My friend is starting her first house search. She contacted me because the one she liked the most happened to be also the most creepy. She described a Teddy Bear just hanging out alone in the Michigan basement and a child's coffin in the garage.
Is it haunted and if so, what do you do if you get more than you bargained for at signing?
It is hard to tell if something is haunted without spending plenty of time there because activity usually isn't consistent and ghosts don't appear on que. Typically, you won't know until the keys are already in your hand and all your belongings unloaded inside. There are a few things you can do prior to your purchase to make sure you aren't buying the neighborhood's nightmare:
1. Talk to your Real Estate agent. - Address your concerns with your Real Estate agent but be aware that each state has it's own laws about Seller's disclosures. Do a little research on what you are entitled to know first and that should help you be a smarter consumer. Depending on your area's laws, your agent may have to tell you about any murders or features that may affect marketability... but we have all seen horror movies where that did not happen. (insert poltergeist clip) But if you were in it to make a profit, would you mention anything you didn't have to that would jeopardize a sale? Smart sellers would describe exactly what can be observed.
2. Check out diedinhouse.com – This is an interesting little site where you can see if there are any deaths cited from a property.
3. Talk to the neighbors. - Your best ammunition, especially if you are new to the area, is to talk to the neighbors. People love to gossip and will spill some history or stigma's that the house may have.
4. Trust your instinct. - If you don't feel great in the house or if you have the feeling of being watched, is that something you will be able to live with? Will you ever be at rest in this space? If you're not feeling at home, it's likely that isn't the place for you. Your gut instinct is telling you something.
5. Have a through house inspection. - I wouldn't skip this step regardless but a house inspection my give you some insight into issues with the house. A bad foundation can cause unsettling noises, and causing doors and cabinets to open and close; Plumbing problems can make banging noises and water pressure can turn faucets on and off, poor electrical hook ups can flood the room with radiation causing eerie feelings, nausea, and hallucinations... and so on.
5. Prevention – There are ways that different religions and cultures believe they can ward off unwanted spirits. Perhaps the most notable is burning sage around the house to smoke out evil spirits. A lot of homeowners turn to a religious figure to come an bless the house. For more ideas, see the info graphic to the left.
Another tip might be to not provoke or dabble in the unknown. Using a Ouija board or having a seance to speak with the previous owners of your house might prove to be more than you can handle... and you might invite over a few more guests to the party.
So what if you already purchased a house you suspect is haunted? Don't panic. There are several things you can do to ease your mind and potential activity:
1. Keep a Journal. – When activity occurs, write down the time, place and event that took place in a journal. With this information, you may be able to notice a pattern or see an influx of activity due to an event or person.
2. Rule out rational explanations. - Just like I mentioned above around regarding the home inspections, there are many noises or events going on in the home that might be the cause of creepy events without you making that connection. Weather may contribute, so can children or pets. It is good to think rationally when you think something is happening and not jump to conclusions.
3. Call a local paranormal group. - There are paranormal groups popping up all over the United States. You can contact a local group and they will be more than happy to help you assess the situation for free. They will bring equipment and expertise to the home to help get you some answers.
I hope these suggestions help you in your haunt hunt. Don't be reluctant to reach out to others if you are ever in a scary situation. The paranormal have become less stigmatized these days and resources are everywhere.
Happy Haunting guys!
-xoxo, Pretty Scary