When I was a child I used to wake in the night and see shadowy people walking about my bedroom. Through the darkness I’d hear whispered voices and the bustle of movement.
Terrified, I’d reach for the light switch. But as soon as the light was on, the figures would disappear. Or so I thought.
It was only in my early 20s, when I was introduced to a gifted psychic medium called Susan Dabbs, that I learned that spirits like the ones in my bedroom don’t vanish when the lights come on, or when the sun rises.
Rather, it was me who was slipping out of the heightened state of mind that enabled me to sense them. Because the truth is that, rather than only appearing in twilight hours, spirits are around us all the time.
They can be loved ones who visit to check up on us, or Earthbound spirits who are stuck here, on the Earth plane, either because of the traumatic nature of their deaths — or because they simply don’t want to leave.
Indeed, Earthbound spirits often don’t realise they’re dead and continue living their lives in a state of confusion and often distress, which is why they can be scary.
I’ve never met a nasty spirit, however. As an adult I welcome them — and wish I saw them more often.
My experiences of the paranormal haven’t just been limited to seeing spirits. I used to slip out of my body and float about the garden, which was and still is the most blissful feeling I have ever felt — of flying over the woods and fields of our farm in Hampshire, illuminated in the moonlight.
Such a thing happens less to me these days, sadly. Children are very psychic. Their senses are tuned into things adults, so entrenched in the material world, often lose their ability to ‘see’.
Thankfully, Susan Dabbs taught me how to get my psychic skills back. Meditation was key, and once I started a daily practice, my psychic ability became more acute. Rather than seeing spirits as shadowy figures, I started seeing them in colour — and very clearly, like holograms. They’re rarely people I know, but when they are, it’s just joyous.
Perhaps most wonderfully, I once saw my sister, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, who passed away in 2017. I didn’t realise what a profound gift it is to be able to see those who have died until I saw her.
I had gone to bed every night hoping that she would visit me, but nothing happened for months. I lamented the fact that, now I’m older and my life is busier, my paranormal experiences are rare. I wondered whether I would ever see her.
Then, six months after her death, I was stirred from sleep by someone sitting by my bed. It was Tara.
Wearing a baby pink T-shirt, she looked like she was 18 again — glossy, happy, radiating love and excitement. She hated anything to do with ghosts when she was alive, and hated me talking about them, so she was probably finding it funny that she had come to me as a spirit. My husband, sleeping by my side, was unaware of the amazing visitation.
I didn’t try to speak to her — I didn’t want to slip out of range, which can happen if I get excited, a bit like a radio dial moving off the mark — I just enjoyed her presence. I felt a deep and expanding love in my chest, and immense joy at finally being reunited.
I never got to say goodbye to her when she died, because her death was unexpected, so I felt I was being given a chance to tell her, without words, that I loved her and missed her.