Even if you don’t believe in ‘ghosts’, the inexplicable events witnessed by ‘soul whisperer’ ANDREA FOULKES might change your mind….

How to explain it? The couple had a happy relationship and loved each other, and yet, having just moved into a fabulous Grade II-listed country house in Cornwall, found that suddenly they were plagued by terrible arguments. 

The smallest things could provoke them and, for the first time in their married lives, almost every night they rowed.

Something else was odd. When the arguing cooled, they both felt a strange atmosphere within the house, like a cold, dull fog wafting into the corners. The whole thing was deeply unsettling and was starting to impact their relationship.

So they called me in. It’s my job to work out why and how a building – usually a grand old one with plenty of history – is affecting the energy of the people who live within it. I call myself an ‘Intuitive Soul Whisperer’, a detective like Miss Marple, except rather than identifying a culprit among the living, I very often reveal the influence of the dead.

In this case, for example, as I wandered around the house, I could sense not only an atmosphere of misery like a pall hanging over every room – and especially in the dining room – but I could ‘see’ in my mind’s eye where it came from. 

Each time one of Andrea’s friends went to sleep she had shadowy visions of a person trying to get into bed with her

Andrea Foulkes, who calls herself an 'Intuitive Soul Whisperer'

Andrea Foulkes, who calls herself an ‘Intuitive Soul Whisperer’

The previous owners, a married couple who had both recently passed away, had clearly loathed each other, and it was their negative energy that filled the house and was now rubbing off on the living. I could ‘feel’ them arguing at the dining table.

In fact, they were the relatives of the male half of my otherwise happy couple. He had now inherited the house and was able to tell me a little about them.

To clear the energy, I recommended a ‘thank you’ ceremony, in which the new owners politely explained this was now their home and asked the dead to leave.

I might also recommend a ‘psychic deep clean’, in which I place crystal wands in all four corners of the room, burn bundles of the herb sage, and generally remove clutter, both physical and electrical, which can cause a stress-inducing build-up of static energy.

In the old country house, once my clients had made it clear to the trespassing spirits that ownership had changed, the atmosphere disappeared and the rows stopped. These sorts of inter-dimensional negotiation are more common than you’d think.

Now, I know how implausible all of this sounds. If you don’t believe in the idea that buildings have their own energy, either because of where they are or because of what has happened inside them, then what I do will seem quite bizarre to you.

Yet, over the last two decades, I have worked with dozens of people who do. I’ve been called into private homes, stately houses, boutique hotels, pubs and restaurants. You’d be surprised by the number of restaurant owners who get in touch when the kitchen staff refuse to be the last one to leave the building. Plenty of people can sense a bad atmosphere even if they have no idea where it comes from.

Most of my work is in older properties because it is far more likely something dreadful will have happened in them – and the more dreadful the occurrence, the stronger the imprint. This is called ‘building trauma’, and among the cases I have taken, I have felt the souls of small children who died long before their time, angry men, murdered wives and – surprisingly often – normal people whose spirits have simply become ‘trapped’ in a property after their death. Sometimes spirits don’t actually know they have died, and you have to tell them to move on.

One friend owned a charming craftsman cottage near the Thames. Built for workers more than 100 years ago, today it is a sought-after property and my friend was thrilled to have snapped it up. Yet each time she went to sleep she had shadowy visions of a man trying to get into bed with her. She really did feel as though she was being touched by someone, and was understandably terrified.

In a case like this, it’s not just the energy of the property that affects the inhabitant, but the fact that a ghost has attached itself to the new owner, too. My friend was unusual because she wasn’t feeling low or going through a life crisis – which is when spirits usually attach to people – but in any case the residual energy of the former owner was transferring itself to the house and to her.

Once again my energetic deep cleanse helped remove the ghost. My friend firmly told him to move out and move on, and he gave up residency that very day.

It wasn¿t until the age of 30 that Andrea became aware of her ability to sense altered energies and communicate with the dead

It wasn’t until the age of 30 that Andrea became aware of her ability to sense altered energies and communicate with the dead

There is nothing special about me except for my psychic gifts. I am 53 years old and was born in Stoke-on-Trent and grew up in Cheshire. In my 20s, I moved to London and worked as a model, living just off Sloane Square, but it wasn’t until the age of 30, relatively late in life, that I became aware of my ability to sense altered energies and even communicate with the dead.

My life changed one evening when I was mugged for my watch – an expensive Cartier, bought with my earnings – and the trauma of it made me physically ill. I put on weight and withdrew into myself. The stress caused me to develop something called adrenal fatigue, which left me exhausted. At the same time, a friend had been nagging me to accompany her to the College of Psychic Studies in nearby South Kensington and at a loose end, bored of my torpor, I thought why not?

I didn’t make the connection at the time, but I had already begun to hear and feel spirits around me. I vividly remember going away with friends to an isolated country hotel and remarking on a little boy I’d seen in the corridor, for example. No one else knew who I was talking about, however, and I later found out there were no children staying there. Now I recognise that experience, the boy’s silent, still presence, as the sign of a spirit.

At the college, I started to learn about spiritualism and investigate the gifts I appeared to have. I began with psychometry, where you hold an object and can read the energy of its owner. As a girl at school I wasn’t academically gifted, but in psychic school I was top of the class!

