These common signs include but are not limited to:
Reprinted with permission from the book
"Help! I'm haunted!"
Feeling of being watched
This is far and above the most tell-tale sign and the one I put most of my trust in. We all have a 6th sense. Most of us can sense when we’re being
watched or the feeling that you’re not alone in a room. I’ve learned to trust that instinct, especially if multiple people report it.
While this is fairly rare, I’ve worked a handful of cases where people were directly touched, pushed, scratched, slapped hard enough to leave a red mark, punched or even pushed down a flight of stairs. Thankfully these cases are by far the exception rather than the rule but they do happen and when violence is involved it makes the intent of the spirit crystal clear. It also tells you clearly that you’re dealing with an entity and that in most cases you need not worry about trying to figure out what’s going on.
My intent in pointing out these extreme cases is not to alarm or scare you, it’s simply to show you that this phenomenon is NOT to be taken lightly. Just as the average person you pass in the street would much more likely help you than hurt you if asked, so most spirits in my experience are benevolent or at least neutral in their intentions. However, you must constantly be on guard for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Noises / "scratching” or “tapping” sounds
Obviously, houses will occasionally make odd noises. I remember when I was about 10 years old my family had a new house built. I would lie in bed at night and get startled by all sorts pops and creaks coming from everywhere in the house. That honestly was just the house settling.
The most common sound associated with an actual haunting is a “scratching” sound. It varies in intensity from very light to noticeably intense. Every time I hear it the mental image that I associate with it is nails scratching back and forth rapidly on a piece of wood or some other hard surface. Tapping or rapping are also fairly common occurrences and can happen either by themselves or in conjunction with scratching. In some cases these noises may even develop into interactive noises. They may seem to be happening in response to something you or someone else is doing or thinking. In some cases they even develop into a type of Morse code for “one tap for yes, two for no” kind of situation.
Shapes / movement in the corner of your eye
This is almost universally reported in an active haunting and I tend to read this as a sign of general activity rather than any indication of whether the spirit is positive or negative. If the haunting is especially active and the spirits are on the move then you are very likely to see them. This can range from seeing full blown apparitions to balls of light or energy shooting down a hallway almost too fast to see.
Light Bulbs / Electrical issues
Light bulbs may light up by themselves. Some spirits seem to make it a hobby to burn out light bulbs. One case a few years back had the client going
through about 20 light bulbs a month. Even after consulting an electrician to try and find out if there were abnormal spikes in the power grid nothing abnormal was found. The dead give-away in those situations is to have a medium see if they can identify if a spirit is in the vicinity when this happens. In the case mentioned above with the unplugged lamp I actually felt an entity walk into the room with me at exactly the same time the bulb lit up, and then subsequently burned out.
Oddly enough, we advised the client to try switching to the little twisted compact florescent bulbs that had just come on the market at the time and the
phenomenon stopped almost entirely. Other electrical issues are also common such as appliances turning themselves on or off, the TV or radio changing stations on it’s own, etc. Obviously these issues should all be checked out by a qualified repair technician or electrician before jumping to any conclusions, but I simply couldn’t tell you how many people I’ve interviewed in genuinely haunted homes who report all sorts of electrical issues.
The presumption here is that spirits are electro-magnetic in nature. Because of that spirits seem to be able to influence electrical fields around them. In some rare cases such as a powerful medium or even a person going through a period of high stress such as puberty or other emotional trauma can cause similar issues.
Unusual lucid dreams / nightmares
Unusually lucid dreams either of a positive or negative nature are not at all uncommon. Dreams can range either from night terrors that you either can or can’t remember after waking and in some cases involve physical reactions of the dreamer or sleepwalking.
It’s also important to note that while I’ve seen some night terrors caused by a haunting most cases of night terrors that I’ve seen are brought on by stress or unresolved psychological issues on the part of the dreamer. You should always start from that assumption anyway. The few instances where I’ve come to a different conclusion involved very active hauntings where a blind medium (blind meaning they were unaware of the circumstances of the haunting) reported the same or very similar experiences to those of the person suffering night terrors.
Objects being moved / gone missing & reappearing in odd locations
Objects being inexplicably moved around is another classic haunting sign. I’m not talking about losing your car keys, everyone does that occasionally, but a scenario where you set something down and come back to it an hour later and it’s clearly not where you left it. You look everywhere for it, extensively. Multiple people look for it in every room in the house. Later you find it laying in a very obvious place like the middle of a bed. I really couldn’t count how many times I’ve heard that story.
A scenario like this is especially likely if the object in question used to belong to a loved one who is now deceased. While I can’t think of a case our group has handled like this, I’ve read several case studies where a deceased grandmother's favorite hair brush or other similar item routinely goes missing and the children in the house get the blame for it, only to find out later through a medium that it was actually the spirit playing with the item and not returning it. Moving objects can have a more sinister role at times as well. Objects can be thrown at people and at times even through other solid objects. I saw video footage years ago of an extremely violent entity that loved to put random objects on top of the gas burner on a stove. Luckily it appeared to be just a threat since the burner was never turned on, but it’s hard to ignore someone jamming a broom handle vertically in a gas burner jet with enough force that the broom stayed upright. You can’t tell me an entity that would do that isn’t dangerous.
Again, this is another classic symptom of a haunting and it can have a wide range of manifestations. People report seeing a loved one and smelling
their perfume, cologne or the pipe or cigar tobacco they were known for. Reports like this happen on almost a daily basis.
A word of caution when trying to interpret smells and figure out what kind of entity you’re dealing with; don’t be too quick to judge. While I’ve experienced the stench a negative entity may give off and even sometimes the pleasant odor of flowers or roses after an exorcism or house cleansing keep in mind that there is no universal key for smells. Bottom line, entities can and do manifest odors.
Strange Animal or Insect activity
Animals are very sensitive spiritual entities. I think most can see and interact with them as clearly as they can the living. Sometimes the cat or the dog
is actually playing with someone you just can’t see.
Usually, I don’t worry too much about animal activity other than just to give me an indication that an indication of where a spirit might be located at that particular moment. That is unless the animal is acting afraid or aggressive. Most animals have great instincts, even house pets. They clearly know when something is out to do harm. Pay attention to that. In some cases the spirits have even done harm