Listening For Ghosts

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday I’ve stayed over with my relative George.  During my first night’s stay at this fairly old house, everyone had gone to bed and the house was quiet.  I decided to stay up a little later and so I turned on the TV with the volume low so as not to bother anyone.  After a time I heard a knock in the adjacent kitchen which was loud enough to get my attention.  Since nobody was awake I ignored it.  Later I heard another loud rap.  I got up and looked in the kitchen and nobody was there.  Curious.

The following evening I mentioned my blog and asked George about any ghostly or paranormal experiences he may have had.  He thought a moment and said he has heard some strange noises in the house.  I asked him to elaborate.  He said sometimes he’d hear footsteps as the floor creaked.  It even happened in his own bedroom as he lay in bed.  Also…sometimes he heard the door handle to the kitchen door rattle, as he sat in the living room.

I suggested that together we try listening for ghosts.  This is my ghost-hunting tip #1.  Temporarily disregard technology with all the various audio/visual recorders and electronic devices.  The first step is to simply listen for ghosts.

It was a quiet night and we simply sat and listened.  The house was totally silent.  Yet, as we remained motionless and listened, we heard all manner of sounds.  Immediately we heard airplanes overhead.  This house is not far from O’Hare airport.  The sound of the plane was clearly heard in the house, as if the walls almost didn’t exist.  We could hear many sounds outside.

As we continued to simply sit and listen, we noticed the kitchen’s refrigerator.  When it activated there was a slight “thump” and then it hummed until it deactivated with a similar “thump”.  Was that the rap in the kitchen I heard the previous night?

Then the basement-heating unit when on and there was a rumble in the heating duct system.  When it stopped, the duct system still had its little knocks.  Then the basement sump pump went on and there was another quite rumble that we would hear only if we remained quiet.  Sound traveled in this old house if you would only pay attention.

Later I was in the basement by myself and listened.  This house’s “language” was more pronounced in the basement, a symphony of sounds.  Little ticks and knocks and creaking was constant.  We ignore these sounds but they are part of any old house.  And each house has it’s own unique sounds; no two are the same.

The point of listening is to become aware of the natural sounds of house.  Once we became aware of them we could determine if any of the sounds George heard were…unnatural.  George mentioned the sound of footsteps as the floor creaked.  I tested the floor with my own weight, and sure enough the floor noticeably creaked.  However, I never heard anything that creaked without weight on it.  Creaking floorboards were not part of the regular symphony of this house’s sounds.

The doorknob jingling was intriguing.  He said the sound was not as if someone was trying to turn the doorknob.  It was more a tapping on the doorknob.  We checked it out.  I tried to replicate exactly what he heard.  I noticed that one side of the door’s knob was a little loose.  I just tapped it slightly, and he said that was exactly what he heard.  My video illustrates this.

The tapping doorknob is strange and I don’t have an explanation for it.  It may be some subtle force was interacting with something loose enough to respond to it.  Add in the footsteps, and I’d say there is at least a possibility a ghost is wandering here.  I asked how long this has been going on, and he said it is infrequent but he can’t recall exactly when it started.  Wandering ghosts?  Or just an old house groaning?

6 Responses to “Listening For Ghosts”

  1. Steve Says:

    After my Mother died I inherited my parent’s house. I got married and my wife moved in with me. One night we were watching TV in the living room and heard walking with the floor creaking coming from the kitchen into the living room. This happened several times during the evening. There was no one there. Once we heard it we kept listening for it. Then the “duh” moment set in. Every time the heat turned on it sounded like someone walking with floor creaking. The house was about 45 years old at the time.

    It was a noise I was used to and ignored but my wife noticed it. Once she drew it to my attention it became a “spooky” sound until the duh moment.

  2. David Says:

    Hi Steve,
    Old houses are full of sounds. Before anyone jumps the gun and expects a sound to be a ghost, first get to know the old house’s “music”. We don’t need an expert to do this, anyone can. Your story is a perfect example of using logic first!

  3. Chris Says:

    I have to agree with the “use logic” first..when I inherited my mom’s house, it lay empty for a while and I had to go down and check on it regularly. One day, I was there and a strange “beeping” noise kept happening. As I had my first “ghostly” experience in the house as a child, I was instantly alert. The beeping sound appeared to come from the telephone handset (which had been disconnected) Eventually, I called the phone co and they asked if we had a smoke detector. Of course, that was it! the battery was running down and the detector was emitting the beeping noise, not the phone! I’d ignored my own advice, look for the obvious thing first before drawing any paranormal conclusions.

  4. David Says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for your story. Personally, I believe in ghosts. But that belief is only a belief, not anything certain. We need to be self-aware. I’m a big fan of simple logic, and we don’t need to be a rocket scientist.

  5. Timon Weller Says:

    Interesting about the door knob, is it an original door for the house or has it further history. Some aspects to check are any signs of wind as well because drafts can sometimes be hard to feel but can effect many elements. Try closing all wind aspects and then testing on a windless day.. Also is there a particular time it does it more, possibly heat reaction. Would be a good idea to keep a camera on it for a few days and see if there is any patterns..

    Timon Weller

  6. David Says:

    Hi Timon,
    I thought of wind as a possibility. Perhaps a breeze on a windy day. If I lived in the house I would leap up if I heard the rattle and see if there was a breeze. However, that is not possible, and the individual involved is not as interested is such things as we are. So it remains unresolved.

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