True story: before I moved into my new house a few months ago, I had a dream that it was haunted. Nothing crazy — just visions of a lady in a Victorian dress letting me know that she lived there.

Sure enough, about 3 weeks after moving in, strange things started happening. Granted, every house has its particular quirks — like that creaky baseboard or drafty basement — but a spoon flying onto the floor by itself, lights turning on and off when no one’s in the room, or trinkets moving from where you put them takes “quirky” to another level.

5 telltale signs of a haunted house

I’ve lived in a lot of places. And, believe it or not, each one has had its share of peculiar occurrences. Here are my top 5.

1. Inexplicable noises

It’s one thing to live in a place with walls so thin you can hear your neighbor snore. But it’s another to hear footsteps, voices, banging, knocking, or other sounds when no one’s around.

In my last apartment, we’d hear footsteps and furniture moving above us in the deep of night. Which wouldn’t be eyebrow raising if we had neighbors upstairs or if my landlord had stashed a madwoman in the attic. But I lived on the top floor and my landlord was a nice guy, so …

2. Electrical appliances turning on and off

In another San Francisco apartment (a dark, ground-floor place by the beach), my stereo, TV, and lights would randomly turn on and off at all hours.

Other times, I’d be cooking in the kitchen and music in the bedroom would sound. Or I’d be in bed with all the lights off and hear the hallway light flick on. Once, I even came home to opera blaring on the radio — and let’s just say it’s not my station of choice.

3. Disappearing/reappearing objects

I’m not the forgetful type who tends to misplace my keys. In fact, I’m the kind of person who can recount the contents of every drawer. And yet, when I lived in that place with the electrical issues, stuff would go missing only to reappear again in its usual spot.

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I’d search high and low, in every nook and cranny. No luck. And then, one day, the bookmark, scarf, or ring that was MIA would just be there.

4. Doors opening and closing on their own

When my family moved to the U.S., our first home was creepy. There was a dank, unfinished basement that haunts my dreams to this day.

You’d hear footsteps upstairs when you were downstairs and no one would be home. The toilet would flush for no apparent reason. Pages would turn on an open book. And the doors and windows would open and slam shut without a draft to stir the air.

5. Apparitions

Nothing’s creepier than actually seeing a ghost with your own eyes. Sometimes they appear as vaporous forms or dark shadows. In rare instances, you might see fully formed humans in period clothing.

Back in our first home, we (that is, my extended family of 10) would see a woman in a white nightgown. She’d appear at different times, in various rooms for a split second, and then — poof — she’d vanish.

How to get rid of ghosts

If these situations sound familiar, you could be sharing your home with a tenant from another dimension.

Before you buy a Geiger counter and research ghost extermination teams, though, see if there’s a rational reason for those things going bump in the night. After all, surges or power outages affect your electrical appliances, noises could be caused by your plumbing, and so on.

But, if you’ve ruled out all logical reasons and are convinced that you have a spectral roommate, you don’t have to live with your spook. Some say that burning Palo Santo or sage in each room of the house works wonders at clearing negative energy. Or, you could consult an expert.

Related links

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about Anne

If variety is the spice of a copywriter’s life, then Anne’s career at Esurance was akin to sassafras. From 2010 to 2014, she added a touch of zest to topics ranging from cleaning with baking soda to becoming a first-time homeowner.