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Why Porch Ceilings Are Painted Haint Blue

On Tuesday Troy Pappas came to spend part of the day with me.  Coming up early from Virginia Beach, we were together for two of my three inspections that day.  It was good to spend time with a fellow home inspector! 

On one house there was a large, wrap-around front porch.  I noticed that the ceiling was not painted blue.  There is a tradition of painting front porch ceilings blue in Virginia, and perhaps elsewhere, and that is so for a reason.  An important part of any home inspection is explaining why it should be blue.  Troy heard me!

One of my fluff classes at the University of Virginia was called "Virginia Folklore."  It was a very fun class, all about the sayings and rhymes and songs and traditions that we are all familiar with, at least in part.

One tradition I learned about in class was that of painting a front porch ceiling light blue.  In Virginia it was called "Haint Blue."  In olden times ghosts were called "haints."  I see light blue ceilings everywhere, and virtually every week on my home inspections.

Some people do it to bring a nice blue sky onto the porch during a cloudy day.  That is NOT the reason.  The real reason is, according to traditional Virginia folklore, that a haint blue porch ceiling wards off ghosts!  This is Virginia - we have a lot of those here!

If it is not painted blue I dutifully note it as a home inspection deficiency and warn the buyers...   ;>)

Well, on an inspection today I noted pulling up to the house that the porch ceiling was white.  White!  I felt an immediate chill.

While up on the roof, knocking around with my thermal infrared camera, I looked into a window and boom!  There it was!  An image!

Ghosts are far easier to see in a reflection or mirror (unlike vampires...) and he was sitting on the ridge of the roof, just staring at me.  In the image the purple color shows his cold eyes and cold heart.  Looking into his eyes was like looking right into his skull!  And he was holding out his warm, yellow hands like he was asking for something.  Sure, like I'm carrying ghost collectibles around during an inspection. I shuddered!

I turned around and looked in his direction, and boom, he was gone!  Just like that...

My recommendation:  Paint your front porch ceilings a beautiful light blue!  Don't let happen to you what happened to me...

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 24 commentsJay Markanich • April 15 2010 05:14AM

Comments

Good morning Jay,

I had not heard this before but will take note of always painting te ceiling blue on a porch..no ghosts for me!

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 8 years ago

Dorie - what is the point in taking that risk!  Wow, look at the ghost in the post!  Yikes...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Never heard of that one before! Interesting blog, Jay.

Posted by William True, Sarasota Real Estate (True Sarasota Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Just glad to put the word out William...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Great piece of folklore that I was not aware of.

As a volunteer firefighter gaining knowledge about our recently purchased TIC, I won't spoil your fun though about the ghost!!

Posted by Jim Palmer, Washington County, Florida (Chipola Realty - Chipley Office (850) 638-2777) over 8 years ago

Jay Jay Jay don't go scaring away the buyers with your chilling stories.  Now could you answer the quesition of why Zombies and Vampries can't work well together?

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago

This is a good one to re-post on Halloween!!!

Posted by Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR (Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA) over 8 years ago

Jay, I have notice porches painted blue, never knew why.  It is amazing what we learn here on AR. LOL Interesting post.

Posted by Diane Williams over 8 years ago

Never heard of that. Thanks for the interesting story.

 

BTW

My guess is the image/ghost is the homeowner waiting for you to get the heck out of his house so he could go on with his day. ;)

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) over 8 years ago

Very cool story, Jay.  I do not see that in my neck of the woods very often, but will keep note of it as an interesting story.

Posted by Rich Edgley (Greater Chicagoland Home Inspection) over 8 years ago

Jay, interesting post. I've lived in Virginia a long time and was not aware of this. I guess my builder didn't know about this either. I off to buy some blue paint. lol Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Yup---go ahead take another bite!

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jim - if you have a good story, spoil, spoil!

Cindy - of course!  Bad blood...

Pam - be sure to use blue paint before you decorate.

Diane - there are other stories too.  That wasps won't make a nest on blue and that spiders won't spin a web there either.

You're welcome Vince!  Your guess would be wrong though...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Rich - these blue ceilings are everywhere out here.

Get the good stuff Michael!

Charlie - so you bite first and lick last?  Is there a Tootsie Roll center?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Interesting post about the painted blue porch ceilings in Virginia! 

Posted by Chris Minion (O'Brien Realty) over 8 years ago

Just folklore Chris!  Except for that ghost guy up there...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

 One of my fluffy courses was in Witchcraft....happy to cast a spell to rid any home of the evil spirits not banished by blue ceilings....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

Thanks Sally, but I'm not one to go there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

My porch ceilings are brown- do you think I should paint them blue? 

Posted by Shanna Hall, I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311 (Real Estate Solutions) over 8 years ago

Hi Shanna - if your ghosts are friendly I wouldn't worry about it...   ;)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

You should have saved this for Halloween.  Or better yet, maybe a series of re-posting these stories this upcoming Halloween!

Mosby, when you look at him, you're looking into your own soul.  Literally.  :)

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) almost 7 years ago

Jeremy - I was on a roof investigating a bad window, siding trim and roofing.  I looked in the window and there he was!  It was a shock, to say the least.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Many here in the south paint the porch ceilings light blue as it is believed to draw the flying insects toward it, and away from the mortals in their rocking chairs and swings :-) 

 

 

Posted by Ed & Terri Smith (RE/MAX Coastal Properties Destin Florida) almost 7 years ago

Ed and Terri - that was one of the things in my Folklore class, that wasps won't build a nest on a blue ceiling.  Have you heard of "haint blue?"  A haint is a ghost, older word, and the blue was specially created in the olden days to ward them off!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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