I have a lot of fun with my Serafina’s series, featuring Scotland’s unique psychic investigation agency – hope you do too! – not least because I get to decide what my psychic, Sera, can do :). She’s pure imagination. Today, by contrast, I’m honoured to have with us a real Edinburgh psychic, Helen, who very kindly agreed to be interviewed about her gifts…
Helen, thank you for the interview, and welcome to the blog!
When did you first realize you had psychic gifts?
No idea. It’s what I am and I remember before I was born, in between and fragments of other times.
Did you always know this was unusual, or did you think everyone could do it?
Nowadays not even my memories are slightly unusual and I believe everyone is psychic – whether they believe it or not. We are all connected, we all ‘sense’ the undercurrent exchange, but it is hard to understand and separate it out. It’s like constant tinnitus. If we did hear it all we’d probably go mad.
What form do these gifts take? What do they enable you to do?
Some people are clairsentient (smell), clairvoyant (see) or clairaudient (hear) and some can even use their energy to move/change things/people’s minds. I get a mix of the first three and drive my husband crazy with the fact that electronic things and sometimes glass breaks around me. I do my very best to stay out of people’s minds unless they ask me. However when we are upset we all broadcast. Everyone has an instinct about others, particularly about those who have misused their gift. You are what you are – your life is written on you. You can’t hide it, that’s why love and compassion and being true to yourself is so important.
Why do you think you have these gifts?
Everyone has them. I developed mine because my mother encouraged me from an early age, mainly because she wanted to know when my Dad (who travelled a lot daily) would be home for tea!
The younger generations are more sceptical but also more open to spirituality. This is a wonderful thing but it is also challenging. There’s a small step from the psychic to magic and believing you can control everything. Magic is a mind game that can tie you up mentally and psychologically. The demise of good old fashioned faith will have an effect on mental health. You have to keep your feet on the earth, even if your eyes are gazing at marvels. To have faith in yourself, in love, in a deity gets you through the tough times.
Have they ever frightened you? If so, how?
Yes, but you get used to it. The week my mother died she came every night to sit at the bottom of my bed. And of course being young I just wanted to know where she was and what it was like rather than tell her simply that I loved her. There was a horrendous lightning storm that whole week both in my home town and at University.
Whenever we go on holiday it’s a gamble. I tend to know when I look at self-catering pictures whether I will get asthma or not, but generally unless the energy is very strong I don’t know whether the ghosts are friendly or not. Last summer I spent the first night of our holiday dreaming an endless battle, living different lives on different sides in years of raiding across the border, waking up only when the pain of being beaten up/beating up became too much. That wasn’t too bad – a few nights waking up as if trying to claw my way out from underneath the hearth and then experiencing the malevolent spirit trying to push me down the stairwell in the early hours wasn’t much fun.
Can you tell us about a couple of your most interesting psychic experiences?
I lived in an old terraced house as a student. There was a ghost of a lady in the house. Back then I talked to my friends about her, describing her, but they thought it was a load of rubbish. Then, when I bought an item of second hand furniture from a junk shop the man kindly delivered it for free. He wanted to see the house where his wife had died. He knew I sensed her and because I was able to describe her he showed me her picture. He’d sold the house because he couldn’t bear living in it. She had committed suicide when their baby died. For some spirits it seems just the same old world to them, only they are stuck in an endless loop. You have to fill yourself full of light and pray them across. There are numerous books about life after death.
I remember at a party once a colleague of my husband came up and told me about all the countries she was planning to visit in the summer. To which I smiled and asked if she had any other plans. The other plans ended up being a baby!
I kept telling one of my friends she needed to move house as I knew the area in which she lived will be flooded. A couple of years after the street at the end of hers was flooded by a burst river bank. Despite flood repairs and barriers put up the warning has not gone away. Buy on high ground if you move house, away from the sea.
Do you think your gifts affect your family?
Well, on a practical level whenever we go to the supermarket I have to stand as far away from the self-service tills as possible. I have what my husband calls a dampening field which breaks machines. It drives him crazy. However it comes in useful if I need something he generally brings it home without me asking. Both my children have the gift, as did both my parents. My mother used to see entities. My father woke up knowing I was in trouble one night as a teenager and drove twenty miles to come and rescue me. This was before mobile phones!
One of my children told me I had a baby in my tummy before I knew I was pregnant, and the other kept talking about the ‘foreign Mummy’ he used to have before me, when he was burnt and had to wear plastic bags put on his hands.
Do your experiences grow stronger or more intense in certain places or around certain people?
Yes. Some people are latent and if they wish it, can enhance your gift. Others do the opposite – that can make a reading difficult!
Also as I get older, I have found I see earth energy manifesting as enormous spirits. It brings to life the ancient stories and where they might have come from. Orkney is an absolute power house. Go there before they put a fence up around the Ring of Brodgar, it’s an amazing place.
Once when we were travelling in East Lothian in a brand new car I saw large mythical figures hunting in a wood. Shortly afterwards the car stopped working – the electronics had inexplicably fused inside a sealed casing.
Do you have regular clients who consult you?
Yes, but I don’t advertise. I used to work in the Edinburgh Astrology Centre, and also travelled throughout the UK to work at entertainment gigs including Gleneagles. I did far too many readings and was concerned about my health. Psychics tend to channel energy through the stomach area which is where they also tend to get sick. Nowadays I find it hard to turn clients down if they ask for a reading. I also tend to think my work is done when they stop coming to me. Ultimately I am just someone who holds up an empathic mirror and asks them if this is really where they want to be going.
How would you feel if these gifts were suddenly taken away? Would you miss them, or sigh with relief?
I feel individual and our world’s emotions in the present and coming from the future like a wave. The grief can be overwhelming. To lose it would be a relief particularly because after some readings I can be like a zombie. However it would be like losing my innermost self. There are times when there is real joy in the connection. And perhaps it is worth it when someone says they feel like they’ve had a holiday after a reading.
How do you feel reading (or watching) fiction about psychics written mostly, I’m sure, by people who’ve never actually had such experiences? (Me, for example! )
Actually when I was a teenager I loved Andre Norton’s Witchworld series because I identified with the ladies that had these strange unwieldy abilities. There weren’t that many strong self-willed women with power of their own in the books of those days! Even now we live in a competitive patriarchal society where all the feminine is derided or squashed, but I remember times when it wasn’t like that. Modern media tends to set the man as the psychic or the psychic woman with the man as focal point. Women’s power has to neutralised – if not she ends up pretty miserable ?
I know you’re also a writer – are you ever tempted to write stories based on your own experiences?
Yes, but I am ruled by client confidentiality and a need to protect my family. I am just an ordinary middle aged housewife with a part time job. If I were to write about being a psychic I would put myself in the firing line against all the sceptics who would say I was a nutter, the scientific types who want ‘proof’ and the religious types who would brand me a witch. I’ve been called a Witch numerous times. When I was a teenager one of my friends told me I would go to hell unless I gave up being psychic. I am just gifted. I believe my gift comes from God. I tend to hide it because I just want leave to live.
This has been fascinating, Helen! Thank you so much for spending the time with us and explaining so much.
You can find out more about Helen and her services on her website – which is new and still under construction, so don’t forget to check back! Feel free to ask Helen – or me! – any questions you like!