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Hauntings affect property values, say experts

/ 02:29 AM November 02, 2011

They say it’s all about “location, location, location.” But what if there’s something strange going on in the neighborhood?

Property experts agree: Even with the touch of the best architects, engineers and designers, haunted homes, buildings or tracts of land can be quite a hard sell.

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Alejandro Mañalac, senior vice president of Century Properties Inc., put it rather subtly. A property “notorious for paranormal activities would cater to a very limited market, which means less demand, which consequently equates to ‘difficult-to-appreciate’ values.”

Hospital sites

Enrique Soriano, a professor at Ateneo Graduate School of Business and senior advisor at Wong+Bernstein Business Advisory, said he knew of some developers who had engaged the services of paranormal experts to rid their projects of otherworldly phenomena as part of the development.

According to Soriano, examples of such sites would be buildings or lots formerly used as hospitals—where people had died in large numbers.

“Engaging a group to cure and rid the area of elementals is normal (procedure) for these developers,” Soriano said. “I have known of developers acquiring hospital sites in the past and selling has been brisk (after the sites had been ‘cured’).”

“I am not at liberty to disclose (who they are) lest they lose sales momentum. (But) even in First World countries like Singapore, intervention of paranormal experts is part of the development process,” he added.

Harmful Earth rays

Hence, Jaime Licauco, an Inquirer columnist and leading authority on the paranormal, advised property buyers to “factor in” paranormal activities in their decision-making.

The presence of ghosts may be their top-of-mind concern, but Licauco said buyers should also watch out for “the very real danger of geopathic stress or harmful negative Earth rays that cause cancer.”

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Citing the book “Are You Sleeping in a Safe Place?” by Rolf Gordon, Licauco said ancient temples and sacred sites around the world had been found to exhibit no geopathic stress, proof that in olden times people were already aware of such a force and its effects.

Geomancer Aldric Dalumpines said the value of a property can decrease when it arouses fear among people who are aware of its history.

In the United States, rules of disclosure require full declaration on the part of the owner if a person had died in the property, Dalumpines said.

There are no such requirements yet in the Philippines, hence buyers would likely know whether a place had a dark or violent past just by word of mouth, he added.

‘Paranormal tours’

But what if the so-called restless spirits simply refuse to leave? Any chance property owners could still cash in on haunted houses as “tourist” attractions?

The concept is not without precedent in the country, Mañalac said.

He recalled that in Baguio City, for example, the old Spirits disco became the “in” place in the country’s summer capital in the 1990s for its ghostly grooves.

“There are also a couple of popular hotels in the Visayas known for their paranormal activities. One is a 5-star hotel with a casino, and the other one is conveniently located beside a mall,” he said.

Mañalac noted that in other countries, the frequent haunts of famous dead people are used as come-ons. “There is the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California, and another hotel in the East Coast which actually boasts of a ‘Sinatra Suite’ where the ghost of the legendary performer reportedly makes his presence felt.”

Soriano said there are travel service operators in the United States that promote what they call “paranormal tours,” something that may be replicated in the Philippines.

That is, if there would be enough thrill-seekers and wannabe ghostbusters who would take the dare.

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