THE BLOG
10/14/2014 12:34 pm ET Updated Dec 14, 2014

Talking to Your Children About a Ghost in the House

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For every monster under the bed or supposed ghost floating down the hallway, there's a parent who soothes, double checks the closet and protects their child from tricks of the light. What if there are more 'festive' activities happening in the house that you can't explain? How can you turn what can be a scary situation into an adventure and give your family the chance to explore the paranormal?

Most hauntings have mundane roots. Animals in the attic, leaking pipes, even conversations from neighbors' yards have floated in through exhaust pipes into bathrooms, making a homeowner think her shower was possessed. It's easy to let your imagination run with the possibility that your house has some extra visitors but the chances of a true haunting are very slim.

Check for all explainable sources:

· Smell: Kitchen smells, old pizza boxes under the bed, exhaust from cars
· Sounds: Critters in the walls, household noises that seem amplified at night
· Visions: Reflections in mirrors and windows, bugs
· Physical sensations: Breezes, stray fabric

If you have a child who is convinced they've seen a ghost, listen first and act next. By helping them to focus on what they've seen and writing it down, it gives them (and you) a sense of control.

Create a family ghost log by filling out:

· What area of the house the ghost was seen
· What time of day
· Who was in the house
· What the weather was like (stormy, clear, snowing)
· If pets were present -- dogs, cats, a juiced-up hamster with a squeaky wheel
· What happened
· How long did it last
· What did the ghost look like: period clothing, floating head

Keeping the log will help you see if a pattern is forming. Take that information and wait for the next appearance or schedule a vacation if you're not ready to face the beyoooond. Oooooo. Sorry, I'll stop that now.

Depending on the age, involving your child in your own ghost hunt can help them turn something frightening into a chance to use deductive reasoning and figure out what's happening. My advice is to talk to your child about what they've seen or heard and not to overreact. If you feel you need backup to discover more about the possibility of ghosts in your house, contact a credible local paranormal investigation group. Most will have the tools to do research on the spot and the knowledge to answer your questions.

About the author: Stacey Graham has been writing and investigating the paranormal for over twenty years. Her book, The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide, shows kids ages 9 and older how to sort through the fluff seen on television with a practical handbook to work through what they discover and how to interpret the facts. Her newest book, Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls, and Other Creepy Collectibles shares the real story behind the haunted doll, Annabelle, plus many more. Visit her at staceyigraham.com or on Twitter - @staceyigraham.