A woman who describes herself as "slightly psychic" claims she saw the ghost of her friend's dead hamster rise from its body after it died in her hands.
Helen Ellwood, a Derby-based psychic, says the spooky event "changed everything" for her and she now believes in an afterlife having once been very sceptical.
"We all wonder where our pets go when they die and whether we'll ever see them again," Helen told DerbyshireLive. "As a youngster, I would have said they go nowhere. I was sceptical of everything spiritual and terrified of death.
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“There were no angels to take care of us and heaven was a fairy tale. That all changed when my friend's hamster, Beryl, died in my hands. Seeing her soul rise from her body changed everything.
“She was in my arms and I knew she was dying. Before then I had no belief system, it was all nonsense as far as I was concerned, But suddenly Beryl’s body became fractionally lighter, and a hamster-shaped sort of dark gold mist began rising up."
Helen, who has documented her experiences in the book Love, Death and Beyond, added she couldn't fathom what was happening and initially ignored what she might have seen.
“I couldn’t quite believe what I could see because I didn’t even believe humans had souls, let alone hamsters. I was stunned and so dismissed it initially as a trick of the light, it was just too strange," she said.
Other than the somewhat bizarre rising spirit of a hamster, 64-year-old occupational therapist Helen also claims to have experienced more paranormal instances.
She added: “As a teenager I had clairvoyant dreams. I dismissed every one of them because I was afraid of being thought of as crazy and ridiculed. My dad was a Christian and my mum an atheist.
“I denied it within myself even though my dreams were coming true. I had repeated visions, for example, that a friend of mine was in trouble by a road. I contacted her by post and she told me that she had been by a road after a bike accident.
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“In another, I was visited by my uncle who had died. When he came to me in my dreams, I didn’t know he had passed away and was told he had died the next day."
Helen explained these events helped open her mind to the possibility of an afterlife.
"This has led to me accepting a bigger world, a wider world, and accepting that I was part of it," she said. "These experiences are also really common. I’ve spoken to a veterinary nurse who told me loads of people have these experiences.
“That is the reason why I wrote my book. Some people, for instance, feel their dead cat jump on the bed or hear their dog’s tail wagging. I’m not an extraordinary person, I’m an ordinary person who has written it down. Also Christmas is a time when people think of those they’ve lost."
She added she used to the frightened of death before recently collapsing with heart failure.
"After that, I’ve had my beliefs changed," she said. "It’s really helped and I’m less afraid than I would have been. I was able to take some deep breaths and pray, even though for no specific religion. It has given me courage and I want to share that with other people."
Helen's book can be purchased on Amazon.
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