How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

People pay good money to be scared in a haunted house, but what customers do to the employees who spook them can be even more frightening.

According to former and current professionals in the haunted house industry, it’s common for customers to freak out from fear and bust noses, bite arms and throw punches at the people they’ve paid to scare them.

“It’s common, absolutely,” said Allen Hopps, who trains actors to work in haunted houses. “The problem isn’t the haunted houses or the actors, but the customers. They forget that people are actors and have a flight-or-fight reaction towards the person scaring them, not realizing one might be a 16-year-old girl.”

Hopps says that busted noses are the most common customer-inflicted injuries.

“Someone might throw a punch when they get scared or if someone scares them from behind, they will raise the elbow quickly,” he said.

Other injuries that are common include “haunted house throat” from excessive screaming and “cleaver elbow,” a repetitive stress injury similar to tennis elbow that comes from raising your arm too many times a night.

“You can also get muscle burns using a chainsaw,” Hopps said. “It happens in the line of duty, but haunted house acting is a sport. If you twist an ankle, you can still work in the graveyard as a zombie.”

Edward Terebus, who owns a haunted house in Pontiac, Mich., is another pro who looks at the injury risk as part of the cost of doing business.

He once had a customer who was so scared by the house that she passed out three times inside before he was able to get her out so she could be treated by paramedics.

After the last fainting spell, she got up and headed to her car. Since she was still at risk of fainting, Terebus tried to prevent an accident by pulling the key out of the ignition.

“This woman grabs my arm like a chicken leg and takes a big bite out of my arm,” he laughed. “I’m screaming, she’s screaming and for an ironic twist, the fire department ended up holding me longer than her, tending to my bite wound.”

Not everybody gets the same thrill that Hopps does from risking injury in order to scare up money.

Lynnette Kittle, a publicist for Random House who lives in Colorado, is still haunted by her experience as a teenager when she volunteered to work in a haunted house.

“I thought they wanted me to take tickets but they asked me to lay in a casket and pop up and scare people,” she told HuffPost Weird News. “It was too much for one teenage girl. When I sat up, she screamed in terror and started punching me in the stomach! Three guys behind the moveable wall in the room where I was stationed soon caught on and started to push her and her friends to the next room.

“Needless to say, I asked to be moved to another spot after that experience!”

PHOTOS: WHAT KIND OF PERSON RUNS A HAUNTED HOUSE (Story continues below)

I t’s Halloween, which means if you’re a kind of dumb high schooler or a family with a penchant for moving into haunted houses in a film, your chances of being murdered by a serial killer or ghost are skyrocketing right now. But don’t worry. We’ve put together this handy guide on how to avoid dying in horror flick.

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How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

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Thirsty? Ask for a sip of someone else’s drink. Forgot something in the woods? Cut your losses. Hear a strange noise in the basement? Pretend you don’t. Whatever you do, just don’t announce a quick detour from your group or it’ll be your swan song. The “I’ll be right back” trope has become such a horror flick death scene precursor that viewers almost find themselves rooting for the masked assailant to punish the never-to-returnee. No, you won’t be right back. You’ll be bloody and hanging from the garage door’s doggy hole.

While hiding from the deranged, knife-wielding thing of evil, you might ask yourself, “Where is it?” Answer: Right behind you. Learn from those who have gone before you. In 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, FBI trainee Clarice Starling at least had the foresight to bring a gun into the sadistic serial killer’s lair. Clarice barely made it out of the basement alive. You won’t. Just ask the cast of The Cellar.

If your slasher movie night starts to seem eerily autobiographical, immediately turn on the lights and make sure all the kitchen knives are accounted for. If there have been any recent reports of asylum breakouts or mysterious demonic rituals, stay away from scary movies. You’re probably in one. Actually, stay away from all screens. Poltergeist and The Ring all had sequels for a reason.

If you’re able to escape that masked killer, remember that cars typically aren’t reliable. Battery life always yields to the strange and inconvenient horror time continuum, a force that’s always sure to leave you stranded in your moment of need. Or in your moment of zombie horde attack. Before leaving the driveway, make sure you bring an extra set of keys (the first are sure to be lost during the initial attack) and consider a preemptive visit to a mechanic…who is probably an axe murderer anyway.

