How to Sleep In a Haunted House

When it comes to the supernatural, there’s a difference between real-life and fiction in the movies and books.

More than that, there’s a real difference between real-life and the nonfiction presented in movies, books, and TV shows.

This is true for a lot of areas. It’s easy to forget because of the sheer number of hours we spend consuming media. We end up having many more hours of experience in the theoretical than the practical.

Filmmakers and news media favor outliers. They take the most dramatic cases and highlight them. When you do this, you tell compelling stories but lose essential truths.

When people are bothered by ghosts and demons, it’s usually more about cold spots, temptation, and oppression. Rarely does the case feature blown possession with someone’s head spinning around and eyes black like two discs or levitation.

Filmmakers and news media are trying to entertain. In their free time, people prefer to be entertained rather than taught. That’s made clear to media execs when they look at audience numbers. People vote on what’s produced by their attention.

This blog, however, is written with an eye toward practical health information. It doesn’t shy away from the ordinary or the more-common-but-still-weird.

The phenomenon is common enough, as evidenced by the numbers of people who believe in it but glossed over by health sites as if it doesn’t exist or is a symptom of mental health.

While you may not have mental health problems when the troubles start, you very well may be the time they go on for a while.

The haunted house across the alley

I had a coworker once who lived in a haunted house. It wasn’t as haunted or as dramatic as the house featured in The Amityville Horror or the hotel in The Shining. Because of that, unless they exaggerated the story, nobody would make a movie about her experiences. They did, however, keep her up at night and did stress her marriage.

We should call it a haunted house. It was haunted. The term is troubling, however, because of the image it conjures.

Her house wasn’t like one of those that spring up every October and sells tickets. There was nobody dressed as Jason from the Friday the 13th movies hiding behind a door ready to jump out with a chainsaw sans chain. There were no flickering lights, no spiderwebs hanging from the ceiling.

Instead, her house was well-maintained at the end of a relatively quiet street; trim grass, nothing broken.

As is often true, stereotypes are caricatures. After sleeping in her real-life haunted house, she’d look tired. She was. She had been kept up all night, sleep-deprived.

Her kitchen cabinets and drawers opened and slammed shut all night long. Her closet door would do the same. The house seemed to be “angry,” she said.

She and her husband were going through a period where they were fighting about all of the usual things unhappy couples fight about: where they lived, money, and what one or the other of them did or didn’t do. He was also affected by the noises from the kitchen and the noncorporeal terror.

I lived near the house in question for seven years. During my time there, that beautiful house went through four ownership changes despite being vacant for long stretches at a time. Overall, the real estate market was average during that time, according to local real estate agents.

When buyers tour these houses and something about it tends to feel “off.” Not everyone senses anything. During the daytime, when people are usually touring homes for sale, there are plenty of distractions. If the price is right, people will buy it. When they do, sometimes they’re sorry.

When we moved to the neighborhood in 2012, that house was vacant. The price was attractive. I thought it was a compelling home. It was on my shortlist. Two members of my family didn’t like it, however. Something “didn’t feel right about the place” to them.

Horror movies and Halloween fun have ruined the term “haunted house.” A better one, perhaps, is a “spiritually disturbed environment.” That it had so many owners in such a short period in an area with relatively stable employment should raise some questions in anyone’s mind.

My haunted house

Before moving to that town, I lived in a haunted house/ spiritually disturbed environment for twelve years. My and my family’s habits kept a troubled spirit in check. We didn’t sense anything amiss about the place when we bought it, though we did notice three bullet holes in the door.

The place was what the police called a stash house, a place where a drug cartel stores money and drugs.

After we brought the place, we found this out from the police and neighbors. Besides the door with the bullet holes, we judged the stories to be true. They cut all the vegetation along the driveway, despite prohibition from the homeowners’ association. The cartel wanted a clear view of all approaches.

Also, all of the carpets were brand new throughout the house. Why? A man had been shot there and had gone from room to room actively bleeding.

The thing was, it had been on the market for six months in a relatively hot real estate market. It was priced below market for a highly desirable area in a great school district.

During the twelve years, I didn’t notice anything. Sure, my young daughter would talk about someone called “Mr. Flappy” who was, apparently a ghost in a plaid shirt who had no arms. His sleeves would flap, hence the name she gave it.

There was also some other entity that was a young child who was wandering around. I felt that one. It felt lost and mournful. I encouraged it to go to the light.

But, really, for most of us, the house gave us 12 good years. We were happy there.

It was an entirely different matter when it came to selling the place.

When you combine the feeling of the place which became depressing and mournful with the crash that the real estate market endured in 2008 that still lingered three years later, selling it became a challenge. I had a top real estate agent working on it. We “staged” the home. It looked wonderful.

The discordant environment only became apparent when we moved on.

My house went for $130,000 below market in 2014. The house the Amityville Horror was based on went for $200,000 below market in 2017, according to the Biography.com article.

I tell these stories because compared to most people, I have had extensive experience with real-world haunted houses.

