When it comes to my personal views on the unexplained, or more specifically, my greatest interests among those areas of science we call “supernatural,” often the study of reports of strange or out-of-place animals (cryptozoology) and UFOs rank the highest. However, I recently decided to play my proverbial hand and picked up a book sent along to me by Anomalist Books, titled The Lonely Sense: The Autobiography of a Psychic Detective by Robert Cracknell. If you were to read no further than the end of this sentence, I’d want to leave you with this as a final thought: the book is well worth picking up, and might even change your life.
As for the rest of you who’ve elected to continue along with me and delve into the world of a man who, arguably, may be one of the world’s most gifted psychics, allow me to first explain why I rest such importance on this particular tome. Initially, you may be asking yourself the same thing I did when I first removed the book from the mailer and gazed at it’s retro-looking cover art: who is Robert Cracknell?
Indeed, a Google search for this enigmatic character reveals the same sentiment in a number of online forums: though he has a website and a few articles about him, there is a general lack of knowledge (particularly in the U.S.) as to who exactly Robert Cracknell is. Strange for a man hailed as “Britain’s Number One Psychic Detective,” we might ask. But something else you’ll fail to discover is the kind of criticism that so many professional “psychics” have leveled against them by skeptics; Cracknell’s record is rather inconspicuous, but highly reputable… and if the sorts of things he mentions in his autobiography are indeed true, he might not be the best psychic detective in Britain after all. We damn well may have to accept he’s the best anywhere.
Cracknell’s story is a lonely one… but not filled with the sorts of solemn ruminations and stark realizations of an extraordinary “gift” that pepper the claims of many in various areas of spiritualism. Up front and frank at all times, Cracknell describes his wild early years in service with the RAF, as well as his dismissal on medical grounds after what would later reveal themselves to be the beginnings of his “lonely sense.” Cracknell even divulges the time he spent as a young vagrant, moving around parts of Europe and living day-to-day, from highway to hostel… or occasionally under an overpass, snuggled under the coats of strangers for warmth. It was around this time that Cracknell began to ask himself (often tearfully) the sorts of questions every person eventually will consider: “who am I, really?” As he came to find answers to life’s mysteries, he also began learning to accept that he didn’t merely feel lonely because he was missing family, friends, or any of the various flames he describes from his youth. There was indeed something deeper resounding in this man’s soul, and something which he maintains throughout the book is nestled deep within all of us.
There are a number of funny stories Cracknell relates, as well as the vivid honesty behind a few embarrassing adventures with his associates in the spiritual movement; so honest, in fact, that that parts of the book might even be a bit uncomfortable for a few folks. But this is Robert Cracknell uncensored… and since we’re being frank, I must say he’s pretty quick not to give a shit; he doesn’t candy-coat his commentary with hope of making himself look more sagely or admirable as a psychic, but he’s certainly not crude or outrageous, either. As the story of Cracknell’s life continues, the reader will almost feel a sense that they are growing and aging with him, and his eloquence and vibrant character begins to reveal itself more and more often as the author reflects on his own maturation (both mentally and as a mentalist). By the end, Cracknell often has managed to be sage-like, but always without inflating himself to sound like something he isn’t. His realistic and bare-bones approaches to his psychic facilities, in addition to his opposition to what he labels as phonies in the spiritualist movement, have brought him the attention of researchers the likes of Colin Wilson (having penned the foreword), who states with certain admiration that, “To encounter Cracknell is a refreshing, or possibly a traumatic, experienceby