Most of us learned this lesson as 5-year-olds, shaking our heads at reruns of Scooby Doo as Shaggy and Scooby ran in circles away from spooks while the rest of the gang gathered clues. Those that didn’t might end up like the cast of The House on Haunted Hill (if you’re lucky, the tamer 1959 version), being picked off one by one by the movie monster of the week. “Strength in numbers” might be a tired cliche, but its more appealing than “dead as a doornail.”

If you (or one of your children) can offer any kind of credible proof that the grand old house you just purchased for cheap is haunted, drop the caulk gun and get out. We’ve seen too many families attempt to stick a haunting out: The Amityville Horror, The Shining, Paranormal Activity. Your attempts to shun the dead will prove futile as evil spirits use you for a nice game of possess and kill. Just sell the house and take the loss, okay?

Received any threatening phone calls lately? Any cryptic messages scrawled in blood after the murder of your best friend? You’re probably next. Fright nights rarely allow for wardrobe changes, so wear comfortable footwear the first time around, even for formal events. As much fun as it is watching Sarah Michelle Gellar attempt to run from a hook-wielding fisherman in a beauty pageant getup, it doesn’t mean you should repeat her mistakes. Combat boots only, ladies.

Proms should be avoided at all costs, in case of vampire attack, revenge killings or the occasional prom queen who possesses the ability to slaughter with her mind. Large gatherings of teenagers are like cat nip for the murderously inclined, so why heighten the appeal with boutonnieres and push up bras? Don’t go to the prom. The pictures are always bad anyway.

Ah yes, the suspenseful conclusion. If you’re lucky enough to make this far you’ve probably pulled some highly unrealistic Rambo move on your killer at the last second. Your attacker lies motionless on the floor. You let out a big sigh of relief and let your guard down. Big mistake. 2009’s Zombieland covers what to do in these situations with a move called “the double tap.” Always deliver a second fatal blow to ensure your assailant is dead because they’ll surely always come back for more.

If you have sex, you die. In teen horror movies, those who couple off for a lusty moment or two usually end up losing more than their shirts. Friday the 13th features an entire cast of randy teen camp counselors who are dismembered one by one as they sneak off to earn the film its R rating, most only living a few minutes past their trysts before they’re greeted with an ax to the face. If you want to up your odds of survival, keep your virginity intact and your clothes on. As Psycho proved, even showers aren’t safe. Best to bathe clothed.

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

If you followed the Dear David saga on Twitter, or you’ve seen any paranormal-themed movie, then the idea of being haunted probably terrifies you and intrigues you at the same time. Despite the scare factor, many people are curious about what it’s like to encounter the supernatural. The creepiest signs you’re being haunted include unexplained sights, sounds, temperature changes, objects moving, unexplained physical injuries, and more. In short, if your ghost isn’t friendly, it sounds pretty unnerving, especially if you live alone.

Maybe the haunting is fun at first, like in the movie Poltergeist when the kitchen chairs start rearranging themselves on their own. However, it stops being funny after Carol Anne gets sucked into the TV set. What’s more, this movie franchise is rumored to have been cursed with a number of its actors meeting an early demise IRL. Because I’ve had my own haunting experiences, I’m a believer, and I’m pretty content to shut myself off from the ghost world.

“Sometimes, ghostly hauntings are so intense they make believers out of non-believers. Sometimes, ghosts are so faint that even the most adept and in-tune psychic can’t pick up on their energy waves,” Kitty Fields, a paranormal writer, explained on Exemplore. So, whether you feel it or not, there’s probably a ghost hanging around your pad. But if you fear that ghost is haunting you, be on the lookout for these creepy signs.

Objects Moving On Their Own

OK, a lot of signs of a haunting can be easily explained by non-believers who will point out that other things could be causing your strange experiences. However, unless someone is playing a really scary joke on you, objects in your house aren’t going to move on their own. “I’ve seen books thrown through the air by an invisible force. I’ve watched a grown man with a $2,500 camera in his hand drop the camera to the ground because something was strangling him,” ghost hunter Greg Newkirk told Reader’s Digest. If this happens to you, it’s time to call in some ghostbusters ASAP.

