I wish we would talk about death more. Not because it’s a happy subject, but so that we’d have a better relationship with it and that it wouldn’t terrify us as much as it does. There is grief, which deserves to be treated for what it is and is not what I am addressing here.
I’m writing this post as a result of an increasing number of conversations I am having with people who share with me the weird occurrences that happen around the time of, or after, the death of their loved ones. These beautiful conversations are usually in private, often confided to me almost in whispers, or with a glance over the shoulder to make sure no one else is listening – often in fear, not of the story itself, but of what others might think of us.
I’ve had these conversations so many times and I’ve also had plenty of my own experiences so I want to open this up to say there is nothing to fear. It is a cause for celebration, it’s so beautiful that you have these experiences and I wish we would share them with each other more often because they are more common than you think.
Because of the stigma around death, religion, mysticism, appearing unscientific or crazy and all manner of other things, it can really frighten people when they experience something they don’t expect and cannot explain. I’m not going to try to explain how these things happen, just to share that they commonly do.
Please, please put aside any pre-conceptions you have about this kind of thing from TV shows about the paranormal, ghosts and the like. Having worked in TV for over a decade (and having watched so many of these shows myself) I can tell you that many times they are over-dramatised for ratings, sadly they can often be entirely fictional. Most of these shows play on your fears and tell you nothing useful. (Update: Surviving Death on Netflix is a notable exception and the first time I’ve seen a balanced take of the subject matter for a mainstream audience).
Please come to it with an open heart and love for the person who died.
If they come to you it’s because they want to get your attention and let you know they are ok and that you are loved. It’s an honour to have an encounter like this.
If you lose a loved one, don’t be surprised if any of the following things happen:
- Dreams or visions/daydreams of a visitation by loved one, sometimes, but not always, with an important message;
- Hearing, seeing, feeling things that cannot be explained scientifically (so called “ghostly encounters”);
- Objects/Mementos appearing or moving mysteriously;
- Clocks/Watches stopping – often at the time of death or a specific time;
- Strange coincidences;
- Your pets act strangely, as though they perceive the loved one;
- Feathers or objects appearing in strange places;
- Flickering lights when you talk, think about or feel the presence of your loved one;
- Orbs of light or smokey shadows appearing in photographs;
- Seeing sparkles of light;
- Smelling them;
- A song that you associate with your loved one starts playing just as you were thinking about them;
- Persistent thoughts to do with your loved one, like the urge to do something that reminds you fondly of them;
- The list goes on and on.
Often these things might happen around anniversaries, important or difficult times in your life or special dates such as birthdays/Christmas/graduations etc.
Visitations From My Father
My father died when I was 13. For a long time I didn’t know anyone who had experienced the death of a loved one so I didn’t have anyone else to compare notes with and had to keep my experiences private. I was never scared of death and already believed that somehow our souls go on, but I didn’t know anything else. Here are some weird things that happened when my dad died:
- My mum and I were holding each of dad’s hands when he died in hospital. He squeezed both our hands as the respirators were turned off. This can apparently be explained scientifically as some sort of muscle contraction, but it felt affectionate nonetheless. My mum says she saw the spirit of my father lift out of his body, but I don’t remember this myself;
- In preparation for the funeral, my mother found that dad’s watch had stopped, and so had hers, at the exact same time (both watches were analog);
- She would feel dad stroking her cheek while lying in bed and whispering in her ear, I also felt him stroking my hair while I was half asleep;
- A friend reported on the day of the funeral that my dad’s spanner, which he had lent to my friend, had flown off the shelf in the night and was found the next morning in the middle of the floor in his bedroom;
- Some weeks after the funeral, I was at home alone one day, sitting on the sofa by the living room window and reading a book when suddenly the entire huge bay window banged loudly 3 times as though someone had hit it forcefully with their hands – but there was nobody there;
- One evening later that same year, I was sat in my dad’s favourite armchair with our dog next to me on my left and I suddenly felt like my dad was sat on my right. It was a powerful and reassuring feeling of presence. My dog woke up and also started staring at the space to my right and she wouldn’t stop staring for at least 20 minutes. I also felt him there for about 20 minutes. I never told my mother this story until last year, she had been in the living room with us also at the time, she was reading a book on the sofa opposite me. She said she remembered also that she felt my dad there but had never said anything to me in case it frightened me. She remembered it vividly because it was her birthday and she felt dad had come to visit us especially.
