Bill, the second of my three husbands and the father of my two children, with whom I spent 27 years, was a very physical person. As a boy and a young man, he played a lot of football; soccer in Holland and Aussie Rules after his family migrated to Melbourne. He was a carpenter when I met him, and he ran a scuba diving school as a sideline.
When our first child was only three months old, the Victorian Government released new abalone diving licences, which until then had been frozen a long time. Bill heard the news on his car radio and went straight into town to apply for one. It was granted — the very first one — and instead of saying, as Bill expected, that he would receive it in the mail in a couple of weeks, the clerk wrote it out on the spot and said, 'That'll be $300.' Knowing there was nothing in the bank, Bill coolly wrote a cheque and then went straight to our bank manager. He told him the story, up to the point of being asked for the money, then looked the bank manager in the eye and said, 'What would you have done?'
'I guess I'd have written a cheque,' said the bank manager.
'Good!' said Bill. 'That's exactly what I did, so would you please pass it.' He did. And so began Bill's long career as a professional ab diver, which kept him enthralled with his adventurous life, and his family well provided for.
He loved to be outdoors, and he couldn't sit still for very long without getting restless. He had to be up and doing. He needed activity. But he also loved reading and movies and conversation. When we first got together he was writing a novel. It was shaping up to be a good one, but he never finished it. He did write several excellent short stories later. So he was both physical and thoughtful. He was not, however, very spiritually inclined. As for me, my attitude to the extra-sensory was both fascinated and fearful. I played with Runes and I read Colin Wilson's massive books on Mysteries and The Occult. I kept an open mind. Bill was simply sceptical. That changed very suddenly some years later.
We married in 1966. Our children were born in 1967 and 1969. It wasn't until 1985 that Bill had his overnight awakening. He did some personal development work which was not spiritual in nature but opened up his mind to new possibilities in general; then a friend who was very psychic died, and Bill felt that Reg was in touch with him after his death. I expect he was right. Anyway, those are the only things I can see to account even a little bit for what happened next.
He started knowing ahead of time about global tragedies. He would say, 'There's going to be a plane crash somewhere; I can feel it.' Sure enough, a plane would come down somewhere in the world within hours, every time. This was not a source of joy to him. He said to me, 'I can't stop it happening. I never know where exactly it will be, or what airline. I just see it happening and hear the people screaming. I can feel their fear and pain. It's awful.' He also realised that even if he did have more details, it wouldn't help. Who do you phone to say, 'A plane's going to crash at such and such a place and time'? No-one would believe him; they'd write him off as some nutter. And then, when it did happen, he could come under suspicion for having known about it beforehand.
I think myself, in hindsight, that when people awaken suddenly like that, the Universe gives them evidence they can't possibly ignore, such as global events which they couldn't know of in advance, and which will be sure to get into the news. It's a way for them to realise: 'Hey, this stuff is real. It's not my imagination. I'm not going crazy.'
He also foresaw smaller and more personal events. He could do predictions for people, and they would turn out to be correct. He never charged money for it, just did it as a favour for friends occasionally. I was fascinated, and also selfish. I would ask him all sorts of questions pertaining to me. How lucky could I be — my very own fortune-teller right in the house!
I found that a good time to ask those questions was when we were in bed at night, before he fell asleep. I know now that the time between sleep and waking, at either end of the day, is a natural trance state. Back then, I guess it just seemed like a convenient time without the distractions of the day.
One night, more than half asleep, mumbling answers to my self-centred questions, he suddenly shouted, 'Peacock's gone! He's dead, he's politically dead. Howard's got it. I can see the headlines.' He was quite right of course: Howard did replace Peacock as leader of the Liberal Party, and Peacock's political career was effectively over from then on. But when Bill received this information, it was two weeks before there was even the slightest whisper of it in the press. He really did have the gift.
He decided he didn't want it. There were three days when he couldn't go to work. He could see a terrible disaster involving hundreds of people. He could hear their cries, and feel their pain, terror and despair. It drained him. He looked grey, and could hardly move from his chair. He didn't know what the event was or where, but he thought it might be an earthquake in Indonesia. We had been to Indonesia a few times, so perhaps that was what he could relate to. I guess he saw brown-skinned people and moving earth. What it turned out to be, four days after he started getting it, was a landslide in Chile.
That was the last straw for him — so debilitating, so distressing, and there was nothing he could do. What good did it serve? In those days we didn't have a clue; no idea about protecting him with white light or anything like that. He prayed for the gift to be taken from him. Well, 'be careful what you pray for.' It stopped immediately, and then he missed it. He didn't miss the distressing side-effects, but he missed the ego trip of being able to make predictions for his friends. So he asked for it to be given back, without the world disasters. Eventually it was, but it was never again so clear and true. It was as if it became tainted. He still often got things right, but just as often some bits would be wrong.
Instead of it coming through spontaneously, as it had done before, now he would press people to let him read for them and then try to tune in and seek out the answers. Then he would get a mish-mash of useful information and rubbish. He himself could not distinguish which was which. It all seemed very influenced by his wish to impress. He would go for the most dramatic interpretations of whatever he got. He also started doing readings at social gatherings, where he was drinking alcohol. I thought that must interfere with his abilities, but he wasn't about to listen to my notions. In the end, I think he gave up trying. But by then we had parted.