As far as your calendar’s concerned, Halloween takes up but one day a year — but you know better. Oct. 1 marks the first of 31 days of Halloween-inspired celebrations, from stocking up on candy to treat the treaters (and yourself), to dusting off your favorite horror films, reading scary stories, and walking through haunted houses. You might think actors dressing in cheap white sheets and jump scares end once you’ve made your way through the attraction, but what haunted houses really do to your brain is pretty mind-blowing. Being scared, in any capacity — be it a real fear or just for fun — triggers that same kind of fight-or-flight reaction in your body that typically stems from everyday stress. So even if you, like me, live for fright nights, you’re going to legitimately freak when you find out just what kind of tricks this seasonal treat is pulling on your brain, because it turns out, being afraid is more than just a thrill: it’s a physiological reaction.

Personally, it takes a really impressive, intelligently crafted horror film to genuinely scare me (I’m a movie snob, don’t @ me). But up until recently, I never really understood when my husband would say that a show or movie stressed him out. “It’s not real,” I’d tell him, being the Captain Obvious that I am, but he’d always explain that it didn’t matter whether or not what was taking place on screen was actually real, because it felt real in the moment. Haunted houses are the same in that way: You know for a fact the dirty man chasing you down the hallway with a chainsaw isn’t actually going to cut you up into pieces, and that the lurking, blood-spattered zombies are actually just very much alive people wrapped in toilet paper and covered in paint. Still, when you experience an overwhelming sense of fear — real or imaginary — your fight-or-flight mode is instantly activated, explains Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health.

According to Glatter, the fear you might be faced with walking through a haunted house triggers the same stress response your body experiences when it’s confronted with danger or something unknown. If tiptoeing through dark corridors or hearing creeks among the shadows makes you jittery, and you’ve experienced physical reactions to the setting — like sweaty palms, dry mouth, and heavy breathing — it’s because adrenaline, aka a stress hormone, has been released in your body, says Glatter.

“In your brain, the fight-or-flight response triggers [the part of your brain that controls pain perception], which then alerts [the part of your brain that processes your emotions],” Glatter tells Elite Daily. In other words, once you start to respond to the fear of a haunted house emotionally, your body physically reacts by releasing adrenaline to send blood to your muscles so that you “get moving to avoid danger,” Glatter explains. Now, of course, haunted houses are designed to scare you, with the intention of being a fun Halloween activity. You aren’t really in any danger stepping into a haunted house with a group of friends — but your brain can’t tell the difference between a fictionalized spook and real, evident danger. Therefore, it reacts the same way to both kinds of situations.

But how your brain responds to a fear of haunted houses can depend on a few details, psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC tells Elite Daily. First, Forshee says, seeing as how fear itself is your brain’s automatic response to any threat, the closer that threat is to you (meaning how intensely you feel like you’re in danger), the more it will determine your brain’s activity, she explains. What’s more, if you and your squad are hitting up haunted houses every weekend from the end of September through the first weekend of November, the constant release of stress hormones can cause long-term effects such as difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and even a weakened immune system, among other symptoms, according to The American Journal of Managed Care. In other words, the more you expose yourself to haunted houses, and trigger that stress response as a result, the more seriously your brain — and therefore, your body — will react to it.

So how, then, can you have your trick, but also treat your body right this Halloween season? Certainly not by skipping out on haunted houses, that’s for sure. You can still enjoy all the ghouls and goblins the holiday is known for; you just have to have a game plan for how to calm your body when you step inside a haunted house.

According to Dr. Belisa Vranich, director of breathing science at The Ash Center for Comprehensive Medicine, you can ease your nerves, and in turn, your brain, by practicing mindful breathing. “The trick to stay cool as everyone gasps around you is to keep your breathing low and steady,” Vranich tells Elite Daily over email. It’s natural if you get scared for a second, and find yourself holding your breath, she says, but if you can catch yourself doing so, Vranich suggests resorting back to that steady, lower-body inhale and exhale. “Your brain will say, ‘Hmm, that was pretty rad!’ and your body will go, ‘OK, next, let’s move it along.'”

Bottom line: Haunted houses are meant to be spooky, but they’re also meant to be a little silly, too. Gather up a group of friends, walk the so-called “haunted” halls, but do so with a grain of salt. Remember, it’s all a bunch of hocus pocus.

Americans reported 2.2 million fraud cases to FTC in 2020

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The internet is a scam minefield. Around every corner, someone is waiting to rip you off.

