Living in a haunted house is a strange and terrifying experience, even if the spirits involved aren't malicious. Houses are built to withstand things like settling terrain, flooding, drainage. Your architect very carefully designs the structure for maximum safety and protection. Your roof allows rain and snow to slip off. Your staircase has a handrail. But does it have the elements necessary to keep you safe from ghosts?
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In many parts of the world, including our own, buildings have little design quirks intended to keep out bad luck and bad spirits. If only some of these things had been taken into account in my haunted house!
The familiar slope of Chinese roofs isn't just for aesthetics. Tradition says that evil spirits can only travel in straight lines, and the curve of the roof prevents them from entering the home.
Paint your shutters and door trim blue to trick spirits into thinking your house is surrounded by water. Some believe that ghosts are unable to cross water, and the blue trim keeps them out. And, paint your porch ceilings blue to convince the spirits that it's the sky, making them want to ascend to heaven instead of enter your house.
In America, 13 is unlucky; in China, 4 is unlucky. In both countries, these numbers are frequently left off the elevator and other building signage, and sometimes the floor is actually converted into unusable space to prevent bad luck -- and bad spirits -- from entering.
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Oro, Plata, Mata
In some Hispanic cultures, it's a habit to count stairs as you go up and down, only instead of numbers, you repeat, "Oro, plata, mata" over and over again. The words, which mean "gold, silver, death," dictate your fortune depending on which word corresponds with the last step. As you can imagine, there aren't many staircases with variables of 3 or 6.
Japanese tradition states that evil spirits always enter through the northeast corner of the home. Many Japanese also believe that plumbing is an easy entryway for spirits. So, you will rarely find a bathroom in the northeast corner of a house. To be extra safe, keep windows and doors away from that corner of your home.
Images via BlogfromItaly/Flickr, Firepile/Flickr, Liz Jones 112/Flickr, Jennifer Peyton/Flickr, awsheffield/Flickr, Tanaka Juuyho/Flickr
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