Have you ever had the feeling a ghost lives in your home? Maybe you've noticed open cabinets when you know you always close them. Perhaps you see the oven door ajar -- but you never cook. Or maybe you hear strange "house settling" sounds. What is going on? Is this a ghost? Maybe, or you could have a phrogger.
What is phrogging?
Unlike adverse possession, wherein the trespassers let their presence be known, phrogging is a person secretly living in another person's home. The word is pronounced "frogging" and gets its name because phrogs -- as the people who engage in this activity are called -- tend to "hop" around from house to house, as a frog might do from lily pad to lily pad.
If you've been noticing odd things around the house, instead of calling a paranormal investigator, you might just need to conduct a thorough home inspection.
But get ready for the creep factor to set in if you do indeed discover a phrogger and realize you're not alone (and might not have been for some time). That could be just as shocking as discovering an actual ghost -- maybe even more so. And this phrogger probably knows way too much about you.
Why do people phrog?
Phroggers usually stay in someone else's home because they have no place else to go. They might have been living in the home before you and just never left, as when a landlord goes through the eviction process and doesn't realize the tenant never moved out. Or maybe the phrogger picked your home because it was convenient for them for some reason.
How phroggers behave
Most phroggers don't want to get caught. After all, they have a good thing going: They have a place to sleep and access to bathroom facilities (and maybe even more of your home), all rent- and mortgage-free. Therefore, they usually hide in places like attics, basements, crawl spaces, or any other part of the home residents typically don't go.
Phroggers may even eat your food. If they do, they probably take it from the back of the pantry or fridge so you won't miss it. They also will likely use your shower, probably right after you leave for the day.
Yes, phrogging is real
Phrogging might sound like another urban legend, but it really happens. Some notable examples:
- In 2008, a Pennsylvania family discovered a man living in the attic of their duplex. He'd been there a week and was not a good uninvited guest: He stole food, money, and Christmas presents and wore the family's clothes.
- In 2012, a South Carolina woman reported her ex-boyfriend took up residence in her attic's heating unit after he was released from jail -- more than 12 years after they broke up.
- In 2013, Ohio State college roommates discovered evidence of phrogging in a locked basement of their rental house. Their real estate agent had the key, opened the door, and sure enough, there was a makeshift bedroom with evidence of someone living there: bedding, photos, and leftover food.
Note to tenants: Change the locks when you move in!
Phrogging vs. squatting
Don't confuse phrogging with squatting, which means people unlawfully live in an unoccupied property. Phrogging occurs when people unlawfully stay in an occupied property. With both phrogging and squatting, the remedy is the same: Call the police immediately.
The bottom line
Although it really happens, phrogging is not common. Otherwise you'd hear about incidents occurring more often, and at the very least, you probably would've heard this term before.
But if you're concerned about phrogging happening to you, you might want to conduct regular home inspections and invest in a security system with cameras.