The scary reality of living in a haunted house

Image of ghost in house
'When will my reflection show who I am inside?' Laura wondered.
"If your poltergeist is unfriendly, you may need to bring in some outside help"
  • | by Alice Morgan

When you're looking for a new home, you'll probably be checking that the structure is sound, there's no damp on your ceiling and you haven't got any nosey neighbours. 

Your initial question doesn't tend to be, 'am I going to have a ghostly housemate?'

But according to YouGov, in 2014, almost 40% of us Brits believed a house could be haunted by more than awful 70s décor. 

So would you be happy to live with a ghostly pal?

Scary stories

I live in an old house that's full of creepy corners and strange noises.

Apparently, the ghost of a teenage girl resides in the back bedroom and there have also been a few occasions when we've heard babies crying in the night despite there being none nearby!

Once, our next door neighbour said that she could hear a pram being pushed up and down our hall when no one was at home.

It's a lovely house but not one that I'm willing to stay in alone.

And I'm not the only one to be spooked by uninvited houseguests.

Image of man hiding behind sofa

Earlier this year, illustrator and author Adam Ellis revealed his apartment in New York was haunted by a child spirit called 'Dear David'. David shifted and lurked in the hallway, hypnotised Ellis' cats every night at midnight, and blacked-out Polaroid photos that tried and failed to document the spirit's presence.  

Despite his Twitter followers continually telling him to move out, Ellis has remained in his home and even set up a nanny cam to capture the ghostly goings-on.

But whether you believe in poltergeists or not, the mere suggestion of something strange in your neighbourhood could have a big effect on something you might not have thought of before - the price of your property.

A complete nightmare

If you're thinking of selling your haunted house, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

Research from Towergate Insurance in October 2016 showed that one in three house buyers would ask for a 20% drop in the asking price if a house was said to be haunted.

Image of ghost in house

Unfortunately, simply pretending that you don't know anything about your transparent friend won't do you any favours.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations state that omitting material information might land you in trouble.

You might be accused of misleading your buyer by not telling them the whole truth.

Would they have bought the house if they knew it was haunted?

If they wouldn't have and they then encounter the supernatural in the house, they may be able to lodge a complaint, however it's extremely unlikely to be upheld given how difficult it is to prove you have a supernatural visitor.

In the US, one such case was hugely publicised. 

Helen Ackley owned a Victorian $650,000 four-bedroomed house in New York. She'd spoken openly about the ghosts in her home and even reported the sightings to a local newspaper.

However, when Jeffrey Stambovsky purchased the house from her, he knew nothing about the supposed haunting.

Image of spooky window

When he discovered the eerie history of the house, he attempted to sue Ackley but was unsuccessful.

Still, having a poltergeist pal may make your house more attractive to those who like the weird and the wonderful.

How to get rid of a ghost

If you think you're living in a haunted house, you might want to try and expel the spirits before you sell.

Barri Ghai, founder of The Ghostfinder Paranormal Society suggests completely eliminating natural causes before you attempt to oust any ghosts.

"There are often many logical explanations for things that at first glance would appear to be paranormal phenomena," Ghai explains.

"This includes ghostly footsteps which may just be the house settling and floorboards contracting as it cools. Water pipes also make loud bangs and tapping sounds when air pressure builds up.

"If people experience things that cannot be logically explained, then the best thing for them to do is call in the professionals like The Ghostfinder Paranormal Society."

And getting the pro's in might be a good idea as trying to communicate with the spirit yourself may be dangerous - "you never know what or who you are engaging with!" Ghai exclaims.

Image of abandoned house

So what can you do to get rid of your ghostly inhabitant?

Ghai suggests smudging the home with white sage, using singing bowls, incense or lighting candles.

Although he does warn that if your poltergeist is unfriendly, you may need to bring in some outside help.

"In some cases where there is a darker, more malevolent entity, a person from a religious field could perform a blessing or exorcism," Ghai tells us.

Either way, you'll have to declare your spooky experience when you sell the house on and cross your fingers that you'll have a taker!

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