Who ya gonna call?

My day kicked off a couple of days ago with not being interviewed by the BBC World Service. They’d contacted me regarding my ‘paranormal expertise’, inviting a comment about the breaking news that the new Ghostbusters film has an all female cast. I didn’t receive the message in time and so the conversation never happened. I hasten to add that I’m not globally renowned for my paranormal expertise – or at least, not yet.  I do, however, describe myself as the uncrowned princess of paranormal phenomena because I’ve had so many unusual experiences that definitely don’t fit into the ‘normal’ category.

I probably wouldn’t have been the best person to offer a comment about the film line up – I’m embarrassed to admit that I found the original Ghostbusters film rather scary.  For years I couldn’t even watch Scooby Doo unless I had a cushion in front of my face and my fingers in my ears. I’m such a wimp, but I’ve always found that there’s a fine line between comedy and horror.  What makes other people laugh – spoofs about vampires, zombies and the like – is guaranteed to give me sleepless nights for decades. Although I’m fine with Twilight, possibly because it’s easy on the fangs plus I have a shy crush on Robert Pattinson.

Given my lifelong terror regarding all things supernatural, it’s a source of intense amusement to my husband that I’ve turned into a person who now spends a fair amount of her time preoccupied with dead people.  I used to be so judgemental and cynical, always taking the piss out of anything psychic, but now I’ve turned into my own piss take.   It’s a puzzle why dead people are so drawn to me, but it’s clear that I’m hyper-sensitive and can pick up on trapped spirits.  I’m like a beacon emitting a very bright light that’s visible to dead people.

This sensitivity kicked off, totally unexpectedly, about twelve years ago. I suspect it had been incubating within me since I was very young, when I used to see people in spirit form, but had managed to block it from my memory.  And then it erupted. It became apparent that a (circa 150 year-old) dead woman in my bedroom was one of the main causes of my insomnia, along with my two-cups-a-day Pret a Manger mocha habit, waking me up each night at 3am. I was understandably horrified, especially since she continued to co-habit my bedroom for the following four years. Knowing you’re sharing your bedroom with somebody you can’t see is quite unsettling, especially when you can sense her and hear her creaking across the floorboards.  She didn’t wish me any harm.   She just couldn’t work out what I was doing in her space.  She’d apparently become trapped because she was still grieving for her husband and son who’d died at sea.   She was welded to that room and couldn’t move on.

I moved to another Georgian house and the same thing happened, only this time the problem was much worse and the presence of a rather menacing (dead) female began to have a very deleterious effect on my health.  This time we had to call in the big guns, a ghost buster par excellence by the name of Christian Kyriacou, who prefers to be known as a house whisperer.  He’s recently written a book entitled The House Whisperer

‘Ghost busting’ has a sensationalist ring to it and immediately evokes a sense of fear and thrills, putting a negative spin on the situation, creating a distance and lack of understanding of what’s actually happening.  We instinctively fear what we don’t understand, and usually ridicule it because that makes it safer and more manageable.  Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. I used to behave in exactly the same way until I was forced to confront this side of life.

I much prefer the notion of ‘house whispering’ and have realised that very often, ghosts and trapped spirits come into our lives in a very timely way, acting as catalysts.  They frequently force us to move forward with our lives and the process is invariably fascinating and instructive.

I’ve also discovered that there’s nothing random about where we choose to live.   It’s more the case that the house chooses us and an educational process – sometimes quite brutal – slowly unravels whilst we’re there.

I was powerfully attracted to my last two houses, by a force that seemed far stronger than me.  I realised there was a pattern with both houses. The previous owners had both experienced unhappy marriages and acrimonious divorces.  My burgeoning healing ability had been triggered by events in the first house, and, as a result of my rapid spiritual development during my time there, it was definitely a much happier space when I moved.  I’d been able to help the dead woman move on, hopefully reunited with her husband and son.

I had a sense that there was a healing job to be done in the second house.  I was correct, although it was a much bigger deal than I could ever have imagined. It also shone a light, rather painfully, on my own life, forcing me to confront certain personal issues that I’d put off for too long.

The fascinating thing about Christian’s house whispering process is that you could actually measure a discernible ‘before’ and ‘after’.   My rational, Oxford/Cambridge-educated physicist husband was present throughout and was amazed by the result.  We learnt that a house has a soul and retains a memory of what’s happened within its walls. I realised that the beautiful house had been terribly unhappy for nearly 150 years, having witnessed some tragic occurrences.  It was time for someone like me to recognise this and feed love and healing back into that space. Often a house won’t let us go until we’ve completed our particular lesson there, and we’ll find it hard to sell the house until that’s been achieved.

Men and women are equally adept at ghost busting, but perhaps it’s time for an all-female cast, just for a change. It won’t be the same without Bill Murray. He should definitely have a cameo role.  Kristen Wiig is a talented comedienne so she’ll up the ante.   Perhaps I’ll finally manage to watch Ghostbusters 3 without a cushion over my face.

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