We discuss the various denominations of spirituality, such as bibliomancy and psychometry, and I’m reminded of a trip to Marrakech. Years ago, on my first trip to the Moroccan city, my friend and I heard that one of the women who had joined us for drinks one evening could ‘object read’ – getting facts or impressions about a person or thing through contact with an object. Stories about her psychometric abilities proved how touched and emotional it made people. Back at the College of Psychics, Vivienne notes that psychometry was employed by one of the tutors, Melissa, just days before.
Vivienne is a gifted curator passionate about the collection – not a medium or psychic herself. I ask Vivienne and practitioner Gemma, who is sat by the windows tapping away on a laptop, what it takes to become a medium. Can anyone enrol in the college’s courses?
“What all students have in common is that they’re sensitive. They’ll go on the tube, feel energy and have a sense of when someone’s a nice person or a not-so-nice person,” Gemma tells me. These are the intuitive souls that enrol in beginners’ courses. Those with a gift are often hand-picked by perceptive tutors for further development – I’m told the courses greatly benefit all those who join, but communicating with the spirit world is never a given. Sound healing, tarot reading, moon magic classes, and even yoga take place here; many who pass through the door are simply in search of spiritual wellbeing.
“Is the college haunted?” I ask hesitantly. The pair are more than happy to talk about the building’s spectral residents, it turns out. Arthur Conan Doyle has been spotted on occasion, while locking up can be a disorientating experience, as Gemma notes a figure frequents the ground floor stairway. After a double- or triple-take, they realise they will not shut a student in overnight –it’s just a previous resident or studious scholar, making themselves known to the psychics of the future; albeit peripherally, from another realm.
The College of Psychic Studies houses ever-changing exhibitions. It’s free to members, with a £5 suggested donation from non-members. To find out more about the college’s workshops, talks and courses see here.