Psychic medium ­Kelvin Cruickshank had a packed audience in tears when he believed he was contacted by All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu from beyond the grave.

Rugby giant Lomu died in ­November 2015 after suffering a heart attack associated with a chronic kidney condition.

Sensing Murder star Cruickshank reveals how the bizarre message from the other side came during a live performance in Auckland in the middle of last year, when Lomu's brother John was in the audience.

"It was an incredible experience because I knew Jonah ­personally, he was quite close to my son," Cruickshank says. "I had no idea his brother was in the hall and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Jonah came through."

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The incident is described in the TV psychic's upcoming new book, Surrounded by Spirit.

In it, he tells how John Lomu went to the show with wife ­Kristen at the last minute using tickets ­returned by fans who couldn't make it along.

"They were sitting at the back of the theatre and I could barely see them, but their family members started coming through, so I began by going to Kristen first," Cruickshank recalls. "After a while a man in spirit, who was clearly there for John, got my attention.

"I was given the name Joe, and John said that it was his brother."

Cruickshank then told John his brother was telling him he didn't get the chance to say goodbye.

"I knew the guy in spirit had a problem with his heart, and I was also aware of his father being there with him."

Cruickshank says he began to realise something special was happening when the spirit "Joe" told him he was "safe from prying eyes".

"Out of nowhere I heard Joe, the guy in spirit, saying: 'Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks. Say it! Say ­Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks!'

"Why is he telling me to say ­Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks? I asked John. "When I got the answer I was gobsmacked."

John Lomu, younger brother of Jonah Lomu. Photo / Nick Reed
John Lomu, younger brother of Jonah Lomu. Photo / Nick Reed

John's brother, the guy in spirit, was rugby legend Jonah Lomu and John told the crowd he never called his brother Jonah, but Joe.

After the show Cruickshank gave John one of his ­earlier books and wrote a message in it.

"I knew it wasn't me who was writing the words, it was Jonah," Cruickshank says. "They read: 'I love you my brother, until we meet again.'

"Only what I actually wrote was 'untill' we meet again, instead of 'until'. That was Jonah's doing, not mine - my spelling may not be the best but I do know how to spell ­until.

"Hey, your brother can't spell,' I told John.

"'That would be right,' said John. 'He sucked at schoolwork'."

When John realised what Cruickshank had written he was overcome with emotion.

"The words I used were exactly what Jonah had ­written on the giant key John was given when he turned 21.

"The two letter Ls at the end of the word were meant to look like the number 11 - which was the number on Jonah's All Blacks shirt, and his lucky number."

John, a self-confessed ­sceptic about mediums, was impressed.

When he started saying Jonah Lomu, I couldn't believe it. I was in a daze.

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"I only went along to ­Kelvin's show to keep my wife ­happy," John says in the book. "She's right into it, and was hoping to get a ­message from one of her family members who had recently died.

"I didn't believe that Kelvin or anyone else could talk to people who have passed over.

"I was slouched down in my seat when Kelvin started talking to us and I wasn't sure if he was talking to me or the guy behind me.

"When he started saying Jonah Lomu, I couldn't believe it. I was in a daze actually ... That was pretty amazing.

"The only thing I can think of that explains why Kelvin wrote what he did is that he had to be getting the information from my brother. There is no logical ­explanation otherwise."

Jonah Lomu. Photo / Photosport
Jonah Lomu. Photo / Photosport
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ruickshank hopes the Lomu episode will ­encourage people to share his belief they surrounded by loved ones after they have died.

His psychic abilities attract a big audience and have delivered a handsome living for the former chef. He shot to fame on popular TV show Sensing Murder and Surrounded by Spirit will be his seventh book.

The dad of two from Kerikeri regularly plays to sold-out crowds on live tours around the ­country and a new TV show he fronts called Haunted Hollywood is about to screen in the US.

Cruickshank says he realised he could see dead people when he was growing up in Huntly.

He would look out his bedroom window and see Maori warriors.

"My grandfather passed when I was 8 and when he passed, he stood with them and explained to me what they were trying to share - and that's how I learned to do what I do."

