We got the SPIRITUAL cleaners in

We got the SPIRITUAL cleaners in: A venomous divorce. A curmudgeon’s corpse. Even a 1,000-year-old Viking killer — the sinister echoes of them all plagued these modern houses. So did a unique healing process really purge them?

The generous proportions of the handsome red-brick Victorian country residence seemed to speak of warmth, comfort, security and the welcome of home when Natalie Reeves Billing first set eyes on it.

Set in 17 acres, the 21-room double-fronted house was built in the 1840s, and for Natalie it was the ideal ‘forever’ house for her husband and two children.

Yes, there were some odd temperature changes around the place, strange shadows and unexplained noises at night, but the family put them down to the reality of living in an old property.

Natalie Reeves Billing with her son Nathaniel, 8, in his bedroom at their home Manor House Farm in Birkenhead, Wirral

Set in 17 acres, the 21-room double-fronted house was built in the 1840s, and for Natalie it was the ideal ‘forever’ house for her husband and two children

Even when, a year after moving in, Natalie discovered it had an interesting history, she was not deterred.

‘My friend spotted my house on a website about local history,’ explains Natalie, who lives in Merseyside. ‘It turned out it was a medieval priory and historically had also served as a courthouse where those convicted were hanged from a tree on the grounds. It was intriguing — definitely a conversation starter — but we thought no more of it.’

Then, four years ago, the atmosphere changed. Natalie’s son Nathaniel, then four, started having nightmares and sleepwalking. ‘He kept talking about a bear he’d see in his dreams and was convinced it lived in his room,’ she remembers. Natalie just put it down to a childish imagination and assumed he’d grow out of it. But one evening things became far more sinister.

‘It was the middle of the night and I was woken by Nathaniel screaming at the top of his voice,’ recalls Natalie, 40. ‘I got out of bed to find him standing at the top of the stairs in a trance.

‘I tried to lead him into my bedroom to calm him down, but he wanted to go back into his. As we walked in I noticed the light bulb wasn’t working and it was freezing. The darkness was really pronounced and I was very tense.

‘As Nathaniel woke up, he looked over my shoulder towards the corner of his room, which was in impenetrable darkness, and said, “Mum, I don’t like the way he’s looking at me.”

‘My heart stopped and I wanted to scream but I knew I had to keep it together for his sake. As I debated what to do, I heard a growl, followed by an escape of air from that corner. It was at this point I picked my son up and ran out.’

Natalie, a children’s author and social enterprise owner of a non-profit organisation aimed at improving literacy among children, spent the rest of the night wide awake.

‘My husband is very logical and said we needed to be practical about the problem, reasoning we were sensible people and there had to be a logical solution,’ she recalls. But in the following days Natalie became convinced a ‘sensible’ approach was not what was needed.

She researched, and quickly sourced, a medium to come and ‘spiritually cleanse’ the house, for £200, and refused to let Nathaniel sleep in his room again until it had been carried out.

Karen Ashton, at home in Bideford, Devon used spiritual cleansing to rid her home of bad energy, which she put down to it being the scene of the previous owners’ nasty divorce

Most would consider this eccentric, but driving out ‘negative energy’ is a course of action taken by plenty of sensible people similar to Natalie and her husband.

Last month, it was reported that the buyers of the New York mansion formerly owned by paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein had ordered ‘a full makeover — physically and spiritually’ of the $51 million (£36 million) home.

It is here, in this sumptuous house of horrors, that the systematic abuse of underage girls was said to have taken place.

While it’s not clear how Australian financier Michael D. Daffey and his wife plan to cleanse the 40-room property, in the UK it’s usually carried out by healers or even men (or women) of the cloth.

Alexandra Wenman, energy healer and author of Archangel Fire Oracle guidebook, says weird atmospheres, family members acting out of sorts and a sense that ‘something isn’t right’ are all classic signs that a home needs to be ‘cleared’, as she calls it.

‘In the same way you keep your physical house clean, it’s a good idea to stay on stop of your home’s spiritual hygiene,’ she explains. ‘Stagnant energy can have a negative impact on health and emotions, and regular space clearing helps keep your home peaceful and uplifted. It’s beneficial to cleanse your space after moving house, when you’ve had guests or following a conflict or disruption.’

Space clearing can combine a variety of techniques from dowsing, which uses Y-shaped rods to locate trapped energy, bells which can move on negative energy, ‘smudging’ which is burning plants, usually sage, and placing crystals known for their healing qualities about the property.

In Natalie’s case, the psychic picked up on the negative energy around her son’s room, and used several techniques to purify the air and move the energy on.

‘For a while it worked and then after several months everything started up again. So Natalie consulted a Methodist priest, who blessed the house, sprinkling each room with holy water. This again worked for a while.

Then, last March, Natalie literally unearthed another spooky characteristic to their property which, she believes, finally got to the root of the problem.

The children — Natalie also has a daughter Ellie Rose, seven — were digging for worms for her husband to use as fishing bait, when they found a dagger.

The essential house cleaning tool kit

  • Smudge sticks — Dried sage bunches, which, when burnt, are said to drive out negative energy and impurities.
  • Crystals — Selenite is known as ‘liquid light’ and is used for its uplifting qualities. Black tourmaline is said to absorb negative energy and protect those from taking on more.
  • Bells and wind chimes — Said to literally vibrate the negative energies into alignment, creating a positive flow.

