It's a Guy Thing


Is there really anybody out there? 

By Ian Kirke / @ianjkirke 

When I was about eight years old my mum donned a large headscarf, equally enormous earrings, and looked into a crystal ball. I vividly remember this spectacle since she was performing a charade as a clairvoyant at the local school fete. It was a crude and rather comical caper, although people still paid to have their fortunes told. Later in life, I had my palms read on several occasions and mused over the general claptrap of a long, happy life with many children. In fairness as a broad statement, I guess this wasn’t too far off the mark, other than the second element being occasionally torpedoed by grief. In a nutshell, I wasn’t convinced about the possibility that any human being possesses the ability to communicate with the dead, let alone foresee the future. My mum had clearly demonstrated that a fair number of people enjoyed being duped and that it was no more than harmless fun. 

Mainstream science echoed my obvious dismissal of this subject. I was still less convinced when I recalled my mum, dad, and uncle using a ouija board to successfully locate my grandma’s lost kettle. Indeed, how does one even go about losing a kettle? Anyway, in a more robust challenge to the notion of supernatural powers the National Geographic Channel conducted a most compelling experiment in 2015. Four volunteers, supervised by paranormal expert Mark Edwards, were encouraged to reach out to the spiritual world via the same apparatus that had magically located the AWOL kettle. One participant began to map out a seemingly convincing dialogue with ‘the other side.’ When the process was repeated with blindfolds the messages became gobbledygook. It was evident that one of my parents, or possibly my shifty uncle, had hidden grandma’s favorite utensil. It was all a load of nonsense, pure entertainment, and if some people were taken in by it then so what? It was hardly going to have any impact on my life. Then I encountered utter grief. Life-changing and all-consuming heartache which made me question my hitherto steadfast position. 

In 2012 my wife Theresa was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although a benign chordoma its location meant that she would have to undergo three complex and high-risk brain operations. Each time she went to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford to be operated upon by the truly incredible neurosurgeons her chances of survival were slim. On the last occasion, I remember our kids, my mum, and I being taken to the family room to be told to prepare for the worst. 

Miraculously Theresa pulled through and looked forward to a period of rehabilitation and proton beam therapy in America. Returning home her 

mobility was fragile and her immune system, shot to bits as a result of the intrusive treatment, was even more weak. A few weeks later she had a stroke which robbed her of her speech and movement of her limbs. Although a harrowing experience for my children who witnessed the event, we were all reassured that the recovery rates from this type of dramatic episode were nonetheless good. A short time later Theresa suffered a catastrophic stroke that left her in a total and unresponsive coma with no chance of survival. She was given twelve weeks to live but survived for nearly eighteen months in a specialist trauma suite where she received the most incredible care and comfort. When visiting her one day a nurse called me to one side and enquired if I had arranged her funeral. Until that moment I had always assumed that this event occurred after someone had died. I was scared, vulnerable, and faced my biggest ever fear – being without my soulmate. 

One night I fell asleep and the most incredible thing happened. Theresa visited me. She held me tightly and said that I would be all right. I immediately felt unshackled from the fear of an uncertain future and awoke with her smell in my nostrils. I had experienced dreaming before, but this wasn’t the same. I had never, nor have I ever since, felt such a connection. In early 2015 she died. 

Since this experience, Theresa’s message has been proved to be impeccably correct. Over the years I decided to keep this intimate encounter a secret until the time was right to make sense of it. Had I experienced supernatural contact? And in doing so, had I been provided with a glimpse of my immediate future? After six years I felt ready to explore whether my views on the world of psychic phenomena still held true, or was there a more rational explanation? Indeed, would I ever be ready for a more scientific description? 

Meeting psychic Debbie Davies for the first time instantly dismissed my prejudices that all such practitioners look like my mum at the school fete all those decades ago. Bright, vivacious, with a charming celebrity character, she welcomed the opportunity to be quizzed by a still somewhat dubious observer of her proclaimed talent. 

So, what does a psychic do? 

Debbie guided me through the psychic continuum – at the entry-level an ability to be thinking about a certain person only for that very same individual to suddenly make contact, or humming a tune in their heads, only to turn on the radio and hear the same track. This made me think. Did I possess a little psychic skill or was my friendship circle so small that I could usually guess who it was? 

