Trick or Treat

Happy New Year! And Happy 66th edition of New Europe. For those with Celtic origins, today rather than 1st January marks New Year’s Day, otherwise called ‘Samhain’. Last night, for a brief period as the old year died and the new one arrived, ancient spirits from the world of the dead were able to slip across into ours, with some reportedly getting stuck in certain West End wine bars (which I shan’t name…). Haunted houses are now frightfully big business (both as tourist attractions and themed rentals), but they can also spell grave losses for their owners. Although one in three people claim to have lived in a haunted house, a failure to mention this on sale can amount to a misdescription and potentially rescission. In the US specialisms have even emerged in appraising ‘stigmatised’ houses, with grisly murders thought to knock 15-25% off the headline price, tapering over 25 years. However, before getting exercised about the cost of exorcisms, help is at hand: the House Network, an online broker, offers a ‘Ghost Free Certification’ service that should assist to eliminate sleepless nights.