Review - Ward - wwwrobertcracknellcouk

Go to content

Main menu:


E-book Review - The Lonely Sense


Geoff Ward:
Author & commentator on mysteries and the unknown.

"Although retired and living in Cyprus, veteran psychic Robert Cracknell - dubbed 'the UK's Number One Psychic Detective' in the 1980s - still receives requests for help from people around the world seeking answers to baffling mysteries.
In his remarkable new book, The Lonely Sense: the Autobiography of a Psychic Detective, Robert, now 76, tells of his difficult childhood, how came to terms with his burgeoning psychic powers,  eventually working with police forces worldwide using his uncanny abilities to help solve major crimes, and the wise understandings which his unique gift has brought him today.

High-profile criminal cases in which Robert was involved in the 1970s and 1980s included the Eddie Kent murder, which he helped to solve, the Genette Tate disappearance, where he provided crucial leads for the police, the Janie Shepard murder, when his psychic abilities made him a suspect, and the Gaby Mearth millionairess kidnapping, which he also assisted in solving. During the Yorkshire Ripper investigation, Robert predicted details of the last murder and its method, and the time of Peter Sutcliffe's capture. Robert had earlier taken a journalist to very street where Sutcliffe lived.

'Police and scientists are misguided fools if they continue to ignore the fact that individuals with psychic ability can unravel new evidence, find fresh clues, and be instrumental in leading them to the final solution,' says Robert, controversially.

Robert's book has a substantial foreword by the best-selling British author Colin Wilson, reactivated from Robert's autobiographical Clues to the Unknown of 1981. Wilson, in reference to his seminal work of 1956, The Outsider, says Robert typifies the Outsider-type, 'the alienated man who has to learn to turn the powers of his development inward'. Robert featured in Wilson's 1984 book, The Psychic Detectives, and dedicated Clues to the Unknown to Wilson, as he did his later book, Psychic Reality: Developing Your Natural Abilities (1999), which had an introduction by Wilson.

Pertinently, Wilson sums up Robert's writing as having 'a force and honesty that exerts the hypnotic effect of the Ancient Mariner'. Exactly so - The Lonely Sense is a compelling social as well as psychical document. The police cases make for fascinating reading but they take up only the last third of a volume which tells the extraordinary life story of a man who has 'crossed the barriers of time' with his ability to see into the future. The title of the book reflects both Robert's lone, inward struggle over the years with the profound implications of his singular gift, and the realism of his highly personalised and no-nonsense approach which makes people like him such a rarity".

Robert primarily is a psychometrist - he can take an object in his hands and receive 'vibrations' from it that tell him its origin; he can describe the owner's appearance and psychological make-up, and describe events yet to take place.

Even today he says he is still unaware of his true potential, and certain only of one thing - and this is a key conviction running through his book - that every one of us psychic. He believes the mystery of the psychic gift can be solved jointly by psychic and scientist, to the benefit of humankind. 'This is a perfectly normal faculty that everybody possesses,' he says. 'I do have some fairly concrete insights into the mechanics of this faculty, although when I try to put them into words I find myself faced with all kinds of difficulties. This is why I have decided that the simplest way to explain it is to tell the story of my life.'

Another important reason for telling his story is to do with the linking of 'paranormal powers' to spiritualism and a belief in life after death. Robert was once closely involved with the spiritualist movement, but came to be convinced that there was no connection whatsoever between psychic abilities and the spirits of the dead. He is adamant that a psychic person is not someone who has been 'chosen' to receive communications from another world: he or she is an ordinary human being whose natural ability has somehow developed further than the average.

Without the encouragement of spiritualism, Robert admits, he would have found his path more difficult. But he came to the conclusion that most mediums in spiritualism are 'unconsciously fraudulent in deceiving themselves as much as they deceive other people'. This desire to prick the mystique of the medium won him no friends in the movement, and even led him to being labelled a 'dangerous man'. The period during which he parted company with the spiritualist church was 'possibly the worst years of my life'.

Robert's psychic experience began when he was 18, and he feels sure that his early life was a 'psychic apprenticeship'. Like his elder brother and younger sister, he was born illegitimate, and he never knew his father, who died before he was born. In the Second World War, he was evacuated from London to Nottingham. At the age of seven came a major turning point when he experienced a sudden and overwhelming love and sympathy for a teacher who had unwittingly humiliated him. This was the first manifestation of his psychic gift and his 'first spiritual experience'.

The teacher invited him to her home and took him to chapel after which he began to spend time alone 'talking to my friend Jesus'. Later he was sent to live with his grandmother, and then fostered. After leaving school at 15, he joined the RAF, but encountered an irrational fear of the dark and, despite falling in love with a girl while on leave in London, suffered an identity crisis and a kind of mental breakdown. In 1956, at 21, he was discharged on medical grounds, and went to live with his mother and stepfather. In the following year came one of his most startling experiences when he 'saw' his natural father, shocking and frightening his mother who had never mentioned the man.

Civilian life didn't work out. Lonely and unhappy, he was referred to a psychiatrist. Unable to find work, he drifted on to the streets, living with tramps and down-and-outs, a picaresque period of his life which he regards as being of paramount importance. He obtained first-hand knowledge of people who, like him, were outsiders, although not always through their own choosing. He achieved greater awareness of human behaviour in those days 'than one could possibly hope for in a lifetime's study'.

Robert tells candidly of the collapse of his first marriage, his disappointing meeting with Uri Geller, the Israeli psychic, his work sleuthing for a finance house and how, in 1980, he set up his own agency, Vigil Investigations, which he ran until he retired ten years later. He also explains his weekly day of silence, the value of meditation, how he came to launch the World Peace Movement, and the influence of the Indian mystic Meher Baba.

Having earned a 'fair amount of money' in the past, Robert does not now charge for his help. In recent years, he has been involved in many cases involving murdered or missing children - some have been publicised, others not - but, in the main, he is 'duty-bound' to remain silent about them and cannot open his casebook to reveal all.

Today, as his wife Jenny takes down in shorthand the psychometric impressions he gains while investigating a case, Robert can talk of his findings for up to 30 minutes, trance-like, without being aware of it. 'It seems as if I have literally crossed the barriers of time,' he says.

Back to content | Back to main menu