And I had also experienced my imaginary appearance at Glastonbury singing my favorite Level 42 track coinciding with the exact same song as I turned on the radio. Weird! Admittedly I may have been overly optimistic given the thousands of times I had been banging out a Motorhead number in my head and not heard any of their music on Heart FM. Debbie continued: At the furthest end of the psychic range it becomes a more defined discipline. As she explained, “A true psychic will have the capacity to see and know. For example, sitting with someone or looking at a picture and knowing about their character without even talking to them.” I underlined this statement several times as I was keen to test this assertion a little later on. Could Debbie detect any hidden parts of my psyche? But more of that later. 

Asked during an interview by another journalist in early December 2019 what she predicted would be the next seismic global event Debbie was certain – the outbreak of a disease that would engulf the entire world. This authenticated disclosure made me pause, and I sipped my tea for what seemed an eternity. Not wishing to dribble too much, I regained my composure and recalled my favorite school subjects – mathematics and science. Probability can be calculated and the last and most significant pandemic pre-COVID-19 was the influenza contagion of 1918. Pandemics also have a habit of striking every hundred years or so. On the other hand, Debbie had been prepared to stake her professional reputation on an issue that most of us, let alone many Governments, had not put much thought into. 

What was your journey? 

Being vigorously pulled back by her mum as a toddler, via the reins that parents of a certain era felt compelled to imprison their offspring in, coincided with Debbie’s first critical evaluation of life, “What’s all this for?” she asked herself. At the same age, I was probably wondering if I should eat the yellow crayon next. Aged five, she promptly packed a case and told her mum that she wanted to go back to the life before she was born. Although the study of ‘claimed past-life memories’ has been the subject of academic research there is no escaping Debbie’s utterly unique early home life. 

Mum was a clairaudient – she could hear the voices of the dead but couldn’t see them. For significant periods, up until eleven years of age, Debbie was left alone during the evenings as a consequence of the working patterns of her parents. During this time Debbie realized that she had an ability her mum didn’t possess – she could see the dead as ghosts. Asking a schoolfriend why she couldn’t see 

her dead grandad who was standing next to them, Debbie quickly learned that open ridicule would forever be an unwelcome retort. 

If her early life hadn’t chronicled enough spookiness, I was in for some more truly harrowing revelations. One day, aged eighteen and employed in a local retailer, she had felt uncannily depressed, returning home early in floods of tears. She instinctively knew that something awful was going to happen but blocked it out. Later that evening when out with friends she steadfastly refused the offer of a lift home with a couple of mates who had accompanied her and other pals to a local pub. Returning home later, a telephone call at her home confirmed that the same pair had been involved in a fatal accident. From that point, Debbie made a promise to herself that she would no longer fight her psychic ability. 

As a mum, pregnant with her second child, she intuitively knew that something was critically wrong with her baby. Several times doctors reassured her that everything was as it should be. Debbie insisted that a more rigorous test take place following which she received the call that all parents dread, confirming her suspicions. Baby Andrew was stillborn having suffered from anencephaly. This explained the incessant visions she had where an old lady, later identified by her mum as Debbie’s great grandmother, carried a small white coffin. 

Displaying her, by now, trademark smile Debbie lifted the gloom by mentioning her other children who could never hide anything without mum finding out. A real bummer! 

Her premonitions about the passing of her parents were both certain and, chillingly, opposed the often passionate and contrary views of those around her, including medical practitioners. Dad passed away in 2005 after suffering a catastrophic stroke but was there in spirit to meet his wife when she died three years later on the exact day Debbie had forecast. 

Summing up her journey Debbie drew breath. “It’s like living two lives that run parallel to each other. One as a wife, mum, friend – a normal life. And there is the other side.” My resultant silence nudged her to continue. “The path is hard to travel simply because so many people do not believe in life after death.” 

Debbie Davies

What do you say to those who believe it’s no more than pseudo-science? 

A triumphant call to maintain an open mind was Debbie’s purposeful response to my pointed question. And I had to agree with her that the most powerful things in our lives are often invisible to the naked eye. On the practical side – electricity, soundwaves, and the seamless connectivity we rely on brought about by the power of the mysterious workings of the internet. On the emotional side, can you ever actually see love? 

