n. A person who uses smudging—a process based on a Native American ritual for exorcising evil spirits—to rid a dwelling of "negative energy.
If your feng shui'd apartment is still giving off bad vibes, try smudging it. A Native American ritual, smudging cleanses negative energy built up by former tenants, deaths or just poor design. For about $ 200 an hour, New York smudger Eleni Santoro will channel in and balance your space's energy with a combination of bells, incense and meditation.
—“Bad Vibes? Call a Smudger,” Newsweek, May 18, 1998
Are you fed up with feng shui? Perhaps you should try smudging, the latest craze in New York for unhappy apartment owners….A leading Manhattan estate agent, Barbara Corcoran, recently called in a smudger when she could not sell an apartment on Fifth Avenue. 'It started as an act of total desperation,' she said, 'But we had a smudger come in and chase away those evil spirits.' Next morning, a prospective buyer made a full-price offer."
—Joan Smith, “Everybody believes in something: goddess, guru or gobbledegook,” The Guardian (London), April 20, 1998
1997 (earliest)
Ms. Eagle, who grew up in the Andes, is one of a handful of New York City women who are loosely termed "smudgers": spiritualists who drive bad vibrations from co-op, condominium or stabilized rental. In New York City, smudgers cleanse apartments of the spirits of old boyfriends, old wives, old tenants — just about anything that might trouble an anxious owner. The smudgers interviewed charge anywhere from $75 to $200 an hour.
—Tracie Rozhon, “Cleaning Out Those Pesky Old Poltergeists in the Closets,” The New York Times, October 30, 1997
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