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'Tis the season for haunted homes

An historic home on a cloudy night with bat flying overhead

Do you believe in ghosts? Haunted homes? 'Tis the season since Halloween is right around the corner. It seems to be a scary subject with many people, but surprisingly I'm not one of them. I'm afraid of a lot of things — the dark outside, windows without covers, spiders, snakes, things that would never happen… the list could go on forever. But I haven't had the feeling my house is haunted just yet. However, if you you're a new homeowner and have that creepy feeling someone is watching you try these five tips from Mother Nature Network to see if you're sharing your home with past inhabitants:

  • Talk to the neighbors.

    Find out about the history of your home and it's past owners. This requires finesse and tact, you can't start with "I think my house is haunted and need more info," since that might just raise eyebrows. Perhaps visit a neighbor who has lived across the street and ask her some valuable insight about the past inhabitants. If your research doesn't turn up any scary stories, at least you've made some new friends.
  • Call your real estate agent.

    Like tactfully gathering information from your neighbors, your real estate agent might be privy to some stories they received from the previous owners or other real estate agents. In some states sellers are required to disclose if a house is a "stigmatized property" that falls under the haunted category. The real estate agent may not share that information, but it never hurts to ask.
  • Conduct an energy audit.

    Unless you have the Ghostbusters on speed dial, you may want to consider bringing in a completely different type of outside professional help when confronted with possible supernatural activity: an energy auditor. Energy auditors come into homes for many different reasons, not just hauntings, and they can give you a full energy assessment that will track where the energy levels are in your home and if they are at a normal level. Most energy auditors include the use of a thermal imaging camera to pinpoint sources of heat loss around the home, which could actually help you pinpoint "leaks" in your home to fix and improve your home's overall energy performance.
  • Focus on critters.

    Do you have a pet? Well, chances could be that your pet is the explanation for the scratching and bumping you hear at night. Before you get those haunted thoughts in your head, watch your pet for a couple days and study their pattern. They might be the one up at night, accidently breaking your vases or running in the hallways.
  • Hold a garage sale.

    By unearthing boxes from your basement or garage in preparation for a sale, you may stumble upon some forgotten relics that could prove to be useful in the quest to find out whether your home is haunted. Maybe the previous owners left behind some old photo albums or keepsakes that could help on your hunt. What's the worst that could happen? You can get rid of some old stuff and make a little extra cash.

And, if all else fails, embrace the creepiness. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a haunted home, if you believe in that kind of stuff.

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