With Halloween fast approaching and Hammer's new production of The Haunting of Hill House (in association with Sonia Friedman and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse) opening in just a few weeks, we share 13 tricks to tell if there's a ghost in your house!
This first sign doesn’t prove much on its own (except possibly the presence of a nearby peeping Tom, in which case call the police and ‘out’ that perv!), but couple it with any other sign on this list and you could have a reason to be concerned.
Monitor where you get the feeling: if it’s in the same spot each time this could strengthen the suggestion of paranormal involvement.
Do you often find yourself hunting high and low for a possession- car keys, wallet etc- you were sure was right in front of you, only for it to turn up days later in the strangest of places or, weirder still, right where you left it? Don’t worry, you’re not going senile (hopefully): it’s more likely a mischievous spirit playing tricks.
Known as Disappearing Object Phenomenon, this is a bizarre problem which allegedly causes objects to disappear and reappear around a house. “Disappear to where?”, you might ask. “We have literally no idea”, we might answer. But probably somewhere spooky.
Whispers from the next room? Maybe you left the TV on. Muttering from the cellar? Probably just the burglars. Children’s crying in the attic? OK- something’s up. Voices and human noises are some of the most commonly reported supernatural phenomena around the house.
Lights switching on and off independently, appliances exploding, TVs turning on of their own accord (often to static). If these things are happening on even a semi-regular basis, get the hell out of the house, cos you’re getting a-haunted.
Does the fragrance of an unfamiliar perfume or aftershave waft through your house without apparent cause? Or perhaps a particular section has an unexplained stench your Febreeze just can’t mask? This whiff could be the trace of a ghostly presence right under your nose, perhaps a particularly pongy one…
As with strange smells, areas of a house with a noticeable difference in heat are worth keeping a wary eye on. These spaces could have a connection to a past tragedy, or could be the favoured haunting ground for some kind of revenant.
Very rare and very terrifying, apparitions are perhaps the most unarguable evidence of a paranormal presence in your house. Human shaped mists, transparent human forms, and even material human forms are some of the most commonly sighted varieties of this chilling phenomena.
Take note every time you experience the touch, cold breath, or just the ‘presence’ of another person when there’s no visible culprit nearby. This could be a sure sign a creature from another plane of existence is right beside you…
Far scarier and harder to disbelieve than hearing or sensing a paranormal occurence is seeing one with your own eyes. Usually the work of a poltergeist, psychokinetic occurences should be cause for worry among even the staunchest cynics of the supernatural.
We’ve mentioned the strange sensation of being touched by a ghost earlier, but this takes it to a much more worrying level:
Do you ever wake with cuts or bruises on your body, as if you’ve been manhandled in your sleep, but no idea how they got there? If so, you could be the victim of a vengeful spirit which knocks you around while you’re catching some shuteye.
There’s an old cliché that animals are known to have a sixth sense for all things supernatural, and while this may not be true all the time it shouldn’t be completely discredited either. Dogs barking/cats hissing/horses neighing at something unseen, or the refusal of a pet to go into a particular room should be taken note of when exploring the possibility of a ghost in your house.
Immortalised in a chilling scene from The Sixth Sense, the supernatural phenomenon of doors or cabinets mysteriously opening and closing is usually heard rather than seen, with the creepy effects only being witnessed firsthand after an investigation into the noise. Definitely one of the most unsettling mentions on this list.
From the human-like to the vague and nebulous, shadow forms are a common sighting for those suspicious of supernatural activity in their house.