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How to Spot Real Paranormal Activity in Your Home

Updated on February 9, 2013

Strange things have been happening in your home. Doors open on their own. Things knock on the walls at night. Footsteps follow you down the stairs. You feel like you’re being watched every time you go into your basement. Although you’ve been experiencing these uncanny incidences and perhaps are beginning to suffer anxiety from them, you don’t know why they’re happening.

How can you prove that there’s a spirit at fault?

An improperly wired electrical box. This could cause a high EMF field, which in turn can cause a sense of being watched, dizziness and illness in sensitive individuals.
An improperly wired electrical box. This could cause a high EMF field, which in turn can cause a sense of being watched, dizziness and illness in sensitive individuals. | Source

Debunking

Ironically, the first step to proving paranormal activity is through disproving it. Because so many signs of ghosts can be caused by perfectly mundane things. There are several very common causes behind these types of phenomena.

  • Electronics
    Because our nervous systems work by sending weak electric impulses between nerves, we naturally emit our own electromagnetic fields. When those fields interact with other fields, sometimes we feel as if we’re being watched, get sick or hallucinate. With this in mind, examine the area in which you feel a presence. Is there an electrical box that needs to be updated? Are there poorly insulated electric cables present? Electromagnetic field readers, more commonly known as EMF detectors, are useful for this kind of debunking. However, if you only plan to use it once, the price of purchasing one may not be justifiable.
  • Animals
    This is an important one, because unlike most spirits, animals can cause physical damage to the structure, your health and your physical body. Bumps and scraping in an attic or the walls can indicate some sort of critter bunking in your home without paying rent. Pets can also make strange noises as well. Rodents can actually shift an imbalanced table their cage may be on and cause it to bump against the wall, for example. Because most of them are nocturnal, it could take their sleepy humans a while to figure out the cause of the creepy nose.
  • Plumbing/Heating
    Some types of furnaces can be very loud when they first start, and if the ducts aren’t kept clean, the smell of burning dust can waft by unexpectedly as well. Older metal pipes have been known to make strange sounds if they’re improperly anchored in place. Likewise, when a faucet appears to turn on at its own bidding, which could indicate a need for a new washer or some other repair to the apparatus.
  • Air Pressure
    Changes in air pressure can rattle doors and windows. If there’s something wrong with a door’s latch, sometimes it can appear to open on its own when a window or adjacent door is opened. When in doubt, always try to recreate the phenomenon.

Another advantage to disproving these and other physical causes is the opportunity to fix them. Once a licensed electrician updates the electrical system, your likelihood of a house fire goes down. Setting live traps out, or having an exterminator do it, cuts down on the likelihood of various illnesses carried by wild animals. In the cases of plumbing and temperature regulation, utility bills will go down because you won’t be paying for extra water or inefficient heating.

An interesting example of EVP work

Physical Evidence

Once you have eliminated mundane causes, the next step is to get some sort of physical evidence of the haunting. You don’t need the fun, though expensive, toys that paranormal investigators use on shows like Ghosthunters, either. A simple camera and recorder of some kind would work perfectly well.

  • Shield and ground yourself
    If you follow some sort of spiritual path, there are prayers for protection which may help you and various rituals for the same purpose. I tend to use visualization, which works pretty well for me. My method involves envisioning tree roots extending from my feet and deep into the earth. I send negative, dark energy down into the ground, where it is turned into positive, white light and is reabsorbed into my roots. Once grounded, I envision an impenetrable shield around myself, like the ones from Star Trek.
  • Establish contact
    If you have a DVD handheld recorder available, have it running while you ask questions of the ghost. It’s a good idea to also have an audio recorder going at the same time. To do this, sit down in the place where most of the phenomena happens and set out the recording equipment. If possible, think of your questions before you start. Things like, “What’s your name?”, “Why do you like it here?”, “Do you know you’re dead?” are good generic questions. However, you’re more likely to get a result if you cater your inquiries the area itself or to past things this spirit had done before. Pause between questions to allow for an answer. You can also ask for a certain number of taps, if this spirit had knocked on things in the past.

    Later, if you hear voices on the recordings that you did not at the time, you may have caught an EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena.

  • Pictures
    Snap pictures whenever you feel the presence by you or if a cold spot appears. If you have a partner, they can take pictures as well. However, always warn each other before taking the pictures because the flash can be very distracting. Concentrate on the most active areas, but follow your instincts. When it comes to the paranormal, especially after mundane causes have been disproven, our first impressions are usually correct.

