Cold chills that move throughout a room and the unnerving feeling of being watched – it could be a draughty house and paranoia, or it could be ghosts.
While many of the ‘signs’ that paranormal investigators believe could be caused by spirit lodgers are easy to attribute to, for example, teenagers (slamming doors, mysterious whispers, things going missing, breakages, moaning), what if you live alone?
What if you can’t lay the blame for strange happenings in your house firmly at the door of children, pets, partners, roommates or everyday household malfunctions? What if, instead of an electrician or plumber, you need a medium or an exorcist?
Weird Norfolk has spoken to one Norwich householder who sold their ‘haunted’ house in 2019 and who was advised to keep quiet about their paranormal guest in order to sell.
And it seems the advice was wise: a year later, in 2020, Barclays Mortgages revealed that two in five people would offer under the asking price for a haunted house, knocking off an average of 19 per cent for a resident ghost.
The lender’s research revealed more than two thirds of people would be willing to put in an offer on a haunted house but would want to be compensated for a paranormal lodger.
Acceptable ‘activity’ that would-be householders would accept included knocking, whistling, singing, footsteps and objects moving or disappearing.
A third of buyers say they would buy a haunted house if it had a lower price, a bigger kitchen or was in a good neighbourhood, while 18 per cent didn’t need any perks to move into a possessed property.
Dr Peter Brooks, chief behavioural scientist at Barclays said: “Our research shows that while rumours of a home being haunted is enough to send chills down the spine of some purchasers, others actively seek out haunted houses because they like properties with a bit more ‘character’, or spot an opportunity to negotiate a good deal.”
However, researchers also discovered that people living in East Anglia are some of the most likely to try to move if they discover, or rather believe that, their home is haunted.
One Weird Norfolk reader, who asked not to be named, shared their experience of selling a haunted house: “We lived in a terrace house just off Unthank Road and from very early on, I had realised that there was something very strange about the landing on the first floor,” they told us.
“It was icy cold, doors would slam of their own accord and there were strange shadows that moved against the wall yet it had no windows. Most of this I put down to it being an old house and draughts, but this would happen on airless summer days, too.
“The presence, for want of a better word, didn’t feel malevolent, but it was there. I heard footsteps, saw what looked like the edge of a long skirt out of the corner of my eye and it felt as if I was being watched. I didn’t say anything to my husband or children in case I scared them.
“One night, when I was away, my husband texted me to say that there had been stomping footsteps that had shaken the ceiling in the front room and he had gone upstairs to tell my daughter to stop making such a racket. She wasn’t there. No one was upstairs.
“We chose to move shortly afterwards, although it was all about the need for more space rather than the ghost. When we filled in the form about the house, for a second I thought about mentioning it and I joked about it with the estate agent.
“The agent told me that under no circumstances should I mention a ghost, although he then added ‘not that they exist’. I noticed he didn’t hang around on the landing for very long, though!
“Just before we moved, a lady I was doing some work with came to the house and we had a meeting at my kitchen table. As she left and I was saying goodbye to her at the door, she nodded her head towards the stairs and said: ‘you know she means you no harm?’
“I hadn’t said a word about the ghost. I told her we were moving and she suggested that I speak to the ghost to tell her we were leaving and that she was welcome to come with us, but that if she didn’t, we were to thank her for looking after us.
“It felt a bit strange, but I did just that. We moved and nothing has happened at the new house for the past three years, so we take it the ghost decided to stay closer to Norwich!
“It later transpired that everyone living in the old house had experienced something strange but that no one had wanted to say anything in case it made it more ‘real’. My son had felt something cold touch him on the landing, my daughter had seen her door handle turn but no one was there.
“I’m actually quite sad we had to leave our ghost behind!”
Psychic and spiritual expert Joyce Olsen, from Psychic World has shared five tell-tale signs that your house may be haunted:
1. Temperature changes: There’s something haunting about an unwanted cold chill in your home appearing out of nowhere. Joyce believes this detects the presence of a ghost, and if the cold chill scares you, your fear may feed the ghost more!
2. Objects moving/falling down: We’ve all been there, watching TV and a picture falls off of the wall on its own accord. If this keeps happening to you, and you’ve checked fixings are secure, you may have an unwanted guest in your home.
3. Feeling a weird sensation on your neck: regularly experiencing something touching the back of your neck but nothing’s there.
4. Orb sightings: Otherwise known as light balls, orbs are most commonly seen in photographs, and have been thought to indicate a spiritual presence is near. However, most of the time, dust particles or tiny bugs can be to blame for these odd balls of light.
5. Electricals malfunctioning: Has your TV or smart device turned itself on during the night? If so, 3am is referred to as the ‘witching hour’ where paranormal investigators believe most ‘entities’ are active. Try to ensure electrical mains switches are switched off before bed, get your devices checked by a professional or as a last resort, take remote controls to bed with you.
Other signs include: feelings of being watched, unusual smells such as perfume, tobacco, rotten meat or sulphur, apparitions, witnessing objects moving on their own, unexplained noises like footsteps, hearing muffled voices when no one is there, static ‘discharge’, flickering lights that can’t be fixed by new bulbs or electricians, pets acting strangely out of the blue.
* What should you do if your house is haunted? Visit the Weird Norfolk Facebook page which is full of people with sage (literally, in some cases) advice on this matter.
* Like stories about haunted houses? This Weird Norfolk story about a terrifying haunted murder house in Great Yarmouth has it all: poltergeist activity, shadow figures, ghosts in nightcaps, tarot reading ghosts, a growling ghost lamb AND a witch.