Halloween is almost upon us, when more things go bump than on a normal night and when the sound of the doorbell makes you stop dead in your tracks…not so much from fear as a desire to pretend to the constant stream of ‘trick-or-treaters’ that there’s nobody at home!
But have you ever wondered why you can sometimes hear the sound of someone walking across the landing when there’s clearly no-one there? Or why some doors mysteriously, slowly creep open, apparently of their own accord?
Whilst it may all be down to nothing more than a friendly, neighbourhood ghost, there could also be some other, admittedly less interesting, forces at work.
You know the drill, you’re lying in bed when you suddenly hear floorboards creaking on the landing, is there a ghostly figure approaching your room or…is it simply your central heating system messing with your house?
Although the approaching ghost scenario is a lot more interesting, it is more likely that those creaking sounds you can hear is simply your central heating system causing the floorboards to expand and retract unevenly.
As the heat travels along the pipes that run under floorboards, it heats up certain sections at a time which causes them to gradually expand and creak as they do so. As each section expands this can give the impression that someone, or something, is creeping along the landing!
Who ya gonna call?
Probably a handyman to fix the floorboards rather than the Ghostbusters!
It always gives you a strange feeling when a door appears to open of it’s own volition, but, if you think it’s something supernatural, you have to ask yourself this question: If ghosts can walk through walls then why would they bother with opening doors?
The real problem is probably either simple physics or that pesky heating system again. If you have rooms with interconnecting doors then, as one door opens or closes, it alters the air pressure in the room which can make another door open.
Central heating systems can also affect wooden doors and frames in the same way they affect floorboards. As heat travels around the house it can either make the doors expand as they heat up, or contract as the heat removes moisture which, in turn, can cause them to open without prompting.
Who ya gonna call?
There’s probably no reason to call anyone in this instance as, unless your doors are misaligned in some way, there’s not a lot even the handiest of handymen can do.
Eerie drops in temperature
The sudden drop in temperature is the classic sign that there’s a ghost in the house but could it turn out to something less sinister instead? In short, yes it could and probably is!
The most likely explanation is that your house is either poorly insulated or doors and windows are letting in drafts and causing some rooms to appear to be unnaturally cold. This is more likely to be the case if the room in question is part of an extension or shares a wall with a garage.
It could also be a trick of the light, as if one corner of a room is noticeably darker than another, this can give you the feeling of a sudden temperature drop.
On the other hand, it could simply be the presence of the ghost of a former householder that met a violent and untimely death.
Who ya gonna call?
Unless your house is built on the remains of a Victorian mental institution then you’re probably best off calling your energy supplier to see if they are offering deals on loft and cavity wall insulation.
Blood is dripping from the pipes and ectoplasm is oozing down the walls
Your house is haunted! Get out as quickly as possible!
Article by Les Roberts, freelance journalist and writer for Moneysupermarket, the UK’s number one comparison website for loans, mortgages and current accounts