What’s it like to live in a haunted house?

What’s it like to live in a house that’s really haunted? Do people always have to leave their haunted houses if the ghosts won’t leave?

Most haunted houses are benign. I’ve lived in a few.

haunted stairwayGenerally, it’s like living with an invisible roommate. Some ghosts can be annoying.

That’s especially true if the ghost likes to turn lights on and off, adjust the volume on the TV, or turn a faucet on and leave the water running.

I don’t mind ghosts in my house. I do mind any inconveniences they create.

Downtown Houston’s famous ghost

One of the most persistently annoying ghosts haunts downtown Houston, Texas. She is Mrs. Pamelia Mann, one of Houston’s most famous madams.

Many evenings, Mrs. Mann strolls around the Market Square block she once owned.

She visits ladies rooms (toilets) in modern-day clubs and restaurants on that block.

Once in each ladies room, she locks the door so others cannot enter. Then, she vanishes. The staff are not amused, because they have to keep unlocking the door at the request of impatient patrons.

However, the living and spirits of the dead usually find ways to stay out of each other’s way.

Other famous haunted homes

Lantern outside Salem haunted houseAt some locations, such as the Myrtles Plantation, the staff regard the ghosts as friends. Many people who live in haunted houses feel the same way about their ghosts.

I know one homeowner in Salem (MA, USA) who is extremely protective of “her” ghost. Although the first floor of her haunted home is a shop, she won’t allow anyone inside if she thinks they’re looking for her ghost.

That’s a little extreme.

The owner of the Lizzie Borden house seemed comfortable with that house’s ghosts.

TV, movies, and reality

Many TV shows and movies present scary ghosts. Reality is very different.

Once people become accustomed their ghosts (and vice versa), some seem to forget they live in a haunted house.

When I’ve lived in haunted houses, I’ve been unable to forget they’re there. Not for long, anyway. Sometimes, I’ve been startled by an apparition floating across my kitchen. Unearthly footsteps still surprise me when I’m tired, especially if the ghost has been silent for a while.

Despite that, living with ghosts can be easier than living with roommates.  Ghosts don’t steal your food, come home drunk at night, or leave the seat up.

I’m okay with that.

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How can I see a ghost?

If you’d like to see a ghost, you may need to do a lot of ghost hunting.

Many long-time ghost hunters have never seen a ghost. Not one that they were sure was really there.

They may have sensed them. Felt a “cold spot” or something invisible brush past them. Heard an odd sound, or recorded EVP. And so on.

But apparitions – ghosts that you can actually see – are rare.

Most of the time, people think they may have seen something, but – at the time – it surprised them so much, they didn’t instantly think “ghost.”

  • It may have been an unexplained flicker of light or a shadow.
  • It might have been just part of a ghostly figure, like a face that was there one moment, and gone the next.
  • It could have been a full apparition that they mistook for someone living, dressed in a costume. (That’s common at some living history events.)
  • It could have been a full or partial apparition the person saw for just a second, out of the corner of his or her eye. And then, it was gone.
  • In many cases, the ghostly image shows up as a reflection in a window, mirror, or shiny surface like a table top.
  • It may be a shadowy figure, whether or not it’s a “shadow person.”

However, seeing a ghostly figure that looks “like a ghost” (either solid or translucent) and realizing it’s a ghost while you still see it… that’s so extraordinary, I can’t recall anyone talking in those terms.

ghostly mistIn other words, if you want to see a ghost, be observant. Notice everything, especially the things that make you do a quick double-take.

Chances are, you won’t be sure it was a ghost until minutes after it’s vanished. And, even then, you may have doubts.

Keep your expectations low. Don’t insist that you have to see a ghost to believe in them. Many people will never see a ghost, but their other experiences will convince them that ghosts are real… and they’ve encountered one.

Fiona's adviceIn my opinion, haunted cemeteries are one of the best places to actually see an apparition. I recommend haunted cemeteries to beginners, too, because most cemeteries are free to visit. And, with some research, you’re likely to find two or three haunted cemeteries near you.

How to Find Haunted Cemeteries(Need help? You can learn how I find them in my book, How to Find Haunted Cemeteries.)

Some people see anomalies. Some only photograph them. Others hear anomalous sounds or voices. Yet others only record them. And so on.

As you investigate haunted sites, you’ll develop a “sixth sense” related to your unique way of tuning-in to ghosts.

It may not be anything visual. If it is, let me know what you experience. Leave a comment at this article. I’m always interested in apparitions… when they happen, where, and exactly what they look like.

Few people actually see a ghost, but – if you do – it can be extraordinary.

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How do ghosts affect the afterlife?

Three things are required to answer this question:

– First, you must believe in ghosts. I believe spirits visit us and sometimes interact with us.

mirror– Then, you must believe that the afterlife can be studied from our plane of existence.

I’m not sure we can make many inroads there. We seem to do better studying ghosts and spirits — visitors from the realm of the afterlife — than trying to perceive where they do (or should) reside.

– Above all, you must conduct this research yourself. It’s such a subjective topic, little that I can say would (and perhaps should) be useful.

These are topics best explored and decided by the individual, perhaps with a spiritual counsellor.

Speculation is okay… for fiction

In general, we can speculate that spirits on the other side are sympathetic to the plight of ghosts.

I believe some spirits are trying to help ghosts cross over, just as people on this side want to help.

Also, I’ve wondered if ghosts represent something that pre-dated the “in limbo” concept, because that’s what they’re doing, more or less.

So, it’s a great concept for fictional tales in which an angel or spirit briefly reincarnates to help a spirit (or ghost) cross over.

But, that’s fiction.

I also wonder if some ghost hunters — especially mediums and psychics — are prompted by spirits on the other side. Those spirits may lead the ghost hunters to sites where ghosts are trapped, and need some encouragement to cross over.

It seems like a happy thought, but I have no basis for it.

Mostly, this is wandering so far into spiritual topics, I cannot address the subject credibly.

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