Confirmation even came from late Sherlock Holmes writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who became my spirit guide for three years. What do I mean by that? I call it a ‘deep knowing’ – I could see the spirit of an old man in my head and he told me his name was Arthur. I got used to him popping into my psyche; he’d push me towards certain books and subjects to research. Perhaps the most famous spiritualist of all, Conan Doyle was a generous benefactor to the college and the founder of The Psychic Bookshop in Westminster too. We share the same birthday.

Indeed, it was Conan Doyle who ‘guided’ me via a dream in 2003 to move away from Sloane Square, where I had lived for eight years, to a property in Chelsea. I later discovered it was next door to the flat once inhabited by his uncle and aunt, where he stayed for three weeks.

Quickly, I realised that my particular gift lies in reading the atmosphere of a place and tracing it to whichever spirits still live there. But it’s not always the dead that affect the living in this way.

I was once called to the three-storey Mayfair home of a famous artist after she rang me exclaiming: ‘I feel like I’m dying.’ The woman was being haunted by harrowing nightmares every time she stayed in her beautiful house and now wanted me to ‘clear’ it of bad spirits.

Sherlock Holmes writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who became Andrea's spirit guide for three years

Sherlock Holmes writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who became Andrea’s spirit guide for three years

She took me on a tour of her stunning house to try and identify the issue. I couldn’t feel the presence of the dead, so instead I looked for a ‘portal’ – a kind of gateway allowing psychic forces into the building. Most often that’s caused by a property’s physical location on what’s called a ‘geopathic stress line’. Geopathic stress is when human health is affected by the vibrations given off by the earth’s energies, and a stress line might be something like a geological fault or an underground river.

But what I discovered in that Mayfair house was different. Under her bed, the artist had stored her most recent abstract painting, and it was that which was acting as the ‘portal’. The painting was pulling her into other realms in the universe and sucking her energy through a sort of vortex. I advised her to remove it and store it elsewhere, away from the house.

Later, when I got back in touch, she said she felt ‘fantastic’ immediately after moving the painting. We had taken away the portal and closed off the psychic energy which was imprinting on her.

I have never been busier in my work. I put that down to the times we are living in. With the increase in ‘solar flares’ we’re experiencing – the large eruptions of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun – our planet’s energies are more highly activated than ever before. This means our homes and the land they are built on will be too.

Aristocrats tend to believe in this phenomenon of ‘building trauma’ more than most, I’ve found – stately homeowners are acutely aware that their properties have had dozens of occupants over the centuries. I have lost count of the number of haunted stately homes I’ve stayed in. 

In one Downton-type pile the deceased head housekeeper was still running amok, even physically pushing people down the stairs. As frightening as that sounds, we humans must remember we have the power to say ‘no’, and that is what much of my work centres on. Otherwise spirits will start to control us and then all havoc breaks loose.

For my own part, I left London 12 years ago and now live in a converted barn just outside Glastonbury, where the atmosphere is placid and rural. I chose it very deliberately, indeed, knowing that barns don’t have the heavy energy of countless lives lived within their walls.

I live alone, and yes, my career choice has affected my love life. Thanks to my intuition I figure out men pretty quickly and I know if things aren’t going to work out. I hear the same from other spiritual women who are also single; our tolerance for nonsense is very low.

Boyfriends can also find themselves at the sharper end of my gifts. I remember a break in a hotel in the Cotswolds with a former partner in 2010. I slept like a baby, yet when I woke up, he was no longer there, having fled in the night after being ‘pestered by dead people’. I tried to explain to him that it meant he also had a gift – he saw and sensed atmospheres too – but it was way out of his comfort zone and he wanted only to switch off all psychic ability, which meant he could no longer be with me.

Buildings speak to me. In 2007, I bought a lovely holiday home in Cornwall, despite the fact I knew almost nothing about the area. It turned out my property was once used to house priests, though I had no idea of this when I bought it.

I rented it out as a holiday home and, curiously, I started to notice a pattern in the visitors’ book. Nice people thanked me for the ‘healing experience’. Others would call me, complaining about being woken up by windows opening in the middle of the night or things going missing from the fridge.

It probably didn’t help that guests would often have locals come up to them in the village, saying: ‘You’re staying in the haunted house, are you?’

After the first year of renting it, and noticing this pattern, I was able to ‘clear’ it. ‘Clearing’ is a complex thing to do and no two properties are the same. Sometimes I need to use sound healing, which is when I sing in ‘light language’ – a kind of communication, often wordless, that channels light and love through my voice. 

To me it feels as though the sound I produce comes from the universe itself. And sometimes I help the spirits resolve their former life issues by acknowledging any wrongdoing, either done by them or to them, and giving them permission to move out of this realm with love and peace. It can be more complex if the property is situated on ‘ley lines’ – energy lines which run around the planet – or portals.

Occasionally I am able actually to speak to a spirit haunting my client. I found one in a very ordinary west London flat who told me he was ‘30 summers old’ and had become trapped, unable to move on, more than 500 years before. Sometimes spirits like this can get very cross. In the past they’ve told me: ‘How dare this person inhabit my home?’ I am never scared by it – I see these troubled spirits as the unloved souls they really are.

I sleep easily these days, full only of a good energy and a huge gratitude for the gifts that allow me to see beyond the mundane world of the living.

www.andreafoulkes.com

As told to SAMANTHA BRICK

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