Can't sell? Bring in the 'spirit doctor'

Forget the chintzy decor - it may be 'geopathic stress' that is driving buyers away, says Robert Nurden
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The Independent Online

Your house has been on the market for over a year and you can't get a buyer for love nor money. The estate agents have done what they can, but have now given up on it. You feel the place is jinxed - and that may, in fact, be the problem.

Your house has been on the market for over a year and you can't get a buyer for love nor money. The estate agents have done what they can, but have now given up on it. You feel the place is jinxed - and that may, in fact, be the problem.

That analysis would strike a chord with Susie Shaw, who runs a profitable business working as an alternative house doctor, for want of a better description. In her 10 years in practice, she has on countless occasions relieved hard-to-sell properties of "geopathic stress" (GS) and seen them change hands within a matter of weeks.

"About 12 years ago, I felt something was missing from my job in the City," says the Twickenham mother of two. "I decided to take a part-time course in feng shui, for which I found I had an aptitude. I gradually learnt to 'read' the energy in a property and to diagnose what this might mean in the lives of those who have lived or worked there. I added space clearance, the removal of GS and even spirit release, to my portfolio. Ever since, work has poured in."

And this is where it starts getting spooky. I told her that 14 years ago a lodger mentioned that I had a ghost in my house. He had said there were, in fact, two spirits: a man in his fifties who had been there for about 70 years, and a teenage girl from the Second World War, both "trapped and lost". He had seen the girl's white shimmering shape sitting on the top step of the stairs the first time he came to the house. In my scepticism, I said nothing and thought no more about it.

Until Shaw said she'd like to come and have a look. She identified the same room as he had as the ghosts' "home". After closer examination (which she conducted in private), she came up with exactly the same spirit profiles as he had - two, not one, as I had led her to believe there were.

What she then did was "gently move them on into the next world", a process that, she emphasises, is different from exorcism, which is an "aggressive approach". Not having felt the spirits' presence in the first place, I can't say there is any obvious difference, although the atmosphere in that room does seem lighter and the temperature warmer.

Geopathic stress is not one of the key factors in the selling and buying process as far as the National Association for Estate Agents is concerned. Chief executive Peter Bolton King said: "This is not an area in which we would expect to get involved, though clearly a house is more than just bricks and mortar. Some years ago, I sold an old house said to have a ghost in it, and the buyer thought this was an added selling point."

Eighteen months ago, Di Fisher bought a house in Leicestershire that had been built in 1580. Soon she was aware of unusual things happening: doors closed of their own accord, lights went on and off, and children could be heard running around and singing.

Once, during a party, all her guests saw a dark shape the size of a dog moving across the room. Her cat was so frightened, it shot up the chimney before crashing back down into the hearth. "I contacted Susie," she says, "and she came to have a look. She said there were 11 ghosts in the house. She cleared them all and now the atmosphere is completely different."

Shaw says some 90 per cent of her clearance jobs have some kind of spirit element to them. But more widespread is the slightly less sensational phenomenon of "geopathic stress".

This is becoming an issue because of the perception in certain quarters of increased amounts of electronic smog in the environment (to which GS is allegedly linked). GS is even said to happen after the addition of an extension, certain kinds of rock or mineral in the earth, or a stream running beneath the property.

Clearing lines of geopathic stress from a property is similar to performing acupuncture on the human body, says Shaw. The technique she uses to detect it is to dowse with two copper rods. The careful application of "earth acupuncture needles" then enables her to get rid of the negative aspects of the energy field.

"I know it sounds somewhat unusual to link the highly commercial world of property transaction to the esoteric arts," says Shaw, "but as far as I'm concerned the connections are undeniable. Perhaps the estate agency business should start to take note of them."

Spirit levels

Signs of 'spirits'

1. Light bulbs blowing

2. Pockets of coldness

3. Radios turning on of their own accord

4. Objects disappearing

5. Children's night terrors

Signs of 'geopathic stress'

1. Ant and wasp nests

2. Cats being attracted to the garden

3. Poor sleep, illness and constant tiredness

4. Relationship breakdown

5. House stuck on the market for ages