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How to Survive Visiting a Real Haunted House: The Dos and Don'ts of Survival

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.


Knowing the DOs and DON'Ts of Surviving a Visit to a Haunted House

Why are you visiting a haunted house, especially without knowing the dos and don'ts of surviving a visit to said haunted house? What on this earth makes you want to go frolicking around in a real haunted house? Is it some eager anticipation of the thrills the supernatural has to offer? Have you watched some goofy, scary movie and decided you can top that experience? Are you intent on being a ghostbuster? And if you go, what is there to do in that haunted house except get hurt or be frightened out of your mind?

I mean really!

Intent on going? Let's think this through. Could there be some haunted house dos and don'ts you should follow to survive this other worldly experience? Of course there are! Without a few guidelines, this foray into the world of the paranormal may not be so exciting or enjoyable. In fact, it may not be survivable!

So, if you have given in to the crazy notion that a) the house isn't really haunted, b) you can survive anything, even a real haunted house, or c) this is the chance of a lifetime to let the "other side" have a crack at you, just for fun, and you want to know what to do at this haunted house, here are a few things you should take into consideration to survive this potentially nightmarish and haunting experience:

  1. Don't visit a real haunted house alone. Ok, I get it. You are Mr. or Ms. Macho Man/Woman and can bench press your own weight and then some, but believe me, this is one time you should believe that there is safety in numbers and all the muscles in the world may not help you kick butt here. Besides, why not let the ghostly presence occupy itself with someone other than you. Can you say "extra helpings...?"
  2. Don't separate members of the group. This should be a no brainer. Operate on the belief that there is strength and safety in numbers; separate and you dilute your power. This truism has lasted for eons for good reason.
  3. Don't sleep in separate rooms. Forget the guy/girl thing. Sleeping in seperate rooms means separating members of the group. See rule #2. And why on earth would you consider sleeping, anyway? You're in a haunted house! Sleep can only mean trouble.
  4. Do ditch the high heels. Everybody. That includes your red soled Louboutins! There's going to be some running going on here and I have yet to see anyone win a race in high heels. Need I say more?
  5. Don't answer the knock at door. There is never anyone (or anything) you want to see on the other side of said door. Think apparitions, ghosts, creepy dripping things, large fiery entities, etc.
  6. Don't investigate strange sounds. No baby cries, no wolf howls, no creaking floors should get you to move from the spot you are rooted to. They are a ploy. And don't send someone else to investigate. That means separating. Separate and you have violated rule # 2 once again. Just take comfort in the belief, no matter how slim, that it's probably the wind or the house settling.
  7. Do close and lock all outside doors and windows. Lock them tight and lock them quickly. No lingering to look at the view outside. Believe me, there is rarely anything except fog rising around the haunted house or an ominous full moon, anyway. You usually can't see more than two feet out. Besides there is never anyone/thing out there that you should let come in.
  8. Do open all doors inside the house. Quickly! Before the sun goes down. Bad things usually lurk behind closed doors and they give rise to all sorts of noises which makes you want to go and investigate, which we have already discussed. See how circular this all is?
  9. Don't go in the basement. Visions of Hell don't often start in large fluffy white clouds on the ceiling; things that haunt are usually in the basement.
  10. Ditto the attic. It's dark. It's musty and it's usually a place of cobwebs and secrets. In a haunted house, secrets and secret places are rarely good.
  11. Never, never, ever answer the phone. You've not made any calls and you haven't given anyone the number, so it's not for you. Besides, you have your cell phone and a landline in someone else's house can only lead to bad things. After all, who uses a landline now? In truth, answering that phone can lead to screams and running and any number of things that scare you and, consequently, make you hurt yourself.
  12. Don't leave the TV on if all you see on every station is snow. Most modern TV's don't even produce snow, so snow is not a good sign. Can you say, The Ring?You see snow or a pattern, turn the TV off immediately!
  13. Do be wary of friends who ignored #2 and got separated from the group, then came back. Keep your weapons handy and watch for any deviant behavior in your wayward friends. And, for goodness sakes, don't turn your back on them. If it's the sexy guy or girl that suddenly can't keep their hands off you, consider severing all ties and maybe even heads.
  14. Do resist the urge to look under beds or in closets. Something nasty is always lurking there.
  15. Don't look in the mirrors. This one is easily overlooked and hard to resist, since you are going to automatically look in mirrors as you pass. Vanity rules, but resist the temptation to look. Mirrors in a haunted house are usually a gateway that allows something unpleasant to trade their equally unpleasant world for yours. Turn all mirrors to the wall or cover them with fabric. Don't, however, break them. That carries another set of nasty consequences.
  16. Don't fall to the back of the group if you should ever have to explore said haunted house in a pack and you are walking single file. The person in back is always snatched first, disappearing into the fireplace, the closet, the mirror, the trap door under the get the picture! Stay close to the front, but not in front. That's the same as the back of the line!
  17. Do keep that cell phone charged at all times. Since you decided to stay at the haunted house in the first place, you need some way to call for help. You are going to need it!
The inevitably fog shrouded view of the ominous full moon outside the window of a haunted house is usually not what you want to see. Things hide there, as in The Fog!

