She claims to have solved some of the Kiwi showbiz world's biggest mysteries – from finding Paul Henry's mislaid studio signs and locating ZM radio star PJ Harding's missing choker, to identifying the poor woman who accidentally "murdered" Marc Ellis' prize pumpkin.
She also once graced the pages of Woman's Day as a mum who is also a medium. But Kerry-Marie Callander's celebrity cameos are about to give way to a starring role when she takes up her job as the new psychic on the hit TV show Sensing Murder.
The Aucklander, 57, who's been working as a medium for the past 22 years, says she had a hunch about her new job, despite having to wait a while to get the good news.
She says, "I thought I'd done well at the audition and heard a voice telling me, 'You are going to take off,' but it was still a couple of weeks before I got the official phone call."
Now in its sixth season, Sensing Murder, which returns to TVNZ 2 on July 19, has added Kerry-Marie to its panel of psychic sleuths after show veteran Sue Nicholson hung up her crystal ball last year, telling us the show affected her mental wellbeing and prompted suicidal thoughts.
But Kerry-Marie is confident she can deal with the darkness of the subject matter. "I love escapist TV shows like The Bachelor," she grins.
"That's definitely one of the ways I relax and step away from the darkness. A good chat with a girlfriend, a trip to the gym, a bit of dark chocolate, or a glass or two of red wine also help!"
Her reading room in the home she shares with husband John, 61, an electrical contractor, is textbook psychic – lots of purple, crystals, stained-glass windows and butterfly images. But whether you believe in mediums or not, Kerry-Marie's warm, maternal manner – she and John have six children and seven grandchildren between them "and more on the way!" – is a definite plus.
Within minutes, Kerry-Marie has disarmed our sceptical journalist with some accurate and hard-to-guess intel.
Still, she admits her profession is full of swindlers.
"I know there are many fraudsters out there and I'm used to people doubting me – even my kids, although I've predicted a few significant dates and life events for them, so they're more open to it now."
Born into a devoted Catholic family, Kerry-Marie had her first psychic experience at a young age, communicating with a young, olive-skinned girl, who she eventually learned was called Elizabeth and who became her spirit guide. Kerry-Marie claims it was soon after Elizabeth appeared in her life that she predicted the tragic death of her cousin in a car crash.
As is the case for many psychics, Kerry-Marie's childhood and adolescence were traumatic, involving sexual abuse and anorexia.
The abuse happened over a five-year period when she was a child, but decades later, she's made peace with her attacker.
"I told my mum when I was in my late 20s," Kerry-Marie tells. "She was devastated but didn't want me to tell my father. I've faced my attacker again in the years since and I've thought about bringing charges, but Elizabeth told me to leave it – he's had his own suffering, dealing with what he did.
"It's the same with the anorexia. It's part of my journey, but it was a long time ago. Now I have a very healthy relationship with food. It comes down to nurturing and nourishing yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually."
Since starting her psychic career in the '90s, Kerry-Marie has had many spooky encounters, but the medium insists she doesn't believe in "telling fortunes or futures because we all have free will – we can decide on our path".
She concludes, "We're all psychic to a degree, but some people are more in tune than others. I'm constantly learning and I'm so happy to be part of the Sensing Murder team. As long as I can take some time out with a bit of reality TV and chocolate, I'm happy to try to help solve these cases and get closure for the families."
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