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Latest NYC Real Estate Trend: Apartment Exorcisms?

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Real estate deals in this town are fraught with stress. Bank loan headaches, construction delays, bad feng shui?it's enough to make a person want to, well, pay another person to clear out all that bad energy before starting a life in a new home. And so we have "smudging," which the Times tells us is a burgeoning cottage industry within the world of real estate. What is it? Many things! For example:

Smudging, predictably, is a vastly unregulated world with little organization. It can include a real estate broker adopting the Native American tradition of burning sage in an apartment in preparation for the first open house. It can also extend to include the afternoon-long space clearings that Ms. Wendell does with clients, for which she charges $900 to $1,800. Ms. Wendell said that her fees were driven less by apartment size than by “what’s in the space energetically.” And what's in the space energetically? Dead people, or at least their "lingering aura," which caused one couple to opt for Ikea cabinets in order to pay for a smudger. But what affects property values more: spirits or kitchen finishes?
· Before Move-In Day, Evicting the Old Auras [NYT]