OK, so you're wondering how to tell if you are experiencing a haunting. What are the sure-fire signs of a haunting? How can you really be sure?
To be honest, you can't; There's no scientifically proven method. But there are several signs that could give indication to a haunting. Now keep in mind, many of these alone could be easily explained as natural occurrences. But when several of these phenomena occur hand-in-hand with each other, it gives credence to an experience that may very well be paranormal in nature. This is known as a haunting.
Let's start off by saying that the term paranormal basically means not normal. It's a term given to phenomena that can't be explained or that lies in the outer perimeter of scientific basis. More loosely, as we all know, it's the term associated with unknown events dealing with the supernatural. The term paranormal is also applied to unidentified flying objects and alien life form. For this section, we'll be referring to paranormal in the supernatural, or ghostly sense.
One of the first and most commonly reported signs of paranormal phenomena is unexplained noises. Ironically, this is also one of the easiest to disprove. One thing to keep in mind is that houses exude natural sounds, especially during the night. These sounds are from the home settling, wood expanding or constricting, water pipes doing the same, changes in atmospheric conditions, etc. These are always the first things to check for.
Sounds of a possible haunting include: creaking, popping, scratching, banging, obvious footsteps, dragging sounds, sounds of objects being dropped.If paranormal related, the sounds can be subtle or can be very loud and startling. Here are some examples:
Doors and Cabinets
... being opened or closed without human interaction. For example, you may wake the next morning to find some or all of your cabinets in the kitchen opened. You know for sure that you did not open them yourself. Perhaps there's no other person in the home at the time. This can be a good indicator of paranormal phenomena due to the very nature of the amount of effort it takes to open a cabinet door. This is the same for any door; perhaps a bedroom or closet door. In most cases, the person didn't see the movement but heard the sounds instead. But before you assume a ghost is lurking around your home, check for things like faulty hinges, drafts or even pets causing them to open. Always look for reasonable explanations first.
Items Being Moved
... without human interaction. Or items can be misplaced. For example: You arrived home from work and placed your car keys on the end table near the door. You awake the next morning and once you're ready to leave for work, you discover that your car keys aren't there. After looking around, you discover they're lying on the dinning room table. Or once you search everywhere for them, you realize they're exactly where you left them... only they weren't there initially. A lot of the times this type of phenomena is associated with a poltergeist type of haunting, which we believe is the result of RSPK, Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis. RSPK is recognized as the ability of a person, called an agent, to be able to unknowingly move objects without any physical interaction.
Lights and electrical Devices
... turning on or off by themselves. This can include lamps, TV, radio,electric clocks, video game systems, flashlights or any other electrically powered device. Unlike most of the other phenomena, this one is sometimes witnessed.
... also called Shadow People. This phenomena is usually seen from the corner of the eye. Though they can be full, called Full Bodied Apparitions, they're usually partial. Most of the time, the person catches only a glimpse of a moving shadow or silhouetted shape. If there's nobody else in the home, this is typically a more solid sign of paranormal phenomena. On the other hand, there could be obvious reasons for the shadows, such as passing cars, animals, objects casting shadows from a cars headlights, etc.
Unusual or Foul Odors
... although experienced on very rare occasions, when it happens, it's a very solid sign of paranormal happenings. More specifically, this is also one of the signs of a Demonic type of haunting, especially if the odor is fowl, like sulfur or rotting meat.
...can be another good indicator of paranormal activity. The incredible senses of animals is a well documented fact, and some studies have shown that their psychic senses may be very well tuned. If your dog barks or growls directly at something that's definitely not there, or if they wimper or cower or suddenly act as though they're frightened or defensive for no apparent reason, then a spirit or "ghost" could be the culprit. Keep in mind that with their great senses and hearing, they can hear what we can't, from distances that we're incapable of. You'll want to make sure your neighbors cat hasn't wandered into your yard, or another stray animal.
