When Houses “Look Haunted” – Are They?

Victorian house looks haunted

Can a house look haunted? Can its appearance attract spirits?

Or, can that trigger residents’ anxiety so they merely think their home is haunted?

Unless someone is unreasonably afraid of ghosts, I don’t think a house that “looks haunted” is enough to make someone call paranormal investigators.

But… maybe it is? I’m not sure.

A friend sent me a link to a MetaFilter thread about Victorian architecture and other cues suggesting a haunted house.

Of course, many (most?) people think about ghosts now & then. A door that slams shut due to a breeze, or seasonal creaking of floorboards… many things can trigger thoughts about ghosts.

That’s normal, and – once the initial fear passes – there’s usually a normal explanation for whatever-it-was.

But… could ghosts be attracted to houses that “look haunted”?

Ghosts and Where They Haunt

Few ghosts change locations. (The ghost of Judith Thompson Tyng is an exception. She haunted the two men she blamed for her death, and then she killed them, one by one.)

In many cases, if ghosts thought they could leave the sites they haunt, they would.

Other ghosts, such as the feuding brothers of Greycourt Castle,  have unfinished business. Neither of the brothers is willing to abandon his claim to the buried treasure.

Those kinds of ghosts choose to remain in our realm, until that business is concluded.

And then there are the “green lady” ghosts, who protect their former homes, and the famous Irish banshees who protect families.

The question is: Do some ghosts choose the locations where they remain?  Is there some reason why some ghosts haunt cemeteries, others haunt houses, and a few haunt the locations where they died?

Or, Do “Haunted Looking” Houses Create the Right Environment?

A more tangled question is whether people expecting ghosts – at spooky looking houses – create the ghosts.

I’m thinking of the eerie results from the Conjuring Up Philip experiments. I had the amazingly good fortune to spend time with one of the original “Philip” group, and talk with him about his experiences. He was a little cryptic about his views, but also confirmed that – yes – what was reported, actually happened.

Here’s a 12-minute video that describes the experiment. (The broadcast was filmed a long time ago, so it’s a bit blurry.)

And, if you can find a copy of the original book, read it.  It’s likely to change how you think about ghosts and haunted places.

IMPORTANT: If the following video won’t play in this window, click through to see it at YouTube. In my opinion, every ghost hunter should know about the Philip experiments.


That YouTube video of the Philip Experiment is at: https://youtu.be/X2lGPT2J1cc

I’m interested in your thoughts about these topics. I hope you’ll leave a comment at this website. A dialogue about this could be fascinating.

UPDATE: Inadvertently, I created a Philip-style experiment, and – at the time – I didn’t realize it.

For a specific audience, I made-up a ghost story, and – apparently – told it convincingly.

Later, I learned that some people in the audience didn’t realize it was a fictional “ghost story,” and repeated the story to others.

By the time I understood what had happened, the genie seemed to be out of the lamp. I didn’t want to embarrass those who took the story seriously, so I didn’t say anything more about it.

And then, that ghost story spread.

Now – many years later – my made-up ghost has been seen, repeatedly, and the reports are credible.

I’m astonished, and wonder if the Philip Experiment might be more important than we’ve realized.

2 thoughts on “When Houses “Look Haunted” – Are They?”

  1. I’m wondering if these “created” ghosts are real entities that exist after they are created, or if it is the minds of the people who psychokinetically cause these things to happen as if a ghost was really there. If these “created” ghosts are, actually, real creatures that we cause to come into existence then that is frightening that we would have that kind of power.

    1. Mark, I hadn’t thought about it from that angle. And yes, it would be kind of terrifying if we could create whatever creature – scary or benign – that we imagine.

      That’s worth pondering.

      Since I regularly research the history of each reported “haunted” place, to see if there’s actual support for the story… well, what if there doesn’t have to be?

      I’m reminded of the Myrtles Plantation, where there’s no record of “Chloe” or anyone like her, suffering the fate she did. However, there are photos of her spectre, around the site. (Ditto photos of ghostly children – though the children in the story actually lived full lives, and weren’t killed by poison.)

      It’s definitely something to think about, thanks!

      Cheerfully, Fiona

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