‘Witch’ brews up remedy for homes
By Jerry Kronenberg
Lori Bruno wants to help people who are caught up in the Bay State foreclosure crisis and don’t know witch way to turn.
A self-described strega — or “witch” in Italian — from Salem, Bruno uses her powers to attempt to remove what she calls the “negative energies” that surround many foreclosed homes.
“People cry when they’re going to lose their house to foreclosure, and the residual energies from all of those tears are still there even after they move out,” said Bruno, a 70-year-old who works as a psychic at a Salem shop called Hex. “What we do is clear that out with prayer.”
Bruno, who believes she’s descended from a strega burned at the stake during medieval Europe’s bubonic plague, is one of a handful of Salem witches who have begun claiming to possess the powers needed to exorcise foreclosed properties.
She’s performed some two-dozen such house “blessings’’ over the past year or two, refusing to accept money but encouraging recipients to donate to charity instead.
The witch has long said prayers for “regular” home buyers, but got involved with foreclosures when a Hex customer wanted help removing “negativity” from a foreclosed condo.
Since then, Bruno has blessed foreclosed properties for customers of Peabody real estate broker Janet Howcroft, a fellow strega.
“A lot of people who lose homes to foreclosure are sad and angry when they’re leaving — and you can feel that negative spirit in the house,” Howcroft said. “But after Lori blesses the place, you can feel the peacefulness and happiness coming back.”
Bruno says she removes “bad vibrations” from foreclosed homes through a ceremony that lasts about 30 minutes and involves the passing of a sword over doorways, the burning of candles and incense and the sprinkling of salt and water. She also recites incantations such as: “Let nothing negative enter here, but only good things from year to year.”
John Runnals, who recently bought a Beverly rental property from Howcroft, let Bruno bless the place because he figured it couldn’t hurt — and might even make it more attractive to renters.
“Part of me thinks (home blessings are) a little out there, but you need to be open to things,” Runnals said. “Who am I to say in the grand scheme of things what works and what doesn’t?”