  • Review
    After getting a little rest, go over what you’ve captured. Remember to keep in mind that it is possible to mistake things like dust for orbs, and reflections can look strange in photos sometimes. When listening for EVPs, keep the natural acoustics of the area in mind, but also maintain an open mind. If possible, have a partner work with you to replicate anything you may be iffy about.

Research House and Land History

Another important step is to research the history of your house and the land it was built in. If you had managed to pick any names up during your investigation, you may be able to validate exactly who that spirit is through record of past owners or old news articles.

Has anyone died in the house before? What was the property used for before? Were there battles fought in the area? Finding answers to these questions and others will further validate the paranormal goings on in your home.

Have you ever had a genuine paranormal experience?

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    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great hub for those of us keep an open mind about these things. Great read and well written. I am still looking for anything I can consider paranormal. I am still waiting for the experience and remain open minded.

    • ESPeck1919 profile image
      Author

      ESPeck1919 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thank you, eHealer! The funny thing about paranormal stuff is that it tends to happen when we least expect it. Keeping an open mind definitely helps, though!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Interesting hub. I've never experienced anything, but my father, who is usually a joker, has had 3 experiences in different places in his life and whenever he talks about them, we can tell he is not joking and that he did experience something.

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 4 years ago from USA

      There is nothing like sitting in a soundproofed room, listening to a Geodesium CD, and then, in the middle of it, hearing a dog howl. We were terrified. Finally someone got the nerve up to go to the CD player and put the track back to the starting point of the song. We re-listened to it. No dog.

      The building has since been re-purposed. I often wonder if the new owners think it has ghosts like we all did when it was COSI.

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Interesting hub. Like the idea of eliminating physical causes first.

    • profile image

      jrmco 2 years ago

      I moved into this house one year ago. It was brand new...well the owner built it on a cellar hole from the early 1800's. In fact the basementwas the first store in town. All the electric and plumbingis new as is the heating. At first the power would go out in a room either me or my daughter were in. It happenedquite frequentlyand I would have to go into scary basementand flick the circuit breakers. I was always seeing shadowsflit past the corner of my eyes. One day while in the kitchen I saw a shadow and said alright show yourself. At the exact time I said that my daughter hollered from up in her room mom fix the lights. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats and the dogs will go crazy barking into a corner of the kitchen

      requentlyfor no reason.

    • profile image

      jrmco 2 years ago

      I moved into this house one year ago. It was brand new...well the owner built it on a cellar hole from the early 1800's. In fact the basementwas the first store in town. All the electric and plumbingis new as is the heating. At first the power would go out in a room either me or my daughter were in. It happenedquite frequentlyand I would have to go into scary basementand flick the circuit breakers. I was always seeing shadowsflit past the corner of my eyes. One day while in the kitchen I saw a shadow and said alright show yourself. At the exact time I said that my daughter hollered from up in her room mom fix the lights. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats and the dogs will go crazy barking into a corner of the kitchen Now I wear 8 rings on my fingers all the time. The other morning I woke up and my most expensive ring was gone. None of the rings are loose. I went all through the bedding freaked out. I had been at the laundromat the night before and thought it may have got tangled in the clothing and was lost forever. After having my coffee I went for one last look in my room and it was sitting right beside my lamp on the headboard. Again NEVER do I take them off so I've decided that was absolute proof somethingis here. I've never been one to lose things and since I've been in this house it happens all the time. Now my cellphone has been lost for two weeks and I knowin time it will show up.

      Last week I came home and found the couch in the middle of the livingroom no explanation and its happened before. Thanks for letting me rant!

      requentlyfor no reason.

    • ESPeck1919 profile image
      Author

      ESPeck1919 2 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Wow! Thanks for sharing your story with us, jrmco!

      It sounds like your house is located on a lot of history, even if the structure itself isn't that old.

      When we first moved into our current home, which was built in the 1950s, we constantly heard disembodied footsteps and saw shadows all over the place.

      The really interesting story happened when I had gone downstairs before bed to talk to my husband. One of the things that happened was that we'd get masses of cold air (or cold spots) that moved independent of drafts around doors and windows.

      Anyway, once I got to the basement, where hubby has his computers set up, I felt a cold spot behind me. I said I was making some tea before bed, and decided to offer the cold spot a cup.

      After telling hubby about the spot, I went up stairs with him behind me. As we went up, the spot followed me! It went away when I took two mugs down after putting water on.

      We've experienced the disappearing objects thing, too. A while after we moved in, all of the bobbins for my sewing machine vanished. I always put them in their spot after sewing, but when I went to do some sewing, I couldn't find any of them. I had something like five of them.

      Ended up buying new ones, 'cause they never showed up again.

      Hubby's lost a few things, too. So, you're not alone in that experience at all.

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