Lisa Williams, star of the hit TV series "Life Among the Dead," started seeing dead people when she was 4 years old.
In her highly anticipated memoir, Williams chronicles her experiences with the supernatural from her childhood in England to the present.
She currently lives in Los Angeles and continues to work as a medium, helping to connect people to their dead loved ones.
Read an excerpt from Chapter 2 of "Life Among the Dead" below:
When Paul moved away, we had a tearful farewell. I did get over him, eventually, but it was a long, difficult time, and I found myself hardened by the experience. Having decided I would never let another man hurt me, I closed my heart to relationships. I went out and danced my heart out. I started dating; sometimes I dated two or three guys at once. Mom used to joke with me–with a smirk on her face she'd say, just in case the phone rang, "Who do you want to speak to tonight?" There was an occasion when I went out to dinner with one guy and was home by 9 p.m. and then I was out with another guy for drinks at 10 p.m. that same night! I knew it wasn't right, that I was simply running away from emotion, but it's what I needed at the time. I was having fun and lots of it!
During this time, I started going to karaoke bars. I was a good singer, and I sang my heartache away with ABBA, Barbra Streisand, Tiffany, and the Pointer Sisters, among others.
There were still periods of time when I thought about Paul and we would chat on the phone, but I forced myself to move on, go out and have a bloody good time. I guess I was trying to become a stronger person.
One Sunday, one of my girlfriends came to fetch me on her motorbike, and we went off to see a show in Birmingham. But on the way back, for some reason we took a different route home, hit a patch of gravel, and I flew over the handlebars, landing, gracelessly, on all fours. I remember trying to get up but not being able to because of my injuries. Luckily some people witnessed the accident, stopped to help me into their car, and drove me to the hospital. Fortunately my friend was totally uninjured.
Because I worked out so much, the muscles in my legs had protected my knees. I hadn't broken anything, but my legs had to be bandaged, ankle to thigh, and I was given painkillers for my aching back. When I got home it was late. I wobbled like a bandaged mummy, somehow climbed the stairs, and clambered into bed without waking my parents. In the morning, Mom came to wake me.
"Lisa, come on, you are going to be late for–" she stopped in mid-sentence when she saw me lying there, stiff as a board.
"Err, I don't think I'll be going to work today, Mom!" I said, wincing in pain.
"The strange thing is, I somehow knew something was going to happen to you last night," she said, as she sat on my bed, sighing.
At the time, I remember thinking, So she gets these feelings too. Just like Nan."
I was off work for eight weeks, which gave me plenty of time to review my life, and it was a blessing in disguise because I honestly didn't like what I saw. I was nineteen years old and living at home. What was I waiting for? When was I going to begin to stand on my own two feet and finally move forward with my life? There was a massive world out there waiting to be explored!
One afternoon, still recuperating and feeling a bit sorry for myself, I was leafing through Health and Fitness magazine and came across an ad for an aerobics coordinator in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. It was a long way from home, but I wondered if that's what I needed–distance. I wrote a letter, applying for the job and describing my experiences, and ten days later I was invited to Stevenage for an interview. Because of my injuries, my mother drove and dropped me outside the building. I wore a long skirt to cover my bandages, but I still had walking sticks and was hobbling around like an old woman. I made my way into the Leisure Centre, as it was called, to meet the manager. She took one look at me–walking sticks and all–and said, "Well, I was going to ask you to teach a class while you were here, to get some idea of your abilities, but I can see that may be asking too much." And we both laughed.
We chatted for a while and I explained about the motorcycle accident. We seemed to click, and she asked me a lot of technical questions about the body, first aid and general fitness, all of which I knew, thanks to the course I'd taken in Trowbridge. I even offered to instruct an aerobics session despite my injuries. I think my determination must have impressed her. "Well," she said. "You're hired."
"Wow, thank you!" I said, trying not to sound too surprised.
"When can you start?"
"Two weeks," I said, because that's when the bandages were coming off.
"Two weeks it is, then." And with that she stood up and we shook hands and she walked me to the door. I hobbled off and climbed into Mom's car. "I got the job," I said, grinning. "I start in two weeks!"
"I don't know if I should be happy or sad," she said.
"Happy," I said, feeling excited. "I have a feeling my life is going to change in big ways. I don't know how exactly, but this is definitely the right move." Two weeks later, I had found a room in a house in Stevenage, thanks to one of the girls from the Leisure Centre. I moved in and went off to work with great excitement and anticipation.
Working at the Centre was actually very pleasant, and I looked forward to the time I spent there. The Centre itself was huge. They had a hall for rock concerts and sporting events, a theater, a cafeteria, squash courts, a state-of-the-art gym, aerobics studio, and snooker tables. It felt like a genuine community, and I found it easy to make friends.
