Bear with me on this one. I performed something a bit more than a house cleansing and a bit less than an exorcism on two homes on Friday. It took all day, though most of that time I spent preparing materials for the living inhabitants to use since the actual spirit-dealings were not as time consuming as talking with the homeowners to fully understand what was going on. If you read nothing further on this post, please take this away for your own workings if you deal with hauntings, ghost hunting, etc.: when a house manifests psychic phenomena look first to the lives of the living people there. A lot of people are programmed to look to the history of a building or locale for a romantic story of haunting, but ultimately a living psyche is needed to fuel the majority of phenomena. There’s a Japanese horror trope where it’speople that are haunted and not buildings; while I refuse to watch any more such horror movies ((I almost bought a tarp for my television after watching Ringu II)), I agree with the trope.
(There’s also a snake picture below the cut for those who are freaked by snakes.)
What I encountered in this particular situation was a combination of haunting, squatting and dimensions bumping into each other. Each one by itself wasn’t bad, but the combination thereof amplified the entire situation.
To outline the situation as best I understand it:
The primary haunting location was in South Minneapolis. The secondary haunting location was near where I live in Northeast Minneapolis. The person who lived in the primary location frequently spends the night with his lover up here in Nordeast. His lover rents a room in my working partner Joel’s house. While Joel knows the basics of house cleansing and wards, since he moved in there there’s been a few incidents where Joel has had to do some magical cleansing work – and it’s always related to a renter or someone who’s spent excess time in the house. This in particular lends credence to my “living energy is required for a real haunting.”
The person with the primary haunting was classifiable as a non-believer, as was his roommate. Obviously Joel’s house had all the believers, including this man’s lover, who then talked to me about some of his experiences with the spirit world. He had noticed a slow progression of more activity, but his partner did not, and until you experience something unavoidable, you pretty much want to be a non-believer as it keeps you well within the range of social acceptability. I’m probably going to have to do some follow up training with both the men living in South Minneapolis, because once you see the spirit world you can only unsee it if you learn how.
Here are some interesting factors I want to note:
In the primary haunting location, both men living there are first generation immigrant. I’m interested in this because I’m second generation immigrant and I suspect that those of us who are slightly less indigenous to the United States tend to have slightly more incidents like this, even if rooted firmly in non-belief as these two men were. The primary house owner is Norwegian (?) or German, and the renter’s parents are Haitian.
Second, the owner of this home is waiting for the house to go into foreclosure. Up to my visit, he had mentally relinquished ownership of that home. I fully believe that this relinquishment is what precipitated the phenomena.
Third, the homeowner spends a lot of time in bars. Most bars in Minneapolis are notorious for both their living resident alcoholics and the hitchhiker spirits that live in them, and it’s actually the newer bars that have this more. The exception to this is Merlin’s Rest and I think that it’s no coincidence that the bar has a Druid on staff.
In the primary location, the following phenomena was described to me. I decided to class it as “emergency” because physical phenomena was happening:
1)A glass broke in the owner’s hand – it was a clean break, and while it could be explained by poor glass blowing technique, when I examined the glass I couldn’t pinpoint a weak spot. There’s still a high likelihood that this phenomena is attributable to physics, but given the owner’s psychological state, I chose to put it in the “maybe” category.
2)The owner found the stove lit when he had not been home. His tenant does not cook and generally avoids the stove. That I definitely chalked up on the supernatural end. Stoves do not turn on by themselves. This also made me consider it an emergency, since no one has “spirit negligence” coverage on their home insurance.
3)General feelings of creepiness, pressure, both men getting shaken awake at night ((something I’ve experienced myself very recently, though to a different end)), and the owner seeing a face with black eyes and white face staring at him. My first thought at this description was “Faery tribe!” even though my encounters with Faeries are limited.
4)The tenant is in his mid-forties and recently survived a crippling accident. He currently suffers from untreated (?) depression.
In the second house, the phenomena described to me:
1)Strange animal activity. Joel’s Labrador Retriever, who loves everybody, did not want to let the man with the activity described above in the house. The cats, which were very familiar with this man, were also showing signs of discomfort. Also, this man saw a bat bouncing off of nothing, as though something was there and screwing up its sonar. Bats are common in Minnesota but I’ve found they only make themselves known when a)you have a great toilet to sleep in or b)they want to warn you about something. I hope to continue to avoid any issues with bats and rabies.
2)A general “creepy” vibe. In this case “creepy” means “like thousands of little bugs with cold feet crawling on your nerve endings.”
3)Things being turned off that were on, things being turned on that were off.
