What’s Haunting Your House?
What It Could Be...
- Yikes! An actual ghost? “In one instance, I left my flip-flops at the bottom of the stairs, and one of them suddenly disappeared,” says Hawes. “It showed up in a room nobody had been in, smack-dab in the middle of the floor. Another time there was an apple that kept appearing in different locations. It was sitting on a table in the kitchen, and I took a bite out of it to mark it. Half an hour later, we found it on the heater in the basement.” Whoa! Spooky. What’s Houran’s take? “In my experience,” he says, “moving objects always turn out to be the result of outright trickery, a tired person with a poor memory about where things were left, or animal antics.”
- The 21st century. People who live in close proximity to others often turn on the neighbors’ gadgets or switch their TV channels (right at the best part) with their own remote controls. And batteries dying a slow death can make devices go bonkers.
- Pure physics. “We had a woman who claimed she could put a glass of water on a table, come back 20 minutes later, and the glass would have slid three feet,” says Hawes. “We taped it happening.” The reason? Condensation from the glass formed a puddle under it, the table was slanted just enough, and the glass skated over the water, an example of an effect called fluid-film lubrication.
- Cats, dogs, or cars. Wilson and Hawes agree with Houran that most moving objects are the result of vibrations from passing vehicles or naughty pets making off with your socks. “We investigated a home in New York City in which a woodstove kept moving out of place,” says Wilson. “It had nothing to do with ghosts but everything to do with the fact that a subway ran right under the building.”