Is your new house haunted, or is it 'The New House Effect'
Every day, people are reaching out to those in the paranormal field for help. Some are after advice, some want to tag along and learn, and others are in need of help. Some are too scared to be in their own homes because they believe that something paranormal could be happening. Quite a lot of these cases involve people who have moved into a new house. While their claims could in fact be something worth investigating further, there is another angle that as an investigator you need to consider as well. A phenomena called 'The New House Effect'.
What is the New House Effect?
It can be explained by one word: "Xenonormal". This means unfamiliar but normal. That is exactly what the New House Effect is. You are in unfamiliar surroundings. You are not used to the natural sounds of the house. When you have lived in a house for a certain amount of time, you become used to all the little sounds. The creaks, the cracks, the sounds of the house settling when the temperature cools at night. When you hear these sounds, you are not scared or on edge, because you know what they are. When you are in a new setting, you are unaware of what these sounds are. The brain doesn't know what is happening and the body's natural reaction to something unknown is to feel fear or anxiety. It almost goes into fight or flight mode.
Perhaps someone is seeing shadows out of the corners of their eyes. They are not used to the dark doorways or how the light reacts in a room. If a car drives past and the headlights beam up the hallway, it is something that you are not used to. You may just witness it as a flash or change of light in the corner of your eye. Not knowing what is happening, again you start to feel anxious and that maybe something is going on. There is also an element of expectation. We all know how much the power of suggestion can influence a person. If you are walking through a house and someone says 'there is a certain feeling to it'. Maybe it is an old looking house. I know I often walk past houses on the street and sometimes you spot and old creepy looking house. My natural reaction is 'It must be haunted'. How do I know this? I don't. It is an assumption my brain has made because Hollywood has taught me that old creepy looking houses must be haunted. If we expect a place to be haunted, we almost trick ourselves into thinking that it is.
Even we as investigators can trick ourselves
Sometimes the worst people to jump to these conclusions can be paranormal investigators moving into a new home. We deal with the paranormal every day. We go into locations and we are used to hearing the weird noises and feeling the odd feelings and seeing the weird things. If we move into a new property our brain can trick us like everyone else. We as investigators are sometimes more likely to jump onto the paranormal bandwagon because we are hearing and seeing things unfamiliar to us that we initially cannot explain. In the past, I never used to lie in bed and think I was being haunted. Since investigating, I can't tell you how many nights I have lied in bed, heard a weird noise and thought to myself 'did something follow me home?'. It is a natural response and we as investigators have to be especially vigilant in recognizing these things. Even those who aren't invetsigators, may have an interest in the paranormal. Once they have decided that what is happening is paranormal, they will continue to convince themselves otherwise. Every new sounds is a new contribution to the haunting that they are building in their subconcious.
The next time you are called out to a new private case, this is definitely something to be considered. I don't work personal cases anymore so I am not preaching on what to do and what not to do, but this is absolutely something that needs to be looked at. It needs to be handled delicately as even if it is a natural explanation, what is happening feels very real to the person in question. They are obviously living in some sort of fear to reach out for help. Comfort them and most importantly, don't make them feel silly. We have ALL been tricked by own brain on more than once occasion. Perhaps more times than we care to admit, but the reality is, our brains cannot always be trusted when it comes to the paranormal!
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