London - This is a strange way to spend a Thursday morning. I am sitting in a living room in Watford, Hertfordshire, with my eyes closed, trying to summon up my ‘spirit guide’ with the help of Britain’s most accurate medium.
“As you breathe in and out, let any thoughts drift away. Now send a thought asking your spirit guide to step into this quiet place and see if you feel any sense of their presence,” says my teacher. My mind is spinning because after a few seconds, I do feel something - or rather hear something. Out of nowhere the room has filled with the sound of a ferocious wind, whistling around me, even though outside it is a still, sunny day.
“I hear wind!” I exclaim. “Really strong wind, like we’re in the middle of a storm.” I hear a chuckle and open my eyes.
“That’s a passing train, going through a tunnel. They make that noise all the time - quite handy to have near a medium’s house,” jokes my psychic leader.
Oh dear, so it turns out I’m not really in tune with the spirit world - at least not yet. But we can all develop psychic, or intuitive skills, according to medium Gordon Smith, who is renowned for his ability to pinpoint exact names of people, places and even streets important to a person’s life. He’s just written a book called Intuitive Studies: A Complete Course in Mediumship, which promises to help people harness their intuitive powers - and despite having all the psychic powers of a dustbin I am here to get a one-to-one lesson.
‘We all have a sixth sense, times when you just know something; say that your mom is going to call, or that someone in your family isn’t well. This is our intuition - and instead of ignoring it, we should hone it and heighten it. People think that the spirit world is full of creepy ghosts and ghouls, but it’s not. It is tapping in to the higher consciousness of spirits of people who have been here before - a kind of collective intelligence.’
Gordon was just a boy when he started to have visions. When he was seven or eight a friend of his mother’s passed him on the street and had a little chat. When he told his mom she got very upset. “She freaked out and I didn’t know what I’d done wrong, it turned out that this man had died the week before. I had several experiences like this. They never bothered me but because of other people’s reactions, I learnt to shut up about it.”
But then in his early 20s a friend’s brother died in a house fire and the night he died, he appeared in Gordon’s bedroom.
“It was 3am and he just appeared in my room. I was stunned and shocked and before I could say anything he had vanished through the floorboards. I had a horrible sense of foreboding, I knew that I was going to get bad news in the morning - and I did. It turned out he had died at exactly that time.”
Since then, Gordon has been communicating with the spirit world on a daily basis. He used to do readings around his job as a barber, which earned him the nickname ‘The Psychic Barber’ - but now he is a full-time medium. His abilities have been tested by scientists at Glasgow University, and his astonishing accuracy has made him the subject of TV several documentaries.
People come to him for all sorts of reasons. Most often he acts as a medium, passing consoling messages from the dead to the bereaved - but he is also a psychic too, performing readings for people. So will he be able to tell me when I will meet the love of my life?
Or better still, teach me how to use my intuition to spot him myself? While Gordon believes that his extreme gift is something he was born with, he says “anyone can communicate with the spirit world if they know how to open up”. So could I reach this higher consciousness? The first steps are simple ...
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
“You cannot tap into your intuition if your head is busy with a million different thoughts,” says Gordon. “We should all sit in silence for at least an hour once a week. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and relax.”
Sitting on Gordon’s sofa, I give it a go. I close my eyes and try to think of nothing but all I can think about is that fact that I forgot to take my washing out of the machine this morning. “Thoughts will come into your head but you just let them go. With practice you will start to declutter your mind and see things more clearly,” he says.
HEED THOSE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD
When you get used to sitting in silence you will start to hear your inner voice that we so often ignore, says Gordon. “If I’ve trained to do anything in the past 30 years, it’s to listen to my inner voice,” he says. “One night, years ago, I’d been invited to a party but as soon as I stepped into the entrance of the bar, my tummy went ‘boom!’.
“Something felt wrong so I told my friends I wasn’t going in, and we left and went to another bar. We heard the next day that a guy had walked into the party with a knife that night and stabbed two people.” This gives me a shiver.
