How do you know if the footsteps on the stairs when no one is there, or the voices coming from the radiator are the result of a bad heating system, someone messing with you, or a legitimate haunting?
Here are some symptoms of a haunting. If your home has come down with some or all of these symptoms, well, let me know.
Doors opening and closing
Items disappearing and reappearing
Feelings of being watched
Lights turning off and on
Cold or hot spots
Feelings of being touched
Cries and whispers
Mild psychokinetic phenomena - Actually seeing the phenomena.
Moving or levitating objects (severe psychokinetic phenomena)
Other physical evidence - unexplained writing on paper or walls; handprints and footprints.
If you have most or all of this going on in your home or place of business....
GET OUT NOW. *
*Source: Internet source, About News, Stephan Wagner, "Sixteen Signs that Your House is Haunted". http://paranormal.about.com/od/ghosthuntinggeninfo/a/aa060704_2.htm (General content of these lists can also be found on many other websites about the paranormal and hauntings in specific.)
The following things are NOT to be considered EVIDENCE of a haunting:
A psychic tells you that your house is haunted.
A paranormal group investigates your home and brings a psychic with them. Their psychic tells you that she/he senses that your house is haunted.
A relative, friend, co-worker or someone on your facebook page tells you that they are a sensitive and they have been told by their familiar/spirit guide/dead relative that your home is haunted.
All of this is interesting, and, who knows? They could be right. But it's not EVIDENCE. Call in an expert, an experienced Paranormal Investigative Group who has legitimate references and have them do an investigation of your home to gather physical evidence in the form of pictures, video, audio and other data, such as EMF readings, temperature readings, etc. Investigator personal experiences are not to be taken as physical evidence. Feelings, emotional responses, or other subjective experiences are interesting, but also not to be used as evidence.
If the physical evidence includes some or many listed above and is documented on recorders, video, camera, etc. then the experiences of the investigators and the feelings of the psychic may be backed up with physical evidence and may be valid.
All good investigators will attempt to debunk (see blog on debunking) the reported phenomena by testing your stories against more natural explanations. Knocking on the wall can be from a heating system or water pipes. Voices can project from outside or from other parts of the house. Even objects that seem to move can be from pet activity. Doors can open and close on their own due to a house not being level, or drafts. Even feelings of dread, fear and being watched can be caused by electrical problems in your home: old wiring that kicks out high E.M.F.
All good investigators will first eliminate all of these possibilities before declaring something unexplained. Good investigators with be creative in their thinking, trying all sorts of things, experimenting, thinking outside the box, before drawing any conclusions. A good team will not give you theories during an investigation, but will tell you that they need to review all of the evidence before drawing any conclusions or theorizing.
A professional group will not keep you waiting more than two or three weeks before contacting you to meet and "reveal" and share their evidence.
No legitimate Paranormal Investigative group will ever charge you money. They may take donations, but if they charge you a fee up front, beware.
Primary source me, my own experiences and research