The world of a psychic medium is intense and, to those of us on the outside, insane. Apparently gifted with paranormal senses, psychics serve as a link between the dead and the living, carrying messages from our deceased relatives and other guides, while their magical hands appear to detect and cure illness. Their intuition and third eye help people find lost keys and jewellery, and also learn the fate of lost people.
Yet so many of us refuse to accept these gifts are real. With a proliferation of online fraudsters preying on the vulnerable, it’s not surprising that mentioning the term ‘psychic medium’ will make people roll their eyes and mutter “scammer”; while the less cynical imagine a woman gazing into a crystal ball in some hazy, mystical setting. It’s all too fairy tale-like.
I’ve known Yonja Ali for over a decade. She is a beautiful 5ft 2in powerhouse, with a gorgeous smile and warmth that radiates the moment you meet her.
We met through mutual friends and initially I had no idea she was a psychic medium. When I started T-VINE Magazine in 2013 and asked her to be our Agony Aunt, I started to learn about her gifts, but didn’t probe further. I’m not one to seek out psychics, but not because I am an unbeliever: it’s more because I am wary of dabbling in the spirit world, or of somehow pre-determining my fate. Yet my curiosity was piqued earlier this year.
My housemate Aisha was keen to go to a psychic for a reading and asked if I knew any. I promptly telephoned Yonja. While we were catching up, Aisha left the room and when I told Yonja about my housemate wanting a reading, she asked me if her birthday was “25 May”. “I have no idea”, I replied, at which point Aisha walked back into the room and confirmed her birthday was indeed 25 May.
Lucky guess? I suspected it was more than that. And with good reason. For most of the time Yonja has known me, my mum has battled multiple illnesses, from rheumatoid arthritis to breast cancer, and more recently kidney infections, sepsis and heart failure. These past two years have been extremely difficult, yet somehow Yonja would always know when the worst was hitting mum, and call to ask after her and send “healing”. This hidden energy would alleviate immense pain and help my bedbound mum become mobile. How was this possible? A few months ago, I sat down with Yonja for an in-depth understanding of her life and work, talking to people she had been seeing regularly: their stories blew my mind.
Who is Yonja Ali?
She was born at North Middlesex Hospital on 25 March 1972 to Turkish Cypriot parents, Fatma and Mustafa Ali. The eldest of four children, she has a sister Ayla and twin brothers Okan and Ozan. The family’s early life was spent in Tottenham, before they moved to Palmers Green when Yonja was aged 6. She’s now a married mum of three living in deepest Essex.
When describing her psychic talents, Yonja explains that she is a “Clairvoyant”, with two key skills. She has “Clairaudience” (clear hearing), receiving information in the form of “messages and sounds direct from the spirit world”, which she deciphers to give “detailed and accurate readings on any subject matter”. It’s an extra-sensory paranormal hearing, so she may sense words and sounds, but not necessarily hear them.
Yonja is also “Clairsentient” (clear sensing): she can not only “sense spirits”, but is also able to “tune into” the emotions, feelings, wellbeing and sensations of her client, or remotely to people she knows. This psychic sense may not be very strong with some mediums, but for Yonja it is a core strength.
If you go for a reading with Yonja, often in her own home, she will sit next to you in a calm, warm, incense-scented space. Candles and crystals will be laid out on the table before her, and she will hold a crystal rock in one hand, and your palm in the other. She grounds and protects herself and starts tuning in to her guide, who could be known to her, like her maternal grandfather, or an unknown spirit who’s come to pass on a message.
“I was ‘seeing’ from a very, very young age. My mum was totally freaked out. She said I needed to go to the hoca to get blessed.”
There are times when she has “spoken foreign words, or mimicked voices and even mannerisms” that are completely alien to her, but very much understood by her client. Her accuracy levels are startling, as client after client confirms.
People seek out Yonja as much for her healing, as for her readings. She is a Reiki healer, able to channel energy through her hands into a person’s body, pinpointing physical and mental pain and “pushing it out”. For the seriously-ill, Yonja’s healings are needed regularly, and the results can be quite spectacular.
I have yet to take a full session of healing, but even a 60-second blast of her holding my hand created an instant warmth and calming sensation within me. I can only imagine how amazing a 30-minute session would be.
Discovering she has a “gift”
I asked Yonja about when she first discovered her paranormal talents: “At six years old. My dad had come home from work and I said, ‘I’ve just seen so and so, he’s in black and white and says hi’. But I’d never seen this man. It was one of my dad’s friends in spirit. It was crazy. The man had already passed. So I was ‘seeing’ from a very, very young age. My mum was totally freaked out. She said I needed to go to the hoca to get blessed.”
“I use my gifts to help others,” she adds, repeating the phrase, “and I have to be sensitive about sharing insights. If a client comes for a reading and I pick up there’s something wrong with them health-wise, I won’t say ‘oh you’ve got breast cancer’. I’d say, ‘you have to go to the doctor. You need to have a check-up’ or ‘You need to go for a blood test, or a mammogram, or a smear’; and they ask ‘why’, and I say, ‘trust me’, and they do it because they do trust me.”
