Kim Dennis says she “speaks to the spirits.” She’s a clairvoyant, also known as a channeller or a medium, people who claim to be able to make contact with the dead and relay messages to their very much alive clients.
Before I pull out the tried old cynical-journalist-just-researching excuse, I have to come clean: this isn’t the first time I’ve tried talking to dead people.
Back in the mid-1990s, I found myself on a cold winter evening in the basement of an office building with about 60 other hapless living souls (how many dead ones were there is anybody’s guess).
The event consisted of our host, another well-known local channeller, picking out people in the room and barking out messages from their dead relatives.
As she did this, the recipients of the messages would break out into sobs and wails.
The drama was further enhanced by the fact that all of us were holding tightly onto lit candles, which prompted me to scan the room frantically for the nearest fire exit.
You’d think this Jerry Springer-like experience would swear me off channellers for good. But it took a chain-smoking Brit to put the final nail in the coffin. I found him in early 2002 at London’s Psychic, Crystal and Healing Festival. His name was Kevin Wade, he was a former cop, and our $60, 15-minute session felt more like a police interrogation than a channeling session: “You don’t suffer fools gladly, do you?”; “You hate being lied to”; “Your grandmother says to stop worrying about your weight.”
So that was it. No more precious funds going to support these psychic snake oil salesmen.
But, while I decided to distance myself from the world of the paranormal, the rest of society started running full throttle towards it.
And as if that weren’t enough, in April of this year, an all psychic channel was launched in Britain.
Add to this the millions of former stars like Dionne Warwick are now raking it in with psychic phone 1-900 lines, tell us that connecting with those who can connect with the dead is hot, hot, hot.
So, with this in mind, I broke my vow and went to see Kim Dennis (www.clairvoyantkim.com), the Calgary channeller I’d been hearing about through word of mouth, and who’s just written What’s Above?, a mini-sized book (106 pages, $14.00) about her experiences.
In addition to private sessions ($60 for an hour) at her home in West Hillhurst, Dennis can also be heard regularly on local stations Country 105 (next appearance Nov. 28 at 9 p.m.) and 66 CFR (Nov. 28 6 a.m.), as well as Red Deer’s ZED Radio.
Sitting on an over-sized couch in Dennis’ living room, I asked her how she first knew she had psychic abilities.
It’s something that’s been with her as long as she can remember, says the 42-year-old single mother of two girls.
“When I worked at a bank, I played a game where I’d write people’s names down, and then they’d come in a few minutes later,” she says with a laugh.
“It really freaked out my co-workers.”
The pretty blond is an easygoing interview, but the problem is the constant interruptions. First, her telephone nearly rings off the hook during our interview. Not to mention all the dead relatives that keep popping up. When they do, Dennis’s eyes begin to wildly dart around the room.
It would all be laughable if she wasn’t so accurate.
By the time I had arrived home from our session, I was convinced she had done major research on my family tree, including digging up obituaries that had run not long ago in this newspaper.
Still, there were some things she said -- too personal to share with anyone but my own living nearest and dearest -- that she could not have gleaned from an hour on the www.google.com Internet search engine.
So, is she the real thing or just a very good researcher?
“I think that’s so funny you think she researched you,” says Christina Rowsell, evening host at radio station Country 105. “That’s what I thought when we met.”
Rowsell’s first meeting with Dennis four years ago was also a hair-raising experience.
“She told me both my grandmothers were present, and that they shared the same name that started with an R,” she says. “My grandmothers were both name Rita.”
Rowsell has also seen firsthand Dennis’ talents when dealing with callers to the Clairvoyant Kim radio show on Country 105. “She’s been bang on so many times, but my favourite was when a woman called in to ask her about her married lover. She said, ‘You don’t need to be a psychic to now he’s not leaving his wife.’ She does have a sense of humour about it all.”
Patti MacNeil also got a shock when she first met Dennis. “She told me I was going to have a son,” says MacNeil, who was 40 at the time and didn’t plan on having children. “Soon after, I was pregnant with my son Clancy.”
The former radio host-turned-stay-at-home-mom (she was Peppermint Patty on the now-defunct KISS FM) says Dennis got a lot of to her specific details right, like her granfather’s tattoo and a job change that would take her husband to Paris, France.
“I don’t make any moves now without checking with Clairvoyant Kim,” says MacNeil.
So, am I convinced? I’d still like to hold on to my cynicism, and think people like Dennis are just good guessers and readers of people.
Then again, it’s nice to think those you have loved and lost are doing OK and looking out for you.
All I know is, I still get goose bumps thinking about the things she told me.