Think I’m dramatic? In 2020, Americans reported more than 2.2 million fraud cases to the FTC, with nearly $3.3 billion in losses. Cybercrime pays big time. Just look at the $5 million Colonial Pipeline recently paid to hacker’s ransomware demand.

The more data scammers and hackers have on you, the easier it is to take advantage. If you own a home, so much personal info is floating around. Tap or click to see what your mortgage documents and other public records reveal to anyone who knows where to look.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Here are seven security secrets hackers wish I wouldn’t tell you.

1. We’re going to use what you post against you

You might not realize how much your rambling can give away to snoops and hackers. That’s because many of us use names of things that are important to us, like our kids or pets, to create passwords or answer security questions.

First step: Check your social media privacy settings. (More on that below.) There’s no reason your profiles should be publicly accessible. Then be honest with yourself about how much private info you share. Should everyone on your friend list know the names of your grandkids, where you live, and important dates in your life?

2. We’re good at writing believable scam emails now

Some of the most successful scams come through emails. It’s not all Nigerian Princes and other tricks you already know how to spot. Today’s hackers are a lot smarter than that.

Look for subtle signs that something is off, like a link or email address with a single character changed. On a computer, hover your mouse over any hyperlinks and see where they go. If it’s not a site you recognize and trust, don’t click.

If the email urges you to download something, especially something you never requested, delete it and move on with your life.

3. We’re scouring your photos for details

When you’re focused on smiling for a selfie or catching a cute photo of your dog, you might not realize what’s in the background. Snap a picture in your home office, and your computer screen could be visible. What secrets are there for someone who zooms in close enough?

Before you post a photo online, zoom in and make sure you’re not uploading anything private. Then, lock down your social media accounts. At least this way, you know who can see the things you post.

On Facebook (from a computer):

  • Log in, then click the arrow pointing down on the top right corner.
  • Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings.
  • Click Privacy in the left column.
  • Under the Your activity heading, choose whether all your friends, only certain friends, or anyone can see your posts, liked pages, and tagged photos.
  • Tap the settings wheel at the very top, then Privacy.
  • At the top, toggle the switch for Private Account.

4. We know who to pretend to be to fool you

If you get an email from a stranger asking you for money, you trash it, right? If it’s from your boss or HR department, though, there’s a good chance you will take it seriously. BEC, or business email compromise, attacks are widespread for just that reason.

In most cases, these scams involve getting an email from someone you report to or your company’s HR department asking you to purchase something, send gift cards, pay an invoice, wire money or hand over your cash some other way. Of course, it’s not your boss or company contacting you.

If you receive such a request, reach out to that person another way. Don’t just reply to the email. Instead, give your boss a call or stop by the HR office to confirm the request was legitimate.

5. We know your network’s weak points

I already reminded you how vital secure passwords are for all your accounts, but what about your router? If you never changed that when you set up your router, you need to do it now. Tap or click for the fast and easy way to find your router’s default password.

Then consider how you share your Wi-Fi password. You can allow guests Wi-Fi access without giving them your password with these options:

  • Create a Wi-Fi guest network with a separate password for visitors to use.
  • Create a QR code your guests can scan to connect.

Don’t know how to create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network? No worries, we can help. Tap or click here to find out how to share Wi-Fi without giving out your password.

6. We’re patient enough to wait you out

Hackers should be Hollywood actors because they know how to play the game and make you fall for their tricks. They have incredible fortitude. Tech support scams work this way.

You get a strange popup, call a number and end up on the phone with someone who says they can help. The “tech support rep” may talk you into giving up remote access pretty quickly, but the person doesn’t try to make a sale right away. The person waits until you believe that you’re talking to a genuine IT company. Tap or click for 7 hot IT support scams going around right now.

7. We’re sneaking into your old accounts

How many unused accounts do you have just floating around? They’re for games you don’t play anymore, services you canceled long ago, and email accounts you never access. Bad news: They serve as another way in for smart hackers.

There’s a good chance a lot of your old accounts share the same (bad) passwords. Once a hacker learns one, they have the keys to the rest of the castle. Your old accounts may even contain personal information they can use to get access to your current accounts.

Your first action item is identifying those old accounts. Look through your email, and search for words like “login,” “account” and “password.” The site justdelete.me can help you find the steps to delete old accounts in a snap. Tap or click for a direct link and more pro tips to wipe these out.

