So what story can it have been that's caused Londonist to pen, possibly it's worst ever headline pun? Ah ha! Must be the news that Gwyneth Martin (nee Paltrow) is having a few problems with some pesky supernatural house guests. So she's taken up Madonna's offer of assistance in arranging for a Kabbalah rabbi to come over and sweep their home clean (in an occult sense you understand, not dabbing at the bannisters with a splash of Waitrose wood polish).
Now before you all go thinking: "blah blah blah, another easy pop at Gwynnie," we'll come right out and say that we've also lived in a haunted house and it was not an enjoyable stay. But did we call Ghostbusters? No. Did we look up the Mystery Machine? No. We did what any sane human being would do in such circumstances. We packed a suitcase, threw the tv out the window and ran screaming through the skeletons into the night.
Now other than being a quiet newsday, we're running this story as a public service announcement. We want to say to the Martins:
Have you thought this through? Not only are you missing an opportunity to do VH1's Most Haunted Cribs (and that idea's copyright us now, by the way) but you may be messing with forces beyond your control. You see, The International Ghost Hunters Association recommends you don't go around exorcising unwanted souls willy nilly, and instead try talking to them and finding out what it is they want. After all, ghosts were only people once too. Now there's ample scope to drop in a few gags about singing, new Coldplay material etc etc here, but let's stay serious folks. Remember, there's nothing to sorting out a few differences quite like good old communication. And you might even get to solve a murder like Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes. You may also find that by banishing a spirit, you are preventing it from entering the next level of the spirit world, which sounds like a pretty crappy thing to do to someone, however ethereal their form.
There can also be serious problems associated with unnecessary ghost removal. Dr Dave Oester of the IGHA goes on to argue that the forceful removal of spirits from a home can cause greater damage by allowing even more aggressive or angry forces to take their place. We'd also like to add that they were there first and posession (no pun intended) is nine tenths of the law. Dr Oester concludes with the theory that these tormented spirits are in fact drawn to our own inner torments, and that the only way to free ourselves from unwanted manifestations is to free ourselves from our own negative energies. Which makes a lot of sense really.
If any of you have any other serious advice for the Martins, or indeed any other Londoners suffering from otherworldly manifestations about how to keep the spooks at bay, then please add your comments or drop us a line.