Just because you don’t feel the presence of the entities doesn’t mean they don’t affect you. When you’re dealing with the unseen, you can be dealing with demons, angels, and ghosts. Because they’re immaterial, there’s no reason to think you can tell one from the other. The entity can present itself as much weaker or much stronger. What are you to compare it to?

That small, lost child could have very well been a demon. There’s no way I could tell. By encouraging it to go to the light, I was doing the opposite of inviting it to stay in the house. If it truly was feeling lost, there are undoubtedly other entities who can do a better job of comforting it than I could.

Trust nothing other than peace, comfort, and love from the unseen

Don’t make the mistake of inviting something inside your house. It can’t end well. Once established in a place, entities are incredibly hard to get rid of.

I had nothing to do with the shooting in my discounted house in a beautiful area. Presumably, that entity established itself in my home on its own. It’s not always something you did. Still, don’t make it worse on yourself. Don’t encourage it.

Why I say to trust nothing other than peace, comfort, and love is because that’s what some entities bring. Your spirit guide/ guardian angel with radiate that, so will individual departed family members. If they identify themselves as family members and they radiate anything other than peace, comfort, and love, then they need to leave as well. There’s nothing wrong with having those entities around, but they’re not going to try to come into your bed. They’re going to give a message like “I love you” or something like that.

Anything else is unnatural and to be avoided. Neutral is bad, like an entity who says they’re an old pirate ship captain or whatever. Bad is also bad. If they’re neutral or bad they need to leave. Treat the urgency of them needing to leave like your property is infested. Inadvertently, you might invite them to stay, and that’s a whole new level of trouble.

I assert that having a living area infested with disturbed spirits is worse than an insect or rat infestation. You can’t call an exterminator. If you do call someone who says they can help, you can’t judge the effects of their work because you can’t see the infestation. It’s nothing but bad news.

What to do if your house gets haunted

This is a difficult problem. Why? Say you have a dirty plate and you want to eat lunch. You want to eat lunch on a clean plate. How do you get a clean plate?

That’s a question with a simple answer. You’d wash the dish by filling a sink with some water and dish soap. Then you’d scrub it with a dishcloth, rinse it, and then dry it off. You can see the results of the cleaning. If you miss one area of the plate, you go over it again with the dishcloth, putting a little extra effort into scrubbing the area or, perhaps, letting the hot water work to dissolve the stain.

Before you know it, you’ve got a clean dish.

If you’ve got a haunted house, you can’t see the stain. You can feel it, sometimes more than others. More than that, a stain on a dish isn’t intelligent. It’s not going to toy with you. It’s not going to manipulate the various members of your household. It’s not going to cost you thousands of dollars and affect your well being.

As stated above, you can’t see that when it comes to a haunted house. The activity can strengthen and then let up. Sometimes it’s only at one time or another.

If you’re involved with or have been involved with spiritualism sometime in your life, you need to stop. Then you need to disavow all of that previous activity.

You can go on the Internet and read about burning sage to “spiritually cleanse” an area. You can try windchimes or a little gong. You can try incense.

None of it is foolproof. None of it works all of the time.

When I was trying to spiritually cleanse my house of “Mr. Flappy” I got some sage and went from room to room with the smoke.

When I was done, the environment felt lighter. I considered that my efforts might pay off.

I thought to myself that I might have a career in real estate rehabilitation. When you drive around some otherwise beautiful neighborhoods, you see houses that have been abandoned from time-to-time. Sometimes there’s nothing physically wrong with the house. Sometimes it’s probably the atmosphere of the place.

I thought to myself; I bet I could get some of these places for a song!

The next morning I returned there. By and large, the area was clear of the depressed, sad feeling that the entity manifested itself as.

That was until I went upstairs and looked in a closet that the chimney’s flue ran up through. The vent emitted a feeling of rage. I knew then that as soon as the burned sage particles cleared away that the entity would be back. Clearing a dwelling of an entity wasn’t easy because you can’t reliably tell when it’s gone.

If I was living in town, I’d have bought more sage, burned it, and tried again. It would be well worth it. As it was, I was living out-of-town. My schedule didn’t permit me to do that. Anyway, I had felt like an awkward idiot going from room to room like that.

It’s also unsettling to feel that much anger radiating from a chimney that runs through a closet. It’s damn weird, too, because people and animals are the ones who are supposed to get angry, not inanimate objects.

You can try the different ways that are bandied about on the Internet, but the most effective method, long term, is to be aware of them and how they operate. If you and everyone in your family acknowledge their playbook, that’s one way to make their taking up residence harder.

The best way to approach it is with a calm sense of resolve. Keep things neat and tidy. Use items like wind chimes that make the area pleasant. Don’t keep everything dark and shut up. Be purposefully positive in your decor.

You can try a spiritual blessing for the area. On the other hand that won’t be very effective if you’re spiritually troubled. Getting that area straight takes some work.

For Further Reading:

On the Possible Influence of Ghosts, Demons and Angels On Sleep