|Image copyright Steven Symes|
One question that comes up all the time in paranormal circles is whether places or people are haunted. It's similar to the nature versus nurture debate that people in the behavioral sciences engage in constantly.
My own viewpoint on the debate happens to match how I view the nature versus nurture subject: it's a combination of the two. I would describe myself as a pretty moderate person overall, so maybe that's why I see things that way. In my experience, though, I would conclude that some places are highly haunted, while some people are the source of a haunting.
First off, some object to the haunted places theory because you always have people who go to such places and experience nothing. If a place were highly haunted, these people reason, anyone who spends enough time there would experience something. Such reasoning is actually shockingly simplistic, but most people don't want to spend much time thinking about things like hauntings. At one particularly haunted business I profiled once, there was an employee who was a hardcore skeptic since he had worked there for years and hadn't experienced anything weird during that time. He even went so far as trying to ask me taunting questions and posting something similar on my Facebook page. He was convinced everyone he worked with was making up stories, simply because nothing had happened to him.
There are many factors that could make it so some people don't experience anything out of the ordinary in a haunted location, such as some people being more sensitive to spiritual activity, energy levels present in the location at the time, disinterest in certain visitors on behalf of the entities doing the haunting, usage of mind-altering substances (like in the show Medium where she drinks to keep herself unaware of the dead), and even people dismissing small things as coincidence or their imagination. That's not to say that all supposedly haunted locations are indeed haunted.
How do you know when a person is haunted? One dead giveaway is that the person experiences activity everywhere they live. While that's not an automatic indication that a person is haunted, it certainly raises suspicions. There are some people who are more sensitive to paranormal activity or who are even magnets, and those people can have all kinds of experiences in places nobody else has reported anything abnormal. Another possible sign is that the person suddenly has injuries they cannot account for, including scratches, bruises and even bite marks. These usually are left on the person in the night as they sleep. Many times, if a person is haunted they will experience interruptions in their sleep on a regular basis, sometimes even coming from disturbing dreams that wake them up. This is a tactic that is meant to wear down the psyche of the victim, which is the infestation stage in a demonic possession scenario.
Sometimes telling whether a haunting is attached to a place or a person can be tricky. What I've provided are some generalisms, but each case is unique and has to be looked at that way.