Jane Phillips looks the part of a put-together professional as she enters the three-bedroom house that I share with two roommates. She’s not quite what I expected from someone who promises to rid houses of evil spirits, although she did warn me over the phone that she’s “not the stereotypical flowing-skirt person.”
We've got more than our fair share of those in Santa Fe—people whose business cards say things like "visionary," "healer" and "polarity specialist." But I called Phillips because I wanted a different kind of spring cleaning.
A professional medium and ghost buster, Phillips has done energy clearings for homes since 2010, when she first did it as a favor for a friend in real estate with a listing that wouldn't sell. I give her a tour of the house, and although I'm naturally a bit of a skeptic, my heart jumps a little when she says, "Oh yes, there's something in there." Then, I narrow my eyes and think suspiciously that I never liked that closet.
The process starts with dowsing.
She pulls out a tool kit of wire rods and pendulums and begins to feel out the space as they wave hither and thither. Then the ghost busting begins, although it's less sucking spirits into a vacuum and more asking them respectfully what it would take for them to move on.
"There are a few things to notice," she says, explaining that she's creating an "energy blanket" several feet below the foundation to rise up and catch any residue left over after first phase of the process. "If there's a place in your house you never feel comfortable in, if you feel strange drafts, lose things frequently or if your children complain of monsters…those are all indications that the energy in the house isn't great."
Realtor Anthony Atwell, who has used Phillips' services for three years (both for listings and his personal home) says he calls "when someone has been ill in the house, or passed on… even if the house doesn't breathe well or just feels stuck."
In the final step, Phillips uses flower essences, vitamins and minerals to provide whatever's missing in the minienvironment of the property.
Among other things, we were low on alfalfa, she says.
"I get my house cleared every quarter," says Santa Fe resident Karen Tischer. "It always gets me unstuck…You know the feeling. You're trying to do something creative, but you can't get motivated. But afterwards…it's like a breath of fresh air, like throwing open a door or taking a shower." And I must admit that in the week after the clearing, I have had more ideas for paintings, more motivation to work and none of my typical creeped-out feeling while stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If it's a placebo effect, I still like it!
Oh, and that first clearing with the real estate agent friend?
The house sold a week later. "I wish it always worked like that!" Phillips says with a laugh.