WHEN Nicola Neal was a young girl, the voices in her head used to get her into all kinds of mischief.
"When I was three, my parents could never keep me indoors," she recalled.
"I heard voices that would tell me to do things, like go outside to take my dog Danny for a walk. My parents would find me with him about a kilometre down the road."
Forty years later, listening to those voices is how the South Ripley woman earns a living.
Ms Neal is a medium, a spiritualist - in short, a person who has the ability to communicate with the dead. She is convinced those voices she heard as a child were spirits from the afterlife trying to communicate with her.
Using her gift, her purpose in life is now to reunite people with their loved ones in the spirit world.
"Once our bodies expire, our spirit and energy don't die - just merely change form," she said.
"My job is to show people that the veil between our world and the spirit world is very thin."
Ms Neal said communicating with the dead was all to do with vibration.
"The physical things that you see in front of you are of a dense vibration because it's solid matter," she said.
"Things that are of a higher vibration, like radio waves, you know they're there but you can't see them. It's exactly the same with the spirit world, it's a different vibration frequency."
During Ms Neal's channelling sessions, she can feel spirits moving in her energy field. She can also see them clairvoyantly, hear and even smell them.
Ms Neal believed spirits came to their loved ones to alleviate their grief.
"I liken it to when we go away on holiday, one of the first things we do when we reach our destination is phone home to let everyone know we're okay," she said.
"It's all about reconnection and closure and healing and realising that life goes on."
Of course, in Ms Neal's line of work, there are always sceptics.
"I recently did a demonstration to a friend who didn't believe in communicating with spirits," she said.
"Her brother came through with information that only she knew about - so I convinced her."
Next month Ms Neal will conduct a public demonstration at Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre, alongside NSW spirit medium Cheryl Smyth.
Ms Smyth, who lives in Leura in the Blue Mountains, said she too encountered spirits at an early age.
"As a kid, I was very much a loner. I didn't need other playmates because I had all these invisible friends around me," the 57-year-old said.
"They were very real to me, it wasn't until I was eight that I realised other people couldn't see them - and kept quiet about it after that.
"I thought I was schizophrenic growing up because I heard voices all the time as well as tasted, smelled and saw things that weren't there. In my 20s I became involved with a spiritualist church that helped me discover I was a medium.
"I used to think my ability was a curse. Now I know it's a blessing and aim to help as many people as I can."
Both mediums will hold their event, called Heaven and Earth, on Sunday October 6, where they will provide readings for as many attendees as possible. To book phone Nicola 0414 661 032.
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