To get into the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to re-tell my own “haunted house” story that I wrote about 8 years ago on ActiveRain. It’s not exactly “The Amityville Horror” scary, but it is an experience I will never forget. Let me set up the story for you. I was reading a featured article written by Shirley Byrd-Solem of Roseburg, OR, and the title was “And Someone Was Murdered in my Garage”
Her story was about a home she had sold to her buyers and the call she gets 1 year later. The buyers inform Shirley that the neighbors told them that there was a murder committed in the home.
Nothing was in the original disclosures, Shirley calls the listing agent, who contacts the previous owners, and they don’t know anything about a murder. The police are called, and they tell Shirley that there was not a crime committed at that address. The buyers are informed, and everything is fine.
A few months later, Shirley gets another call from her buyers. They inform her that they have been “hearing things at night”, sleep disturbances occurring, and the family has been sick. Another call is made to the police department about the house, and it turns out that there was a murder in the home 5 years prior to them moving in.
This story got me thinking about one of my first listings that I procured nearly 10 years ago. It was a golf course condo in Palm Springs, and the estate was being handled by the attorney. The owner of the home was named Betty, and she recently passed away from lung cancer. Her husband had passed away several years before.
One of the first questions I asked, “Did either of the owners die in the home?” The attorney answered no, and I received the keys to the condo.
I opened the door and I understand why Betty died of lung cancer. The smell of stale cigarettes is overpowering.
I stepped into the condo and rush of cold air enveloped me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and a chill went down my spine. The next thought that pops into my head is “I have to clean the patio” I grab a broom and I start sweeping.
After leaving the condo, I’m walking to my car and I run into one of the neighbors. I introduce myself as the Realtor, and the neighbor starts talking about Betty.
She tells me how nice Betty and her husband were, how long they lived there, and that Betty was a neat freak. She also informed me that her favorite spot of her was the patio. She kept it immaculate. I just cleaned the patio.
Now I start hearing the Twilight Zone song playing in my head.
Normally, I don’t believe in the paranormal but strange things started happening. When potential buyers would come into the home, they also felt “the cold”. Doors would slam shut when there was not any wind. And on several occasions, people were nearly hit with golf balls while standing on Betty’s patio.
The condo was not selling after 2 months, and I was in a quandary.
I was talking to a friend about what was happening at the condo, and he told me about a woman he knows, who is “in tune with the spirits”. I agreed to meet with her at Betty’s condo to give me a “spiritual evaluation”
She immediately felt Betty’s presence upon entering the condo. The “medium” informed me that Betty didn’t “like” any of the people who were looking at her home, and that she couldn’t let go. A ritual smudging needed to be performed.
The ritual of smudging can be defined as “spiritual house cleaning.” In theory, the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy.
We wrap together pieces of lavender and sage, light it with a match, and we go through every room to cleanse & purify the home. The ritual of smudging and chanting lasts for about 45 minutes.
2 days later, I show the home to a lovely couple from the East Coast. They immediately fall in love with the condo, especially the view from the patio. I silently “speak” to Betty and tell her that these people love & will take care of your home.
I told the couple about Betty, the smudging, everything. Later that day, a contract was signed & escrow was opened. Betty had chosen the owners of her home.
The moral of my ramblings: Whether you bury a St. Joseph’s statue in the yard, perform a smudging or exorcism, we Realtors do what we have to do to get a home sold. Happy Halloween!!!