- Most of my experiences with my dad have been through dreams. Days after he died I dreamt he came to visit us. My mum, he and I were sat at our formal dining room table, which was usually reserved for special occasions and a place he felt much family pride. We were just having a lovely time together and he was reassuring us that he was ok, that we are still a strong family unit and that everything was going to be ok. He had a couple of nice “friends” with him who I gathered were looking after him on the other side and had escorted him back to see us. My mum told me the next day that she had had the exact same dream! He has come to visit me in dreams every now and then over the years and he always looks younger and more radiant each time. He always reassures me that he is always there whenever I need him and last time he said I should talk to him and ask for his help more often.
I think it is normal to feel scared at first when it’s something so strange and unusual that you’ve never encountered before. The only time I’ve been scared was an experience that happened in early 2017, and that was because it was totally out of the blue. I stopped having visits from my dad for a long period and I had no paranormal experiences that I can recall for almost 20 years. In fact I grew quite skeptical of all these things during this time. The event that made me start opening the door to all this kind of thing was an unexpected ghost experience.
The Old Lady Next Door
A few years ago, I was house-sitting for a friend in London. I had done so on many occasions, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened, it’s just a lovely little house with a lovely old cat. My partner John had been staying also and went home a couple of days earlier than me. We’d had dinner and after he left, I decided to have an early night with the cat. The cat was curled up by my side in bed and I was just checking my phone before going to sleep. For some reason, for reasons I still cannot explain, I just wanted to quickly google who James Van Praagh was. I had never heard of him before, but his name had come up that evening on something I saw on my phone, so I was reading about him on Wikipedia and it said he is a famous medium. I’d never heard that word before, so I was just wondering to myself what on earth a medium is when I suddenly heard the voice of an old lady downstairs. She was calling “hello, hello!” as though announcing her arrival for tea or something. It sounded like someone entering and walking through the hallway, it was a moving sound.
My first thought was to think, had I not locked the front door? Yes I definitely had. Could an old lady be a burglar? I doubt it. Could it be a friend of my friend with a key to the house rudely inviting themselves in? No, the keys were in the door on the inside which prevents someone using a key from the outside. Could I be hearing sounds from the adjoining house next door? Perhaps, but it was far too loud, it was definitely moving inside this house, my bedroom door was always open so the cat could have free movement, so I could hear the voice crystal clear. Could it be that someone was at the front door just calling very loudly…?
But 10 seconds later, as hundreds of questioning thoughts raced through my mind, the same voice and the same call came from outside my bedroom window, at the back of the house this time, in the opposite direction. “Hello, hello?”. An old lady was definitely looking for someone. Could it be someone next door in their garden? Maybe, but how could they get from the front to the back so quickly? I kept erring back to the thought that it must be the neighbour being unusually loud. But it didn’t seem possible, I had heard muffled laughter from next door on previous occasions and it was always so quiet that you could never actually make out any words or conversation.
I didn’t know what to think, so I looked at the cat, hoping for some reassurance to bring me back to reality, but the cat suddenly stood up, arched her back and all her fur stood on end, like I’d only ever seen in cartoons. Then she growled really loudly. I had never seen this gentle old cat behave this way and that’s when I felt frightened. The cat moved away from my side to the end of the bed and sat like a sphinx, alert and watching the open bedroom door as I pulled the blanket as far up as I could to hide somehow. Then I suddenly remembered that a neighbour had come to the door earlier that day and my partner John had answered it. I was busy cooking at the time but the neighbour had asked if we could pass a message onto the owner of the house that the old lady next door had died two days previously. I had quickly texted this news to my friend as I was busy cooking but forgot about it until this moment. So as I lay there in bed I figured perhaps the spirit of the lady must be a little disoriented and didn’t mean any harm.
The vibe in the house was a little weird for about 30 minutes but gradually started to feel normal again and the cat finally relaxed and came back to me and fell asleep by my side. I finally fell asleep too and prayed I wouldn’t need the toilet during the night. I did, damn it. But nothing else happened that night so when I woke up the next morning I thought perhaps it was all a dream. But as I was getting dressed, there was some really loud rummaging/banging noises in the hallway downstairs. The noise was so loud, and hard to describe, it went on for about 10-15 seconds. It sounded like it was coming from the cupboards in the hallway downstairs, where I had heard the voice as well. But when I inspected them they were tidy as usual. I checked to see if the post man had been or if someone had tried to deliver something, nothing. I checked for signs of a break in and again, nothing. All was as it had been. By the time I got to work, I was so shaken by it, I had to tell my colleagues and bosses at work in our Monday meeting. They were nice and we had a few jokes about it. Someone later asked me what I would do if it happened again that night and I thought that’s a really good question! I didn’t know.
We never heard from the old lady spirit ever again, I stayed many times since. Apparently she had lived in the house next door all her life and didn’t have any close family left by the time she died which was a bit sad. But this is how my interest in these things began.
