An extraordinary inheritance
Julie Ann Thompson's psychic daughter ignited a passion for her own hidden ability… ‘My fears that Alison would inherit my gift were coming true’
Leaning against the door to the living room I watched my little girl, Alison, as she played tea party with her toys. ‘I’ll sit here and you go next to Pony,’ she said into thin air. ‘Now, you get some biscuits for Dolly and I’ll cut the cake.’
She seemed so happy, merrily chatting away to herself, at least, that’s what I hoped she was doing – the other possibility filled me with utter dread.
All four-year-olds had imaginary friends, I tried reassuring myself. She’s just playing make believe, there’s nothing to worry about.
Yet a few weeks later I woke in the night to Alison crying and calling my name.
‘What it is darling?’ I asked, sitting down on her bed and pulling her into my arms.
‘Th-th-there’s a little girl in my room with no face,’ she sobbed.
My heart sank. Oh no, not this, please, anything but this.
Taking a deep breath to steady my nerves, I said calmly: ‘Where is she honey?’
Shaking, Alison pointed at the corner.
‘Well, don't worry she isn’t going to hurt you,’ I promised. ‘And all you have to do is tell her to leave you alone and she will, okay?’
Alison nodded, wiping away her tears and closing her eyes as I tucked her back under the covers. But I was in for a sleepless night.
I’d always worried Alison would inherit my psychic gift and now it seemed my worst fears were coming true.
Repeating the pattern
In my family, every third daughter of a third daughter had the ability. After my first daughter, Audrey, had been born I’d had a miscarriage, which made Alison my third child.
I’d really hoped the spell had finally been broken – I’d grown up so confused and scared of my gift, I didn’t want the same for her – but everything that was happening to Alison reminded me of my own childhood.
When I was Alison’s age it had been the same every night – I’d see shadowy figures in my bedroom, hear whispering voices and cry out in fear for my mum.
Eventually she moved my bed into her bedroom, but it didn’t help. As I grew older I began chatting to a little girl called Abby, who would visit me in my room. Although she didn’t scare me, I assumed at first that everyone could see her, but they couldn’t.
Talking to the dead
Mum, however, never made a fuss. Looking back now I suppose because she was psychic herself this was normal to her and so she never broached the subject of spirits with me, but I was terrified.
My nanna, Angelia, was just the same. When I was five, my grandad, Albert, passed away and a little while later I visited Nanna’s house. I sat watching TV while Nanna did her crocheting and chatted about some decorating she was planning on doing.
All of a sudden, five different window blinds shot up at the same time and, while I screamed, Nanna didn’t flinch.
‘Now Albert stop that,’ she sighed. ‘It’s okay, I won’t paint the living room.’
Unbeknown to me, communicating with Grandad was as normal as breathing for Nanna, but I couldn’t get to grips with the fact that dead people were trying to communicate with me.
As a teenager, my ability to hear and see Spirit became even stronger. Some spirits I would see, others I would just hear, but their visits to my bedroom continued nightly.
I would lay there listening to them talking and pull the covers over my head, too sacred to
look or say a word, but willing them to go away. There was no way I was going to tell Mum, she’d think I was crazy, and what if she sent me away? My mind was filled with the irrational thoughts only a child can have – so I kept quiet.
And, back then, you couldn’t just turn on the TV and watch programmes about the paranormal, or Google ‘what’s happening to me’.
So, when I read somewhere that people who could see spirits were able to shut them out, I decided to try it.
The next time a ghostly visitor came to my room, I screamed loudly into the dark: ‘I’m not going to be afraid of you anymore!’ and visualised building a brick wall around my mind.
For a while, it seemed to work. I stopped seeing and hearing people and it finally felt like I could get on with being a ‘normal’ kid. I went to college and studied to be a mental health counsellor, got married and had our girls.
But my psychic skills never left me. I could still hear and see spirits, if I wanted to. But that was the point, I didn’t want to.
Still, I did finally feel I was old enough to broach the subject with Mum.
‘You’ve inherited it from me,’ she revealed. ‘And I inherited it from your nanna.
‘I never wanted to talk to you about it though, in case it scared you,’ she confessed.
It seemed the gift was strong in our family and had been for generations.
‘I remember one day when I wanted to go ice-skating on a local lake but your Nanna wouldn’t let me,’ Mum told me. ‘She said I couldn’t go because something bad would
happen to me. We later discovered that a child had fallen through the ice that day and died.’
Just as blood ran through our veins, so did this psychic ability. And now it turned out my little girl had inherited it too.
That fact was certainly brought home to me a few months later.
Every year we’d go apple picking in a nearby orchard. It was an annual family event and Alison loved it because there was a horse and cart you could ride around on. But, this time, as we got ready to head off there she became really agitated.
‘We can’t go Mummy,’ she sobbed. ‘We can’t, we can’t.’
She was so upset we stayed at home. The next day I heard on the news that, at the time we would have been visiting the orchard, the horse had careered out of control and trampled someone to death.
I knew then for definite that like Nanna, Alison had the gift of foresight.
Knowing that my little girl had inherited her psychic ability from me made me feel so bad as I knew how confusing and scary it could be. But I was determined that she wouldn’t grow up like I did – feeling different, not understanding her abilities, being terrified of them and trying to push them away because she didn’t feel like she had anyone to talk to.
Helping her understand
When Alison was 10, I sat her down and tried to explain to her what this gift meant.
