Paranormal experts can help you give up the ghost
It's tough to get a stench out of your home.
Even worse? Ghosts.
They'll spook you without notice, knock stuff on the ground, and just make your abode feel abnormal.
Before pesky poltergeists become a problem, ghost-proof your home with these expert tips.
Avoid locations, locations, locations
If you're not yet a homeowner, there's still time.
Unless you want that 30-year mortgage to feel even longer, avoid putting stakes down in areas attractive to apparitions.
Like the living, ghosts are attracted to the water, says Susan Bove, one of the founders of the Gloucester City-based South Jersey Paranormal Research.
"Water is a great conductor of energy, so if water runs under the house, it's probably a very active house."
A granite foundation is no safer, she says.
"Different stones mean different things," Bove states. "Granite is a stone that retains energy."
That also means to think twice about installing that granite counter top.
"I don't recommend that at all," she says.
Air it out
You might think leaving your doors or windows open may pose a security threat. And in a world where criminals and rodents exist, you'd be right.
But the supernatural may feast on a shuttered lifestyle, says Bonnie Sauter, owner of Good Vibrations New Age & Metaphysical in Blackwood, N.J.
"Ghosts are attracted to negative emotions or negative feelings, so if you're keeping everything shut, not letting fresh air in or light, right there you're creating an environment that could attract negative energy," Sauter says.
Bove says to trust your sixth sense over your first.
"If you felt someone walk in a room, you turn around and don't see anyone," Bove says, "but in reality someone did walk in the room and because your eyes didn't see it, you dismissed it."
Call a medium
Still unsure of whether your property has a poltergeist?
Before you phone Ghostbusters, summon a practicing ghost research group in your state -- South Jersey has 500.
But be careful: Many are untrained "fly-by-nighters" influenced by sensational supernatural shows like Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures and Syfy's Ghost Hunters.
"Any reputable ghost hunter will not walk in their (home) and ask to be tossed around or have their hat knocked off," Bove says. "We call that provoking. A lot of it has to do with intentions."
With respect, these paranormal investigators inspect the homes, using gadgets like modified cameras and electronic magnetic field meters. An investigation in the wrong hands can anger the spirits.
"We have to do a cleanup investigation," observes South Jersey Ghost Research President Dave Juliano, whose group works for free. ". . . Some groups are a little overeager for the experience of it, and to get actual evidence," Juliano says.
"They kind of forget that sometimes there are people who live in those houses."
Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse
Even after taking these measures, you might find a ghost roaming your home.
Fear not. You can expel that apparition, Sauter assures.
As owner of F&F Pest & Termites Control in Turnersville, N.J., Sauter has experience ridding unwelcome guests from homes.
"I consider it another type of house cleaning," she says with a laugh.
A standard ghost cleansing involves white sage, sea salt and a bell, both Sauter and Bove say. Sauter, a former member of South Jersey Paranormal Research, says to first open every door, then sprinkle sea salt along each doorway.
While holding a bowl of burning white sage, "go clockwise in each room, all the way from the basement to the attic," Sauter says, and then show the ghosts the exit.
"It sounds very simple but with a respectful tone, you want to say 'This is my home, I don't want you here and you have to leave,'" Bove says.
"You don't say 'please' because you're not asking them, but you're telling them in a way that's not offensive."
In her dozen or so house cleansings, Sauter has somebody by her side.
"I have another person with me who rings a bell," she says. "The idea of the bell is to raise the vibrations. And then you would use sea salt and what that does is absorb the negative energy."
If you sense negative spirits, perhaps you ought to exorcise your own negativity.
"A lot of times negative energies are attracted to people who are depressed, that's just the way it is," Sauter says. "If that's the case, I recommend they do something with that."
Then again, an unhappy life might not lead to poltergeists.
Sauter adds that, according to shamanism, depression is caused by the parasitic "spirit attachment."
"Spirit attachment comes first and then it attracts negative energy," she says. "It's almost like the snowball effect."
If you burned the white sage and still feel spooked, herbs like mugwort and palo santo also have been known to have a cleansing effect, Sauter says.
For extra protection against negative forces, work in some obsidian crystals or hematite rocks into your decor.
"Pretty much black crystals have a protective power," she says.
Search your soul
Not all hauntings are negative or problematic.
A pesky poltergeist might be simply a late relative looking to connect, Juliano says.
Ghosts can make their peaceful presence known in many ways.
"Maybe they try the pipe smoke . . . then they try the footsteps," Juliano says. "The person still doesn't pay attention. Finally, they may throw a glass and be like, 'Hey, explain this away.'"