Westford - The classroom inside the Roudenbush Community Center was filled almost to capacity on May 7 with about 15 women all there to connect with a departed loved one.

Psychic and medium Gayle Kirk of Belmont was ready to channel communications from those on the other side, in her "Messages from Heaven" event, held periodically at the center and often overflowing with men and women trying to heal from the grief of death.

Inside the room of neatly aligned desks, a few warnings preceded the telepathic session.

"No medium can promise you'll hear from the people you hope to hear from," she said. "If you're angry, depressed or heavily medicated, you can throw the message off."

On one side of the room, a middle-aged woman sat so still she was almost invisible. But she was on Kirk's radar and the psychic-medium floated over with messages from a loved one.

"They're saying take your time," Kirk told Lisa Chipchak of Chelmsford. "You're moving too fast."

Chipchak acknowledged she's carrying a heavy load of personal responsibilities.

"You're taking on too much," warned Kirk. "You're not responsible for it all. So relax and know you're being helped and guided along the way."

But what happened next surprised everyone.

"I'm getting an 'eff' sound," Kirk told Chipchak. But Chipchak stared blankly, not registering what the message meant.

Kirk insisted, however, that someone with a name beginning with F was trying to reach Chipchak. Still a blank stare, then a dawning.

"My brother Frank died in September," Chipchak said in disbelief.

The message from Frank was simply, "love to her."

Later in a phone interview, Chipchak expressed astonishment at Kirk's information.

"I was just amazed," she said. "There's no way she would have known something like that. I was shocked."

Chipchak said that her brother had been 24 years older than her and had died of cardiac problems at age 72, only two weeks after falling ill. The suddenness of his death left no opportunity for closure, she said, and his passing left an enormous void.

"He was always the big, big brother and I was always the little sister," she said.

So it was true to his character that he was still watching out for her wellbeing from afar, telling her to slow down, Chipchak said.

"That was Frank, acting like the big brother," she said. "It was the way the relationship had always been."

Joseph Tecce, a professor of psychology at Boston College, expressed belief in psychic messages saying, "open-mindedness is needed for this discussion."

"The case history method is a respected method of science," he said. "If there's no other way the medium could have gotten the information, you have to conclude that the medium has gotten the information from paranormal means."

Inside the classroom, Kirk moved over to the middle front of the room where Ann Sabourin of Stow, sat with two sisters-in-law.

Kirk, who does not know the name of anyone in the room, said she was getting a message for someone with the name of Annie.

"A sister?" she asked Sabourin. "She wants you to think about a fragrance. She's fun. She's energetic. She's in a good place. She's smoking a cigarette."

Later Sabourin and her sister-in-law Anne Ferguson explained that the message was not from a sister, but from Ferguson's brother Jim, who died in October of cancer at age 45. Jim and Sabourin had been extremely close friends and he would visit her and her seven children every week, playing the role of a helpful uncle.

"The few things that she said were definitely him," said Sabourin of Kirk's messages about Jim.

The remark about the fragrance was Jim's way of reminding Sabourin of the men's cologne he used to wear, she said.

Later in an email, Sabourin explained, "For the past 10 years my family was fortunate enough to have Jim visit our house for dinner every Thursday night. He would come directly from work. You could always smell his cologne. (Polo, I believe). A few times I remember being upstairs when he arrived, so I didn't know he was in the house. As I was walking down the stairs, I knew he was there, because I could smell the cologne."

Not everyone got a message from heaven that night. But on the far side of the room sat a middle-aged blond woman who said she was there to hear a message from her grandmother. Instead, Kirk began swaggering like a cocky, young man with slicked hair, who kept asking Kirk to tell the woman he was doing okay and he was happy.

"He's really cocky," said Kirk about the spirit who she was channeling. "He's like a sex machine."

Her comment prompted laughter in the room.

The woman's face registered shock as she told the participants who he was to her.

The man had been her first love at the age of 15.

"I left for college," said the woman. "When I was 22 he came back" to the town where she had been living. He said hi to everybody and a few days later he shot himself."

Kirk explains that the man had never felt loved.

Kirk wasn't always on target that night. She spent a few minutes hearing a message from a southern gentleman named "Dooley," whom no one seemed to recognize, so she moved to another woman.

"I get a feeling of sadness," Kirk said to the woman. "A feeling that this shouldn't have happened to him."

