One of the most skilled and compassionate psychics I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, is Gary Champion, a native of Fort Worth, Texas.

Now in his sixties, Champion has a bald head, sometimes sports a small beard, and often wears a cap, a porkpie hat, or even a beanie. He speaks in a slow and deliberate manner with a southern lilt, and often cracks a mischievous grin, revealing an upper row of small white teeth, some of which are pointed.

He has the feel of an old rock star. He’s pretty cool.

I came to know about Champion via his video talks, posted on his YouTube channel. The videos are mostly talking-head pieces in which Champion discusses psycho-spiritual topics such as finding your purpose and developing psychic skills, but also a variety of other issues, such as Donald Trump’s physical health, psychometry, and the state of American politics.

His style as a reader is deceptively understated, and often includes unexpected details and clever observations. But Champion’s talks (and readings) can also be a rambling rose bush of thinking-guy-down-the pub observations intertwined with spirit messages “from the other side”, as he puts it. Like a retreating wave and the ocean, Champion’s conscious and unconscious minds mingle fluidly.

Champion’s skills are attested to by American former skeptic and private investigator Bob Olson, in whose Best Psychic Directory Champion’s profile is listed. The gift of psychic and mediumistic insight came to Champion as a boy when his beloved grandmother died. As in families of  gypsy fortune tellers and between gurus and disciples in eastern spiritual traditions, the power seems to have been transmitted.

Champion didn’t remember me when I called him a second time. He looked genuinely startled when I said we’d spoken before. He must speak to so many people, but it’s likely he is one of those psychics whose conscious minds ‘leave’ during a reading. Champion by his own admission lives in a meditative, ‘spacey’ mindset most of the time. And he constantly hears the voices of spirits. It’s a gate that, once opened, cannot be closed, he says.

Champion is one of just three psychics I’ve spoken to who needs no information from you before he begins his reading. His method is messy, sometimes disconcerting, and starts with what seems to be small talk.

A Welsh psychic I met once had a similar style. As I walked in to her room, she seemed overwhelmed with joy to see me, hugged me, and chatted away as if we were old, long-lost friends reunited. It was lovely. I politely reflected her behaviour, responding with small talk, but it quickly became clear that she was talking in spite of my responses.

I became quiet, but when I tried to steer the reading to my first prepared question, she pushed her dialling finger tightly to her pursed lips and told me politely but firmly that questions must wait until the spirits had had their say. By the time the spirits had spoken, my question had been answered. She knew it, and asked me: “Is that the answer to your question?”

The rambling that can happen with this style of reading is not readily welcomed by clients. Readings are often a costly investment: you pay £84.00 for 30 minutes of Champion’s time. However, most of Champion’s views are intriguing, such as his predictions for future inventions, which you can find in his book Future Glimpse, My Future Predictions and How to Know Yours.

But potential fortune seekers beware: Champion conveys his messages using no filters. The messages that come to him for you are not sweetened or diluted. However, while it is advisable to prepare for this raw approach, Champion is a reader of good and caring character.

Something about Champion makes him feel famous. It could be his languid rock star persona or his charmingly musical, beat-beautiful speech. However, he has a healthy viewership, typically attracting 300-600 views per video, plus a series of appreciative comments each time. And views climb into the thousands when he talks about a hot topic, such as the Woody Allen child molestation claims. Champion also gets invited out to do readings, such as of the exhibits in an American civil war museum; and has sufficient audience demand for a year of roadshows.

I said to Champion once that he seemed famous and he commented: “I’m not famous,” with what sounded like a hint of regret in his voice. It surprised me: How could Champion, who by his own admission lives in a different inner world to most of us, and who, also by his own admission, is able to “manifest” his needs, including major requirements like a house or a car, have any unrequited desire for worldly success?

It might be something to do with “recognition” – a term Champion often uses to explain why spirits turn up when he is doing a reading or making a video for his channel.

In one video, Champion visits a cemetery. As he meanders up to tomb stones, the spirits of those who lie beneath speak to him. Champion says the spirits do not live in the graveyard full-time. They turn up, he says, to get their messages conveyed to the living.

Two spirits inform him that they are buried in the wrong place (the grave of a family split by “avarice and greed”). Strangely and sadly, the majority of spirits who share their messages with Champion in the cemetery episode convey a sense of regret at an unfulfilled life.

“There’s a lesson in that,” Champion says to camera. “Do what you’re here to do. Don’t wait until the last second then regret it.” If you don’t do what you came here for, “it’s mostly a wasted life”, he warns.

When people pass to the other side, Champion told me, they gain knowledge of the past, present, and future, which is why spirits can help those still in their physical bodies.

The desire to be recognised seems to be an innate need of the human spirit to pass on information and advice.

It’s pleasurable and interesting to spend time with Champion, and the last time I rang him was more to hang out than to get any pressing questions answered. During that call, I asked Champion: “What is the purpose of what you do? Why do you do it?”

Replying instantly, he said: “I want to help people find direction. To help ‘em avoid obvious pitfalls.”

Champion’s a gifted psychic medium, but also a helpful and a kind one. Look him up some time.