28/01/04 Happy To Be ... a clairvoyant
The clairvoyant who dares to be different.
Say the word clairvoyant to most people and they immediately think of a woman dressed in bright clothing peering into a crystal ball. Helen Barnes meets one clairvoyant who breaks the mould.
If you spotted Graham Dare in the street you would probably walk past him without a second glance for there is nothing to suggest he has an extraordinary gift.
The slim, softly spoken 49-year-old does not immediately strike you as a clairvoyant.
In fact when I met him he was dressed in his work clothes having just returned home from his day job in IT.
But there is an aura around Graham that immediately makes you feel relaxed and open to what he has to say.
He first learned that he had an unusual skill as a child but admits he tried to protect himself from it, scared of what it could be.
"As a child I was open to hearing voices, imaginary friends, seeing doors closing, he says.
"I found it really scary so I veered away from it, you protect yourself from it.
"But when I got older I heard a medium on the radio which was quite inspirational. I went to see a group of mediums perform at Lewisham Theatre and then I learned that you could go to your local spiritualist church to find out more."
Graham visiting Battersea Spiritualist Church 12 years ago and was given clairvoyance by a healer, which he says was accurate in predicting the future.
It gave him the inspiration to learn more about his gift and to develop it.
"A lot of people do clairvoyance naturally," he says. "Our main job is to prove life after death.
"Essentially what we are doing is tuning into the spirit world and drawing energy through having made that link.
"But we can also give readings that look into the present and future. We are not supposed to give advise or tell people what to do but we can give people guidance without telling them what to do."
Graham is quite rare as a medium - because he is a man.
The majority of clairvoyants are women and he says that is partly because women are more naturally intuitive than men and also because the fairer sex tends to live longer. He says many clairvoyants have lost a partner and their loss has led them to join a spiritualist church.
He adds: "There is always a high proportion of women coming for readings because women believe in it more.
"You do get men coming. Usually it is to do with relationships, sometimes it is about their career.
Calirvoyance is also about people who want their relatives to come through.
That is the most challenging reading because you can't guarantee who is going to come through. It is a bit like turning on the TV without the radio times and you want to see Dirk Bogart.
"He might not be on any of the channels but if you come back tomorrow he could be."
Graham only started working professionally as a clairvoyant in 1998 a year after the death of Princess Diana.
Three days before the Princess dies in a car crash in Paris, Graham had written to her saying he had seen a lady in a fast car.
At the time he didn't know that she would be involved in an accident but now says that his prediction gave him the confidence to set up his own consultancy.
He now has a consultancy in Hatton Garden where he gives readings on weekday evenings.
His client list includes a string of celebrities - TV presenters Michaela Strachan and Donna Air - among the people he has given readings to.
But Graham admits while clairvoyance is physically draining it is rewarding because his gift helps people.
I admit I was slightly sceptical when Graham asked me if I wanted a reading. I'd never visited a clairvoyant before and wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Before he started Graham explained that he didn't want me to feed him information or to completely clam up but to answer yes or no if asked a question.
He works with props so asked me for a personal item that he could hold and try and tune into explaining that the item can work a bit like a jump lead, helping him to get a sense of what you are like.
I handed over my watch and mobile phone and sat back as I waited to see what would happen next.
After a bried pause, he said the word juniper which reminded me of someone who drank gin. I'm not going to disclose the rest of the reading, just wait and see what happens and if it is 100 per cent accurate.