. It’s not the first time that things have happened in the house – there are certain things where I think, I can’t explain that.
“When I first moved in there was all manner of banging going on. I do get woken up at a certain time each night as well. A friend stayed here who claimed to hear footsteps. There have been some unexplainable scenarios.
“It’s not something I’m scared of – I feel like I’m joining in with the party!”
Rupert said: “I had a tarot reading in that room with a friend who didn’t know anything about the house – you’ll think I’m absolutely barking – and she said ‘your paternal great-grandfather is watching everything you’re doing and is very supportive of all of your movements’.”
It was after this that the vault door emerged with its badge saying T Withers and Son, from Bilston in the Midlands.
“I thought that sounded really familiar and my mum told me that Jack Willis, my great-grandfather on my father’s side, came from Bilston and he was a locksmith. It was just so bizarre.
“You can put things down to being coincidental but there are so many coincidences here. So I think I have a responsibility to put the house back in the way it wants to be put back.”
The vault would have originally been a walk-in safe with a strong room at the back, which Rupert believes may still be hidden by plaster. It would have contained mine plans, wages and ore.
The infill on the sides of the safe contains big nuggets of turquoise copper, which probably means mine waste was used in the building of the house.
Rupert’s bedroom was once the boardroom, seating 20 staff around a large oak table, while the original tiles in the hall were buried under modern laminate flooring.
He said: “I’m restoring those and relaying original reclaimed parquet. I’m currently cleaning 5,000 blocks of reclaimed beech flooring to reinstate the original character of the hall.”
Rupert is among a new wave of business people in Cornwall who are moving to Camborne and are keen to see its fortunes rise again.
Cornwall Live recently featured a story about Kelly Thorne, who has bought a shop in nearby Commercial Street. She unearthed its history as pasty makers while renovating the shop into a gallery celebrating the town’s history.
“Like Kelly I’m really passionate about the potential the town has and would like to be an ambassador for its transformation,” added Rupert. “Particularly as Falmouth has seen an upsurge in popularity during the time I’ve had Espressini which I’d like to think I’ve contributed to over the years.
“There’s a delicious irony to the house and the discovery of the vault and its history at a time where the renaissance of mining in Camborne is at a point where it may see its fortunes rise once again.
“It’s a really interesting point in the history of Camborne – it shows that it’s about to start being put back on the map again.”