Pittock Mansion: America's Happiest Haunted House?

How To Tell If Your Attic Is Haunted

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered (at least once) whether your house might be haunted. It’s normal to be curious, especially when you have a penchant for horror movies or you have a particularly anxious personality type. But there are some common places in houses that just feel haunted, whether they are or not—and attics happen to be one of those places.

So how can you find out if your attic is actually haunted? You don’t need a ouija board or an amateur seance to get your answer. Instead, start by looking for these clues.

1. You hear weird noises.

Realistically, most home-owners (or renters!) hear weird noises in their houses, especially if it’s an older one. Weird noises alone aren’t proof that your living space is haunted, but it could be a sign. People who experience hauntings often mention unexplainable noises, such as footsteps, loud banging, objects being pushed around, or disembodied voices. While it’s totally possible that the noises coming from your attic are from an unwelcome critter or the house settling (the former is certainly worth checking into!), paired with any of the following signs, it also may be an indication of a haunting.

2. There are random cold spots

This probably won’t be very helpful in the winter if you live somewhere cold, especially if your attic isn’t insulated. But if you find there are pockets of your attic that’s unreasonably cold in, say, the summer, there’s a chance there’s something supernatural going on. Also look for drastic changes in temperature, like if one corner of the room is sweltering hot while another gives you chills or if you feel a sudden unexplainable draft even though you haven’t moved.

3. You’ve caught a whiff of unexpected (and bad) odors

Look, it’s unlikely that your attic is going to smell as nice and clean as the rest of your house, especially if you use it for storage. But if it smells like something is rotting and you can’t find a source, it might be because you can’t see the source. My advice: If you’ve been catching a whiff of something bad, make an effort to deep clean your attic. Either you’ll find something that’s gone bad (or died) or you’ll have some evidence that something otherworldly might be sharing the space with you.

4. Things never seem to be where you swear you put them

It’s likely that you don’t spend a ton of time in your attic, so if every time you go in there it seems like something isn’t in its place or has moved positions, it may not just be your bad memory at work here. It’s not like your living room or your kitchen, which tend to get a lot of traffic from those who live in the house as well as guests. If you or the other tenants didn’t move something in the attic, who else could it have been? (A supernatural entity, that’s who.)

5. When you’re there, you can’t escape the feeling that you’re not alone

Is it just paranoia? Maybe. It’s not abnormal for our brains to play tricks on us, especially if we’re already feeling uncomfortable or skeptical. But if your intuition is seriously telling you that something feels off or that you’re being watched, sometimes you just have to trust your gut. When paired with any of these other signs, a prickly feeling at the back of your neck or a chill down your spine can be a great indication that you’re dealing with the paranormal. (Similarly, if something feels bad, trust yourself—your sense of self-preservation is probably kicking in.)

6. You’re not the only one who feels this way

If you live with someone who has similar concerns, or if you’ve shown the space to a friend who agrees that something feels off, there’s a chance it’s really not just you. If there really is something haunting your attic, it’s unlikely that you’ll be the only person who’ll be able to tell. (That being said, there will also always be people who will adamantly insist that there are no such things as ghosts—probably don’t go to them for an objective opinion.)

7. You’ve looked up the history of your living quarters—and it’s not great

If you’re seriously concerned about a haunting, do your research. Is your house particularly old? Can you find some of the previous tenants to ask about their experiences in the house? Or, worse case scenario, did your address ever end up in the news for something awful, like murder or abuse? While many tragedies aren’t reported, there’s still a chance that you could find something that might point to some restless spirits residing in your attic. 

The fact of the matter is this: When dealing with the paranormal, it’s difficult to find concrete answers. The best thing you can do is trust your senses and your gut—because sometimes, you really do know best.

About the author

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog.

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