How can I see a ghost?

If you’d like to see a ghost — an actual apparition — you may need to investigate a lot of haunted places.

Many long-time ghost hunters have never seen a ghost. Not one that they were sure was really there.

Apparitions — ghosts that you can actually see — are rare.

Most of the time, people think they may have seen something, but — at the time — it surprised them so much, they didn’t instantly think “ghost.”

  • It may have been an unexplained flicker of light or a shadow.
  • It might have been just part of a ghostly figure, like a face that was there one moment, and gone the next.
  • It could have been a full apparition that they mistook for someone living, dressed in a costume. (That’s common at some living history events.)
  • It could have been a full or partial apparition the person saw for just a second, out of the corner of his or her eye. And then, it was gone.
  • In many cases, the ghostly image shows up as a reflection in a window, mirror, or shiny surface like a table top.
  • It may be a shadowy figure, whether or not it’s a “shadow person.”

However, seeing a ghostly figure that looks “like a ghost” (either solid or translucent) and realizing it’s a ghost while you still see it… that’s so extraordinary, I can’t recall anyone talking in those terms.

ghostly mist
My own (film camera) photo from Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH

In other words, if you want to see a ghost, be observant. Notice everything, especially the things that make you do a quick double-take.

Chances are, you won’t be sure it was a ghost until minutes after it’s vanished. And, even then, you may have doubts.

Keep your expectations low. Don’t insist that you have to see a ghost to believe in them.

Some people see anomalies. Some only photograph them. Others hear anomalous sounds or voices. Yet others only record them. And so on.

As you investigate haunted sites, you’ll develop a “sixth sense” related to your unique way of tuning-in to ghosts.

It may not be anything visual. If it is, let me know what you experience. Leave a comment at this article. I’m always interested in apparitions… when they happen, where, and exactly what they look like.

Few people actually see a ghost, but — if you do — it can be extraordinary.

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What are your favorite haunted houses?

My favorites vary. It depends on the current activity at each site.
At the moment, my three favorite haunted buildings are:

  • Falstaff’s Experience/Tudor World (Stratford-upon-Avon, England)
  • The Myrtles Plantation (Louisiana, USA)
  • The Witch House (Salem, MA, USA)

In the United States, in addition to the Myrtles Plantation, I like the ghosts of Houmas House. Both sites are in Louisiana.

In New Orleans’ French Quarter, I always stay at the happily haunted Hotel Monteleone. A good night’s sleep plus some odd encounters and great ghost stories…? It’s an ideal mix.

Also, I dine at Brennan’s Restaurant where the Red Room has an eerie, ghostly history. The restaurant’s food is among the best in New Orleans… and perhaps the world. (Don’t be surprised if you see celebrities at nearby tables. When actors are filming anywhere near New Orleans, they make a point of having a meal at Brennan’s.)

And, based on my ley line research, I spend time in a park on the edge of the Quarter… but there’s no house there, haunted or otherwise.

Salem Inn, Salem, MAI’ve been very impressed by the ghosts of the Salem Inn in Salem, Massachusetts. Also, I’m fascinated by the old pirates’ tunnels beneath Essex Street. Several buildings adjoining it have dramatic ghost stories.

Salem’s Witch House is an interesting case with surprising physical phenomena, even in broad daylight.

In nearby Danvers, I’m drawn to the remains of Rev. Mr. Parris’s home, as well as Whipple Hill (aka Witch Hill) near Endicott Park… but the hill has no “haunted house,” either.

In England, I like the Falstaff’s Experience. I also like Warwick Castle, just a few miles away. So far, Falstaff’s Experience is the most intensely haunted site I’ve been to, anywhere in the world.

Also around Stratford-upon-Avon, I like the Falcon Hotel and Ettington Park Hotel.

York (city) has more eerie and interesting haunts than I can list here. The Golden Fleece is the tip of the iceberg.

And, though it’s not quite a haunted house, I like the Tower of London. Each part of the Tower complex has fascinating ghost stories. Usually, visitors can see physical evidence supporting the Tower’s paranormal history.

As you can see, only a few haunted houses and hotels stand out among my favorites. However, my list of haunted cemeteries, parks, and lakes, and haunted beaches would be a lot longer.

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Differences – Haunted Objects, Haunted Houses

To be honest, it can be difficult to tell the difference.  Mostly, it’s a case of trial-and-error. The Haunted Collector TV series presented a basic view of what’s involved.

