Magazine article The Spectator

Exorcising Rites

Magazine article The Spectator

Exorcising Rites

Article excerpt

`CLOSE your eyes, I'm going to put something in your hand,' said Mark, and bounded out of the room. He returned and gave me what felt like a metal stick. `OK, now, say the first thing that comes into your head. Let your spiritual self tell you about the object,' said Mark.

The only word I could think of was 'stick'. After a while, the silence became disappointed. `Mmmmm,' said Mark. `Actually, it's a golf club. The last girl I gave it to said immediately, "I can see a short old man with grey hair." Amazing. This was my father's golf club and he was short and old with grey hair.'

`Never mind,' said Paul from the corner of Mark's living-room. As he spoke, the sun shone through a window behind him, making his ears glow red.

Paul and Mark are the Spirit Rescue Service, a partnership of ghostbusters dedicated to ridding houses of trapped, unhappy or malevolent spirits. The SRS website ( describes Paul as clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient.

Things had been going well until the golf-club disappointment. `I've been looking at your articles and I can see that you're on a spiritual path yourself,' Mark said, as we sped off from Ipswich station in his coffee-coloured convertible. `That's why we said you could come.' I felt an unspiritual glow of smug. `After we talk to you, we'd like to give you a meditation with reiki. You can meet your spirit guide, and maybe some deceased loved ones who want to get in touch.' My smugness turned to liquid fear. `Great,' I said.

Both Paul and Mark started on their spiritual paths after discovering reiki - an ancient, natural-healing technique using lifeforce energy. In a former life, Paul was a surveyor, Mark taught engineering. 'I was a surveyor for 23 years,' said Paul, `then, one week, when I was on holiday in Cornwall, I heard, or rather felt a voice coming from my solar plexus telling me that I was going to give up my work.' Paul obeyed the voice, left his job and bought his own shop. A month later he met a woman who did spirit rescue. Paul wrapped his arms around himself as he talked. `She told me that she dealt with dark forces and helped free them. The next day, the voice said to me, "You must offer your services to this woman." I tried to ignore it but it persisted. When I rang her she said that she'd been waiting for me to call.' The Spirit Rescue Service was born.

`It really is a bit like Ghostbusters, but we don't have guns, we use unconditional love,' said Mark. He was in a crouching position on the floor of his living-room. In one hand he had a pint glass, in the other a piece of paper. As he spoke, he carefully lowered the glass on top of a fly, trapped it with the paper and walked over to the door to let it out. `Often ghosts are dead people who have lost their way or are reluctant to leave the earth. We turn them around to the light, to where they should be. Sometimes,' continued Mark, beginning the process of trapping his fourth fly, `if an evil person has remained here in spirit form, the forces can be negative. But I know that Paul can draw so much energy and love into himself that he can overcome anything.' Paul is Yoda to Mark's Luke Skywalker.

`We were called out once to see a 15-year-- old girl down in Kent,' said Paul. `She had been dabbling in witchcraft, and some bad spirit had taken hold of her and her house. Dark smoke was filling the room and she was waking up every morning with scratches on her body. She couldn't speak and spent most of her time asleep as her spirit was trying to leave her body. When we arrived, I discovered two vortexes through to the spirit world. …

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