‘As well as me, both my mum and her mum have this gift too, so there’s no need to be afraid of it,’ I told her. ‘I know it’s hard to get your head around it but we are here to help people who have passed over, they want your help to contact people who are living.’
‘OK Mum,’ she replied, taking it all in. ‘But other kids don’t do this?’
‘No, not all kids,’ I replied gently. ‘So maybe it’s best not to tell all your friends. I don’t want you getting made fun of or being bullied. Be careful who you share it with.’
‘OK,’ Alison said. ‘But, I’m scared. Will seeing spirits ever go away?’
‘Don’t worry,’ I reassured her. ‘I’m going to help you deal with it.’
The last thing I expected
It was really important for me to be open with Alison to help her understand what was going on and not feel afraid, so I took her to see my friend Amy, a medium.
Like us, she’d been psychic since childhood. ‘The good news is Alison’s a very powerful medium,’ she told me. ‘But the bad news is... she’s a very powerful medium! And your abilities are just as strong too. In fact, you’re one of the strongest mediums I know and you can’t carry on ignoring what you have, you’re here for a reason.’
But I’d ‘parked’ my gifts a long time ago. Although I’d never stopped seeing and hearing Spirit, it didn’t mean I wanted to be able to. My own experiences as a youngster had left me scared of my skills.
But Amy had other plans for me.
‘There’s a beautiful blonde woman heading your way,’ revealed Amy. ‘Look out for her, she will be your teacher.’
‘Yep, whatever!’ I laughed. My focus right now was on Alison.
Two weeks later I went to a talk given by a paranormal group to see if I could get any tips for helping Alison on her journey.
Standing outside afterwards, I noticed a tall blonde lady waiting outside too. When she looked over at me, I had the strangest sensation – like we’d known each other forever and that she was psychic like me. Feeling strangely drawn to her, I walked over and introduced myself.
‘You’re a medium, aren’t you?’ I said.
‘Yes, I am,’ she smiled, introducing herself as Danielle. ‘And so are you.’
We got chatting and, by the end of our conversation, Danielle had invited me to join the paranormal group, which she co-owned.
It all happened so quickly and soon Danielle was training me in developing and using my psychic gifts.
She would sit with me and ask me to tell her what I could see and hear, helping me nurture the talents I’d kept hidden for so long.
Soon I was working with the paranormal investigation team too.
‘I knew then that my daughter also had the gift of
We’d go to houses, equipped with cameras, recording equipment and my psychic skills, to find ghosts. Usually we were called to private houses where the owners were being bothered by a spirit presence.
We would go in and find the spirit, and I would talk to them, counsel them, find out what was wrong, just like I would in my day job as a counsellor. Then, if they were ready, I would help them move on and be at peace.
In one home, I found a really angry spirit and I discovered by talking to him that he was a former caretaker of the building and felt trapped there.
Using what Danielle had taught me, I contacted his family in Spirit, along with some archangels and guides, and together we helped him move on.
It was work I loved. Amy had said I was here for a reason, and at last I knew what she meant. I couldn’t believe I had shunned my skills all these years.
My gift even saved my life.
One time I was driving home when I got an overwhelming feeling something bad was going to happen.
Suddenly, I followed my urge to swerve and it was lucky that I did.
At that moment, a ladder that had been badly attached to the roof of the car in front fell into the road.
If I hadn’t swerved it would have crashed straight into me.
Going full circle
With Amy’s help Alison’s gifts also flourished and, when she was 11, the paranormal team asked her to join them too.
As well as my work moving spirits on from people’s homes, I started doing readings for friends and family.
And, when Mum died five years ago, she started showing us she was still around.
When she was alive, the two of us often talked about how we’d find a way to connect with each other when one of us died.
‘We’ll make lightbulbs flicker,’ we decided. A couple of weeks after Mum’s death, I was sitting alone on the settee when the lightbulb in the lamp on the table next to me suddenly shattered. I knew it was Mum and after that there was no stopping her.
I was in a restaurant a year later when the light above our table started flickering.
‘Mum is that you?’ I asked.
It flickered back in response.
Soon, we were even getting her to flicker once for ‘yes’ and two for ‘no’ and now she often communicates with us in this way. Speaking to her spirit is completely normal for us. Things have come full circle.
We’ve helped each other along the way
Alison is now 16 and really enjoys her psychic work. It all feels as if it’s meant to be.
We love being a mother and daughter team, it's fantastic, and our skills complement each other perfectly.
Alison picks up vibrations on a different level to me, so sometimes she may see or hear a spirit that I don’t. We find the different pieces of a psychic puzzle – I call it
‘psychic CSI’ – and then we fit them together, solve the case and move the spirits on.
For example, during one investigation we worked on, Alison was strongly drawn to a particular painting hanging on the wall and didn’t know why. I hadn’t even noticed the picture but, tuning into it, I was able to discover that the person who was haunting the place had painted it.
Alison and I have worked on over 30 cases together so far and I have her to thank for all the fun we are having.
If it wasn’t for having to face up to the fact she had inherited my family’s psychic gift, I would never have embraced my own abilities.
I'm so grateful to Alison, she helped me come to terms with my own powers and see what a gift they truly are.
There’s nothing like passing on messages of love to people whose hearts are broken because they’ve lost someone.
I finally feel incredibly lucky to have inherited such a special gift and best of all, I know Alison feels that way too.
I kept my gift a secret for so long
Alison aged 3, around the time she started to see spirit
My nanna Angelia and grandpa Albert
Alison has honed her skills
Me, dowsing for spirits during
a ghost hunt
At work, trying to make contact with Spirit