It started when I was little. I can remember 6-7 year old. I use to chew gum and right before bedtime I'd chew my gum and watch whatever cartoon was on TV in my bedroom. My mom would tell me to throw my gum away and brush my teeth. I wouldn't throw it away (mind you I'm like 6 or 7) I'd put it at the back of my tv cabinet behind a picture frame. Yes it's gross but whatever. I'd brush my teeth and sit back in front of my tv until time to crawl in bed. Every single time I would do this my"abc" gum would hit me in the face. I would throw it away after that. Never really scared.
I remember walking down the driveway and smelling cherry cigars (my uncle was the only one who smoked them and he was dead before that happened.)
At 12 years old.
I use to hear a lady calling my name down the hallway at my parents home whenever nobody was there. My parents would be out to dinner and I'm an only child so it was just me. Generally, I'd hear it call me 2 or 3 times. I'd never answer it. I just locked myself in the living room and learned to deal with it since it happened almost every night.
I would see a figure down the hallway could never tell if it was male or female but the episodes started happening more. I never felt threatened but at this time I started getting nervous.
Flash forward to 18 years old.
I got married in a hurry mainly to get out of my parents house. We moved into an apartment in the middle of town. For a few weeks it was decent no episodes of any kind then I had my first miscarriage. I started seeing the same shadow as before. I brushed it off.
I got pregnant again this time everything was fine. We moved into a bigger rental property and things got way worse. I would hear arguing at night and sometimes in the middle of the day. My husband at the time worked 3rd. I was maybe 6 months pregnant and I saw this shadow again go down my hallway and into my room. This burning smell started and the smoke alarm went off. I looked around the kitchen and my room nothing was on fire the alarm went off and the smell was gone. I went back to my sofa and called my husband crying. He called me crazy and hung up.
My daughter was born early, my BP was horrible, and I had preeclampsia. At this time she was maybe a few weeks old. I put her in my room for a nap in the playpen for some reason I couldn't stand her room and I refused to let her nap in there. It was dark and just unsettling. So I left the door open in my room so I could hear her. I heard the door shut and a bang. My husband was there he heard it too. We ran down the hallway my door was closed and wouldn't open. He shoved it open and being as he had to put some force into it, we saw her playpen slide across the room so her playpen was holding the door shut. I wanted to leave but he refused and said he don't know what happened and he didn't want to talk about it.
Two years later we bought a house from an elderly woman's niece. Guys I really loved this house. It was built in 1949. The husband of the woman died in 92 in the driveway. The old woman died like a week or less after we bought the house. That's why they were rushing to sell. Didn't find out until later that the late husband had a sister that the niece move into the house to be closer to them, because she needed care. She died in my daughters room. Did not know this until a year later. I know they didn't have kids. I don't know why.
In this time I got pregnant with my 2nd daughter. My husband and I fight all the time. It was a horrible marriage but I stuck it out. He became abusive and it just got worse. I can't explain it but during this pregnancy something changed the house got dark. My husband would leave me every other weekend to go camping with his friends. The basement was the worse place in the house like something is down there. I got sensitive to the house and everything else around me. Well I would hear a grown man footsteps upstairs when my husband was gone. I would actually go to my friend's house and just stay with her when he camped. I was terrified.
This went on for months then my daughter was born. She was around 4 months old and my husband was camping that weekend so I sent my oldest to my parents to spend the night. I came in from supper that night Nola was asleep in the car seat so I set her in my room with the door open and I sat in the living room next to my room made sure there was nothing on to wake her and I played a game on my phone. About ten minutes after I sat down I heard her wake up and cry then I heard a grown man yell at her to shut up and she started screaming. I ran to her. Her car seat was turned around all of my drawers were open. I grab her and my dog got in the van something told me to look back at the house and in the window of my bedroom was a grown man. I called my mom crying and she called 911. I went to her house and my Dad went to mine he meet the two officers at the front door. All three of them did a walk through and even walked in the woods out back. One of the officers told my Dad no one has broke in but something is off.
Flash forward to my 3rd daughter. By this time whatever it was didn't pick on me or my girls anymore instead it started in on my husband. Which was great. In the basement we were arguing one night and I saw the light above his head swinging I told him to watch out and down that sucker came busted all on the floor. Over his head it was great.
Flash forward again we moved to the spare room upstairs for a change during this time all of my girls slept in our room out of fear. My husband woke me up in the middle of the night claiming that someone is in the walk in attic beside our bed knocking things down. I laughed at him and told him to go to sleep.
Few nights before we moved upstairs the girls and I were asleep in the downstairs bedroom it's right next to the front porch he was outside smoking. Mind you this is like 3am. My husband ran in turned the lights on a started yelling at me. Claiming I was going up and down the stairs he could hear me stomping on the hardwood. It stopped when I woke up and hasn't bothered me since or my girls since. It's now his problem. He got mad and didn't sleep the rest of the night.
Now flash forward again my oldest is 5 years old we were watching something on TV and she pointed out hearing something from the kitchen we look over and we both saw a woman walk from one side of the kitchen to the other I couldn't help but laugh I know I sound crazy but it's been years of this crap so it doesn't bother me anymore. I told my daughter not to be scared she is just watching out for us is all. Then we hear the front door unlock and she goes running to welcome her Daddy and nobody was there he didn't get home until an hour later. There has been so many more episodes since, that I could write a book about it. But we have since divorced and sold our house.
I'm happily engaged and the episodes have followed me to our new home but doesn't bother us like before. It's odd I know. It's my life I really know nothing else. I showed my parents pictures and videos at my old house and they 100% believe me now. They just don't know that I have been having these issues long before the house and still having them. My fiance understands and accepts. Thank God. I'd like to figure out what is happening with me and fix it but at this point I think nothing would help. I'm not a religious person and I don't find comfort in it like others do. Seems everything that could help is centered around religion.
In terms of an a-religious way of handling these issues, that may be a bit tricky - religion is the way humanity has always sought to deal with death, spirits etc. Your only alternative is science and I don't personally know of any scientific methodology for handling these things. There is some hypothetical scientific reasoning behind cleansings, however (https://upliftconnect.com/science-behind-smudging/). And you don't necessarily have to pray to any power in particular when you do it - just affirm your own authority over your home and establish your "paranormal entity ground rules". Granted, it is none of my business and I don't mean to imply that I expect an answer by any means but when you say that you are not really a religious person, do you mean that you are an atheist (nothing wrong with that) or that you just haven't found a belief system that fits? If the former, address the issue from a humanist angle if the latter, maybe hit the library and do a bit of research on various belief systems - whether it is a belief in your own efficacy or an additional boost from one higher power or another, knowing what you believe in will help.