• Story taken from the Archant Regional, 11 September 2003.
Spooky goings-on in ancient buildings across Norfolk and Suffolk are revealed in a new Anglia Television series Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected tonight . Katy Edwards spoke to the star of the show, paranormal investigator Lizzie Falconer, about her craft.
Pulling into Lizzie Falconer's sweeping gravel driveway I expected to find a Hansel and Gretel style hovel with cobwebs in the windows and a creaky front door. Instead, I found a modern, brightly painted yellow family home with
double glazing and swings and a wendy house on the back lawn.
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Lizzie, a former pupil at Old Hall School, Hethersett, herself looks as though she has stepped off breakfast television – pretty, blond, svelte and well made-up. Not at all the haggard, stooping harridan I had imagined.
This is the new breed of celebrity psychic – in whom dinner parties, high fashion and interiors mesh seamlessly with messages from another dimension. The image, which speaks equally to popular culture as the spirit world, is eminently marketable.
Lizzie, 38, who describes herself as a psychic medium, said: "I think people like the fact that when I open the door I am not standing there in hooped earrings and a scarf. They feel it is more normal. All that pantomime has given mediums a bad name."
Anglia signed Lizzie up for Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected after her name came up whilst they were touring haunted properties in Suffolk. Coincidentally, her agent had also written to the series associate producer suggesting her for the job. "They were looking for me whilst I was looking for them," Lizzie laughed. Spooky.
In her youth, Lizzie's grandmother would show her how to use Ouija boards and tarot cards to speak to the "other side". It was only when Lizzie was pregnant with Louisa, her youngest, that friends persuaded her to explore her psychic side. She had wowed them with her accurate predictions and pronouncements over dinner.
She signed up to a 10-week psychic development course at Balham Holistic Health Centre in South London and by four weeks, she claims, she was able to see fully formed spirits.
"The teacher kept telling me I had a gift and that I should do something with it," she said.
Lizzie sits with her clients in her own living room, closes her eyes and asks whatever spirits may be lurking nearby to make themselves known.
What of seeing fully-fledged ghosts – isn't she scared? "Absolutely not," Lizzie averred. "I'm delighted. For me it is proof there is life after death."
Her spirits, apparently, for the most part, are friendly – wanting to impart helpful advice and good feeling to the living. Even the troublesome ones – the so-called poltergeists who throw things around at night, frightening homeowners – are merely calling for assistance to be moved on.
"They come to me and I ask for a window to appear. I then ask them to go through it up into the light," Lizzie revealed.
During the TV series Lizzie visits the Three Horseshoes at Scottow and a haunted council house at Wroxham, where she relates the stories and vibrations of hauntings there. She had no prior knowledge of individual locations to prevent her from doing any research. "I go with my gut instinct but I am very careful about what I tell people. I very rarely look at the person I am talking to or try to pick up on body language. I am often talking behind them to a spirit," she said. "The way I see it, we all have a path to follow and there are signposts there for all of us to see if only we are open to it. I just help people to read those signs and get back on track when they have gone off course."
Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected is on tonight at 11.30pm on ITV1. To find out more about ghostly happenings in the county, visit www.edp24.co.uk/spookynorfolk
Anglia is looking for more haunted venues and ghost stories for a second series. Call Alison Jennings on 01603 752490.
Copyright © 2003 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.