Tech experts debunk haunted house signs

27 October 2023

  • Many ghostly goings on are likely dangerous electrical faults tech experts reveal 
  • This Halloween, households are warned their ghost is likely a dangerous electrical fault 
  • Analysis of search trends by Electrical Safety First reveals that searches for ‘is my house haunted’ has soared 113% in the last month alone, worldwide
  • Green goo oozing from plug sockets and flickering lights, all signs of dodgy electrics
  • Landlords face a much scarier reality if they rent a dangerous property, with fines of up to £30,000

Households experiencing ghostly goings on this Halloween are much more likely to be suffering from dangerous electrical faults than anything supernatural, a charity is warning.  

Experts are warning that typical experiences associated with haunted houses could in fact present a much more scary reality, leaving your home exposed to a fire. 

Flickering lights and green slime oozing from the walls may sound like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but are far more likely to be explained by electrical faults linked to wiring, than any ghoulish ghost.  

“We’re all familiar with scenes in horror movies where the lights constantly flicker and trip,” explains Richard Harvey, electrical installation safety engineer at Electrical Safety First. “But the reality is far more scary than any ghost. Flickering lights or bulbs that keep blowing are likely caused by a loose connection in your wiring rather than the supernatural.”  

Households are also being warned to look out for green slime oozing from their plug sockets this Halloween. 

“A green goo-like substance oozing from your plug sockets is far more likely to be linked to deteriorating wiring than a mutant invasion,” Richard Harvey adds. “When green goo appears, it can adversely affect protective components within your socket and leave you exposed to risk of electric shock in the future. It is mostly seen in wiring predating 1960 and is a chemical reaction between the plastic and copper.”  

Picture: Green goo oozing from sockets can be an indication of an electrical fault. Credit: Electrical Safety FirstPicture: Green goo oozing from sockets can be an indication of an electrical fault.
Credit: Mark Bramwell, Electrical & Security Solutions. 

The consequences of faulty electrics can be far more frightening than a property plagued by the paranormal, leaving your home exposed to fire and those living in it at serious risk.  

“A far more effective way of tackling these ghostly signs isn’t to call the Ghostbusters,” Richard Harvey says. “A competent and registered electrician will be able to rid your home of any potential dangerous electrical faults to ensure your property is safe.”  

Private landlords in England are also warned they risk blood curdling fines of up to £30,000 if they do not ensure their property is inspected once every five years under legislation introduced in 2021.  

Living in an unsafe home can be far more frightening than any horror film. Whilst most landlords provide good and safe accommodation for renters, rogue landlords face hefty fines if they actively neglect to comply with the laws. 

Electrical Safety First recommends using a competent and registered electrician to undertake an electrical safety inspection on your property. Landlords and households can find a registered electrician using the charity’s Find an Electrician tool. 

Households are also warned to be aware of a change of smell in the home. Whilst movies associate unusual smells including sulphur, with ghostly goings on, strong smells, similar to that of fish, could be burning plastic on plug sockets.  


  1. Lights that continue to blow or flicker – If you’re constantly finding yourself in the dark, there is a possibility a loose connection is at fault rather than a ghost. 
  2. An unpleasant smell similar to fish – Whilst unpleasant smells such as sulphur are often associated with hauntings, an unwelcome smell, similar to fish, can often be associated with the burning smell of sockets or plastic. Don’t overlook it, report it immediately to your landlord.
  3. Green goo oozing from the sockets – Unlikely a mutant invasion and more likely a chemical reaction linked to old wiring that can adversely affect protective components in your sockets.
  4. Yellow sockets – If your plug sockets are yellowing or discolouring in anyway, this could be a sign of overheating and a possible risk of fire waiting to happen. 
  5. Cracked or broken sockets and switches – Whilst this may seem like a small inconvenience, it is often indicative that the property has not been checked and further much bigger faults could be present. 
  6. The electricity keeps tripping – If your electrics continue to trip the reality is far more concerning than the paranormal. Tripping electrics are an indicator that your circuits are overloaded or that the wiring in the property is deteriorating.