NEED A HAND WITH A SLOW PC, SMARTPHONE ISSUES OR A SOFTWARE PROBLEM YOU CAN’T CRACK? Post your tech questions for concrete answers from me and other tech pros. Visit my Q&A Forum and get tech help now.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Overview

Actors are ticked once per frame with the elapsed time between frames in the order they appear in the World’s actor list (aggregate of all levels’ lists). Actors are now ticked in 3 phases: before asynchronous work, during asynchronous work, and after asynchronous work. Which group an Actor is ticked in is controlled by the TickGroup member. If an Actor needs to have its state updated before any asynchronous work (physics, and others later), then it needs to be assigned to the TG_PreAsyncWork group. Failing to do so will cause incorrect behavior and/or off-by-one-frame problems. Actors that can be ticked in parallel with physics and other threads are assigned to the TG_DuringAsyncWork group. If any Actor in that group calls a function that touches our rigid body physics data, an error is logged and the call is ignored. This can lead to memory leaks, invalid scene state, etc. so must be diligently fixed. The same thing holds true SpawnActor(), MoveActor(), SetLocation(), SetCollision(), etc. Those functions will continue to execute, but not affect the physics thread. They will also log errors. Finally, an Actor that depends on physics being updated first sets their group to TG_PostAsyncWork. Actors in this group depend on results from the physics simulation in order to represent an accurate world state (vehicles, ragdolls, etc.) It’s safe to call both physics and all Unreal functions for movement, spawning, and collision in this phase.

Here’s a list of pros/cons for placing Actors into tick groups:

TG_PreAsyncGroup

+ Can safely call any Unreal function or Novodex physics function

+ Updates positions, rotations, etc. for the physics simulation

– Operates on last frame’s physics simulation results

– No parallelism in processing

TG_DuringAsyncGroup

+ Happens in parallel with physics simulation

– Unsafe to call certain Unreal functions and all Novodex physics functions which write to the scene data (read is ok)

TG_PostAsyncGroup

+ Can safely call any Unreal function or Novodex physics function

+ Operates on the current frame’s physics simulation data

– No parallelism in processing

So the general rules for placing an Actor into a given list are:

  1. If it changes collision, spawns collidable actors, writes to Novodex data, then it should go in TG_PreAsyncWork. Common Actors here are Pawns, Weapons, and some rigid body classes.
  2. If the Actor doesn’t change collision, spawn colliding Actors (non-colliding are fine), or change Novodex data, then the Actor should be placed in the TG_DuringAsyncWork group. This is the best place as time spent ticking Actors hides any time spent simulating physics, e.g. 2ms of tick time here means that up to 2ms of simulation time are free. Particle systems, audio, AI processing are good candidates for this group.
  3. If the Actor needs to get data back from Novodex before updating its Unreal data, then it must go in TG_PostAsyncWork. Vehicles and ragdolls are what will most often go here.

Actor Spawning

Spawning an Actor means, it will be ticked (and all of its components) in the group it is spawned in with no regard to its tick group. The very next frame, the newly spawned Actor will be ticked in the correct tick group. One exception to this is that Actor’s spawned during the asynchronous tasks are deferred until TG_PostAsyncWork.

Component Ticking

Just as Actors can be segregated into different ticking groups, so can Components. Previously, an Actor ticked all of its Components during the Actor’s tick. This still happens, but Components that need to be in different groups are added to a list that manages when they’ll be ticked. Components should be assigned ticking groups using the same criteria for assigning an Actor to a tick group.

Tick Code Flow

Game Thread Physics Thread
Work through the world’s Actor list ticking those that are TG_PreAsyncWork and deferring all others Idle
For each ticked Actor, work through components list ticking TG_PreAsyncWork and deferring all others Idle
Tell physics thread to start Start simulation
For each Actor in the TG_DuringAsyncWork list, tick the actor Simulate Physics
For each Component in the Actor, tick the Component deferring as needed Simulate Physics
For each Component deferred until TG_DuringAsycnWork, tick the Component Simulate Physics
Block until physics work is done Return Simulation Results
For each Actor in the TG_PostAsyncWork list, tick the actor Idle
For each Component in the Actor, tick the Component Idle
For each Component deferred until TG_PostAsycnWork, tick the Component Idle
Render & Repeat Idle

Detailed Code Flow (And Beyond Ticking)

Code Flow (each frame)

Why Is It So Important?

