Spirits. Souls. Ghosts.
Whatever name you use, humanity has long believed in them in one form or another.
The ability to communicate with these spirits has been treated with respect, wonder, doubt, and derision, and it is no different for psychic medium Sue Nicholson, who will perform in Palmerston North on August 29 and 30 at the Globe Theatre.
Her shows would also teach people how to connect with the other side, she said.
Nicholson said she started seeing spirits when she was 4. "I was never afraid of it. They were visitors who came through the walls, and they just wanted to talk."
It seemed normal to her, but her parents forbade her from telling anyone else.
International Social Survey Programme data shows about 40 per cent of New Zealanders report having felt a spiritual presence or power, and about 27 per cent believed in the supernatural power of deceased ancestors.
Nicholson decided to share her abilities 20 years ago. "I call myself a switchboard operator, or the post lady. I just deliver the mail," she said.
Nicholson has garnered attention from the media since being in the Sensing Murder television series in 2006.
Half of New Zealanders were interested in the sacred or the supernatural, according to the survey.
Dealing with sceptics was, of course, part of Nicholson's job.
Skeptics New Zealand representative Vicki Hyde says there had never been any strong evidence to demonstrate that self-proclaimed psychics were doing anything more than using - consciously or by accident - basic psychological tricks and techniques to manipulate vulnerable people.
"Many are being taken advantage of, psychologically and economically. It's not entertainment, it's exploitation," she said.
Nicholson said: "Obviously [the criticism] bothered me, but I just have to let go of it. I'm never going to change and neither are they."
- Manawatu Standard
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