For some people it’s enough to accept that these weird things happen and that’s all they need to know. For others like me, they want to learn more about it. But one thing we should never feel is scared by any of it. Yes it might be unusual to you, but more people have at least one story like this than you might think. I thought I had no friends I could talk to about it, but as I’ve slowly started telling people about my stories, I’ve been surprised and delighted how many people admit to their own experiences, beliefs and curiosity.
More Visitations From My Father
After this ghost experience, I started reading about this topic and going to classes and workshops to find out more. Yes, there are schools where you can learn about psychic mediumship. Sometimes it feels a bit like going to Hogwarts, it’s very uplifting and exciting actually. I wish I had known about this so much earlier in my life, although, to be honest, I still struggle with skepticism so I probably would have thought it was all nonsense back then.
I have in recent years been given very detailed messages from my dad by several mediums, with such detail about specific memories from my childhood and my current life that they could not possibly know otherwise. Not even a google or Facebook search would reveal such private details that remain only in my memories or my private thoughts and dreams. The very first time I received a message from my dad through a medium, was in a mediumship course I did. You never tell each other anything about yourselves beforehand and we were all strangers in this class. Dad had a lot to say to me after all these years and the whole class listened as well, we could all feel the love and we were all in tears by the end, it was so beautiful. It was then I realised there is no need to be scared by any of this. If it generates love then it can only be a beautiful and healing thing.
When I was on holiday with my partner two years ago, we both witnessed a menu in our accommodation fly across the kitchen, not just once, but three times over two days. That night I had such a vivid and beautiful dream of my dad for the first time in ages. He had a lot of news to tell me, it was very detailed and as I was writing about it in my journal the next morning the lights in the room started flickering until I was finished writing.
A week after our holiday, I was on another workshop at the College of Psychic Studies in London and I buddied up with a lady who started to describe the dream I had the week before. She didn’t know she was describing my dream, she was just telling me what she felt. Not only did she repeat everything my dad had said to me in that dream, which was very detailed, but she also described what he was wearing, which was an important and significant detail. I had told nobody about this dream.
I was quite skeptical about the idea of mediumship until I received several of these kind of messages. It’s not just the words they tell you. When you find a truly authentic medium who connects with your loved one, you also FEEL it. It’s like you feel embraced in the love of that person, you can feel their presence and love pouring into you and there is no way to explain it.
Perhaps the strongest thing that has pushed me past my own skepticism is when it’s been my turn in a class, to give a stranger a message from their loved ones. I’ve shared details that make no sense to me but is so significant to the other person. I also feel such intense love that I know is not mine, but that of their loved one. And love feels different each time. A grandfather’s love is different to a brother’s love for his baby sister and so on.
It’s beautiful and it has been so uplifting to know there is so much love around us, even when we think there is just bad news everywhere.
I can’t explain it and I still experience moments of skepticism, but if the feeling is that of love, then I don’t care to be honest. We need more love in this world. These kind of things have just become regular occurrences to me now and I embrace it.
What To Do If You Have A Paranormal Experience?
People often ask me what we’re supposed to do if something strange happens, if we need to do some kind of ghost hunter thing or something. Yet every story I’ve heard so far has always clearly been a sign from a departed loved one just trying to make contact to let the person know they are there. I’m still learning about this myself, so I don’t really know what’s best. From my experience you don’t need to do anything, you can choose to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen if you’re not comfortable with it.
Yet I would encourage you to open up to it, talk to your loved one. You don’t have to do it out loud necessarily. I always talk to my loved ones in my mind and my thoughts. Sometimes I send a prayer. Just have a conversation and know they can hear you. Be open to signs they might send, interact with them. Be comforted by their love and their presence, it means they care about you and they want you to know they are still there. My dad wants to help me in life and I know that the parents of other people I care about also want to help them. I don’t know what exactly they do, but they do help us, perhaps a bit like angels.
If you wish, you could find a reputable medium who might be able to give you a message. Tell them nothing of yourself, let them give you lots of detail, be discerning and use a healthy amount of skepticism. If they ask you too may questions, don’t feed them with your answers. Simply say yes or no. But also go with an open heart, because it can only ever work if you are open to receiving a communication with your loved one in the first place.
If you want to find out more, here are some of the books I would recommend to read to get started. See if any of these resonate with you.
Most importantly, feel the love. Feel the love. Feel the love. Love is really eternal. x
- Surviving Death – (6 Episodes) Available on Netflix
- Life After Life by Dr Raymond Moody
- Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Dr Eben Alexander
- Many Lives Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss
- Talking To Heaven: A medium’s message of life after death by James Van Praagh
- Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani
- My Stroke Of Insight by Dr Jill Bolte-Taylor