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28 Oct, 2009 10:05

The exorcism of St. Petersburg’s parliament

The exorcism of St. Petersburg’s parliament

A member of St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly says her colleagues and she have dispelled a century-old ghost which haunted their workplace.

The supernatural story comes from Elena Babich, who heads one of the factions in the city’s parliament.

She told the media that over the years several people encountered a woman’s ghost at a particular spot in the Mariinsky Palace, a beautiful building constructed in the mid-19th century, where legislators sit today.

Eyewitnesses described it as a semi-transparent apparition dressed in a century-old style.

“She had a dress from early 20th century with a bustle. She usually appeared during moist weather, especially when it rained. And everyone described her in a similar way,” Babich said, as cited by newspaper Nezavisimaya.

After some research in the archives it turned out that sightings of the ghostly woman had been reported decades ago. Indeed, a woman actually died in 1903 on the very spot where the specter was encountered.

Deputies wanted to call a priest to pray for the departure of the dead woman’s soul, but then they thought that she might have committed suicide. If that was so, an Orthodox priest would not be able to perform the ritual, since suicide is a mortal sin. So they decided to guide the ghost to the afterlife on their own.

Their first attempt, however, ended in failure, the MP said. As they armed themselves with holy icons and prayed, one of the participants suddenly felt ill. Discouraged from continuing the ceremony, they sought spiritual guidance.

“A healer from Lake Baikal was visiting me, and she told me just as she came in that there was a lost soul in the building. I shared my story with her and she explained what we should do. There should be at least seven people for the ritual to work and we had to use blessed candles,” recalls Babich.

They made their second attempt on the next Holy Thursday and did as they were instructed. In the two years that passed since, the ghost has not been seen in the palace.

When a shaman from the northern Nenets region was in St. Petersburg, the people involved in the affair asked him to check the parliament, and he assured them that there was no disturbance in the spiritual realm there.

Meanwhile fellow deputies when told the story said they were skeptical.

“I was told this ghost story; there are some rumours about it. But frankly speaking, I don’t believe it’s real. A sensible person would only smile at things like this, and I fail to grasp how a member of parliament can get involved in it,” said Vladimir Fedorov.

Some say a psychic phenomenon is a blessing rather than a curse: “Of course any respectable organization should have a ghost,” believes Arkady Komarev, another St. Petersburg MP. He added: “Personally I never saw any ghost either here or anywhere else.”

Another deputy noted mockingly: “For sure there is a ghost walking around somewhere. If somebody works with idle hands, a supernatural force is to blame, of course. Certainly it’s due to some culprit from the other side,” commented Igor Rimmer.

Elena Babich is sure she did the right thing:

“You see, somebody might laugh at it and say it was crazy. But people really were afraid to go there at night. So we meant not only to help this poor woman, but also to chase away the fear from people’s hearts,” the MP explained.