The knack Exorcising your home, by the Rev Tom Willis

"Find out about the history of the house - knowing helps to diagnose the cause of the phenomena. In minor cases you can pray in the house and that's enough. If, however, you know that people who lived there before were dabbling in the occult, then you might be dealing with something evil: you'd need stronger healing than if it's Mrs Brown trying to tell people that she left some money under the floorboards for her grandchildren.

If you suspect there's evil around, don't attempt to deal with it. Most dioceses in the Church of England have at least one exorcist, so approach the local clergy and see if they have any expertise; if not they can usually recommend somebody. When a clergyman comes to perform an exorcism, you'll need to celebrate communion in your house, commanding any evil to depart and any restless soul to go in peace to that place appointed for it. In one case, according to the home-owner, even as these words were spoken the walls of the room became warmer and the place lost its chill. The house will need the sign of the cross to be made in holy water on each wall.

Usually only one priest will be necessary, but if it's something nasty then expect two or three. We're not ghost-hunters, we're responding to people who say, `Please can you help?' I'm more curious than frightened, but sometimes the residents will point and say, `It's there!' and run away, whereas to me I'm just blessing an empty corner." Interview by Fiona McClymont

The Rev Tom Willis is an advisor to the Archbishop of York on occult disturbances

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