I did the second house first, in part because I knew Joel could fix the basic stuff on his own. As far as I can tell he shares my view that wandering ghosts and spirits know damn well they aren’t supposed to be in our homes unless invited, and most bank on the humans that see them feeling all guilty and soft-hearted because the ghost hunter shows that are so popular these days always make us feel sorry for the poor stuck/lost ghost. In my experience, a truly stuck ghost is rare. The ones I meet know damn well they’re dead, that they don’t need any sustenance that they can’t get off a light bulb and that they follow people home for a free meal or for some more obscure motivation specific to the individual ghost. This excludes visitations from relatives and those who shared family ties, with or without blood. Ancestral rules differ.
Joel did a really good job putting up a ward that extended across his property. I could feel it on the sidewalk out front of his house, long before I crossed his threshold. While there were pockets of stagnant energy generated by Joel and his clutter ((Hate ghosts? Clean.)) the top two floors of the house felt pretty good. But when I got to the bottom floor where his tenant lived and where the man from the first household was sleeping, it felt much colder than it should have, and I felt a distinctive tingling around my neck and shoulders, especially in a spot on my shoulder where I had a recent attachment incident of my own. ((The only thing that sucks more than short-term schizophrenia is permanent schizophrenia.)) When I do a cleansing I work with my second sight off. It keeps stuff from messing with me by flying at my face or the usual parlor crap, and it helps me focus on my main job: reinforcing with the homeowner that s/he has the real power. Even with it “off” I can still see some things in non-altered states: movements out of my peripheral vision, odd and multiplied shadows, pictures in my minds eye, and often I can see the outline of a form filling up space, just not the full details because I keep my “vision key” off most of the time.
Each room in the basement felt a little bit weird. It was also colder than it should have been – I have been in that basement in below zero weather and felt perfectly comfortable; this visit was during late spring/early summer warm weather. It felt way too cold. Also, the air vibrated. Most of what I felt was a residual energy, rather than an actual presence.
I did find a presence in the laundry room. It reminded me vaguely of a toad. I told Joel what I saw, and agreed with their assessment a cleansing was needed. Joel followed my usual instructions: smudge, spray (salt water, blessed), and offer. For the offering we went with invoking and requesting the aid of Persephone and Hades, as the bat represents Persephone, and this time of year we get the above with Persephone and the below with Hades.
I left a Flip camera to record the room, and Joel and I went out to breakfast. I didn’t have the patience to watch the full footage, but I didn’t notice anything overly remarkable. The animals of the house were surprisingly quiet, but other than shadow movement easily explained by passing clouds filtered through the egress windows, I did not catch anything in particular.
Joel reported that after we parted for the afternoon, he went into the laundry room and felt something touch him on the spine. I also noticed that a blue candle I lit as an offering to Archangel Raphael in his tenant’s space was snuffed out neatly when I came back that evening for dinner. His tenant denied snuffing the candle. ((It was a jar candle that’s generally safe to allow to burn down.))
During the afternoon I went home and prepared a few things for the other house. I went by instinct, mostly, and thankfully I live within walking distance of an Arabic and an Indian grocery store; between the two, and the Mercados on my street, I can obtain magical supplies for much less than I’d spend at any local occult shop. I bottled up some of my banishing and uncrossing oils, made up an extra bottle of my own Florida Water ((think quickie aura cleansing that is much stronger than what smudging does)) recipe, and I made a powder of arrowroot, aesfoetida and Solomon’s seal. I also grabbed the mix of copal and orange peel I keep on hand for fumigation, and along the way I bought two onions, several key limes, and a coconut. The Indian grocery store also had ceremonial brooms for sale for $3.99. I picked out the most lopsided one of the bunch so that the homeowner would not inadvertently use the broom for housekeeping.
When I arrived at the primary haunting, the front door felt fine. The homeowner had a coworker come over at lunch that day, and she performed a Russian prayer that invites the spirits to move east. He says she felt something hug her, etc. This made the main threshold of the house feel fine, but the basement still had an unnatural creepy-crawly coldness vibe, and a few spots where I felt sentience coming at me. I also noticed that this man kept this space dark even as we were walking through it, and that the basement had a non-functioning door leading from the outside to the inside. As I walked through, I realized that yes, there were spirits wandering around, but that there were also non-physical beings that were just as alive as myself. I also sensed a hovering question, “So we go east. Then what?”
I took the owner outside and had him tell me as much as he felt able to. His sense was that the universe was punishing him for losing his house. I reassured him that the universe doesn’t generally get involved in real estate, but that his feelings about the property were attracting at least some of the phenomena.
