Mysterious sights and sounds
Sascha 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.
ravi vaghela17/shutterstock 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 8 haunted Airbnbs.
Imageman/shutterstock Objects don’t move on their own—unless you live in an old drafty house where strong winds make doors open and close. Otherwise, there has to be some kind of force applied to get it to move. That’s why when you see things flying around your house without visible cause, you can be pretty sure that there is something—or someone—other than you in your house. “I’ve seen books thrown through the air by an invisible force. I’ve watched a grown man with a $2,500 camera in his hand drop the camera to the ground because something was strangling him,” Newkirk recalls. Soaring objects are another staple of horror flicks, but inexplicable movement can be even more sinister than that. Another well known and televised expert in the field, psychic medium Patti Negri, has had some even more intense experiences than flying books. “I’ve had people literally burst into flames in front of me,” she says. “The house where [they caught] on fire had been a famous movie star’s house, Mary Astor, in the early days of Hollywood. Then all sorts of people lived there. The Rolling Stones, the Mamas & Papas…The last person there was Marilyn Manson and the house was too scary for him, so he moved out.” When she visited the Black Dahlia house in LA, she herself was violently thrown against a wall. If anything small or big like this happens in your home, you can be sure you’ve got a haunted house.