“This won’t stop everything negative in your life - there are some things you can do nothing about, for example my mom’s dying of cancer at the moment but it can help you avoid certain situations,” he says.
I ask if he knew that his mother was sick before she was diagnosed. “She was a very healthy strong woman but had been complaining of getting tired and having something in her throat. One day I woke up and just knew something was wrong. I phoned home and my brother told me Mom had just got back from the doctor who thought it might be cancer.”
BEFRIEND A ‘SPIRIT GUIDE’
Once you’ve found your inner voice, the next step is to find your spirit guide, says Gordon. He believes that when we die, our spirits remain floating around and that they are always communicating with us, if we’ll listen.
Gordon also thinks that each of us has a spirit guide, like a guardian angel, who is there for us all the time if we need him or her. It sounds nuts, but the way he talks about his spirit guide - an old man, whom he has named Chi - is so matter of fact that it’s like he’s talking about a friend.
I attempt to find mine. Sitting on the chair Gordon tells me to close my eyes and ask for my spirit guide to come to me and to give me a sign. I do. Nothing happens. I wait. Then I see a little sparkling light in the corner of my eye - like a little Tinkerbell - but then I realise that it’s just the sun shining though the window. I feel silly. Gordon, sweetly, tells me this is normal. “Believe me, you’ll know when it happens. And don’t worry if it doesn’t, there are no prizes for any of this,” he says.
FEEL THE AURA
Even if you don’t find - or believe in - a spirit guide, you can use your intuition to tap into other people’s feelings. “We all do this anyway,” says Gordon. “You might be with a loved one and you know that what they are saying is not how they are feeling. People mask their thoughts but you sense their feelings in the atmosphere.”
Gordon asks me to try an exercise in which I read his feelings. The idea is that I stand behind him with my hands hovering over his shoulder while he remembers something that prompts strong emotions. The reason Gordon suggested I hold my hands an inch away from his body is to get in touch with his aura - an energy that comes off all of us. While some people claim to see auras, Gordon says we should start by feeling their presence.
After a minute or so with my hands hovering, I feel nothing at all - except panic that I’m feeling nothing at all. Then the picture of a brown horse flashes into my head, and pops out again. I tell Gordon about the horse and he smiles. “I was thinking about the week my father was dying,” he says. “No horses there.”
We swap places and I remember a time when a male friend died and Gordon picks up “female healing energy”. Oh well. ‘”’m really tired,” he says, not remotely embarrassed. Even professionals have off days.
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE PSYCHIC
This is all very good but can I look into people’s futures? Or can Gordon look into mine? Can he tell me whether I’m going to meet a tall, handsome stranger and move to the South of France? “No,” he says. “Seeing the future is a 50-50 guess based on a feeling that you get from people. You might get it right but you might not.”
So where are fortune tellers and psychics on hotlines getting their information from? “I have no idea,” says Gordon. “If you go to a psychic or a medium who asks you lots of questions, walk away. They should be telling you information, not the other way around.” What Gordon can tell me is that there are no messages from the dead he needs to pass on to me and that actually, “everything is OK in your life”. Which indeed it is. “When things are good, don’t go poking around, just enjoy what you have,” he says, before showing me to the door.
But Gordon gives me some parting words: “Stop looking for Prince Charming, and start looking for Mr Right Here.” Ooh! I do a mental check of all the men in my life - could he be talking about my postman? An overlooked friend? My grumpy neighbour?
I wonder if Gordon can see something in the future or if he is just using old-fashioned common sense - whatever it is, I think we can all learn a little bit from Gordon, the most down-to-earth psychic in the world. And after an hour with him, I left convinced that not only can Gordon communicate with higher powers - perhaps we all can. - Daily Mail
* Intuitive Studies: A Complete Course In Mediumship by Gordon Smith is published by Hay House.