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said her neighbor had recently died of cancer despite the efforts of many in the neighborhood who prayed for the family.

"He truly wanted to live and fought," said the woman.

"He's philosophical," Kirk responded. "He's saying I didn't lose. I gained an experience I wouldn't have had. He wants to say, "Yes, there is a God and look at all the love I gained."

Another woman heard from her son who had died suddenly at age 42 of cardiac arrest. Kirk tells the woman that her son wanted her to know how much he loved her cookies.

"I think he means brownies," the mother said with a laugh.

"A lot of tears were shed at the passing of your son," said Kirk, adding that the woman's mother was saying that she and other deceased family members had welcomed him with open arms.

The son kept talking through Kirk.

"Ma," he told his mother, "I'm sorry for the hell I put you through." Then Kirk winked at the woman and added, "but I'm your boy."

"He appreciates that you hung in there with him," Kirk said.

When the session ended, Kirk stressed that her telepathic messages "helps others to know that their loved ones are okay on the other side."

"It helps us to heal," she said.

Chipchak's explanation of why she went underscored Kirk's meaning.

"I didn't go with any thoughts or any expectations," she said. "I just felt I needed some closure, especially with my brother."

Interview with psychic Gayle Kirk

More about Gayle Kirk
AGE: 50
GOAL: To help you heal from loss

Gayle Kirk began offering psychic readings about twelve years ago to help people get over the grief of losing a loved one. But then about two years ago, her brother Gregory Gominger, a senior chief officer in the US Navy, committed suicide at age 45, and her work took on a deeper meaning. She periodically holds sessions at the Roudenbush Community Center, 65 Main Street.

Q. When did you realize you had psychic abilities?

A. When I look back as an adult in my early childhood I realize I was communicating with spirit guides with my brother. He would ask me what they were saying and I would tell him. He recently passed from a suicide and my work has become more significant. I want to help people who are suffering, who miss their loved ones on the other side. I want to help them realize their loved ones are still with them and they will be with them someday.

Q. Do you get messages from your own dead relatives?

A. I hear from my grandmothers. My mom was sick recently. She had a cancer scare and naturally her family was scared. I heard my grandmother (her mother's mother) tell me twice, 'your mother is going to be okay.' I also heard her tell me after Greg passed and I put out the prayer (to him) that 'I just want to know you're okay.' I was sitting in the Belmont Starbucks relaxing and thinking about my brother and I received guidance from my grandmother (her mother's mother, again) to let me know that he was all right and that 'he's with all of us.'

Q. Does any one experience as a psychic medium stand out for you?

A. A woman and her family had relocated to California. Her 11-year-old son had passed and she wanted a reading to know that he was okay. She was psychic herself and she was told by her son, Ryan, that she should have a reading with a psychic named Gayle in Belmont. (After researching online, the woman located Kirk and she and her husband had a reading when they visited in Massachusetts for a family reunion).They connected with Ryan, but the husband wanted more than just the reading.

When they went home and played the CD from the reading, they heard me say, 'your son wants you to know that he's still alive, he's still alive.' And then they heard a heartbeat. That's what someone on the other side can do. If their spirit is strong enough they can send signs. And that's what he was doing. He's in heaven and alive there. It's just that he's not in a physical body. You don't need to be in a physical body to be alive. Your personality survives death as a spirit, as a soul.

Q. What does it feel like to have people channeling through your body?

A. I love it. To me it feels like you're in a zone like a performer or an artist probably feels when they're creating. You're so connected that the love from the other side flows through you and you just feel really good. It's a natural high. It just feels really good to know you're helping people in a way that's life changing on a significant level.

Q. What happens when a bunch of psychics enter a room?

A. You tend to be extra sensitive as people, so you can pick up other people's thoughts and feelings. So you have to create boundaries for yourself otherwise you'd be bombarded by thoughts all the time. Even in living your life you're still getting guidance for yourself. It means I'm still connected with my own guides...I don't purposely tune into other people, but still sometimes information comes. When you're not working you're more focused on your own life and receiving guidance for yourself. I'm receiving it from their energy that they exude, but also from my own guides. It can be a fun experience if you're there to help each other with receiving.

Q. What do you most want people to know about you and your psychic work?

A. That I'm not weird, I'm not freaky. I'm just normal, using the gifts that God gave me to help people live a happier life.

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