Voices, Whispers or Muffled Sounds
... coming from areas of the home is a very good sign of paranormal phenomena. This, of course, it pretty rare. But when it happens, it can be quite frightening. The person experiencing the phenomena may hear names being called, a conversation happening or breathing. Most of the time it doesn't occur in the same area that the person is in, but when it does, and cannot be reasonably explained, it's almost a sure sign of a haunting.
... can scare the heck out of you, and unfortunately, when they're heard, it's not a good sign. Growling sounds are mostly associated with a negative style of haunting. If you ever experience this and are sure of what you heard, and are absolutely sure there's no logical explanation, you should contact a reputable paranormal investigator immediately.
Abnormal Temperature Changes
... appearing seemingly out of nowhere, for no reason. The theory behind cold and hot spots is that it takes energy for an entity to manifest or interact. They draw this energy from the environment, as well as any available source, including people. Heat is energy, thus leading to the cold spots. Warm spots, on the other hand, are believed to be related to an inhuman haunting, though that's not always the case. In all reality, the reason for the heat rather than cold is relatively unknown. Either way, any significant variance in temperature is a classic sign of a haunting. We consider "significant" to be a difference of 3 degrees or down without any logical cause.
Feelings of Being Watched or General Uneasiness
... is something I think we've all experienced at some point or another. Some people with strong intuition or heightened senses may feel this on a continuous basis. Skeptics may pass this off as paranoia or your mind playing tricks on you. But I always say to trust your gut instinct, including your senses. If it feels strange, it probably is.
Being Touched or Feelings of Being Touched
... are other very solid signs of a haunting. You may feel something brush past you, you may feel your hair being moved or stroked, pressure on your arm, back or leg, a hand on your shoulder or even a poke. Sometimes you have to be careful with this one because it is one of those signs that could be easily explained, depending on the circumstances.
Bruises, Scratches or Other Physical Injuries
... appearing overnight for no obvious reason. If it's this serious, changes are you're experiencing other phenomena, such as hearing voices, seeing shadows and feeling significant dynamic temperature flucations. You may awaken to find scratches or small bruises, like finger marks, on your body. Like being touched, you need to make sure that there's no logical reason. Things like sleepwalking, violent sleep or other sleep problems can cause this as well. Simple things like sleep with your hands in certain positions can cause bruising, especially if you're prone to bruise easily.
... is an extremely rare, but serious, sign of a haunting. This can happen in real-time and come in the form of scratches, lacerations, slaps, shoves, pulling or torn clothing. Contrary to what most people believe, these types of attacks do not indicate any type of demonic or evil entity, and they can give indication to a more serious problem.
... are very rare. Full-bodied apparitions are so rare that they're considered the "Holy Grail" of paranormal investigation. An apparition is the physical manifestation of a spirit or entity. Apparitions can appear in various forms, including wispy looking or mist-like human or non-distinguishable shapes. Most of the time they are semi-transparent or silhouetted human forms. They can disappear just as quickly as they appear.
Again, remember that most of these signs alone can be easily explained. But when they occur repeatedly in conjunction with each other, it becomes something worth looking into. An, if multiple people observe them, it becomes much more impressive and harder to "disprove". Remember to always look for reasonable and rational explanations first. Changes are, you'll find it. The truth is... paranormal activity is very rare. There's much more of a chance you're not experiencing it than you are.
*One thing to keep in mind is the possibility of "Parasomnia", more commonly referred to as "Sleep Disorders". These usually occur during deep, Non-REM sleep and can be the cause of assumed paranormal activity. For example, sleepwalking can occur, which is why cabinets might be opened or things misplaced. Sleep Terrors and Restless Legs Syndrome can cause bruising on parts of the body. Sleep Paralysis is yet another sleep disorder. In-depth information is out of the scope of this website, therefore we encourage you to talk to your physician if you feel Sleep Disorders could be a possibility. If you feel you're truly experiencing paranormal activity and need help dealing with or understanding it, head over to Haunting Help to get private, dedicated one-on-one support from staff members.