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For 25 years, celebrity healer Audrey Hope has been tasked with ridding homes of bad vibes, ominous energy, and unwanted memories.
She’ll never forget the husband and wife who both were diagnosed with cancer after moving into their new home. When Hope arrived to assess the situation, she was struck with the vision of an old man sitting in their living room.
“He was unhappy that this new couple was living in what used to be ‘his’ house," she says.
You might think that story was pulled straight from the script of "The Conjuring" or one of its sequels. But whether or not you’re a believer, chances are good you’ve encountered bad vibes on your own—that nagging feeling that you’re not comfortable in a particular home but can’t put your finger on why.
So we consulted with some spiritual experts to uncover how bad vibes happen—and ways you can rid your home of them.
How does a house get bad vibes?
A house does hold onto the energy of the people who live—or once lived—there, says Laura Benko, a modern feng shui expert and author of "The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space."
“If the predominant energy was mostly negative—such as violence, illness, or depression—that energy can be imbued into the atmosphere of a space,” Benko explains.
What’s worse? Bad vibes don’t dissipate over time, and can attract—and perpetuate—similar negative patterns in the future.
But the vibes can go both ways, notes Jaya Jaya Myra, author of "Vibrational Healing: Attain Balance & Wholeness."
“Happy people will also leave the imprint of their positive energy in a home," says Myra, who regularly performs space clearings and home blessings. "Although the more negative emotions tend to be denser and hang around longer if not consciously cleared out.”
Just know that there’s a difference between having a crappy day and being surrounded by bad juju in your home.
If you’re experiencing the latter, you may feel like someone’s watching you, according to Davida Rappaport, an intuitive and spiritual counselor. You could feel hot or cold spots in your house that make you uncomfortable. Your skin may crawl. You might even get lightheaded, feel faint, or have trouble breathing.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what to do next.
1. Do a deep clean
Just as you’d scrub the dirt, grease, and grime from a home, you need to deep-clean its vibes, too.
“Burning sage in a space can help clear the negative energy and also micro-contaminants in the air,” Myra says. “It has a strong purifying effect and is a great catch-all for cleaning up most sorts of unwanted energy.”
To use it on your own, light a bunch of sage and blow out the flame. Then move around the home, blowing smoke into each corner, closet, and floor of the home, advises Maureen K. Calamia, author of "Creating Luminous Spaces."
2. Absorb all that bad energy
Salt isn’t just for seasoning food: “It’s great at keeping out unwanted energies,” Myra explains.
Gently mist saltwater on your baseboards or carpet. Or, if you don’t have curious toddlers or mischievous pets, place a few cups of coarse sea salt in central spaces to help absorb any bad juju in your home.
“Be sure to remove them 24 hours later and throw them away outside,” Calamia says. “Any longer than that and negative energy starts seeping back in.”
3. Deploy something stronger than air freshener
Certain essential oils can be helpful in clearing out old energy, Myra says—and they can boost your mood, too. (Because who can live among bad vibes and be happy about it?)
Lemon is energizing, lavender is relaxing, and peppermint can both purify and invigorate.
4. Visualize a positive energy
There’s something to be said for positive thinking. And even if you’re feeling anxious about all this talk of bad vibes, keeping an upbeat attitude can help reduce the amount you worry.
Try standing in a central place in your home, saying a prayer, and visualizing your home blessed with golden-white light, Calamia suggests. State your positive intentions and goals for the coming year—yes, even if one of those is to bring better vibes into your home.
5. Try meditation
You know that daily yoga practice you’ve always wanted to start? Or how you’ve been declaring for years that you’re going to get yourself some inner peace? Now’s the time.
“Cultivating a spiritual or meditative practice in your home is a great way to keep positive energy in your space,” Myra says.
6. Call a professional
Who you gonna call? It’s a personal decision, based on how much intervention you think your home needs.
Arguably the most mainstream choice is a feng shui practitioner who can help adjust “energy imbalances” in your home. A spiritual practitioner can perform rituals with incense or sage (and also throw in a house blessing).
Have a hard-core issue? “Consult a psychic or someone who specializes in exorcising spirits or energy,” Rappaport says.
7. Consider other explanations
In love with a home, but can’t shake the bad vibes? Before you walk away, consider alternative reasons for this feeling.
“Some people are more sensitive to their surroundings than others,” points out Tina Williams, a broker with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale, AZ. “Electromagnetic fields and infrasound are both responsible for making people have feelings of paranoia, nausea, headaches, and a general ill feeling.”
There could also be even simpler explanations why a home doesn’t feel right to you.
For instance, "if a home smells masculine and there are traces of bachelor-type living with kids’ pictures around, then a buyer will subconsciously—or consciously—pick up on it ‘feeling like a divorce,’” Williams points out.
Sometimes, just having a home professionally cleaned may be enough to change your initial impression.
“People need to picture themselves in a home," Williams says, "not try to picture who was there before.”