I have been 'Gifted' empathicly for as long as I remember, and through that ability, coupled with both energy sensitivity/manipulation and my own more Magickal dabbling (Runes, crystals, theoretical physics) I have experienced much that would be considered paranormal in my short 29 years on this world so far. Some has been forced upon me by outside entities and morally corrupt groups of humans alike, some I have stumbled into through my own 'need to know' attitude, and for the fallout from the latter at least I blame no one but myself. I do not bemoan my situation, or suffer from angst over the relationships that have fallen by the wayside due to my lust for occult or 'hidden' knowledge, nor do I cringe when I hear footsteps in my otherwise empty house. If that sounds overly bombastic then I apologise, though strength of will and focus are virtues in the face of some of the things that truly do seem to be out there.
As you can probably tell from that last sentence I am more than willing to admit that I am a believer. I played the sceptic for years, despite all the problems the paranormal was causing in my life, sitting on the fence and swearing that I would never move from non-practising researcher to active psychic/magick user, and that my interest was purely folkloric/sociological. What I refused to admit to anyone, even myself, was that all the research into the occult that was steadily taking over more and more of my life was my only real way of finding an explanation as to why I was the way I was, felt the things I felt and lived with at least a couple of toes, if not a whole foot, in a completely different world to everyone else.
Then in 2007 my lover and my sister both started having problems with entities, an overly amorous imaginary friend/spirit/thought form in the case of my then lover, a very low level attachment, or clinging ghost, in the case of my sister, and I stepped up to the plate to help them out. The relationship with my lover ended before I could resolve all her paranormal problems for her, which I regret, but I succeeded in forcing her one-time imaginary friend to leave her alone, possibly dissipating it in the process. I also succeeded in clearing the attachment from my sister by returning to the point where she acquired the entity and threatening it in such a way that it broke off contact and stopped being seen around her. I know I was lucky in both cases, and that they could have been something far nastier and way beyond my ability to control. I don't claim any great powers or abilities, apart from an infectious charm which stems from my natural empathy, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to keep my loved ones safe.
But this brings me to a point where I tend to differ from the wider Paranormal community, in so much that I am very, very mistrustful of the entities that I stumble across in my day to day life. Some people seem to look into the spirit world with rose tinted glasses, spreading messages of peace and love without any real notion of the true intentions of the entities they come into contact with. Despite the lifestyle magazine gloss offered by certain 'star psychics', the dead are not all happy, honest or even all that pleasant, like the people they once were they come in three flavours, positive, negative and neutral. Even to so called positive ones can cause a great deal of upheaval in your day to day life. Change, even positive change, is painful after all. And the ones who have never lived, the elementals, angels and demons? I'm glad I have yet to knowingly come up against one, as I doubt I would be unchanged by the experience.
I have no real clairvoyant abilities as such, and I doubt that I am a medium in the classic sense of the word. I prefer the term sensitive anyway, as it is through my empathy that the majority of my contact is made. I have something of a natural 'radar', I feel the flow of energy around me at all times and can sense the emotional spark that denotes a living person in my general vicinity, pick up on their mood and even to a certain extent cheer them up by applying positive energy to them through words and deed. They say a smile goes a long way after all, and a little empathic boosting makes it go just that little bit further. Of course, there are occasions when I notice an emotional spark wondering around without an obvious physical body, and it is through this technique that I have experienced the majority of my contact with the various entities that inhabit this world with us. The dead are relatively easy enough to be around, they tend to just feel of sadness and emptiness, but I have come across some darker entities, things which made my flesh crawl and my blood freeze.
Perhaps I lean towards the views of Alan Kardec on all this, albeit without the associated religious leanings. I have no interest in the gods, other than from a purely folkloric angle. I am willing to accept their existence, albeit along the lines of their being huge and swirling masses of sentient energy, vast, shapeless and unknowable to the normal human mind, the fragmentary images which we associate with them, their names and abilities a mere shadow of what they truly are. That said, I bare no grudges towards those who actively seek out such a bond with the divine, and I am more than happy to work with anyone regardless of their belief structure, nor do I actively challenge them to prove or disprove what they believe such a relationship with the God's gives them. Tolerance is a virtue, and something we could, as a species, do with encouraging at every level of society.
Though I know the form which my gift's have taken, I still have a healthy dose of scepticism about them, unwilling to allow myself to fall into delusion regarding such deeply personal and, to some, impossible abilities. We may well be the awakened, the magickally minded, the children of 2012, or even a pointer to the next stage of human evolution, but those self same gifts can never be allowed to rule our lives to such a degree that we find ourselves lost within them. But saying that, it has to be a personal choice. I've finally struck a balance that I am comfortable with, and while I know some would consider me obsessed with the paranormal, I tend towards the belief that I have finally found my place in this world, albeit with a couple of toes in the next.