The football supporters on the train left me thinking about how to get the young, and maybe not so young, into thinking about life, where we came from and what becomes of us when we die. Heavy stuff? Not really. But then I’ve lived amongst ghosts most of my life and, following a series of uninvited and disturbing events taking over my life, ended up training at the College of Psychic Studies where I gained a deeper understanding of these supposedly paranormal events. Does anyone remember Joan Grants books? If so you will know how her exciting stories imparted simple explanations of spirituality and reincarnation in particular. That, I decided was what I wanted to do too. Only how? Well, whilst working in London, I was also engaged (still am) at the Theatre Royal Plymouth as an audio describer for the blind and partially sighted, and this involves a degree of writing. This was fine as being dyslexic and hopeless at spelling didn’t matter as everything in AD is spoken. Not so writing. Undaunted by the endless wiggly red lines littering my script, I began writing what was to be my first book. No, not The Spirit Trap, another book, as yet unpublished – too controversial. When I began writing it, I had absolutely no idea what form the story would take other than it would involve a carousel horse – I passed a battered one in antique shop window on the way to the theatre, and felt sorry for it. After six weeks at the computer I had a 85,0000 word unpublishable story. But I had enjoyed the process; allowing my imagination to run wild – writing a character into a corner and the puzzle of how to get them out it, all the while trying to maintaining a subtle philosophical thread. The whole process was fun. This book was for younger children and the prequel to The Spirit Trap. It was at this point that I thought maybe it was time I learnt, if not how to spell, at least how to write …
This is my first attempt at writing a blog and as a dyslexic OAP I can’t imagine what I can be thinking of when people my age should be sitting back with a glass of wine enjoying a good book – written by someone who knows what they’re doing. So what prompted this folly?
It all began with a late night train journey disrupted by a gang of intimidating drunk football fans. It was several years ago and I was working at the College of Psychic Studies in London – as a sensitive/ medium – something I don’t shout about as people tend to recoil thinking you’re either weird or a witch. I am neither. I am an ordinary housewife with four adult children living on the edge of Dartmoor surrounded by Highland cattle, sheep, cats, an eagle owl and mud. But back to the train. I was returning from London on the last train. There were quite a few people in the carriage, all quietly reading or working on their laptops, when a gang of young men burst in and started kicking an empty beer can up and down the aisle. This went on for a while with them shouting obscenities and trying to provoke trouble, until one of them started being unbelievably horrible to a black girl sitting across the aisle from me. That was it, and I stood up (intending to find the transport police who I’d seen board the train at Reading),when the leader snatched my book from me and started to pace up and down reading it out loud. He then stopped, turned to me and shouted,’you don’t believe this F****crap do you?’ I asked him if he had any better ideas of what happened to you when you died. He then came and threw himself down in the seat next to me and we began to talk. It wasn’t long before the rest of his mates squeezed in too – six of us in seats for four – very cosy!The rest of was spent with them talking about friends who’d died in accidents, relatives or friends with terminal illnesses – they all had a story to tell, but none had ever given a thought to what happens next. At the end of their journey we all exchanged phone numbers and big hugs, and as the police were escorting the lads off the train one of them turned to me and said,’ I don’t know what you’ve got that I haven’t, but thanks for looking after the lads.’ To which I replied, I have a book. The book was Memories, Dreams and Refections by Carl Jung – it made them think, and it made me think too. Not only think, but to embark on writing stories about what might happen next.
- Anyone who has read The Spirit Trap will know it is about a girl who tries to release / rescue a ghost – well I was only able to write the story because releasing earthbound spirits is something I also do, or to be more precise, try to do, as not all ghosts are exactly amenable. And for anyone who is interested in this sort of thing I thought I’d tell you, (very briefly) about such a rescue that I was asked to do this summer. I had a phone call from someone who rents out a very remote cottage on Dartmoor. She said that her new tenants were unhappy and were thinking of leaving as they felt “something other” than themselves was living there. Iwent to the cottage and was taken around by the owner. Initially the house seemed fine until we returned to the main room for the second time, when as I moved to a certain place I was ” hit” by a paralysing cold – the tenants were right – there most certainly was someone else there. As requested I was left alone to try and make contact with the spirit, who, luckily, was only too glad to communicate with someone who understood his plight and help him to move on. The happy tenants are now no longer looking over their shoulders and the distressed young man has moved on. Yippee.
- PS His story, or what I gleaned of it, was interesting and sad as it transpired (as is so often is the case with earthbound spirits), that religion played a large part in his inability to recognise that he was dead and move on.