Why can’t you give me the winning lottery numbers for next week? 

Debbie explained the rules, and I sensed once again that my woeful attempts to undermine her had failed. Like any other human endeavor there were decrees. Democracies are underpinned by the rule of law. Contracts are governed by terms and conditions. Her gift addresses need and not greed. 

Elegantly positioning life as a sum of our decisions coupled with the lessons we learn by experience, Debbie was convincing in her mantra that choice and destiny would ultimately prevail. And in terms of the latter, if it’s your destiny to come into a shed-full of money, it will happen. I aim to keep this positivity burning brightly, hence my unwavering purchase of my weekly lotto ticket. 

What do you actually do to engage with the supernatural? 

I was a little taken aback when Debbie simply replied, “Nothing.” I had assumed there is some form of preparatory work, akin to making a call or waiting to be allowed into the Zoom or MS Teams meeting. Debbie explained that ordinarily, she sees ghosts but rarely, if ever, discloses to others. She believes there is little point, given that she is the only person who sees what’s in her supernatural vision. I suddenly felt that we were not alone. Was this attributable to the palpable suspense I had created in my own mind as a consequence of my conversation with Debbie and the questions I had framed? Part of me wanted to ask the obvious question that may resolve my dilemma, but I also wanted to test my nagging doubts with a broader exploration, which would be addressed by my final question. 

To illustrate her point Debbie disclosed that whilst making dinner at home following a reading, she heard a hushed voice. The ghost who spoke to her was the son of the lady she had met earlier in the day. He had been murdered. Passing on the detailed narrative of his last moments of life to his mum helped the prosecution case that later led to the successful conviction of two men. 

The only times that don’t follow this traditional path engage with paranormal investigations she is called upon to research, at which Debbie uses some technical equipment, especially film recording, examples of which can be accessed on Debbie’s social media platforms. 

What are your personal triumphs? 

Debbie’s positive projection contradicted the storyline since her reply was empathetic – “Surviving childhood.” Given her unusual upbringing this made perfect sense, and as she spoke about other intimate and arguably dysfunctional moments in her early life, this triumph became something to be admired. 

In terms of her professional life, positive engagement with the police, providing a supportive narrative to those seeking her paranormal help, and engaging with her half a million-plus social media followers gives her the greatest satisfaction. Not to mention her television career. Pausing for a moment she added cheekily, “Not bad for a woman who was told that she would only ever be fit to sell cabbages and lemons at the local supermarket!” 

What vibes are you picking up about me? 

If I am totally honest this was the juncture at which I believed the pendulum would swing handsomely towards the conventional perspective. My early schooling and later university experience had been strongly influenced by science and mathematics. Indeed, my qualifying law degree only edified my comfort within facts, formulae, and fundamentally sound argument. I guess ‘seeing was believing’ was my comfort zone. 

I had written down in advance of my time with Debbie my personal rationale, as reflected in my preamble. So how did Debbie instinctively and so precisely pick up on my grandma? Or was that just probability pushing back into my thinking? But then, I had mentioned her not just because of the lost kettle but more in terms of her impact on my upbringing, even if she hadn’t been the most important person in my life. I had to concede that her observations were much more than coincidence or chance. 

Equally, I had never shared my moment with Theresa with anyone before, and it had taken me years to pluck up the courage to capture this bizarre experience in words and then share it with the universe. So how come Debbie calmly and confidently captured my personal anguish in such a vivid fashion? 

Following this most fascinating meeting with Debbie, I decided that at present I don’t need any more interpretations of my vision – psychic, scientific, or otherwise. I will instead leave it up to you to believe in what you will. Your own life will dictate what you are prepared to explore, accept, or dismiss. I am thankful that my childlike curiosity shows little evidence of abating. Even though I remain reluctantly accepting of lost hair and greying eyebrows, amongst the other changes that aging brings, I hope I’ll never tire of trying to make sense of the things that puzzle, and often overwhelm me. 

In the meantime however I am certain of two things – our minds are more powerful than we can ever possibly imagine, and Debbie and I have become firm friends. 

© Ian Kirke 2021