As far as I can figure out, there were multiple things going on:
1)Yes, there were spirits. Squatters, mostly, that sensed this man relinquishing his claim on his home. This encouraged them to wander right over that threshold and take up residence themselves. The amount of time he spent in bars could explain how some of them were also getting into his lover’s home; squatter-spirits love bars, as I learned from a shaman friend.
2)The non-functional door became a sort of spirit passageway.
3)The door may also have been a passage to Faery, and the face he saw was likely some sort of bain-sidhe. They’re not bad so much as they don’t like humans. I’m not a Celt, and neither is the homeowner, which left him really unprepared for dealing with the idea of Faery. ((I’ve said many time we ain’t talkin’ Tinkerbell. In Minneapolis, there is a section that distinctly belongs to Faery, and it used to have a hold on most of south Minneapolis.)) He had some firmly entrenched ideas about the spirit world and the living world; I don’t think he was ready for my take that what was going on involved a lot more worlds than just the two he assumed.
I played it by ear because there was so much stuff going on, but just for documentation’s sake, here’s a loose list of what I did:
1)I identified the most sentient spirit or faery (I think it was faery.) I explained that it needed to leave, that I wasn’t as nice as the first lady that talked to it and that if it didn’t go, I would make it go. I requested it shut the doors between dimensions that caused so much traffic. In my mind’s eye I saw a blue creature hurriedly shutting a series of doors while asking me for more specifics on “go east.” I suggested that it go east to the Mississippi River and ride it down into the ocean, where the spirit of all waters lives (I was thinking along the lines of Yemaya, although this is outside my familiarity zone.) There it could recycle into a new life form or be given a new home under water if it liked. ((It’s not like they need to breathe as far as I can tell.)) I do have a vague concern that if I suggest this too often I could trigger a Flying Dutchman situation. But maybe that can only happen to pirates.
2)I had the owner find a silver coin and bury it exactly halfway underneath a gate on the easternmost point of his property, reasserting himself as the master of his home. While there was still “stuff” after he did that, it was like someone turned off an electric fence and there were just a few animals milling around.
3)I had the owner take a broom and run around the basement shooing things out. While I have a pat phrase I say, I had the homeowner do a “party’s over, everybody out!” approach as it was a concept he already understood. It was like clearing out Bourbon Street after Mardis Gras, without the giant street cleaning machines afterwards.
4)I then instructed the remaining spirits to go to the river.
5)I cut the onions in half and placed them in strategic places where the weird energy was the strongest. I did the same with some of the limes.
6)I then gave the tenants of the house the Florida water, and showed them how to use it.
7)I presented them with the coconut and the aesfoetida powder. I explained that the powder is the napalm and the coconut is the A-bomb; they are to use them only the event of further shenanigans. I also talked to the owner about using light as a banishing energy (and suggested a few smartphone apps that could help with it, like a simple strobe light since he’s a techie). I presented him with several printouts I made of the 3rd Seal of Jupiter that protects from harm and demons while traveling or at home and I placed the coconut on the stove as a general warning – and because the stove is still often the spiritual center of a home.
8)I had the owner burn the copal and orange incense in the area most affected by phenomena.
I then did a simple cleaning on his tenant’s room, especially as he was describing frequent wake-ups during the night. As far as I could tell from the energy, his situation was different, in part a byproduct of depression but also more of an “ancestors want your attention” thing. I did a quick brush-and-cleanse, and deposited a few cut limes in his room, too. I also explained to him what I thought might be happening: much of what I felt was energy coming out of his body and then coming up with something to amuse itself. This was part of why his ancestors wanted his attention.
The homeowner was supposed to join us for dinner at his lover’s place, but never did arrive. He texted me that he was enjoying the feeling of his home so much that he wanted to hang out with it.
As for his lover’s place, I did add onions and limes there, especially in the laundry room. On follow up, the lover reports both homes feel much better. I think it’s well within Joel’s range to maintain that energy, and Joel’s capacity as a witch is growing daily. The Faery bleed was weird, but at least I knew what it was, and I do think that the bulk of what happened stems from the psychological condition of the men living in that home.
In my own case, I spent most of Saturday recovering. The mold in the basement caused my feet to hive for the first time in a long time, and despite a full and brilliant meal provided for me at Joel’s, I made the rookie mistake of not grounding properly at the first opportunity and two days later I still feel ravenous shortly after eating. I did spend some time using a white noise program on my Droid to cleanse, as well as a sandalwood-soap cleansing shower. Even so, I’m always deceived by how much energy even cooperative house cleansings and spirit negotiations take.
Oh, and I need to look up some recipes for key lime pie. Even after making offerings I have a few left.