Sheldon Norberg had just launched his new career as a “psychic house cleaner” when he got a call from a family in upscale Marin County, California, who needed his help. Having trained for this line of work at Northern California’s Academy of Intuition Medicine, Norberg uses a wide range of techniques, from visualization to a type of Chinese abdominal massage known as chi nei tsang, to diagnose why certain houses “feel weird” to their residents — including their animal occupants.
He believes that most household disturbances are caused not by ghosts but by bits of disembodied emotion, the residual grief and pain left behind by now-departed residents both alive and dead. He calls these emotional leftovers “stains,” but warns that they are usually too messy to be removed by anyone but a professional. Other disturbances, Norberg says, are caused by energy that has been blocked or is not flowing correctly through the house.
As detailed in his memoir Healing Houses: My Work As a Psychic House Cleaner, a single healing can take up to five hours and cost a client thousands of dollars.
Sometimes a home’s animal residents are far more aware of its “stains” and blockages than are its human residents, Norberg says. And pets are often the first to notice any changes that his efforts have wrought in a house — for better or worse.
He learned this lesson the hard way.
A pet is “this living, breathing Geiger counter that will show us whether this house is healed or not,” Norberg explains. “Animals are sensitive to energy in ways we aren’t. That’s how animals operate: Unlike us, they’re not confused by language, by the past and the future and our relative sense of time or desire. They’re right here, right now. They’re all about, ‘What’s going on with my five senses at this very moment?'”
The Marin County family “had a real problem with their house. I could see and feel what was wrong with it as soon as I arrived. The house had been built really strangely on a steep slope where nothing should ever have been built. I felt that I needed to adjust the house into another position, the position in which it really should have been built. I felt that I needed to twist it into the ground about a quarter-turn so that it was facing in another direction.”
Since he couldn’t physically move the house, Norberg had to make this adjustment on the ethereal, energetic plane. After meditating to get his bearings, “I sat down and grounded the house, then gave it a good quarter-turn. This felt good to me. All the energy felt really cleaned up. My client thought it was good, too. We said, ‘All right.'”
He drove home, thinking it was a job well done. But no. “The next day, the client called me up and said, ‘You know, the house feels great, but now I’m having a problem with my cat.'”
It turned out that ever since Norberg’s visit, the family’s black cat refused to leave one particular room — and it pooped on the rug in the corner, which it had never done before.
“I said, ‘Oh my God. I’m so sorry. I forgot about the cat.’ When I reset a house as I did with that one, I examine all the ‘arrangements’ that all of its human residents have with the house and its location on the energetic level,” he explains. “I do this so that I can connect to who they all are and make them feel at home in the house after I have ‘cleaned’ it. Because I was still so new at this kind of work at the time, I didn’t even think of doing that for the cat.
“But of course I should have, because the cat lived there, too. The cat was a partner in the household and I had neglected this fact.” Prior to Norberg’s visit, the family cat loved to bask in the dappled sunshine of the downstairs study, whose large window looked out onto a leafy garden. This study was equipped with a cat door, Norberg says, “which was the cat’s exit onto the world. But when I adjusted the house a quarter-turn, suddenly this exit was no longer — on the energetic level, that is — where the cat remembered it to be.
“Suddenly the cat could no longer find its little door, even though it was right there in front of him. He felt trapped inside — that he could no longer find his way outside. Because I had shifted the house, the imprint of the cat door was energetically no longer aligned with where it had been, and the cat had not been informed.”
Norberg arranged a second visit to the Marin County house. This visit was all about the cat. Norberg sat with the pet and offered it a sincere apology. “Then I clued the cat in to how things had moved and how the energetic imprint of the house had changed. I explained that the door was on the other side now, almost as if we had moved the house physically. I told the cat, ‘The little door is still right here, but now it feels as if it’s over there. Okay?’ I think he understood.”
After Norberg’s second visit, the cat went back to enjoying the downstairs study as usual, and using its cat door — with no further accidents on the rug.