Move off Elm Street: Tools and Tactics for Reclaiming Your Home from Ghosts and Spirits
Just because the walls don’t drip blood doesn’t mean your home isn’t haunted. While most home buyers inspect the foundation for cracks and the roof for leaks, few check for ghosts and spirits before purchasing a new home. If your home is haunted you’ll probably know, but just in case you’re not quick to pick up the signals of the dead here’s a list of possible signs…
- Is your home old? Older homes tend to be more haunted. The longer a home is inhabited the more people live there and the greater the chance a former occupant chose to linger after his/her death.
- Was your home the site of some horrible event? If your house is built over a burial ground, a murder site, or a Civil War battlefield there’s a good chance you’ve got company.
- Does it feel like you’re being watched? Ghosts can be kind of invasive with their peeking, but don’t confuse this with the mild anxiety anyone with windows may feel.
- Do you hear noises for which there is no explanation? Ghosts like to open and shut cupboards, tap on walls, turn TVs and radios on and off, murmur, say random things and make all kinds of strange noises. Why can’t they just play the piano or something?
- Are their unexplained puddles of water? It’s unclear why, but ghosts tend to leave behind small puddles of water. Don’t confuse these with puppy whoopsies, someone who walks around the house before toweling off, or that ice cube that falls on the floor and melts before being picked up.
- Does the temperature suddenly change? A change in temperature can be the sign of a ghost. If that temperature change is cold, it’s just an ordinary spirit. If the temp change is hot (and is accompanied by a sulfur like odor) then you may have yourself a demonic spirit and those totally suck. Don’t confuse this with hot flashes, an unpleasant but silent dog fart, or a dead mouse in the heating duct.
- Do you see orbs of light gliding along? Unless this is just some sort of flashback caused by something took at a Grateful Dead concert, the floating orbs could be the manifestation of something that really should have left the land of the living a long time ago.
- Do you see dead people? If you catch glimpses of strangers out of the corner of your eye, or see wispy figures or dark shadows darting around then it’s a safe bet your house is haunted. Either that or you’re experiencing very unpleasant hallucinations and should contact a mental health professional.
- Do household objects get moved around? If it’s just the remote going missing then you’re probably just forgetful, but if you find books taken off shelves or anything that might have belonged to a previous occupant moved around then it might be the work of ghosts. Sometimes the batteries will constantly run out of juice.
- Do you hear a voice telling you to get out? Ghosts often don’t know that they’re dead and are confused as to why there are strangers in their house. It’s going to be awkward explaining to them that you’re the one paying the bills around here.
- Do children talk about their invisible friends or do the pets show fear or affection towards something unseen? Yikes. Sounds like a ghost.
If you answered yes any of these then there’s a pretty good chance you’re one of thousands of people who have a ghost in residence—unless you don’t believe in this sort of thing. To be certain, you can hire a local psychic or paranormal investigator to drop by and inspect for spirits, or you can do some sleuthing on your own. You can buy all sorts of fancy paranormal investigation equipment or you just roam the house taking lots of photos or set up an audio recorder. When you go back to review these you may be surprised to see or hear something you didn’t notice the first time. Perhaps some moaning in the background, some garbled instructions from beyond the grave, or the wispy image of someone standing beside you—the results may surprise you.
Once you’ve determined the house is haunted, the next step is to determine what the spirit wants and how you intend to respond. There are a variety of types of ghosts—both good and bad, and interactive and non-interactive.
Ghosts, like people, come in both good and bad. Some are friendly spirits like the famous Casper the Friendly Ghost, while others are nasty demonic spirits that allegedly want to take over people to commit horrible acts. It’s good to know the difference.
A non-interactive ghost will be oblivious to the living and just go about its routine. Sometimes these are residual ghosts—a type of spirit that makes recurring appearances at the time and place where a traumatic event happened in the ghost’s life. Imagine the spirit that appears in her wedding dress at the top of the stairs at the hour she was murdered. It’s rarely something pleasant like the ghost of Lou Gehrig rounding the bases on the anniversary of a game-winning home run.
There’s little harm in these ghosts and you can elect to just ignore them, hang out with them, or even try to attract more to live in your house (seriously—read more here). You can also elect to be totally freaked out by a ghost wandering around your home, a reaction seems extremely reasonable.
An interactive ghost is generally the spirit of a deceased human being who makes an effort to interact with people. They may have some unfinished business keeping them from moving on, they may have warnings or instructions for the living, or they may have just preferred to stay put on earth and not move on to whatever’s next. The White House is allegedly haunted by the ghosts of Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and Andrew Jackson. Since they’re interactive, you can probably ask them what they want.
Interactive ghosts, like a roommate who moves in without asking, can be a major nuisance. Some arrive in the form of poltergeist—troublesome spirits who haunt a particular person by throwing objects at them, physically harming them, and making life generally unpleasant and unpredictable.
If you have a spirit that needs to go, there has yet to be a smartphone app developed for this, but you do have some options..To handle it yourself, these are all methods people use to rid their homes of ghosts.
- Burn sage. Long used by American Indians to rid their homes of unwanted spirits, burning sage is a popular way to signal ghosts to go. Light a bundle of sage, open your front and back door, and walk through all the rooms while telling the ghost it’s time they hit that ol’ dusty trail to eternity.
- Host a family meeting with the ghost. Get everyone who lives in the house together, try to make contact with the ghost, and then, in a loud and authoritative voice, tell the ghost they have to go or else they have to stay hidden and stop disturbing everyone. You may face some resistance, but it might leave. It does help to remind them they’re dead, that it’s time to move on, and that they’re not wanted.
- If there’s something weird and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? Probably not an actual ghostbuster. But there are paranormal experts and psychics who can guide spirits “to the light.” Sometimes the best thing to do is let a professional handle it and not try to do too much on your own—example here.
- If you’ve got the kind of spirit that causes the ceiling to drip with blood, terrorizes residents, and tries to take over your spirit to commit dastardly deeds, it’s time to call a skilled exorcist. The Catholic Church has a crack squad of exorcists armed with holy water that are used to dealing with this sort of thing.
If none of these methods work, you have a bit of dilemma. You can choose to live with the ghost and make the best of it (like—spoiler alert!!!—in the movie Beetlejuice), or you can try to sell the house and move somewhere less haunted. Usually a ghost will lower the sale price, but there are people out there who are drawn to these properties. There’s even a website called Haunted Real Estate Blog that delves deeper into this.
State laws differ regarding if you legally have to disclose a haunted house. If your state requires it, you may be able to get your money back if the seller didn’t inform you when you bought it. If not, you may at least be able to dump it on some other poor bastard. At the least, you may be able to appear on one of the many ghost hunter programs on TV, or even turn it into the inspiration for a screenplay like American Horror Story. There are even courses you can take to get started on becoming a paranormal researcher.
Learn more about haunted houses here…
- List of reportedly haunted locations in the United States - Wikipedia
- How ghost busters work – How Stuff Works
- Seven things to know before hiring a paranormal investigator – Yahoo Voices
- Collection of possible ghost photographs – Science of Ghosts
- Ghost Hunter’s Dictionary – Southern Spooks
- Collection of people recounting their ghost experiences – YourGhostStories.com