Is There a Ghost in the House?

Imagine you are in an empty house.  There is another person working in the detached garage, but you are the only one within the home.  As you sift through the accumulations of a lifetime well lived, you hear a thump from the master bedroom.  Something must have fallen over, you think to yourself, and you go on sifting.  Another thump sounds from the bedroom.  This time you decide you’d better check; perhaps a cat got in the house and you wouldn’t want to lock it in by mistake.  You check the room, though, and nothing is there. You check under the bed, in the closet and all around, but nothing reveals itself. The door had been closed, so if it was a cat, it couldn’t have gotten out.  Oh, well.  Back in the living room, you once again settle into your work, taking pictures of interesting items, making notes about what you are finding.    A third thump sounds.  Louder this time.  Your heart begins a rapid beat as you realize that there is nobody else in the house except you, and you know you are not making the thumps.  You also know that the person who had lived in that house until just recently had died a month ago and that is why you were hired to do the estate sale.  The hairs on your arms are now all standing up and you notice an odd tingling down your back as though someone is watching you.  You turn and look behind you.  Nothing is there.  There must be a logical explanation, you think. Maybe someone outside bumped the wall or maybe you’ve gone stark raving mad and are having hallucinations.  That must be it, because you KNOW that there’s no such thing as ghosts.  Still, you feel you’ve been cooped up long enough in the dark, stuffy room, so you hurriedly pack up and get the heck out of there.  Once outside in the bright sunlight, you laugh at how silly you were.  But you never go alone into that house again.

Scenes similar to the above happen to many estate sale professionals, I’ve been told.  Are they sensitive to the spirit world or are they just scaredy cats?  I don’t know.  I wish I did, because the subject fascinates me.  After all, I spend a lot of my time surrounded by houses and things that belonged to a person who has passed on, often just recently.  Do they stay around in spirit, checking up on me as I riffle through their treasures, reading over my shoulder as I thumb through their abandoned diaries and love letters?  Every time I walk into the home of someone who has died, I greet the person by name and explain why I’m there trespassing in their home.  I do it just in case there is someone there, someone no longer in their earthly body.  Nobody has ever answered back to me, and I’m ambivalent about how that makes me feel.  I have never seen nor felt a ghost, nor have I had any paranormal experiences of any sort.  I feel left out, though I probably shouldn’t. According to a CBS Ghost Poll, nearly half of Americans believe in ghosts, but only 22% claim to have actually seen or felt the presence of a ghost.

I guess I’m revealing my own bias when I used the word “claim” when it comes to seeing or sensing ghosts. Having never seen or felt anything like a ghost, I’m skeptical of their claims.  And jealous.  I want to see or sense the presence of a ghost.  I think I want to, at least.  When I’m in one of those houses alone, the last thing I want is to see the image of someone from beyond.  Let me re-phrase that:  I don’t want it to be the LAST thing I see.



Filed under August 2011

12 responses to “Is There a Ghost in the House?

  1. Excellent Article! As a member of a team of paranormal investigators here in Little Rock, Arkansas we have investigated many claims of hauntings where the bulk of the alleged activity seems to stem from items people have acquired from yard sales, estate sales, or antique shops.

    A lot of possessions (Bad choice of word I suppose) have sentimental value to a person, especially jewelry, baby dolls, ornate dresses and even pieces of furniture. It would not be a far stretch to imagine someone loving something so much in their life that they leave their imprint upon it or even come back to visit it after they have passed on.

    Still, the fact that you you spend so much time around the articles of deceased persons, to me, puts you at risk of experiencing some type of paranormal activity, so who knows, it may just be a matter of time. Or, because you enter a place with respect and reverence toward the deceased homeowner, perhaps they (if they exist) respect you in kind.

    Who knows what is out there or what happens after we die, I can only imagine. Thanks for a great article!

    With your permission, may I pingback this entry by linking to it on my blog?

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’d actually published it before I had finished it. I suppose I could have still edited it some more, but I decided to let it stand as is. Maybe I’ll come back to the subject another time. You may link to it, with my pleasure. Good luck with your ghost seeking.

  2. This happens to me all the time, hearing sounds in the next room, doors opening and closing, seeing movement out of the corner of my eye, and the sense of a someone watching me as I go thru the house. But here’s the thing – it only happens in houses where the owner has died. The houses I work in where the owner is still alive…nothing. Usually it is a benevolent presence, but in those houses where the family was dysfunctional or there is fighting between the heirs, the atmosphere can be suffocating. And certain rooms are much worse than others.

    I had one house where everytime I went into the master bedroom the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, my stomach started churning, and within fifteen minutes I had difficulty breathing. Turns out that there was a history to that room, not only with the recently deceased owner, but also with prior owners (one of whom had serious mental problems and had set fire to the room years before).

    So I most certainly do believe in ghosts, or the lingering presence of those who have passed away, or whatever you want to call it.

  3. Hi, after you left a comment on my blog I went over to check yours out. What a fantastic post. Also, what a fabulous and interesting career (or hobby :)) you have! Estate sales have always been fascinating to me. It’s a little like buying lives and stories…Incidentally, I also interviewed a local paranormal investigator and am about to publish those articles! 😀 Thanks for sharing this and thanks for popping by my blog for a read.

    • I appreciate your comments, especially since you’ve written such an excellent blog yourself. Being an estate sale professional is very rewarding, though it is difficult work. You seem to see estate sales somewhat like I do; they are an in depth exploration of a human life. I love the stories that I find in the houses, even though I’ll never get to meet most of the writers of those stories. I see their photos, their letters, their beloved collections, but I also see the undersides of those lives and the sad sides. I have a background in psychiatry ( I was a psychiatric technician for years) and writing (English degree followed by bookstore owning and writing), and this career feeds me physically and spiritually. And it supplies me with such rich material that I will probably never run dry.

  4. I sometimes wonder too about garage sell hunting and estate sell hunting…when you buy objects that meant alot to people who passed on and if their energy is left with you….I have found a few old antique items….Very interesting and well written blog about the estate business!
    Corie in Seattle

    • Corie, thanks for your kind words about my blog. I’m still undecided whether objects can be haunted, but I know a lot of people believe they can be. That, of course, doesn’t mean that everything you might buy at an estate sale will be haunted. I doubt that many would be, even if they can be. What self-respecting spirit would want to follow a frying pan around for years?

  5. What a great article! And how well you describe the intersection of two of your loves. I had no idea you could find such spiritual dimension to estate sales. I sense a really unique book here.

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