But not everyone believes in his gift. Plenty think mediums are clever con artists who prey on ­people's grief.

"There are people who have been saying really bad stuff about me for a while," Cruickshank says with a shrug.

"They can say what they like.

"I don't care any more. If I ­focused on what the sceptics had to say I'd end up in a straitjacket.

If I focused on what the sceptics had to say I'd end up in a straitjacket.

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"Some of the things I've heard down the years have been ­damaging and upsetting.

"But I don't bullshit anyone. I have children and they look up to me. I wouldn't bullshit kids.

"I don't have any reason to make shit up - I don't see how you could.

"I am the first to tell people if I'm not getting anything from spirit for them. I'm honest."
He cites examples of how his powers have helped. At one show in Brisbane he homed in on a mother-of-five who he sensed was thinking of ­committing suicide after the death of her partner.

"I knew straight away she was thinking of killing herself. She was lost in grief.

"I told her her five kids will miss out and she wouldn't end up with who she wanted to be with. And that there was more to life than what was going on for her right now. She burst into tears and 10 years on she is still grateful that I just woke her up a bit and she still sends me photos of her children.

"Things like that happen often."

Some fans, however, have some strange ideas about the scope of Cruickshank's ­abilities - especially when they ask him to communicate with their dead pets.

"I can tell them what their dog looked like, and the breed, and can sometimes even read the name off its collar," he says.

"But then I am asked if I could talk to the dog for them and I have to remind them animals can't speak.

"They ask me what the dog is saying and I reply, 'How about, woof'. It's hilarious."

He also has a few stalkers here and overseas. "There is ­nothing bad about them, they tend to be people who just want more and more inform­ation about their loved ones from me.
"They just don't know when to leave you alone."

Cruickshank says he can ­usually turn contact with spirit off and on and doesn't ­worry that his powers could one day leave him.

"I get people coming up to me at boat ramps or supermarkets and ask if their gran is here," he says.

"But spirit has learned when the time is right to contact me - when I am at my work, so to speak, ­otherwise I'd be locked in a mental ward."

In the meantime, he'll continue to try to win over disbelievers like Jonah Lomu's brother John at his increasingly popular live shows.

"The reading with Kelvin has changed my views," John says.

"It has made me think about what happens when you pass away.

"There is no way in this world that Kelvin could have known those things about me and Jonah."

Quitting Murder to fish for psychic solutions

New Zealand's most famous psychic detective insists he has finally closed the file on the controversial TV show that launched him to fame - and is branching out into other areas of TV.

Kelvin Cruickshank only appeared briefly in the most recent series of Sensing Murder, which attempts to shed light on unsolved murder cases.

It has had him bawling his eyes out and even throwing up.

For Cruickshank, working on the show was both traumatising and rewarding.

The new series, however, attracted a lot of negative reviews. In some media quarters it was even dubbed "Sensing Bullshit".

Cruickshank says it is unlikely he will appear on it again as he thought the new version was too different from the previous format and he felt he wasn't meant to be there.

"I haven't been asked to do any more Sensing Murder and I will happily step back," he says. "At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to move on.

"There is a lot I'd like to say about it, but I can't."

Psycic Sue Nicholson in an episode of Sensing Murder.
Psycic Sue Nicholson in an episode of Sensing Murder.

Cruickshank has just committed to hosting his own TV fishing show but details about the project are still under wraps.

"I love fishing and I have been a guest on a few shows but it will be great to be fronting my own," he says.

"I can assure people it will be a fishing programme with a difference, especially when I'm on board."

But the medium has already run into a few misconceptions about the scope of his psychic abilities.

"I've had people asking me if I can sense marlin," he says.

"I mean, because I can communicate with dead people, how does that make me able to speak to fish?

"If I could do that I'd be out on the water talking to them every day.

"Some people still have some very strange ideas about what I do."

Surrounded by Spirit by Kelvin Cruickshank with Donna Fleming is released on Tuesday by Penguin NZ. RRP: $40.