It always seems to happen when you’re alone. Maybe the floors in your home start creaking as if someone is walking down the hallway right outside of your room. Sometimes it may sound like something, or perhaps someone, is scratching inside the walls right by your couch or bed. But no one else is there. Right?
In a survey of more than 1,000 Americans, people are opening up about some of the chilling situations they have experienced inside their homes. That strange rattling could just be the wind blowing through a broken gutter… or maybe it’s coming from something unfathomable.
Strange Sounds and Experiences in Homes
More than 2 in 5 Americans have experienced something unexplainable or unusual in their home. In fact, 42% have felt the presence of something… or someone they couldn’t see. More than 1 in 3 (37%) have heard inexplicable sounds such as footsteps or voices, and 19% have seen apparitions or ghostly figures!
It goes beyond an eerie moment or sound for some. 1 in 6 Americans believe their home is haunted.
People were brave enough to share some of their encounters in our survey. Some reported stationary objects moving on their own such as doors and windows. Several reported lights turning on or off, but others had even more frightening encounters. A 65-year-old man shared that one time something appeared to push his mother while they were standing in the living room of her home. Seconds afterward a ceiling fixture fell right where his mom had been standing.
People reported unsettling situations throughout their homes, but certain rooms stand out when it comes to mysterious occurrences. The most common place for many of these frightening situations is the bedroom: more than half of people who reported witnessing something unexplainable say it happened there. Others said it happened in their living room, kitchen, or in a hallway or stairway.
Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) prayed right after the experience happened. Others put on their detective caps and researched the house’s history, while some did a cleansing ritual. 7 out of the 1,017 people surveyed didn’t stick around to figure out what happened and actually moved after the experience.
Are Older Homes More Likely to be Haunted?
It’s hard to pinpoint one ghostly situation from the next, but one thing is for sure… a lot of these encounters seem to happen in older homes. The average age of the homes where Americans had a strange experience was 88 years old. Nearly 1 in 3 admit it: old homes freak them out.
We decided to examine the percentage of old homes in some of the most haunted cities in America to see if there was a correlation. Interestingly enough, more than half of the buildings in Salem, Massachusetts were built in 1939 or earlier, ranking closely to some of the cities with the oldest homes in America. New Orleans and Gettysburg each report 33% of housing units from that same time period.
Over 2 in 5 say their community has local ghost stories, and over half even believe these stories are real! Whether you’re a naysayer or a believer, it is safe to say sometimes homes just make weird noises. Just like aging humans, aging homes can have all sorts of creaks and cracks, especially if you have radiators.
Vinyl siding can even make popping sounds when the temperatures change as it adjusts. Or if your siding is loose and needs repairs, powerful wind can cause it to make some strange noises. A deteriorating roof can also lead to some unusual noises, especially if there are leaks!
All this to say, home maintenance is key to keeping your house free from (most) weird noises. But sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what, or who, could be causing a sound. We hope you enjoy a safe spooky season with more treats than tricks.
In August 2023, we surveyed 1,017 Americans about their paranormal experiences. 49% were women, 49% were men, 1% were non-binary, and 1% would rather not say. Respondents ranged in age from 19 to 94 with an average age of 42.
To determine the old homes in historically haunted cities we used data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
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