What Are Cold Spots?

Cold spots

Nothing can give you a chill (literally) quite as fast as when you walk through a room or passage and the temperature suddenly drops for a few steps, only to return back to normal as you continue on.

You just walked through a cold spot!

But what causes these patches of cold air? Is it proof of the paranormal, or just a damp patch in the wall?

Let’s find out!

Defining Cold Spots

A cold spot is “an area of localized coldness or a sudden decrease in ambient temperature.” These sudden temperature drops could be just a couple of degrees Celcius (barely noticeable) to over 5 degrees.

What Causes Cold Spots?

There are generally two explanations behind the existence of cold spots: paranormal causes or environmental factors. Ghost hunters, of course, believe in the former, while sceptics and scientists will discredit cold spots as the latter.

Paranormal explanations

Paranormal investigators believe that ghosts stir the air when they manifest, which causes cold spots to form.

According to Mark Keyes, the director of the Pennsylvania Paranormal Association (PPA), “We’ve had team members actually put their hand in cold spots and their hand felt like it was burning, it was so cold.”

Keyes and the PPA (which includes paranormal enthusiasts, state troopers and even two FBI agents) use thermal devices, like thermometers, thermal imaging cameras and air ion counters, to record evidence of these sudden fluctuations in temperature. So it’s not just hearsay!

Now, that’s pretty terrifying.

But why do ghosts cause warm air to turn frigid?

Let’s just say, the dead grow restless in the spirit world and want to communicate with the living. The theory goes that for a spirit to manifest in our physical world, it requires energy. It sources this energy from the environment. So, as a ghost starts showing itself (or just communicating), it draws the heat from the air for the energy required, leaving behind cold spots.

A second theory is that spirits come from a different dimension. Cold spots, along with areas where there is a sudden drop in air moisture, indicate a gateway to this spirit dimension. These gateways are often also associated with a drop in air pressure.

Environmental explanations

Sceptics are quick to deny paranormal causes of mysterious colder spots. Here are some ways in which they explain the affected areas that give you chills:

  • Fear response: When you’re scared, you might get goosebumps and clammy hands as a natural fear response, which can make you feel suddenly cold.
  • Draughts: Even if the windows are closed, air bricks for ventilation or poorly sealed doors and windows can allow cold air from outside to come indoors, causing sudden temperature drops.
  • Damp and mould: Damp patches can cause black mould to grow. These are a good indication that there are condensation problems. This excess of water vapour on the walls or floor can cause cold spots to form.
  • Lack of insulation: Properties that aren’t properly insulated will experience cold spots, dampness, and other issues that ghost hunters might attribute to paranormal activity.

Sceptics also seem to firmly grasp onto the laws of thermodynamics, which states that energy (and therefore heat) can’t be created or destroyed. They argue that if there is a cold spot somewhere, there needs to be a hot spot nearby.

What To Do When You Find A Cold Spot

The first thing you need to do is to determine if there are any draughts or environmental reasons for the cold spot. You should check for open windows or doors, see if there’s any condensation on the glass, mirrors, furniture or any other smooth surface, and walk about to see if the cold deepens in specific areas (for example, closer to a window that’s not double-glazed).

If you’ve ruled out all possible environmental explanations, you might be dealing with a spirit!

It is also important to understand some other signs that may indicate that the location is haunted, which could include:

  1. Strange smells: Spirits are said to have a smell – friendly spirits smell sweet while malevolent spirits have a rotting meat smell.
  2. Doors shutting: Doors and cupboards suddenly slamming shut, or standing open after you closed them, is a sure sign of a ghostly visitor.
  3. EMF readings: Changes in the electromagnetic field, which you can detect on an EMF meter, could indicate the presence of a ghost. However, EMF spikes can also be caused by appliances, like microwaves – so just keep an open mind.
  4. Disembodied voices: Whispers, crying, laughing, singing – if there’s no source to these sounds, your house is probably haunted!
  5. Animals showing up: There’s no concrete evidence to prove this theory, but some paranormal enthusiasts claim that when wildlife comes into your home (like squirrels or birds), it could indicate a haunting. (The more likely explanation is that your home is warmer than outside.)
  6. Dread: If you have a constant feeling of dread or negativity, it could be because of dark entities lurking nearby. That feeling of being watched? You might just be right!
  7. Malfunctioning electronics: If the lights start to flicker or your appliances are switching on with no one around, you’ve got a spirit trying to communicate.
  8. Movements in the corner of your eye: Constantly feel like you just saw something move but when you look, there’s nothing? It’s probably time to call a paranormal investigator.
  9. Strange dreams: We all have bizarre dreams from time to time. But, if your dreams are getting so vivid and terrifying that you prefer to stay awake, your house might be haunted.

Recording Evidence Of Cold Spots

The easiest way to record evidence of a cold spot is to use any kind of device that records temperature. Here’s a list of temperature-recording devices to include in your ghost hunting kit:

  • Temperature gun: A non-contact temperature gun allows you to point the device in a direction and record the temperature there. This is a great device to measure the different temperatures between the cold spot and the rest of the room.
  • Thermal imaging camera: A thermal imaging camera can be used to visually show you the differences in temperature in a location. The screen of the device will display temperatures in different colours on the screen.
  • EDI meter: EDI meters are incredibly powerful ghost hunting devices that can show the temperature, air pressure, as well as humidity, which could alert you to the presence of ghosts.


Can cold spots move?

Yes, cold spots sometimes move throughout a building or haunted location. This can indicate that the manifesting spirit is also moving about the area. As the spirit moves, it absorbs heat from the environment, causing cold spots as it goes.

When are you most likely to encounter a cold spot during a paranormal investigation?

Cold spots can occur at any time when you’re ghost hunting. However, some paranormal investigators have reported that these cold areas seem to appear more frequently late at night or very early in the morning, between midnight and 4 am. There’s a reason that this time period is known as “the witching hour”!

The theory goes that during this time, the veil between our world and the spirit realm thins, making it easier for ghosts to manifest.


Stumbling upon a cold spot can be jarring, especially if you aren’t in the midst of a ghost hunting adventure. One minute you’re walking down the hall, the next your body turns cold, your hair stands up, and you have an innate sense that you’re being watched.

Paranormal enthusiasts believe that cold spots are caused by the manifestation of spirits or a thinning of the veil between the spirit realm and our world.

Sceptics think that it’s simply because of draughts, condensation, or damp spots.

Whatever the cause may be, you’d rather not be caught unawares by a spirit trying to reach out. So grab your temperature gun and your ghost communicator and go figure out what they want!

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!