Mysterious sights and soundsSascha Burkard/shutterstock
Clearly we have a fascination with haunted houses in this country, but professional ghost hunter Greg Newkirk doesn’t think most of them are so scary. Instead, he says, “I think they’re trying to send us a message.” Newkirk, who has appeared as an expert on TV shows such as TLC’s Kindred Spirits, Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, and Destination America’s Paranormal Lockdown, has practically seen it all, and only very rarely finds himself truly spooked. He says most hauntings aren’t evil—only misunderstood. “I think a lot of the classic signs that people run into are mysterious noises that seem to come from places they can’t locate, a lot of bumping and scratching on walls, seeing full-bodied apparitions, and things moving from place to place when you’ve not touched them.” Of course, anyone who has seen a horror movie or a ghost show probably already knows this. What you might not know, however, is that what you call “a haunting” may not be the real deal. Newkirk has been called to houses where the causes of these phenomena have actually been carbon monoxide poisoning which caused people to hallucinate. Mold too, can cause the same reaction. For houses with legitimate ghosts, there are more telling signs that your house is haunted. These are the 20 best haunted houses in America.
Fact: Ectoplasm is a substance that still mystifies even the most seasoned paranormal experts. Historically, it has been reported to show up during seances through a spiritual medium. Newkirk himself has experienced the phenomenon in real haunted houses. “There was a house that I investigated several years ago where the family claimed that things were moving on their own,” he says, “and while I was there I actually had a strange, viscous fluid show up. [It] dripped down my arm, out of nowhere. And [the family] claimed that would happen all the time. It was a very strange kind of off-white, almost like a raw egg kind of fluid.” Ectoplasm is not often seen or experienced at your run-of-the-mill haunted house, but paranormal experts see it as a sign of certainty that there is a paranormal presence at work. Check out these eight haunted Airbnbs.