From my experience, the size of the haunting can be a hint.  Characteristics can vary, too.

Haunted houses

Most actively haunted houses have distinct, ghostly phenomena. The ghost may appear in just one room or in a variety of locations throughout the house.  You sense that a spirit is involved.  It’s aware of you.  It responds to what you do, and it’s not the same activity, over and over again.

Other haunted houses might have residual energy. For example, a cold spot may appear every night at about 10 PM. It’s likely to last around 20 minutes. If nothing else happens, it’s probably just ghostly energy stored at the site.

A space clearing can reduce or eliminate that kind of problem.

A haunted object can affect an entire house, too

A haunted or cursed object can affect a small area, a room, an entire floor, or the whole house.

It’s smart to investigate using an EMF meter. See if one object is the focal point of the ghostly activity. Unless an object is magnetized or runs on electricity, it shouldn’t affect your EMF meter.

What to do if you suspect a haunted object

  1. Remove the object.
  2. Take it several miles away.
  3. See if the problems stop.

If everything seems normal (or gradually becomes normal after a week or two), the problem was probably the object.  Don’t burn it.  Contact someone like John Zaffis. He’s an expert in that field. (He’s also very different from how he’s seemed on TV.)

Unfortunately, tests like this require a lot of trial and error. If the house contains more than one haunted object, the process can be nightmarish. (No pun intended.)

In the 19th century and early 20th century, newspapers often talked about haunted and cursed objects. Many people still recognize tales of the curse of the Hope Diamond.

However, that may be all they recall.

Until the Haunted Collector TV series, haunted objects had been pretty much forgotten.

As a result, few ghost hunters know how to find haunted objects. Even fewer are experts in the field.

I have no idea what percentage of haunted houses are actually plagued by haunted objects. It’s too early to guess the impact of haunted objects in this field.

Energy from a ghost and the energy from a haunted object… well, they’re different.  It’s difficult to articulate.

How I detect a haunted object

Old typewriter - can be haunted
Old, everyday objects can be haunted. They don’t have to “look creepy.”

First of all, when I’m near a haunted or cursed object, my reaction is more like, “Uh-oh. Something is not right, here.”

In my head, I can practically hear the shark-is-on-the-way music from the movie, “Jaws.”  I’m uneasy.  I feel unsafe.

Investigating, I usually zero-in on an object.  That’s when I’ll tell the owner to remove whatever-it-is before I return for a more complete investigation.

Haunted houses…? No problem. For me, haunted objects are a different matter.

I absolutely, positively do not like haunted objects. And, among haunted objects, creepy dolls are the very worst… in my opinion, anyway. Some defaced photos and advertising images are a close second.

Where to see a haunted object

If you want a first-hand encounter with haunted objects, go to any old, dusty antiquities museum.

– The Hope Diamond is in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, USA.
– I’m uncomfortable with some objects at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
– Also in the U.S., John Zaffis has displayed his personal collection of haunted objects. Ed & Lorraine Warren — John Zaffis’ aunt and uncle — had a similar collection in a separate museum. I’m not sure if either John’s museum or the Warrens’ collection are open to the public. Check their websites for more information.
– Several buildings at the Tower of London (England) contain objects that I consider haunted.
– The British Museum, London, England (UK) is another place to sense haunted and cursed objects. (And, admission is free.)

Many of those wonderful old items were donated by people who were eager to get the objects out of their homes.  Bad memories or bad energy…?  Beauty (and unearthly energy) may be in the eye (or “gut feeling”) of the beholder.

Note: This is different than diminishing residual energy stored in objects. For fun, a few of us frequent antiques shops to compare notes as we “read” the energy on objects displayed.

Even at museums, it seems like haunted and cursed objects stand out. They may as well have neon arrows pointing to them.

Antiques stores are great training grounds

You can learn to read this kind of energy, so you can spot a haunted object in a client’s home.

Almost every antiques store has at least one haunted object, whether the owners realize it or not.

(I regularly use an EMF meter to confirm my reactions to objects. Weirdly, no one who works at them has ever asked what the EMF meter was, or why I was using it.)

Thrift shops aren’t nearly as good for this kind of research. Their objects rarely have the history — and layers of energy — you’ll find at antiques shops.

To tell the difference between a haunted object and a haunted house, the test can be simple.

If you remove a haunted object from a house, the house settles down in a day or so.

If the house is haunted by a ghost or residual energy, it remains active.

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