One of my favourite things to do when I have guests at my house is tell them that someone died in the house once. Not just died, either. Some time ago, a man hung himself from the bannister in my house. You can actually still see the marks on the railing.
The reaction of my guests never fails to amuse me. This past weekend, a full-grown and kinda tough man panicked a wee bit and couldn't get out of the house fast enough. If you've been following along at home, you probably know that my yella-bellied self should probably be scared, too. It doesn't bother me at all.
I don't even not believe in ghosts. I freaking love playing Ouija and believe in it as the result of a very convincing experience that I can't relate without divulging way too much personal information, but the ending is that now I believe. I also used to live in an apartment that I think was haunted (which is related to the Ouija experience) and it actually made me feel safer when I was there alone. Also, because I don't really have religion, maybe believing in ghosts provides something a little closer to tangible evidence that there is an afterlife, which I find to be a comforting thought.
I think it's a bit crazy that so many people are scared of ghosts, though. It makes me laugh--sometimes just on the inside--when people discuss ghost lore as if it's scientifically proven fact. To the best of my knowledge, none of it is. I thought I'd look some of it up and attempt to determine whether I may or may not have a ghost in my house, while also mocking people. I thought I'd bring you all along for the ride, too.
I found a list of 16 Signs That Your House is Haunted on about.com. Here are the first seven, which are listed as signs that your house might be haunted. The remaining nine were signs that like, totally pretty much for sure, your house is haunted. Most def.
1. Unexplained noises - footsteps; knocks, banging, rapping; scratching sounds; sounds of something being dropped. Sometimes these noises can be subtle and other times they can be quite loud.
Okay, my sister and I have convinced ourselves, if only in a mostly mocking way, that we have a Tell-Tale Heart style tapping in our house (not that we killed anyone--we didn't). It's just an unexplained quiet knocking that sounds like it's coming from inside the wall--too regular to be a living thing hanging out in there and too irregular to be something building-technical. It moves around the house, following us--mostly in the living room or my bedroom, and sometimes in the car. 90% of the time, we're totally kidding about it. But 10% of the time, we freak the shit out of each other talking about it. I'm kinda freaked out right now.
However, in general, houses make a lot of noises. Use your imagination for something more useful, like figuring out what you're going to do if aliens and zombies attack at the same time. Or aliens attack and turn people into zombie-like pod-people. The undead are much more fearsome than the dead.
2. Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing - most often, these phenomena are not seen directly. The experiencer either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing...or the experiencer will return to a room to find a door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the opposite position. Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the phenomenon taking place.
Of course VERY RARELY because you just forgot you left that cupboard open, moron. I know, you are ABSOLUTELY SURE you remember closing the cereal cupboard door this morning, right? Here's what you need to do: get a video camera and put it in your kitchen or whichever room you think the ghosts are amusing themselves by opening your cupboards and doors. But you have to get a nannycam-type camera, because the ghosts are dead, not stupid. Put it in a cookie jar or something. Send me video evidence of this phenomenon, and I will take back calling you a moron.
3. Lights turning off and on - likewise, these events are seldom seen actually occurring, but the lights are switched on or off when the experiencer knows they were not left that way. This can also happen with TVs, radios and other electrically powered items.
Likewise, you're a moron. Listen: electricity is a funny thing. Sometimes things like that happen. Also, I bet you live in an old house if you think it's haunted. I live in an old house. I can sit in my dining room and watch the light turn on and off of its own accord. It has never not even once occurred to me that the man who killed himself in this house might be conducting some form of light-flickering torture on me. Because that's stupid. Also, you probably forgot to turn it on or off. I mean, honestly, if you were going to hang around here after you died, is that how you'd spend your time?
4. Items disappearing and reappearing - ...the familiar experience of not being able to find a regularly used item - say, your set of car keys - which you believe you placed in a spot you routinely place them. But they're gone and you look high and low for them with no success. Some time later, the keys are found - in exactly the place you normally put them. It's as if the object was borrowed by someone or something for a short time, then returned. Sometimes they are not returned for days or even weeks, but when they are, it's in an obvious place that could not have been missed by even a casual search.
I have this purple shirt that I really like. It's a tank top, and it's got this crocheted thing at the back and the straps are all crocheted, and it's kinda flowy, but not too flowy. It's very cute. I know where I keep it. I know where I saw it one day, and then later I went to get it, and I didn't see it there. And I searched everywhere for it, and then I had to go out on a date wearing something I didn't like as much, which was probably no less flattering, but still, I'd had my heart set on wearing that purple shirt, so I just felt like the whole thing was a bad omen, and the date went remarkably poorly. And then the shirt was right back where it was supposed to be the next day. So, OBVIOUSLY, the ghost doesn't want me to date!!
OR I was in kind of a hurry because I was madly trying to get ready--as one often is when looking for a variety of everyday items--and I missed it. This seems more likely to me than my house being inhabited by an evil romance-hating ghost.
5. Unexplained shadows - the sighting of fleeting shapes and shadows, usually seen out of the corner of the eye. This phenomenon has also been discussed in some detail in "Shadow People." Many times, the shadows have vaguely human forms, while other times they are less distinguishable or smaller.
UGH. Seriously? This is something we're offering up as evidence? "I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye"? I'm sure there's a word for when that happens, and that it's perfectly scientifically explainable. I wonder how many people have left ocular diseases untreated because they thought it was just ghosts.
6. Strange animal behavior - a dog, cat or other pet behaves strangely. Dogs may bark at something unseen, cower without apparent reason or refuse to enter a room they normally do. Cats may seem to be "watching" something cross a room. Animals have sharper senses than humans, and many researchers think their psychic abilities might be more finely tuned also.
Okay, I'm inclined to believe in this as I've previously stated, but animals behave strangely all the time. They lick their own bums and eat their own vomit. We're going to get all weirded out about them staring off into space or not wanting to walk through a doorway? They've got bigger things to worry about.
7. Feelings of being watched - this is not an uncommon feeling and can be attributed to many things, but it could have a paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a particular part of the house at a particular time.
Know when I feel like I'm being watched? Whenever I think Hey, I wonder if I feel like I'm being watched. So if there's some part of the house or time of day when you want to convince yourself that you feel like you're being watched, it's going to work.
Also, I don't mean to freak anybody out, but if you rent your place of residence, there's about a 4 in 7 chance that you ARE being watched most of the time. Sleep well.
To reiterate, I actually believe in ghosts. Well, I don't know if I believe, but I know I don't NOT believe. So I'm not trying to argue that ghosts must not be real because all these things can be explained some other way. I'm just trying to argue that if you think any of these things are definitive proof of an ectoplasmic infestation, then you're a moron.
Did I say moron enough in this blog post? I don't know. I think it needs one more. Moron.
There. All done.