4 Sounds That Might Mean You Have A Ghost

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Halloween might be a whopping five months away, but ghosts don't adhere to a calendar when it comes to making themselves known to the living. Some might appear in mirrors or dreams, while others will create an air of dread around the location of their demise. Perhaps most commonly, however, spirits will make noises when they wish to reach out to the other side.
Among the many, many stories, complaints, and questions that are posted to the Paranormal and Ghosts subreddits, there are a few frequently cited sounds that users mention when describing their possible haunting. They hear voices, disembodied footsteps, or, perhaps most chillingly, the sound of a woman sighing. Of course, any noise that's out of the ordinary can be unsettling, but there's something about these sounds in particular that leads people to believe that they are, truly, otherworldly.
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It bears mentioning that the sounds you're hearing could be perfectly of this world. Make triple sure that you aren't actually dealing with a vermin infestation, carbon monoxide leak, faulty plumbing, or some other normal explanation before going too far down the paranormal rabbit hole.
That said, if you're convinced you've got a spirit on your hands, your next step should be to record it. Leave a camcorder running overnight or take a voice memo on your phone around the time you normally hear the spooky sound in question. You can play it back to your roommates or neighbors to see if they heard it, too, or even send the recording to any investigators you decide to consult. If you're really lucky — or, depending what kind of spirit you're dealing with, unlucky — you'll pick up even more sounds on tape.
Ahead, we take a closer look (or, maybe more precisely, listen) at four of the most common sounds that accompany a haunting.
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Knocking

Edgar Allen Poe didn't focus on the "wrapping at his chamber door" in "The Raven" for nothing. Knocking on the walls, front door, or windows of your home may mean you have a spirit on your hands. Some believe a knocking spirit is asking for entry into your home, which would only lead to a more entrenched spiritual presence, while others suggest this type of entity just wants to get your attention. One particularly bone-chilling legend has it that three knocks in a row mean death, but we prefer one Redditor's theory that knocking suggests that the ghost in your house is bored.
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Footsteps

If hearing knocking means a ghost wants in, hearing footsteps mean that they already feel quite welcome. There are a few theories as to why you'd hear footsteps during a haunting: The entity in question might just be passing through and, as medium Amanda Linette Meder writes in her eBook Transitions, quite nosily taking a look around the house. You may have "woken" something up while renovating your home. Luckily, none of the prevailing internet theories around ghostly footsteps suggest that spirits that make themselves known this way mean any harm. More often than not, the sounds of pacing imply a "residual haunting," in which a ghost is caught in a sort of loop, reenacting a single scene from their life.
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Voices

Anyone who's familiar with EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recordings will tell you that any ghost hunter can pick up the sounds of spirits talking with the right recording equipment. But there's something far more immediate — and frightening — when you hear a ghostly voice with your own two ears. According to Stacey Graham's Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls & Other Creepy Collectibles, this type of sound is evidence of an intelligent haunting, one that's easier to interact with (should you feel comfortable and safe doing so). If you believe the entity is speaking to you, rather than repeating something it said in life (in yet another example of a residual haunting), listen to it. The sort of spirit who chooses to call out to the living usually has a message they wish to share.
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Moving Objects

Maybe it sounds like glasses clinking. Maybe you convince yourself someone's rearranging the entire second floor. The sound of moving objects, when you're sure that a living person isn't doing the moving, can be one of the clearest signs that you have a paranormal presence — particularly a poltergeist — in your home. These entities have a flair for mischief and have even been said to move physical objects on their own. If you aren't careful, they can end up causing some serious damage. That said, if you can see signs of a spirit (mists or orbs, for example), you probably aren't dealing with a poltergeist, since they like to stay completely unseen.
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