How To Tell If Your House Is…Haunted?

One of the more popular searches we see when people find our site is “how do I know if my house is haunted?” I picked some random symptoms, and decided to play Mr. Skeptic.

My TV keeps changing the channel on its own!

It’s possible that it’s your dearly departed Uncle Arthur can’t stand “Knight Rider” and would rather watch the news, but it’s much more likely that your neighbor was opening his garage door than a spirit. Items like cordless phones can also affect electronic devices. I’ve heard stories about electronic devices turning on or off, seemingly at random — only to find that it always happened whenever the phone would ring. It’s much easier and way more interesting to claim it’s your uncle than your neighbor’s garage door opener. Yes, it could be paranormal, but…

… that doesn’t mean it is paranormal.

My dishwasher turns on my itself!

Did your Uncle Arthur really hate dirty dishes? When trying to determine the reason for odd behavior with electronics, you may never actually find the cause. Why? It’s simple – electronics fail. And malfunction. Of course, if that circuit in your dishwasher has been replaced, and it continues to turn on by itself, it might be more likely that the explanation is paranormal in nature.

Might. But probably not paranormal.

Wait! A book recently flew across the room!

Well, did it hit you? This too may be more likely to be paranormal, unless…well, where was the book? On a shelf that might lean forward? Do you have a cat? Was the book spring-loaded? (Mine are – they’re great at parties!) Look for the obvious, look at all possible explanations, no matter how unlikely. Once you’ve eliminated every possible explanation, that leaves…

…something not paranormal?

Yup. But again, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t paranormal. It’s just not likely.

But, but…my car keys keep moving from where I left them.

So do mine. Daily. But do I even need to address that one? Bet you know my answer.

Now, if you combine each of these symptoms, you might easily come to the conclusion that your house is haunted. Or you need to update your appliances, stop watching “Knight Rider” reruns (please, for humanity’s sake!), and put your keys in the same place every night.

Here are a few more:

The [cat/dog/ferret/hedgehog] just [sneers/barks/growls/stares] at nothing.

Animals seem to pick up the prrresence of spirits better than people – they have a different optical range than us lowly human beings, and our group has encountered animals acting strange on a number of occasions. Dogs seemingly barking at the air, cats following something invisible around the house – and after we have moved the spirits along, the animals’ odd behavior usually stops. However, I would still be suspicious of cats – after all, they are cats.

My closet door [opens/closes/yells] when I’m not looking!

Is your house old? Are the floors crooked? Is a window open? Too much WD-40 on the hinges? Again, check the obvious. If you think the door is yelling, open it and let your cat out. Uncle Arthur might be in there too, trying to tell the cat his bad jokes (which would also explain why the cat sneers).

But I feel this heaviness in the house.

This is one of the more common symptoms we hear about. Are you experiencing a heavy, draining feeling? Are you also feeling depressed? Have you been hallucinating (other than normal)? Do you have the feeling you’re being watched? Do you live near power lines? Some believe that high levels of EMF (electromagnetic fields), such as those caused by nearby power lines, can cause a variety of symptoms including those mentioned above. You might want to consider having this checked. However, in the homes we have seen so far, most haven’t come close to having enough background EMF to explain any feeling of heaviness.

I’m seeing movement out of the corner of my eyes when I do the dishes!

Darlene has experienced this first-hand (a spirit running back and forth between a chair and the bathroom). Spirits can move really quickly – so fast that your eyes can’t pick up their movement until they have just about passed you by. If you believe you’re seeing this, consider making an appointment with an optometrist. On the other hand, it really might be a ghost. Possibly with a bowel problem.

I smell [cookies/cigarettes/gas] in the house, but I’m not [baking/smoking/cooking]!

In many old houses, simply stepping on the floor can release molecules of scent from many years ago. However, it has been reported – and we have experienced this – scents such as perfumes, food cooking, cigar smoke, etc. in a home, that the client recognized as being connected to a deceased relative. In some cases, these scents were only noticeable at particular times, such as around the holidays. This may indicate the presence of a spirit. If it’s gas you smell, I would recommend checking the stove or getting out of the house. Quickly.

I keep hearing [footsteps/voices/banging pipes] when nobody else is home!

Get someone else to hear it – not only will it confirm that the noise is really happening, but with any luck you’ll also feel less nuts. And try and pin down where it’s coming from. Sound is a funny thing – it travels. Ever try to find out where a noise in your car is coming from? It’s not always easy, and sometimes downright annoying.

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out to Haunt You

So, if you rule out paranoia, excessive EMF and the mind’s ability to make three out of 1+1, there might actually be something ghostly going on. Especially if you observe some (or all) of these symptoms at home, and there are others in the house noticing the same things.

Just keep in mind that it may not be a haunting – just a random occurrence of something currently unexplainable, or a string of currently unexplainable events. Do what research you can to rule out all non-paranormal explanations, and if you still can’t find the answer, contact a plumber, get your cat into therapy, or contact a paranormal investigation team (you can always contact us – we should be able to tell you where they are pretty quickly). Ghosts can be anywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually in your home, messing with your animals, doors or pipes, or your “Knight Rider” reruns. However…

Both my wife and I just saw Uncle Arthur!

Yeah, it was probably him. Did he finally turn off the TV?

If you would like a more serious look at determining a haunting, or more detailed info that isn’t so Hasselhoffed (or if your Uncle Arthur is alive and well), I recommend reading Steven Wagoner’s 16 Signs That Your House Is Haunted at, or read the WikiHow – How To Tell If Your House Is Haunted. Also, for more on electromagnetic fields, read Are EMFs Hazardous to Our Health, at And yes, I do like cats.

About the Author

Michael has been interested in the paranormal for many years, and likes to write. Sometimes he even reads.