The offices were on the second floor, and that's where we went to collect our paychecks, but in fact I hated going up there. I felt a lot of spiritual activity, and on several occasions I saw the spirit of an older woman making her way up and down the corridors. She was transparent, outlined in a bright shade of white, and she would quite literally walk through the walls. When I worked the late shift, one of my duties was to wait for everyone to leave, then make my way around the ground floor, turning out all the lights, and it was here that I'd often hear children's muted voices in the near distance, punctuated by peals of happy laughter. This psychic activity seemed to become more intense, and I remember feeling very uncomfortable from the experience.
It had been a while since these feelings had bothered me–I actually mistakenly thought they were behind me for good–and I wasn't eager to acknowledge them. I'm not sure why exactly, but I remember thinking that I didn't want to get drawn in, suspecting that–if I did–it would be forever. The thought made me uncomfortable for reasons I didn't understand, and I decided that on my next visit home I would talk to my grandmother about it. She was in poor health at that point, but still battling on, and I knew she would have solid advice.
One night, after seeing the ghostly woman again, I decided to mention it to one of my colleagues, Marie. She said there had been rumors about the ghost woman who had walked the corridors for years, and that people assumed it was someone who had died in the building. I told her about the children's voices too, and I was amazed when she said that others had also heard the children playing. She didn't know the story behind it, but I wasn't the only one to report hearing voices.
A few nights later, Marie shared what I'd told her with one of her girlfriends, who was a believer and wanted to meet me. We went out for a drink and the girlfriend wasted no time. "What do you see around me, then?" she asked.
"Nothing really," I said, then without thought said, "Oh I do get a feeling that you're going to be moving house soon."
"What!" she said, laughing. "I love my house."
"I'm sorry, I don't know why I said that." And it was the truth, I still had no idea where these ideas were coming from.
Two weeks later, Marie told me that her friend had decided to leave her husband and that she was moving out of the house! I began to wonder if perhaps I really did have some kind of gift. I also wondered why I was fighting it. Maybe I could use it in a positive way, and maybe I was only delaying the inevitable.
From that point on, I made a conscious decision to be more open and try to develop my skills. A client came to the gym one morning, as happy as Larry, but I sensed things were not going well at home for him, and I mentioned it as tactfully as possible.
"How did you know?" he said. "We've told absolutely no one."
"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to pry."
"That's not it," he said. "I'm just trying to figure out how you knew. We've only just decided to get a divorce."
Another time, I met some people at a bar, and I whispered in one of the girls' ears, "Are you pregnant?"
"Of course not!" she said, looking at me strangely. "What makes you think that?"
"I don't know. I just get these feelings, that's all."
I ran into her in the same bar the following week, and when she saw me, she hurried over, practically trampling people in her excitement to get to me. "Lisa, you were right!" she said. "I am pregnant." I was delighted as I was amazed.
One Friday night in yet another bar–God, I was doing a lot of bar-hopping back then!–a guy approached me and my girlfriend, vodka in hand, and barely said hello before I blurted out, "Your nan has just told me that your granddad's doing fine." I clasped my hand over my mouth as if that would pull the works back, but too late… they were out!
He spat his drink across the bar and stammered. "What?"
"I just had the urge to tell you that your grandfather's fine. I sensed you need to know," I said, a little embarrassed.
"My grandfather died last week," he said.
"I know," I said, placing my hand on his arm, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "I need to tell you that Monday's going to be fine. And your grandparents are proud of you."
On hearing this news, the poor guy dropped his drink. All he could say was, "WOW!" He was completely gobsmacked. "Monday is his funeral. I have to write a speech and I don't know where to start."
"He's telling me to tell you to just say what comes naturally and not to worry so much."
My friend stood there smiling; she had seen me do this before. The guy, however, just stood there with a shocked look on his face. "I knew there was a reason I needed to come and talk to you two, but I didn't realize that this was it. I thought I would just come to chat you girls up," he said finally. I just smiled, and he looked at me and said, "Thank you, you really don't know how much this means to me."
I felt immense satisfaction in being able to help, but all I had done was repeat the words that were somehow given to me.
"Can I give you a hug?" he said, looking all sheepish. We hugged and I thought he would never let go of me, and then he walked away as if a heavy weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy; I was energized. I never saw the guy again, but he seemed to have found peace and closure because of the little message I gave him. As a result of those and other similar experiences, people who knew about my ability began to approach me, off-loading whatever was on their mind, thinking I'd be able to give them some insight or guidance. I did my best to help them, and even began to treat these occurrences as if they were normal, not "magical" or "strange." I was open to what I was seeing, feeling, and hearing, and if I sensed something that I thought might be of value to them, I was glad to share it, but it's not as if I was seeking it out on my own. Still, when I think back on it, I realize that I became more open to my abilities as a direct result of those people, probably because they believed in me long before I believed in myself.