Believe it or not
PSYCHICS people who claim to have extraordinary abilities, including talking to dead people, have been at the centre of ongoing arguments between believers and sceptics for decades. Do they exist or are they clever actors and fakes?
Southern Cross’s The One is looking for an answer or, at least, looking to challenge the way we think about psychic phenomena as it searches for Australia’s most gifted psychic. Hosted by Andrew Daddo ( pictured),
The One pits 10 of Australia’s top psychics against one another in a battle for the prestigious title.
Each week, they are asked to demonstrate their abilities in a series of studio and location challenges such as uncovering a ‘‘ thief’’ on a crowded train or solving a real unpublicised murder.
One of the gifted 10 who is in the hunt is Adelaide-born mother of two, Heidi Hanley, a psychic healer who describes herself as an ‘‘ intuitive’’ and ‘‘ empath’’.
From a very young age, Hanley realised she could feel others’ emotions or physical pain and hear their thoughts and from this point onwards realised she would never lead a life quite like her family and friends. ‘‘ I’m like a sponge,’’ she says.
‘‘ I can walk into a place or I’ll be standing next to a person or even an animal and I start to feel what they’re feeling.’’
But it’s not just the living she can feel, it’s the dead too; and this was something that became blatantly obvious to Hanley when she finished school and started working in a palliative care unit in a nursing home.
While there, Hanley began to see, hear and smell residents who had died.
‘‘ I’m kind of a mixed bag in the way that I work, so I feel emotions but sometimes I have clairvoyance so I’ll have images or I’ll actually see words written in my mind’s eye,’’ Hanley says.
‘‘ I’ll also use clairaudience, which is the ability to hear spirits.
‘‘ But then there’s the smelling, we call it ‘ clairsmellient’ as a bit of a joke, and particularly in the nursing home I used to be able to smell cigar smoke and all kinds of other things.
‘‘ It’s all about the energy of a person communicating and the way they’re communicating or making their presence known.’’
While Hanley was fully aware of her abilities, it wasn’t until she married and had two children that she had to fully confront her abilities when she suffered a haunting.
‘‘ When my children came along, it became glaringly obvious to myself and my partner that things had stepped up to the next level,’’ she says.
‘‘ We started having house disturbances, it was quite extraordinary.
‘‘ But I kind of view the experience I had in that house as a bit of a wake-up call.’’
Hanley’s revelation, she says, led her to make better use of and develop her psychic gifts, becoming an aroma-therapist and a crystal healer and undergoing Shamanic training before becoming a Reiki master and meditation teacher.
Hanley was approached by the Seven Network to appear in The One and expects to cop some criticism as she showcases her talents to the Australian public.
‘‘ When you put yourself out in a public forum, particularly this medium, excuse the pun, you’re going to get some criticism, but if I can even help one person then it’s been worth it,’’ she says.
The One: Australia’s Most Gifted Psychic,
Southern Cross, Wednesday, 7.30pm