Is My House Haunted (or Just in Desperate Need of Home Repairs)?

how to get rid of ghosts

The sound of footsteps shatters the silence of the night and awakens you with a flash of panic. “What was that!?” followed by a few minutes to calm down. You finally tell yourself it’s just the crazy house making noise again. Later that morning you stare incredulously and nearly drop your java as the door between the kitchen and the laundry room nonchalantly swings from closed to completely open all by itself. Moments later, you really start to wonder as the light in the hallway begins to flicker, followed by a mysterious sound (voice?) from nowhere in particular — a creepy sound and light show you really didn’t need today.

Everybody knows that ghosts, when they want to, can pass straight through solid walls, no problemo. So when they actually use the door, they’re really just messing with you.

Is your house haunted? Did the resident ghost just rifle through your laundry room looking for a fresh white sheet to wear, then for his personal entertainment see if he could make you spill that cup of freshly ground coffee by putting on a little bit of a poltergeist A/V presentation? Or is there another explanation? Do you need to call the Ghostbusters or is a trip to the hardware store more in order?

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Only you can decide. Far be it from me to chalk up your paranormal experience to something mundane, but there are a few simple explanations you might want to check first.

Doors That Open and Close by Themselves

Everybody knows that ghosts, when they want to, can pass straight through solid walls, no problemo. So when they actually use the door, they’re really just messing with you. I guess that is an indication of a playful sense of humor, which is a good thing. But that’s not the only explanation.

Another possibility is that the door just isn’t hung properly and/or the hinges have gotten out of adjustment. Yes, hinges can be adjusted.

For a door to stay exactly where you place it anywhere in its swing, it has to be perfectly plumb, with no uneven tension on the hinges. It’s very common for a door to be installed slightly out of plumb or level, which means it’s leaning one way or another and gravity is going to want to pull it that direction all the time.

Before blaming it all on Casper, put a level on the hinge side of your door frame and see if it’s plumb in both directions (on the hinge side, and also on the face of the door casing or trim). If it’s not, you can look at adjustments. Sometimes the hinges themselves can be bent a little bit to fix the problem or even moved slightly on the door or frame. Other times the door jamb itself needs to be reinstalled to fix the eerie autonomous motion.

Footsteps in The Middle of The Night

I don’t like being awakened by footsteps in the night. That’s some freaky stuff right there. I’ve hopped out of bed many a time ready to rumble. Ghost, intruder, my dog, it doesn’t matter, you’re going down!

Ok. maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get my point, right? Footsteps are not conducive to sound sleep, especially when they are over your head.

There is a very common explanation that doesn’t involve the spirit world: the rodent world. Squirrels, rats, mice and bats are all middle-of-the-night attic noisemakers.

Fortunately or not, there is a very common explanation that doesn’t involve the spirit world: the rodent world. Squirrels, rats, mice and bats are all middle-of-the-night attic noisemakers. They can be almost silent or they can be downright rambunctious. I once lived in an apartment that hosted a party of rats in the attic every night for weeks before we finally figured out how they were getting in and shut that joint down.

If this is your story too, the first thing to do is a very thorough inspection of all of the potential access points from outside. Most rodents want to go in and out, so closing off access is the first step. Of course sometimes that means you locked some of the party in the attic, in which case it’s traps or a professional. The last thing you want is for the intruder to perish in some inaccessible place in your attic or walls. Then you’ll be calling Stinkbusters instead of Ghostbusters.

Flickering Lights

I lived in a beautiful lakefront home for many years that was surely haunted. Lights were constantly flickering off and on and the TV would shut itself off or turn itself on at all hours. Presumably ghosts are actually interested in staying informed on current events and like to watch cartoons as well. I get that.

While I was fine just coexisting, my wife wanted the situation addressed. No matter how much time I spent talking this thing out with the unseen squatters, they wouldn’t leave. It seemed hopeless.

Aluminum wiring is notorious for developing loose connections over time that tend to move randomly from “power on” to “power off.”

Then I found out I had aluminum wiring in the older part of the house. For a contractor it was a slap upside the head. First, how had I purchased a house with aluminum wiring and not known that? Second, why had I not assumed the issues I was witnessing were simple electrical wiring issues rather than the less likely haunting? I’m supposed to be reasonable.

Aluminum wiring is notorious for developing loose connections over time that tend to move randomly from “power on” to “power off.” The weather is the primary control. Temperature, humidity and wind can all cause those loose connections to move just enough. The same thing can happen with copper wiring, but it’s not as common.

If you have flickering lights or appliances that randomly turn themselves off and on, check your wiring. You may just have some loose connections. If you’re not familiar or comfortable with troubleshooting your electrical issues, an electrician can make light work of the issue. (See what I did there?)

Howling Sounds and Cold Drafts

Howling sounds are another freaky deaky anomaly that will make your dog cry and your hair stand up. Accompany the audible with a cold draft and you’ve got the makings of a documentary. It might be time to set up some thermal imaging cameras or don a proton pack.

Or, I guess, it could just be that you need a little bit of extra insulation around your windows and doors.

As the seasons shift this time of year, the winds tend to pick up a little bit and those breezes can make some wicked sounds as they pass through tiny cracks in your house. This not only sounds scary, it will also haunt you financially as your money vaporizes before your very eyes. To prevent that kind frightfulness check out a few ways to keep your house warm this winter.

Missing White Sheets

Missing white sheets are also easily explained … NOT!

If you have stuff turning up missing or tables and chairs moved randomly, accompanied by any of the above common ghost behavior, you’ve officially purchased a haunted house and I can’t help you. No worries. It’s fine. Really.

Happy Halloween!