Witchcraft Gives Home Sellers an Otherworldly Last Chance

witchcraft home cleansingSelling houses in today's economy is tough, so who couldn't use a little bit of help -- or even witchcraft. In Salem, Mass., Lori Bruno, a self-proclaimed psychic who says she's descended from a witch who was burned at the stake during medieval Europe's bubonic plague, blesses homes to rid them of sadness and negative energy that might either keep the home from selling, or could distress the new owners.

"Each house has a different energy, and requires a different ceremony," Bruno told AOL Real Estate. "Some of [the blessings] I do over the window, some of them over the doorway. It all depends on the energy I feel that needs to be worked with."

(See our friendly neighborhood witch perform a cleansing ritual in an exclusive video after the jump!)

Typically a ceremony lasts about 30 minutes and, in addition to the passing of a sword over windows or doorways, it involves the burning of candles or incense and the sprinkling of salt and water, to represent air, water and earth, and the ringing of a bell. During the process, she'll recite rhyming incantations such as, "Only good will come to this door. May prosperity enter forever more. Anything negative that is here has to go and disappear..."

Although some may believe burying a St. Joseph statute in your front yard, is equally effective, as AOL Real Estate previously reported in "St. Joseph Can Sell Your Home While Standing on His Head," that may not compare to a personal house visit.

Real estate agent Janet Howcroft of Boston-area 5 Star Realty Group, told AOL Real Estate that
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Bruno, whom she's known for about 10 years, began blessing some of her listings a couple of years ago when the foreclosure market got really bad.

"People were angry and upset and houses were destroyed and damaged and she came in and offered to bless any homes that I had with the condition that [the sellers or buyers] give a donation to a charity of their choice." Bruno never accepts payment, but recommends St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for cancer research or other charity that helps children.

"They should donate. It starts [a new owner's] first act of kindness in that house and it will only bring kindness back," says the 70-year-old Bruno who also does psychic readings at a Salem shop called Hex, which she blesses once a week.

"I'll have her bless a house at the time it is listed, or if it has been on the market a long time I'll have her come in and bless it and we will get a buyer right after that," said Howcroft, who says about 90 percent of her clients accept the offer to have their home cleansed.

witchcraft foreclosure"I had a property -- not a foreclosure -- in Beverly at the beginning of last summer that was under contract three separate times and kept falling apart on home inspection," said Howcroft. "I had her come bless the property and within 10 days it was under contract and it was sold three days later."

John Runnals, who recently bought a Beverly rental property from Howcroft, let Bruno bless the place because he figured it couldn't hurt, he told the Boston Herald.

"Part of me thinks [home blessings are] a little out there, but you need to be open to things," Runnals said. "Who am I to say in the grand scheme of things what works and what doesn't?"

If you can't get Bruno, who has been doing cleansings since she was 18, to come out to your neighborhood, that doesn't mean all is lost. You can do a blessing yourself, or call on someone else, says Howcroft. "My advice would be for them to get whoever they feel comfortable, whether it is someone like a Lori Bruno or a member of their clergy, to give the house a nice blessing to clean out negative energy so that when they sell that house they want to put that positive energy out there. I think everyone should have their house blessed just to make sure."

Desperate times, apparently, sometimes require desperate measures, no matter how spooky.

Sheree R. Curry
, who has had her Jewish home blessed with a mezuzah prayer scroll tacked to its doorpost, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the
Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.

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