One of the places I used to live was what I believe to be a real haunted home. It wasn't a scary place to live, mind you, but it was one of those spooky houses. I was convinced that there was a ghost in the house with us.
Frequently and only in certain places in that house—mostly the upstairs bedrooms—I would feel like there was someone standing behind me. Or, as I would turn my head, I would see something out of the corner of my eye—only to look more closely to see nothing there.
I wasn't the only one who felt this way. At that time my children were very young, and we had a college student who worked for us as a nanny. She, too, reported those strange feelings and sightings in the upstairs bedrooms.
I never did find out the history of that house before we moved, except that it was built in the 1920s. Who knows what happened under its roof so that a spirit stayed behind?
Do you live in a house—or know someone who does—where stories of paranormal activity are, well, normal? Well get this? According to some home improvement experts, certain household problems can make spooky houses seem like real haunted homes. In reality, all you need is a good plumber or handyman to take care of the problem, not an exorcist.
Here are some ways that common household problems can lead you to ask, "Is my house haunted?"
- Old plumbing causes new noises. Older homes may come with some ghosts, but according to Roto-Rooter, they also tend to come with some noises that can be more easily explained. A common complaint of clanging or rattling is usually a culprit of unsecure piping and walls that are not insulated, not a haunting. Additionally, old metal pipes, as opposed to standard use of plastic today, expand and contract with hot water usage, creating horrifying hissing or creepy cracking sounds.
- You smell the scent of death. An inexplicable odor may be coming from the drain in the bathroom. Popular Mechanics says it could be a dry sink trap, not a dead body. "Normally it's filled with water, a simple and effective barrier to odors from the building's plumbing or the sewer system." But when the trap can't stay wet, odors seep in.
Find out where the scariest haunted houses in America are located.
- Lights flicker randomly throughout the house. A teenager in a horror movie may see flickering lights as a message from the beyond, but for you it's probably just old house wiring that needs an update. The same is true if fuses blow out without explanation. Call an electrician and have a whole-house electrical checkup done.
- Doors that open and close on their own. You could think that a ghost has just quickly left the room, thus the doors that seem to open and close on their own. In reality you may need to rehang your doors so that they fit securely in the latch and remain closed.
- Scratching noises in ceilings and outside windows. There was a pesky tree branch outside my daughter's bedroom when she was younger, and she was convinced it was a monster trying to get in. Once we had the limb trimmed, the "monster" went away. If you have similar monsters lurking outside, you may want to have a landscape or tree company investigate. Now if you hear scurrying and scratching inside, you may have mice. Time to call a pest control company.
- Floors that go squeak in the night. It may sound like you're living in a real haunted house, what with squeaking floors and all, but the culprit is likely the flooring itself. Your subfloor could be bad, or if you have hardwood flooring, you may simply need to add extra screws to hold it down.
- Toilets that come to life on their own. This happens to me all the time—I'm sitting in my office, working at my desk, and though I'm home alone, I hear a toilet flushing. I know no one is home, and after researching this problem I learned that one of our toilets has a worn out flapper. What that means is that even though the toilet isn't in use, water is slowly slipping out of the tank due to that worn out flapper. Eventually the water level gets so low that the toilet kicks into flush mode—making it seem as there are ghosts using my bathroom and I'm living in a real haunted house. The easy fix to that kind of problem in spooky houses? A new flapper.
For more on spooky houses, check out these famous people who live in haunted celebrity homes.