TV shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures may have glamorized the paranormal, but they may have also made us more aware about the possibility of other-worldly activity in our homes. Increasing reports of ghosts and other phenomenon are due in part to the proliferation of video cameras that document anything living or dead; however, it must be said that many videos asserting ghost activity are very good hoaxes created with readily available professional editing software. Regardless if you’re a believer or not, everyone has an opinion on haunted houses.
A recent Trulia poll revealed how men and women differ about living in a home associated with the paranormal or macabre (Trulia’s House of Horrors; trulia.com; October 13, 2015). Respondents (45 percent of women and 36 percent of men) answered that they would prefer to be haunted by a “vengeful ghost” rather than a demon, evil leprechaun, or possessed doll. When asked, 59 percent of women respondents indicated that they would lose interest in the “perfect” home if they knew the home was a former crime scene; while 47 percent of men indicated the same. Additionally, 32 percent of women indicated that they would rule out an otherwise perfect home knowing that a person died there; while 23 percent of men indicated the same. Apparently, living next to a cemetery was not a detractor from purchasing an otherwise perfect home, according to 61 percent of the men and 50 percent of the women who responded.
Ghost or not, the “creep factor” is definitely an issue for many home buyers. So much so that home buyers are turning to services such as DiedInHouse.com to determine if a death occurred in a home they are considering buying. For a fee, DiedInHouse.com will provide a report indicating if a death has occurred and the cause, as well as other information about the home including any reported meth-lab related activity or fire incidents.
Although many alleged haunted homes are old and in many cases have historic significance, new homes can also have ghostly activity. Local historian, Karen Yaffe Lottes, re-tells this story on her blog Montgomery-Ghosts (montgomeryghosts.wordpress.com) about a modern Germantown home where a police officer lived. The officer reported that the house shook and heard heavy footsteps on the stairs, when putting on “dress blues.” Apparently, the house was built on the site of the farm where Lincoln conspirator, George Atzerodt, was arrested by a uniformed Union soldier – the Union Army uniform was blue. Atzerodt, was subsequently jailed and hanged for his part in the conspiracy. Could Atzerodt still reside on the site where he was apprehended and sent to his demise?
Karen knows a thing or two about local haunted homes, and told me that she uses ghost stories as a medium to tell a history. Along with co-author Dorothy Pugh, years of stories from their “In Search of Ghosts (ISOG)” event at the Montgomery County Historical Society was published as In Search of Maryland Ghosts: Montgomery County (Schiffer Publishing, October 28, 2012).
When asked what to do if paranormal activity is suspected in a home, Karen explained that people try various methods to rid their home of ghosts; some work and some do not. She pointed out that not everyone is uncomfortable with the thought of living with apparitions. Some people actually welcome the spirit to stay; and in some cases ask the ghost to move with them to their next home.
Dan Krell is a Realtor with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.