‘It was rusty and looked very old. Curious, I popped it on a local archaeology Facebook group to see if anyone knew what it was. An archaeological group contacted me and before I knew a team of ten were outside in hazmat suits and masks to investigate.’

According to Natalie, the team had always been interested in her land because the property is built over what is thought to be the site of the Battle of Brunanburh, which took place in AD 937, when an Anglo-Saxon army led by King Athelstan defeated an invading army of Vikings.

While the location has never been confirmed, the team’s findings — 400 artefacts, everything from coins to arrow heads to the wheel from a wagon — are currently under analysis by medieval historians, scientists and archaeologists.

One of the team explained that Vikings often took on the monikers of fearsome animals. ‘The bear in my son’s room, which I’m convinced I felt, had an imposing masculine energy. It made more sense about why a bear had appeared and why there were those guttural sounds I heard.’

After one third and final cleanse — this time for free — Natalie says the house finally feels unburdened by its past.

‘I had to sit in a dark room visualising light radiating from me, and then open the window to push out the negative energy. It was terrifying but between that and the blessing he also did, it seems to have done the trick.’

While sceptics may scoff, Natalie says the proof in spiritual cleansing is in the ‘beautiful, happy’ home her family shares now. And, most importantly, the nightmares have ceased.

‘I wasn’t a believer in these sorts of things before we lived here, yet it has led me to respect there is more to life than we can see with our eyes,’ she says.

Sometimes the source of the negative energy is much closer to the present than the Vikings.

Complementary therapy trainer Karen Ashton used spiritual cleansing to rid her home of bad energy, which she put down to it being the scene of the previous owners’ nasty divorce.

Karen, 50, moved to Bideford, Devon, with her two sons, then nine and ten, to be closer to her parents after her own marital breakdown. The five-bedroom detached townhouse had been on the market for a year.

‘I let my sons choose their rooms, my youngest was adamant about the room he wanted, which was on the third floor.’

Karen had already discovered that the previous owners had divorced because the husband had had an affair. While his ex-wife had moved on, he’d been reluctant to leave their property.

A few weeks after moving in Karen began to get the feeling that something wasn’t right at home.

‘I noticed the atmosphere was heavy,’ she says. ‘I can only explain it as the energy felt draining and sticky. It was as though we were interlopers in our own home.

‘Since my son had moved into his bedroom he had become argumentative. He was not himself at all. It got to the point where he stopped sleeping in there.’

So Karen asked a friend who is a spiritualist to cleanse the house. Samantha Scott, of The Psychic Coach, has years of experience in property cleansing.

She says: ‘It was a bright sunny day outside, but when I walked through Karen’s front door, it was like stepping into a fog. As I went upstairs the foggy energy got denser, it was really quite bad.

‘All properties have a memory imprint and hold the energy of past events. This residual energy was restless and that was causing the problems.’

Sam Young from Telford, Shropshire, pictured, almost walked straight out of her home when she first found it because the previous owner had died inside the building leaving an ‘atmosphere’. She used ‘smudge sticks’ to purify the air and rid the trapped energy

Samantha cleansed the home using ‘smudge sticks’ to purify the air and rid the trapped energy.

Afterwards, Karen swears her house felt instantly lighter and is now a happy home.

‘Samantha explained that the house had absorbed all the anger and emotions of the previous owners. My son eventually slept again in his room with no other problems.

‘Even today, we burn sage in the house every now and again — for example, when one of my sons had split up with his girlfriend, it was the first thing I did.’

Negative energy can be so obvious that to some househunters it can be as off-putting as a nasty old 1970s kitchen.

When Sam Young, a grief recovery specialist, visited her home in 2015, she almost walked straight out again.

‘The kitchen was literally falling apart, but that wasn’t the worst thing about it. In every room there was a heavy atmosphere.’

According to Sam, who lives in Shropshire, the late owner of the bungalow had died in the property earlier that year. All she knew about him was that his body had been found in the house.

Even so Sam, 48, decided to forge ahead. ‘I had the place deep cleaned — the conventional way — and redecorated. New floors went down and I had a new kitchen put in. It was so exciting.’

But her first night in her new home was a different matter. ‘I felt uneasy and I couldn’t put my finger on why. It felt very unwelcoming.’

Sam barely slept that first night, convinced she could hear noises in an adjacent room. The noises weren’t there in the daytime, they would start up every night in the early hours.

‘I learned from the next door neighbours that the previous resident had not been an easy man. He had been in the bungalow for 20 years and regularly had parties that started very late and went on until the early hours, playing loud music that kept people awake.’

After continuing to hear tappings on the wall and noises in the next room, she decided to act.

After some research, Sam decided to try some DIY house cleansing with sage and crystals. The effects didn’t last long.

In the end she called in a professional psychic specialising in house clearing, who spent a couple of hours asking the energy to leave. When the process had finished, Sam immediately sensed a calmer and lighter atmosphere.

‘Suddenly my home felt so different, I felt really emotional because it was wonderful for it to belong to me and not the previous owner.’

Even today Sam has crystals placed throughout her home, specifically black tourmaline which is said to be a protection stone and clear quartz to amplify the high vibrations of energy in her home.

‘I’m very careful now about who I invite into my home,’ she adds. ‘I realise unwelcome energies can overstay their welcome.’

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