Understanding the ticking and rendering order is essential to avoid off-by-1-frame issues and to work around dependencies in calling order. For instance, the camera is updated after all ticking is done, so anything that is camera relative (such as a first-person attachment or a laser dot) must be done in PreRender. But if there is, for instance, an animation dependancy on camera position, there will be an off-by-1-frame issue, because animation occurs during Pre-physics, pawn movement occurs during physics, camera (typically) is dependant on pawn position, and thus the animation dependancy creates a loop. To get around these issues, it may be necessary to calculate something more than once per frame. Moving the camera tick as well as the animation tick to post physics will allow the animation to have correctly updated camera position (but the camera will be updated twice per frame unless coded specifically not to).

You are viewing documentation for the Unreal Development Kit (UDK).

If you are looking for the Unreal Engine 4 documentation, please visit the Unreal Engine 4 Documentation site.

Monks, children and other ghostly figures have been spotted in these locations

  • 15:56, 29 SEP 2020

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

Halloween is fast approaching this year and so it’s time to discuss spooky places in Hertfordshire.

The county has a rich history which of course means there’s a lot of haunted stories that have been passed down over generations.

Locations around the area are a paradise for ghost hunters and those that want a thrill – but some are so scary you may want to avoid after dark.

St Albans Cathedral, Hitchin Priory, Hatfield House and numerous pubs have all had ghosts spotted in and around them as well as having ghostly tales.

The county is also home to medieval churches where people have seen apparitions of monks and priests.

We’ve rounded up a list of the 20 most haunted places in Hertfordshire that you’ll need to avoid after dark to help get you in the Halloween mood.

The Brocket Arms, Welwyn

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

The Brocket Arms in Welwyn is one of the most haunted pubs in the whole of Hertfordshire.

HertsLive spoke to Kelly Smalley, who owns and runs the pub, earlier this year to hear about the ghostly tales and sightings around the pub

In the 14th Century, The Brocket Arms was originally the monastic quarters for the Norman church until the Reformation which now means a monk haunts the place.

The local legend has it that a monk was tried and hanged in the bar area on a hook. In fact, a hook can be seen in the bar today which many think is the original one.

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Many believe the monk now haunts the pub and is said to be small while wearing a brown habit. Some have reportedly even seen him on fire, staring at people in the middle of the day.

As well as this there is a ghost of a little boy who sits in the fireplace and some customers have heard a little girl singing – shoulder shuddering stuff.

Minsden Chapel, Preston

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

South of Hitchin sits Minsden Chapel, or more accurately, its stone ruins.

Surrounded by woodland, this site has an eerie feel to it and that’s before even knowing its history.

Some have reported sightings of a ghostly figure who is said to be climbing stairs that have long since existed while the sound of church bells ring in the distance.

Could this be historian Reginald Hine? He promised to protect his beloved chapel and even haunt it after his death.

Built in the 14th century, the chapel has fallen into disrepair over the years and is now Grade 2 listed.

St Albans Cathedral, St Albans

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

The ghost of St Albans Cathedral is none other than that of St Alban himself, the first British Christian martyr.

Legend has it, when he was beheaded by the Romans in 304AD where the cathedral now stands, the stream nearby stopped flowing.

People have reported seeing him dressed in white robes with a golden halo behind his head in the abbey.

Others have reported hearing a choir singing and the organ playing while the cathedral has been deserted, as well as seeing hooded figures coming in and out.

The Sun Hotel, Hitchin

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

This hotel is like a playground for the paranormal with many a tale of ghosts that are up to no good.

With a building that dates back to the 1500s, it’s might not be any surprise to hear that this hotel is haunted.

Beware if you book a room only to be given the key to number 10, you might be sharing with a woman that reportedly hangs around on a regular basis.

Sign up to the HertsLive newsletter

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With reports of waking up with the feeling of being suffocated, many have had the fright of their lives when staying here.

A former barmaid has also told of a figure seen helping himself to a drink.

St Mary’s Church, Thundridge

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

Churches and graveyards can be scary at the best of times, especially at night.

Would you fancy a wander through a graveyard in the dark?

Also known as Cold Christmas Church, these spooky ruins are not far from the A10 and close to the village of Thundridge.

