Are ghosts real? Are there actual hauntings? When we’re home alone at night, our imaginations can run wild.
While there are countless legends and tales of spooky ghosts inhabiting old houses, little proof exists that ghosts are real. We’ve all let our minds go there, though. You might be sitting in front of the fireplace on a cold, rainy night, reading a book and sipping a cognac, when the unmistakable sound of a footstep down the hallway sends chills down your spine. You glance over, only to witness a light flicker. Then the dog starts barking at a blank wall, and you really start to panic. “No. No no no no no,” you say. “This is not happening. There is no such thing as ghosts!”
Convincing yourself your house is not haunted can be challenging in the heat of the moment.
During the light of day, or even at night while amongst other people, it is easy to simply proclaim that your house isn’t haunted. “Oh, that noise I heard the other night was nothing. I let my imagination get the best of me!” But while you’re sitting there alone as the thunder crashes or the wind howls, it takes a lot more composure to calm yourself.
What things can you do or tell yourself to alleviate the fear of ghosts inhabiting your house?
- Be honest here—have you actually ever really encountered a ghost before? You may have thought so, but chances are very high that you have not. So why now? Why of all days did the ghost pick this moment to freak you out?
- Try to think of what else the noise could have been. “Hmm… there was a footstep as clear as day coming from upstairs, but no one is up there. Could it have been a rodent, or the house settling?” Houses do settle naturally thanks to gravity and old age. When they do, they can make noises that could be confused with a spiritual entity.
- Do you know anyone to have been harmed by a ghost? No, probably not. Even if you have friends with spooky stories, none of them have been harmed by a ghost. “Of every person I’ve ever met, I’m going to be the only person to have been pushed down a flight of stairs by a god damn ghost. Just my luck!”
- Likewise, ask yourself what is the worst that could happen. Besides being scared shitless, of course. It is possible you could be so scared you’d go into cardiac arrest, but physically the ghost can probably only scare you and hope for the best.
- If the spirit of a deceased person could go anywhere in the world, why would they choose to be creeping around your dark house? Now if you feel like you’re being haunted at Disney World, sure, maybe…
- If the spirit of a deceased person is somehow confined to your house, why would they want so badly to scare you? Being a ghost alone is already pretty scary. Now they want to present themselves at night during a storm?!
- Who was this supposed ghost when they were a live person? If they were like 95% of the rest of the population, they would probably rather be your friend and not freak you the hell out.
- If it is storming out, chalk it up to the storm. If there are others present in the house upstairs but presumably sleeping, safely assume they got up for a glass of water. Is your next-door neighbor a notorious sleepwalker and maybe he’s out rustling in the trees? Whatever the situation, there is probably a perfectly sane, logical explanation for what’s happening.
- Have you done any drugs, taken any meds, or drank a lot of alcohol? The mind can begin to play tricks on itself if you’re under the influence of various substances.
- Lastly, consider the possibility that you’re being pranked.
Oh, okay. These things are all good and well if you just heard a noise, but what if it goes a step beyond that?
Things get a little hairier when it’s more than just a noise that leads you to believe a ghost is present.
- If your dog is barking at seemingly nothing, like a blank wall, try to rationalize what is really happening. Fido may be hearing a mouse inside the wall scurrying around! Furthermore, why the fuck does your dog get to see the ghost but not you? Dogs are known to have decent night vision, but having a superpower to see supernatural beings is not commonly known amongst the nation’s top breeders.
- If you saw something that led you to believe a ghost was present, consider how tired you might be. Is it 1:14am? Have you been staring at your phone for the past four hours? Your eyes really could be playing tricks on you.
- The creepiest thing of all is when a child reports seeing a ghost, but is too naive to grasp what they’ve seen. “Daddy, why is that white man on the stairs standing there? He says he wants me to go play!” Remember that children can have wild imaginations, but also consider this a warning to GTFO.
- Catching a ghost on camera is a surefire way to know that this is no longer your imagination. But cameras aren’t totally foolproof either. A blemish on the lens, light reflecting just the right way, or a bug really close up could all give the illusion of ghostly things. But if it’s clearly a translucent human figure floating a few inches above the ground, well… again, you should run.
And if you do hear real footsteps and you convince yourself it’s not a ghost, then… just who the hell is up there? It could actually be a burglar, so be on high alert.
In the end, it’s all about mind over matter. That’s not to say ghosts definitely don’t exist, but even you must admit that in your lifetime, there’s a 99.99% chance that this isn’t the real thing. Try to be calm, dammit! But if you come to the conclusion that this is a ghost, try to be nice to it.
My Hot Take
I have long been afraid of ghosts. Haven grown up in an old farmhouse built in the 1880s, our house was full of creaky noises and inexplicable events like things falling off shelves. It didn’t help that my own mother tricked me into believing someone had been buried in the basement after succumbing to scarlet fever. I laid awake for hours on-end as a kid staring into the blackness of my bedroom, believing to be the victim of some ghostly encounter. But really I never did actually see a ghost and to my knowledge never have.
Although—and I swear this timing is accurate—I captured the video below on my home security camera while I was writing this blog. Weird coincidence, or a ghost announcing his presence?