Have you ever felt your house was haunted? Experience unusual anxiety or fear in a particular room of the house? Could it be toxic mold?
The connection between toxic mold and hauntings is the subject of study at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Professor Shane Rogers is leading a team of researchers measuring air quality in environments reported to be haunted. According to Rogers,
I am a long-time fan of ghost stories and shows related to the investigation of hauntings, and have had some strange experiences of my own in the past. It has not escaped me that many of the places reported to be haunted and from my own experiences may be prime environments for mold or other indoor air quality issues. Experiences related in hauntings are strikingly similar to those related by individuals that have been exposed to toxic molds. Considering, it seemed that there may be a linkage worth exploring.
As one who has experienced the devastation of a toxic mold exposure, I can attest to the mood altering the impact of a toxic environment. (Read our story here.)
I remember walking into our Colorado home for the first time and feeling an immediate sense of darkness and dread. It felt evil. I wish I had listened to my gut and never returned.
Consider the following photos taken by a friend of mine at Point Lookout Lighthouse in Scotland Maryland.
Many visitors to Point Lookout Lighthouse as well as employees have reported paranormal phenomena such as “sour smells,” “chills,” “apparitions,” and “voices.” Are these paranormal or normal for individuals exposed to high levels of toxic mold?
My research suggests Rogers is right to study this connection. I received 31 responses to a recent survey titled “Toxic Mold Related to Hauntings.” The individuals responding to the survey had lived in a toxic mold environment.
Question #1: While living in your mold environment did you experience abnormal anxiety and/or fear?
- I experienced both. After giving birth, I began having extreme panic attacks when I came home from the hospital. I thought appliances were possessed and going to blow up when I heard them running.
- I would have heart palpitations, panic attacks and was afraid to be alone.
- Our child had an irrational fear of thunder and/or storms: face went pale, visibly shaking, teeth chattering at the sound of the first thunder clap.
- Yes. I was always anxious and paranoid. I would never want to answer the door.
- I had nightmares something was coming over us. It’s where we found the mold.
- After remediation had gone bad and levels were extremely high; I’d hear what I thought was music and experience hallucinations.
- Panic attacks. Became suddenly terrified about the thought of being dead (not dying as such, but of ceasing to exist.)
- Yes, I developed nightmares, night terrors, and panic attacks.
Question #2: Did you ever feel the environment was haunted? If so, please describe.
- I was a child. It was a specific room and a specific wall. Turned out years later that there had been undetected water damage on that side of the wall.
- I saw a black shadow person sit in our closet. In the middle of night, a different black shadow figure would be seen at the foot of bed. I would wake up feeling like someone was watching me. I heard people talking but saw no one in one part of the house (where the mold was later found inside the walls).
- I heard doors and cupboards slam. Doors open by themselves, and I heard someone calling my name.
- I thought my son was being possessed by spirit orbs and would take pictures of them surrounding his head. My daughter thought her bedroom was haunted and saw a ghost in there refusing to sleep in it anymore.
- Yes, I knew the mold was making me sick, but then it felt like something with intent was operating on me – a disembodied force that was impacting me physically. It was very scary.
- Yes. A swirling cone in the kitchen that spun downward.
- Only briefly because my Dr told me told me to get out. He said the mold was acting as “hallucinating mushrooms.”
- Not haunted but I felt I was being attacked by malicious government forces.
- We had a lot of strange electrical issues. I remember a touch lamp that kept coming on by itself while we slept. I now know high levels of mold can cause electrical issues and static in the air.
- Crazy enough I did. (And I don’t believe in that kind of thing.) I remember laying in bed being afraid to get up and go to the bathroom.
- No, but I did have extreme feelings of “get out.”
- It often felt dark and scary, as though there was an additional, evil presence there.
- Yes, it felt haunted at times. There was one hallway in particular that caused considerable stress.
- My mind and body felt like it was being held hostage to something and in that sense, I began to feel a ghostly presence to the experience, and the feeling that I was not alone.
Question #3: Did you experience violent nightmares while living in this environment?
- More of death and destruction and fear.
- Yes. All the time to where I would wake up so afraid to even fall back to sleep.
- I had vivid recurrent nightmares about people trying to kill me.
- Yes – felt like I was being suffocated.
- I frequently dreamed of myself or my children being chased and violently, bloodily harmed.
- Usually dreams where I can’t find things or my way, other insecure scenarios.
- Yes, trapped nightmares. Stifled, Crushed.
- Yes – like I was being destroyed and killed.
- Lots of violent nightmares and rages. We heard voices saying we were going to die. Weird.
- Nightmares about being chased and killed all the time.
Other interesting comments from the Toxic Mold Related to Hauntings survey:
Terror of death stopped as soon as I stopped being in the water damaged building.
The worst nightmares I had came when I was living in my friend’s basement in my early 20’s. I used to scream bloody murder and felt like I needed to run from the basement at night. They would frequently find me sleeping on their living room floor in the morning when they got up. This is obviously not normal for an otherwise socially, well-adjusted 20-some-year-old.
I remember when I went on vacation to visit a friend, I felt great but upon returning home, I went back to being depressed and sick all the time. I told my friend I felt like I was going crazy. I had very bizarre thoughts like voices were telling me to kill my family. I remember thoughts of “just break their neck” and “stab them”. I thought the devil was possibly possessing me. Other family members had violent outbursts and nightmares/night terrors on a regular basis. One person was a regular sleep walker too, and another banged their head into the wall all the time.
Have you heard of the short story The Yellow Wallpaper?
My daughter Kristen wrote this paper on the connection between the main character’s mood disorder and the possible toxicity lurking beneath the wallpaper.
The toxic air quality in a water damaged home does more than trigger auto-immune illness and respiratory problems. It impacts the brain. Often a mold-exposed individual feels crazy and isolated. I hope the Clarkson University study, as well as this post, help alleviate the despair that often accompanies this trauma.
Interested in further research on toxic mold and the brain?
- 38Because of the confusion surrounding the issue of toxic mold, it is difficult to obtain knowledgeable and reliable legal assistance. As yet, there is no official federal “mold law,” which creates obstacles when trying to recoup losses. This is changing, however, as awareness grows. Toxic Mold and the Law When…