With a number of ghostly sightings over the years, that includes an army marching past and an eerie figure lurking around the graveyard, there are plenty of spooky tales to give you chills.

But the scariest of stories is the tale of an evil presence coming from the tower. Will you dare to visit and risk the wrath of this unwelcoming resident?

The George Hotel, Bishops Stortford

How to avoid ticking off the actors in a haunted house

The town’s oldest former coaching inn, The George Hotel has been standing for more than five centuries.

The women sighted in this hotel could have a dark history leaving guests with a real sense of unease.

With the story of a lady that met a murderous end when she was stabbed by an intruder, is she one of the ghosts seen by guests?

Other reports describe a lady cowering over in pain.

Does your house have things that go bump in the night? Maybe between the creaking door, the strangle rattling in the walls, and the squeaking stairs, you’re convinced the place is haunted. Luckily there are a few things you can do to silence those squeaks and rattles.

The explanation is much simpler than an apparition in the attic. Houses, whether new or old, make plenty of noise. You might not notice it during the hustle and bustle of the typical day, but when things calm down at night, all those noises come out. What sounds should you expect from your house, and which ones are cause for concern?

Clicking, Knocking, and Clanking

No, that’s not the sound of chains rattling in the attic. There are a few possible sources for this sound, but none of them ghostly—or even worrying enough to call in the pros:

  • If it’s the fall or winter, then these sounds may coincide with turning on the heat for the first time all season. It’s the sound of the ductwork in your house expanding and contracting with the change in temperature.
  • The noise could be coming from your roof during the hottest days of the summer, when the rays of the sun beat down on the shingles.
  • If it’s coming from the radiators , you may have condensed steam built up in the system. Bleeding the radiators could be your quick fix.

Scratch, Scratch, Scratching

Though it may sound like your walls are haunted, in reality it’s the tiny fingernails or teeth of a rodent in your house, hiding among the ductwork and turning your insulation into a comfy bed. If there is any means of entry into your house, you can bet that a wild critter will find it.

Remedy the situation by setting traps, calling an exterminator, and making sure all cracks and holes around your home are sealed up tight. However, remember that some wildlife must be protected and carefully removed from your home. To make certain of what the rules are in your state, get in touch with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

That popping and bubbling sound isn’t the wicked witch. It’s probably your water heater, where sediment has settled at the bottom of the tank, then popped and bubbled as the water heats. This is especially true if you have a gas or propane-heated tank, as the gas can make a “popping” sound when it lights up. Draining your water heater of sediment can help.

On the other hand, it could also be the sound of a leak. To be sure, shut off the water at the main line and listen again. Is the sound gone? Turn the water back on and listen closely. The sound of water running could mean you need to get a plumber out there, pronto.

Bang—Bang—Bang!

That wild hammering you hear isn’t a helpful carpenter ghost coming back to fix things—for better or worse. If the sound is coming from the walls, it could be a “pressure hammer” —air pressure in the water pipes.

This might be especially pronounced after flushing a toilet or turning on a faucet. The sound doesn’t have to be anywhere near that toilet or faucet, either. Since the pipes run all through the house, turning on a faucet in the kitchen could lead to a banging sound under the bedroom. Try turning off the water at the main, then draining all the lines. This often “resets” the water in the pipes, thus eliminating the hammering.

Whistling in the Dark

A whistling sound is not a happy ghost; it’s a very unhappy furnace or air conditioning filter. When the filter is dirty and inhibiting airflow, the system still has to get air, so it sucks what it can from around the filter. That creates a whistling sound that seems to be most noticeable when the house is quiet—at night, when you are lying in bed wondering what that sound is. A quick filter change will help you get a good night’s sleep.

What if you are hearing the whistles even after you have changed out the filter? Look to your windows. The slightest breeze can create a draft around older windows, and that can create those whistling sounds, too. Make sure your windows are sealed tightly to avoid the ghostly noise.

What If It Won’t Go Away?

Houses are made up of a combination of wood, glass, concrete and other materials that contract and expand throughout the day, all at different rates. This leads to creaking, popping, and other strange sounds that might surprise you when you least expect it. So unless you’re hearing ghostly footsteps across the floor or your name spoken in an eerie whisper, everything is likely just fine. However, if you have a noise that persists and you’re getting concerned, it never hurts to call in the pros and get an opinion for your own peace of mind.