Can Ghosts Turn On Lights?

If your lights have been turning on for no apparent reason, you may be wondering whether this is the work of a ghost. So, can ghosts turn the lights on? The simple answer is yes, they can. The more interesting questions are how, why, and how can you tell?

These are the questions that we answer in this helpful guide. We also explore the other common (more mundane) reasons this could be happening.

Why Do Ghosts Turn On Lights?

We know that ghosts can turn lights on, but why? If you live in a haunted house, then it may be obvious that malevolent ghosts are trying to disturb you. However, there are often more complicated reasons why a ghost might be behaving in this way.

1. It’s unintentional

Many paranormal experts believe that ghosts consist of energy rather than physical matter and that they exist on a different energy plane than our own.

As part of this theory, it’s suggested that ghosts emit electromagnetic waves that can disrupt the electrical devices we use.

As Dr Marina Antoniou, an Electrical Engineer from the University of Warwick, says in an article:

“Electromagnetic waves are composed of electric and magnetic fields that oscillate in space. In the context of ghost hunting, it is hypothesised that spirits might disrupt or manipulate these fields when they are present.”

So, if a ghost passes by a light fixture or switch, it could disrupt the electromagnetic field unintentionally, causing the light to turn on. You may also notice that your lights flicker in a distinct pattern.

2. Trying to get your attention

Like those of us in the living realm, many ghosts seek attention. Yet, for obvious reasons, their ways of attracting our attention are pretty limited. Unfortunately, there isn’t a version of WhatsApp for ghosts (not yet, anyway).

So, when ghosts want to communicate with us, it can lead to all kinds of strange occurrences like lights switching on and off.

Sometimes, this might just mean the light goes on and off once. This is kind of like a ghost knocking once on a door to grab your attention.

Or, you may notice that the lights go on and off in a pattern. This is often the ghost’s attempt to communicate via a coded message. Unfortunately, unless they’re using Morse code, it’s very hard to tell what they’re trying to say.

3. They have unfinished business

If you live in a house haunted by a ghost, you’re probably aware that ghosts are trapped spirits with unfinished earthly business. Often, this unfinished business is linked to a specific location or past event.

If you notice the lights turning on and off, the ghost might be doing this to help them achieve their goals in some way. It could be that you or someone else in the building is linked to the ghost’s plan.

There’s also a theory that ghosts manipulate lights to recreate the environment of past events. For instance, if a ghost died in a car accident, a flickering light bulb could recreate the flashing headlights of an oncoming car.

How Do You Tell If A Ghost Is Responsible?

Naturally, there are plenty of fairly boring reasons for lights turning on by themselves (which we’ll cover shortly). So, how do you tell if a ghost is turning your lights on? Let’s take a look.

Theatrics, Location, and Timing

  • Theatrics: If your lights are just slightly flickering, then it’s fairly unlikely that a ghost is responsible. Think about it: if you were a ghost trying to communicate through the lights, you’d want to do something dramatic and noticeable! If a light dims all the way down and then suddenly bursts into illumination, it’s more likely to be a ghost than an electrical fault.
  • Location: Is there a room with historical significance in your home? Is this where the spooky light shows usually occur? Well, as mentioned, ghosts are often tied to specific locations, so it would make sense for them to control the lights in a room that’s significant to their past. If you suspect this is the case, try setting up a ghost camera in the room to confirm your suspicions.
  • Timing: If you notice the light turns on at a specific time each day or night, this could be the time in the past when the ghost crossed over to the spirit world. It may be a symbolic gesture or a kind of ritual for the ghost.

Beyond the bulb

  • Body chills: If a ghost is manipulating your lights, you may also notice other occurrences at the same time such as sudden temperature changes. People often experience chills when ghosts are nearby.
  • Electronic devices: The electromagnetic energy given off by ghosts also interferes with other electronic devices. As a result, you might notice devices like TVs and radios are affected when a ghost manipulates your lights. Ghost detectors, like EMF detectors, are one of the best ways to measure an increase in electromagnetic energy.
  • Other signs: When your light is turned on, there are other telltale signs to look out. For example, you might hear your dog barking even though there is nobody else around besides you. You might also hear footsteps, whispers, or disembodied voices.

Investigative measures

The best way to tell if a ghost is turning your lights on is to carry out some paranormal investigations. This could involve setting up a video camera or keeping a log of when and where the light activity occurs.

There are also some amazing ghost-hunting apps like DeadBox and EMF Analytics Pro that you can use to track the presence of ghosts in your home.

Other Common Causes

Remember, just because your light seems to be turning on randomly, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a paranormal guest. There are many other reasons why this could be happening:

  • Faulty bulbs: When a light bulb is dying, it will often flicker for a while before it dies out completely. Try changing the bulb and see if this solves the problem.
  • Your own electromagnetic energy: Like ghosts, humans also emit electromagnetic energy. So, it may simply be your own vibration that’s causing the light to turn on.
  • Loose connections: Loose connections in a light fixture can disrupt the flow of electricity and cause the light to turn on and off.
  • Switch issues: Similarly, a loose or faulty switch can cause the light to turn on and off randomly.

It’s always wise to eliminate common reasons like these before you decide that a ghost is messing with your lights. Still, if you’ve observed a ghost flicking your lights on, it’s probably not a faulty bulb!


Has it been scientifically proven that ghosts can turn lights on?

There is no scientific proof that ghosts can turn lights on and off. In fact, there’s no scientific proof that ghosts exist. However, we have plenty of evidence from paranormal experts that this is a common phenomenon in the ghostly realm.

How do I stop a ghost from messing with my lights?

One way is to acknowledge the ghost’s presence and ask it to stop calmly and politely. Or, you could attempt to cleanse your home by burning sage and opening all of the windows.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, ghosts can certainly interfere with lights and turn them on and off. Their reasons for doing so are wide and varied. They might be doing it accidentally or they could be trying to tell you something.

Whatever the reason, it’s usually best to rule out the most obvious causes first, such as faulty bulbs. Then, you should start observing other unusual occurrences and make the most of ghost-hunting equipment to get definitive proof that something spooky is afoot.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!