Kelvin Cruickshank might be a psychic medium, but there are still things that take him by surprise. Like the reading he did during one of his Soul Food stage shows, when a man in the audience was contacted by the spirit of his late brother via Kelvin.
“The guy in spirit said the name Joe and I got the feeling he had died of a heart problem," recalls Kelvin. “I couldn’t see him, apart from a bit of brown skin, so I knew he was Maori or Polynesian. He said it was nice to be out of the spotlight, which I didn’t understand, but that seemed to make sense to his brother.“
It wasn’t until the end of the reading, as Kelvin was wrapping things up, that he got a piece of information that made everyone’s jaw drop open, his included.
“I was about to move on to someone else when I heard the guy in spirit saying, 'All Blacks, Jonah Lomu.’ So I asked the brother, whose name was John, 'Why would he be saying Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks to me?’
“John said, ’Because my brother was Jonah Lomu'."
Kelvin says he got “major goosebumps" when he realised the person he was talking to “on the other side" was the late, great rugby legend, who died in 2015 of a heart attack.
“I had gone out to lunch with him once. But I didn’t know it was him coming through to me until he said his name at the end. People in spirit only tell or show you as much as they want you to know."
Kelvin, whose reading with Jonah features in his latest book, Surrounded by Spirit, says he was puzzled about why he had initially got the name wrong.
“I was sure I had heard Joe. But it made sense when John explained that he had always called his brother Joe, not Jonah."
There were more spine-tingling moments to come.
Kelvin had been giving away copies of his previous book, Soul Secrets, during his shows, and offered to give one to John. He scrawled a message in it, then handed it over.
“When John saw what I had written, he couldn’t believe it. It said, ’I love you my brother, untill [sic] we meet again,’ and it turned out that was the exact same message Jonah had written on a giant key John was given for his 21st birthday."
Kelvin told John the message came from his brother, not him, and joked that Jonah couldn’t spell the word “until” – it was written with two Ls instead of one.
“But then John said that was exactly how Jonah had written it on his key and he deliberately wrote until as ’untill’ so the two Ls looked like the number 11 – his All Black number.
“John said it blew him away that I had done that and to be honest, it blew me away as well. It was one of the most amazing readings I have ever done and it was a real privilege too, to be able to pass on messages from such a great man to his family."
Other incredible experiences Kelvin has shared in Surrounded by Spirit – his seventh book – include making a television programme called Haunted Hollywood in Los Angeles. The production company picked him out from mediums they researched all around the world to film an episode of the show in a house that had been the scene of a grisly murder/suicide in the 1950s.
Kelvin knew nothing about what had happened in the mansion, but not only was he able to make contact with the murder victim, he also had an alarming encounter with the killer, who had then taken his own life. And he discovered another spirit who had died there that nobody knew about.
“It was a pretty surreal experience,“ admits Kelvin.
As well as making the trip to the US for the show, the dad-of-two has been keeping busy writing the book, travelling around New Zealand doing his Soul Food shows and single-handedly raising his daughter Jade (7) – he also has son Javan (22).
He’s stepped back from Sensing Murder, the TV show that made him famous, and only worked on one case for the recent series.
“I felt that I wasn’t meant to be there and it was time for me to move on," he explains.
He’s hoping to do more work in the States after his Haunted Hollywood appearance and there’s also been a lot of interest from the UK, so he’s looking at touring there.
“The chance to possibly work overseas is very exciting for me, but not because I’m the kind of person who thinks the idea of worldwide fame is appealing – I still find this whole celebrity thing quite weird. I just feel the reason I am here is to reach as many people as possible and help them to understand that when we die, it is not the end, and our loved ones can still be with us, just not quite in the same way. The more people I can convince, the better!"