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?
Well, to be honest, there is no "real" way to be sure. 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.
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, or spirit world. 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:
... being opened or closed without human interaction. For example, you may wake the next moring 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 or paranormal phenomena due to the very nature of the amount of effort it takes to open a cabinet door. In almost every case that I've been involved with, the person present didn't witness the opening of the cabinets, but heard the sounds instead. This is the same for any door; perhaps a bedroom or closet door. But before you assume is paranormal, check for things like faulty hinges, drafts or even pets causing them to open.
... 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.
... 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.
... 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 not there, or if they wimper or cower or suddenly act as though they're frightened for no apparent reason, then a spirit or "ghost" could
be the culprit. From my experience, cats seem especially sensitive. For example, for several months, one of my cats constantly chased an invisible "something". At first I thought it may be a bug... but not every day for months. One day I started snapping pics. Once they were downloaded, I saw what he was chasing: an orb. Not that I'm a big believer in orbs, but this one was very fascinating. Click below to see one of the pics.
... coming from areas of the home is a very, 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, 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 demonic haunting. If you ever experience this, and are absolutely sure there's no logical explanation, you should contact a reputable paranormal investigator immediately.
... 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, or demonic, 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.
... 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.
... 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.
... appearing overnight for no obvious reason. We assisted a client in 2008 located in Scotland where the client had this exact thing happen to her. She experienced other phenomena, such as hearing voices, seeing shadows and feeling both cold and warm spots. She awoke on two occasions to find several small bruises, like finger marks, on her legs and the top of her forearms. 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 come in the form of scratches, lacerations, slaps, shoves, pulling or torn clothing. Even more rare and more serious is when it happens before your eyes. Contrary to what most people believe, these types of attacks do not indicate any type of demonic or evil entity.
... 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 disappear just as quickly as they appear.
Again, many of these signs can be easily explained alone. But when they occur repeatedly in conjunction with each other, it becomes something worth looking into. And, if multiple people observe them, it becomes much more impressive and harder to "disprove".
*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.