In September 2005 the BBC screened a three-part Everyman Series called 'Talking to the Dead', which featured the work of several spirit mediums, most notably Gordon Smith from Glasgow, then dubbed the 'psychic barber', who is considered to be one of the finest spirit mediums in Britain.

Like many other people who watched this TV series I realized what an immaculate gift of clairvoyance Gordon possessed and had developed, so I made a mental note of his name. Then in the summer of 2006 I was fortunate enough to have a session with Gordon following the accidental death of my young daughter in late March of that year, which Gordon considered to be 'one of the strangest, yet deeply spiritual, appointments I have ever made with the spirit world.'

Though ever in demand I learned a lot from Gordon and our peripheral friendship, and have enormous respect and gratitude for the work he does, with true humility, compassion and integrity, and perhaps most of all with a soulful ease and naturalness. For it is not easy to stand and deliver on any public platform, especially when the messages come from ethereal realms and are often so heart-wrenchingly personal in their content.

This story below I once heard Gordon relate in public, and it appears as the second entry in his book, 'Why Do Bad Things Happen', for which I wrote an afterword.

The mediums Albert Best and Jean Primrose were two of Gordon's main mentors, and he met Mrs Primrose in the early 1990's when she was in her seventies and still serving as a respected luminary in the Spiritualist Church. Gordon relates how she once came to visit him and his partner Jim in their Glasgow flat, bringing with her a younger lady named Ann. Gordon asked Ann how they had met.

"Can I tell them?" she asked Mrs Primrose.

"It's your story," she said and gestured her to go on if she wanted to. So this is the story that Ann told:

About forty years earlier she and her husband had been trying to start a family, and after several miscarriages she had finally been able to carry a baby to full term. But their longed-for baby son, died before they had even left the hospital. As Ann was so devastated by this tragic loss, her husband had to steel himself and deal with their baby's funeral arrangements himself. By law it was officially decreed that their little boy had to be given a name before he could be buried, so he chose the name 'Jamie', but he never told his wife that the baby had been given this name.

A year later Ann was diagnosed with a medical condition that meant it was now impossible for her to have a child, and the couple thought they would never have a family. It was about this time that a friend persuaded her to go to a Spiritualist Church where Mrs Primrose was demonstrating, but Ann was skeptical about spirit mediumship and chose to sit right at the back of the church where she thought she would not be seen. So she was horrified when Mrs Primrose identified and addressed her, saying that she had a personal message for her that she would pass on in private after her demonstration was over. 'This is ridiculous', Ann thought, and she tried to leave the church before the service ended, but Mrs Primrose was already in the ante-room before she was through the door, and gently took her aside.

"Have you got a pen and a piece of paper?" she asked Ann. "Because you are going to need this information."

On the paper Mrs Primrose wrote the name Jamie and a date, and told her: "This is the name of the baby you lost and this is the date when he died."

Ann was startled, for the date was correct, although as far as she knew her baby boy had never been given a name. Mrs Primrose then told her that she and her husband would later adopt children, and then she wrote down two sequences of numbers, saying: "Keep these numbers and make sure you never lose them. I don't know what they mean, but I do know that you will need them in the future."

Ann tucked the paper into her handbag and hurried home. Then she went straight to her husband's bureau to search for their baby's death certificate, and there it was, her little boy's name - Jamie.

Five years later she and her husband had adopted a baby boy and a baby girl at separate times and at last had the family they had always wanted. Some thirty years later, when their two children had matured into adults, they both became interested in locating their biological birth parents. They asked Ann if she minded, but she was very happy for them both to do so. Both children started chasing official trails of paperwork and making many phone calls, but they didn't have any success and it seemed that every possible line of enquiry had been exhausted.

Then one day Ann happened to meet Mrs Primrose on the street and began chatting about her children's fruitless search, and about how she wished she could help them. Suddenly Mrs Primrose remembered the piece of paper, and said: "I know it's a long shot, but do you still have that piece of paper with the numbers on it?"

Ann replied that she had kept the little piece of paper in her bedside cabinet drawer for all these years.

"You must try using those two numbers now," Mrs Primrose urged: "I believe they are phone numbers that will lead both of your children to their birth parents."

In Gordon's words: "I've heard some incredible stories from mediums in my time, but never one as amazing as this. Each of those numbers was connected to the birth parents of the adopted children, and through them they were able to get into contact with their birth families. The amazing thing is that neither of these telephone numbers or their exchanges existed at the time that Mrs Primrose wrote them down for Ann."

As Ann finished her story, Jim and I stared at Mrs Primrose in amazement and asked her how on earth she could have known. She just looked at her hands. Ann then asked us, "How can you disbelieve when you had something like that happen?"

This second story below appears in the book: 'Closer to the Light - Learning from the near-death experiences of children', by Dr Melvin Morse and Paul Perry. It concerns Michele Sorensen, the co-author of 'The Journey Beyond Life', who related this story of a near-death experience she had as a teenager:

"Suddenly I was above my body, looking down from the corner of the room, I felt a wonderful warmth with no chills. A man was standing behind me, the warmth seemed to come from him and spread around me. I did not turn around. I stared in relief at my form on the bed. I knew I was dead. Then I thought, 'I should have done this sooner!'

Over the years, I have had a hard time explaining how this man 'talked' to me. Yet he did, and the communication was so warm and loving and so peaceful, that I knew the radiant white light was his love. He knew what I had been through, and his compassion put me to rest.

"You are dead, you know", he said.
"Yes, I know, its great!"
"But do you truly want to be dead?"
"Oh yes. Why not, this is all so wonderful." I thought of the Light and the love.

Looking down on the bed below, I saw my friend put her hand to my body's forehead and then my neck to find a pulse. She was screaming and other people were shouting: "She's dead. She's dead."

I saw my mother's face and my brother's face. He was overseas and they were calling him. I saw a whole network of phone lines, with people's faces on the phones. I felt sad that they were upset, but felt that they would get over it. Even my mother and father would want me to have release from the pain I had been having.

"But look what you are missing," the voice said.

And I saw a tall blond man walking with two children. The little girl jumped up and down and her curls shook. The other child was a boy. I recognized this as being my future family. I felt a longing for my husband and children even before I had met them!

The bliss I felt as a 'dead person' suddenly felt temporary. I began to waiver about the joys of being dead before I had even experienced the fullness of life. "Yes, I want to go back," I said. And I went back."

The Light changed Michelle's life, or as she says, it 'enlightened' her. As with so many others who have had this spiritual experience, the world made more sense after seeing the Light. Things fit together coherently. Most of all, life seemed to have real purpose.

"I realized that death was not to be feared," said Michelle. "The only real fear is in not accomplishing our work in this life."

Michelle later married a former basketball player with blond hair. They have two children, a boy and a girl.