What’s the difference between a haunted object and a haunted house?

This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.

To be honest, it can be difficult to tell the difference.  Mostly, it’s a case of trial-and-error. The Haunted Collector TV series presented a basic view of what’s involved.

From my experience, the size of the haunting can be a hint.  Characteristics can vary, too.

Haunted houses

Most actively haunted houses have distinct, ghostly phenomena. The ghost may appear in just one room or in a variety of locations throughout the house.  You sense that a spirit is involved.  It’s aware of you.  It responds to what you do, and it’s not the same activity, over and over again.

Other haunted houses might have residual energy. For example, a cold spot may appear every night at about 10 PM. It’s likely to last around 20 minutes. If nothing else happens, it’s probably just ghostly energy stored at the site.

A space clearing can reduce or eliminate that kind of problem.

A haunted object can affect an entire house, too

A haunted or cursed object can affect a small area, a room, an entire floor, or the whole house.

It’s smart to investigate using an EMF meter. See if one object is the focal point of the ghostly activity. Unless an object is magnetized or runs on electricity, it shouldn’t affect your EMF meter.

What to do if you suspect a haunted object

  1. Remove the object.
  2. Take it several miles away.
  3. See if the problems stop.

If everything seems normal (or gradually becomes normal after a week or two), the problem was probably the object.  Don’t burn it.  Contact someone like John Zaffis. He’s an expert in that field. (He’s also very different from how he’s seemed on TV.)

Unfortunately, tests like this require a lot of trial and error. If the house contains more than one haunted object, the process can be nightmarish. (No pun intended.)

In the 19th century and early 20th century, newspapers often talked about haunted and cursed objects. Many people still recognize tales of the curse of the Hope Diamond.

However, that may be all they recall.

Until the Haunted Collector TV series, haunted objects had been pretty much forgotten.

As a result, few ghost hunters know how to find haunted objects. Even fewer are experts in the field.

I have no idea what percentage of haunted houses are actually plagued by haunted objects. It’s too early to guess the impact of haunted objects in this field.

Energy from a ghost and the energy from a haunted object… well, they’re different.  It’s difficult to articulate.

How I detect a haunted object

Old typewriter - can be haunted
Old, everyday objects can be haunted. They don’t have to “look creepy.”

First of all, when I’m near a haunted or cursed object, my reaction is more like, “Uh-oh. Something is not right, here.”

In my head, I can practically hear the shark-is-on-the-way music from the movie, “Jaws.”  I’m uneasy.  I feel unsafe.

Investigating, I usually zero-in on an object.  That’s when I’ll tell the owner to remove whatever-it-is before I return for a more complete investigation.

Haunted houses…? No problem. For me, haunted objects are a different matter.

I absolutely, positively do not like haunted objects. And, among haunted objects, creepy dolls are the very worst… in my opinion, anyway. Some defaced photos and advertising images are a close second.

Where to see a haunted object

If you want a first-hand encounter with haunted objects, go to any old, dusty antiquities museum.

– The Hope Diamond is in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, USA.
– I’m uncomfortable with some objects at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
– Also in the U.S., John Zaffis has displayed his personal collection of haunted objects. Ed & Lorraine Warren — John Zaffis’ aunt and uncle — had a similar collection in a separate museum. I’m not sure if either John’s museum or the Warrens’ collection are open to the public. Check their websites for more information.
– Several buildings at the Tower of London (England) contain objects that I consider haunted.
– The British Museum, London, England (UK) is another place to sense haunted and cursed objects. (And, admission is free.)

Many of those wonderful old items were donated by people who were eager to get the objects out of their homes.  Bad memories or bad energy…?  Beauty (and unearthly energy) may be in the eye (or “gut feeling”) of the beholder.

Note: This is different than diminishing residual energy stored in objects. For fun, a few of us frequent antiques shops to compare notes as we “read” the energy on objects displayed.

Even at museums, it seems like haunted and cursed objects stand out. They may as well have neon arrows pointing to them.

Antiques stores are great training grounds

You can learn to read this kind of energy, so you can spot a haunted object in a client’s home.

Almost every antiques store has at least one haunted object, whether the owners realize it or not.

(I regularly use an EMF meter to confirm my reactions to objects. Weirdly, no one who works at them has ever asked what the EMF meter was, or why I was using it.)

Thrift shops aren’t nearly as good for this kind of research. Their objects rarely have the history — and layers of energy — you’ll find at antiques shops.

To tell the difference between a haunted object and a haunted house, the test can be simple.

If you remove a haunted object from a house, the house settles down in a day or so.

If the house is haunted by a ghost or residual energy, it remains active.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.