The inevitably fog shrouded view of the ominous full moon outside the window of a haunted house is usually not what you want to see. Things hide there, as in The Fog!

Answering mysterious knocks at the door usually has unpleasant consequences.

Answering mysterious knocks at the door usually has unpleasant consequences.

18. Do keep matches, candles, and working flashlights handy. You're in a haunted house! You don't really expect the power to stay on the entire night, do you? (And don't use your phone as a flashlight. You'll use up your battery needed to make that call for help!)

19. Don't forget to bring a cross or two...big ones. This can ward off any number of evils.

20. Ditto the Bible. Nothing like few choice verses to rid your best friend of a persistent demonic presence.

21. Don't pull back the shower curtain if the water starts running for no reason. And don't take a bath or shower. This leads to separation from the group. See rule #2.

22. Dont' ignore any unexplained infestations, i.e spiders, flies, rats, snakes, birds, etc. Changes in animal or insect behavior is rarely a sign of good times to come.

23. Don't ignore any unexplained smells - overly sweet, putrid or burning. This is closely tied to unexplained infestations. They don't bode well.

24. Don't ignore strange pet behavior. If you cat won't go near a room or hisses and raises her haunches for no reason that you can see, pay attention and be ready for action. The same applies to your dog. If the dog won't even go in the house and won't return to you when you call, you shouldn't go in either.

25. Don't go in the pool, no matter how tempting. Things get ugly quickly and the end result is usually lots of blood and a floating body.

26. Do beware if you ever inherit a house and everyone gives a sigh of relief, then promptly move to the other side of the room at the reading of the will. It's a sign that you just inherited a problem. They were all afraid they would inherit said house. A word of advice: don't go there to check it out for rental possibilities. Get rid of the house, sight unseen.

27. Don't scoff at haunted houses. Respect the possibility of the paranormal. Disrespect the hauntings and you embolden the haunters, you drop your guard and you dismiss all the rules so carefully laid out for you. This is the most important advice of all.

One of the best scary movies - and the fear is all in the mind. Or is it?

Well, there you have it. That is precisely what you should do, or not, at a haunted house - the dos and don'ts to follow.

Whether you believe in haunted houses or not, some day you may find yourself invited to one just for fun. My best advice to you, don't go! Get far away as fast as you can and consider not associating with the invitee ever again - if they survive the haunted house, that is. Watching any scary movie should tell you that.

However, should you be one of those stalwart individuals who ignore really sound advice, and you are intent on going ghostbusting, you really need to know what to do at this haunted house to survive your time there.

So, if you must go, for whatever reason, keep this list of dos and don'ts handy. It's based on the best research of the haunted house experiences in movies, books, paranormal reality shows, a few interviews over beer and wine, and elsewhere. The list may be the only thing that protects you from "things that go bump in the night," or "when something wicked this way comes."

Would you spend the night here?

Just because it looks normal, doesn't mean it's not haunted! Listen to the locals for haunting stories. Is this a haunted house in Cynthiana, Kentucky?

Just because it looks normal, doesn't mean it's not haunted! Listen to the locals for haunting stories. Is this a haunted house in Cynthiana, Kentucky?

© 2013 Cynthia B Turner