I ask how she’s learned to harness the gifts she has; did she have any guidance? After a pause, Yonja says, “No. I’ve had to work things out for myself.” People think I’m crazy,” she laughs: “The most important thing is trust.”
Yonja is very self- assured, but not cocky. She exudes self-confidence in a down-to-earth way, speaking her mind and, when necessary, using ‘tough love’. “I once had a lady suffering from cancer who was convinced she was going to die. I could sense she’d be OK, but she would not have it. I got angry with her, reminding her about her children and partner, and telling her how selfish she was for giving up the fight. I said I’d not see her again [for healing] until she had a more positive outlook. It worked. She’s still with us.”
Yonja’s diverse clientele includes cancer patients, those recently bereaved, and those whose lives have hit a brick wall. Most people remain clients of hers for years. She’s also had unsavoury characters contact her, which she politely rejects: “If I don’t warm to someone, I won’t do a reading.”
“I was convinced about Yonja’s gift from my very first reading”
There is no shortage of testimony from people wanting to tell me about their incredible experiences with Yonja.
Helen recently spent three days looking for her Cartier watch, but to no avail. Yonja, who has not visited Helen’s new home, tuned into the item and told her “it is by a green children’s toy box”. Sure enough the watch was there.
Gina had a telephone reading from Yonja, who was in Cyprus at the time. Her mum had been killed by her father, since imprisoned for murder, when she was very young. The young lady was curious to learn more about the circumstances of the death, which her family had shielded from her.
Yonja described it as “one of the most disturbing readings I have ever done. I couldn’t share all that I saw and sensed; it was too gruesome.” She told Gina that a lady in spirit, her mother, was with her. “I could see a 70s garage with a bath. I could smell chemicals and burning. It was horrible. She did not have a good passing over.” Gina found newspaper cuttings with details of the case: her mother had been killed and dissolved in acid. Yonja’s reading was an important confirmation.
I meet two of Yonja’s clients, Havva (she didn’t want her surname used) and Nurten Halil, in a restaurant in Woodford. Over a meal they tell me how they have benefitted from regular visits.
Havva, now aged 36, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when she was 15. The onset of the disease meant she would regularly lose her balance and the control of her movements: “I would walk into doors and my friends would wonder why, but I could not stop myself,” she told me.
Yonja insisted the cancer had “gone into the lymph nodes”, which the consultant rejected. 3 days later he called to say they had detected cancer in 3 of my 11 lymph nodes”
Doctors put her on prescribed medicines to curb the effects of MS, but they had other debilitating side-effects. She was introduced to Yonja some five years ago and says her “magic hands” had an instant effect. For a time Havva stopped using the medicines, opting instead for just the healing. But when she stopped seeing Yonja, the MS returned.
“When I went back to Yonja, she told me I also had a sugar and dairy intolerance, which doctors later confirmed. Those changes to my diet and regular healing meant I went into remission. I’m still off the prescribed medicine and, as you can see, I’m fine.”
Nurten had lost touch with the father of her children for over a year when she went to see Yonja. I asked her when she was convinced Yonja had a gift, and she said, “From my very first reading. She told me he was with another woman and they’d had a baby. I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I left Yonja, I tried to contact him. He didn’t pick up immediately, but sometime later that day we spoke. I can’t forget it. I pulled over by Barnet Library and congratulated him on his new baby. He went silent and then asked how I knew. I said, ‘that would be telling’. He told me his partner had given birth that day…”.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Yonja: she saved my life”
There are endless client stories that reaffirm Yonja’s incredible skills as a clairvoyant, each client as passionate as the last. Yet it is the story of former bank worker Sandra Riley which stands out.
Sandra lost her older sister to breast cancer when she was just 39. She met Yonja through her daughter Leah, a dog handler who was grooming Yonja’s dog. Leah had tried to get her mum an appointment for a reading, but was told there was a waiting list.
When Sandra found a lump in her breast, she panicked. She had some tests and was awaiting the results when she received a call from Yonja informing her of a cancellation, and offering her an appointment. Sandra’s husband drove her to Yonja’s home the next day.
“As soon as she saw me she hugged me. She said, ‘oh my darling, you’ve got breast cancer, but I promise you will be alright,” explained Sandra in a phone call to me.
“She said, ‘your sister had cancer, but you don’t have the same type as your sister. Also your sister’s [tumour] was on the right, and yours is on the left.”
The information left Sandra gob-smacked. Sure enough, the doctors confirmed hers was a hormonal cancer, while her sister’s had been the triple negative variety. Calls to her sister’s family also confirmed that her lump had indeed been on the right, while Sandra’s was on the left.
Yonja’s initial reading revealed other crucial details for Sandra. She insisted the cancer had “gone into the lymph nodes”, a point rejected by her consultant Mr Smith. Yonja encouraged Sandra to “stand her ground” and insist on be given a lymph node biopsy.
“I was doubtful about saying I needed it because my psychic said so, as I thought they’d think I was a crackpot. So I told them I was worried because of what happened to my older sister, which convinced them. I was given a radioactive dye to check if there had been any spread. Sure enough, 3 days later the consultant called me to say they had detected cancer in 3 of my 11 lymph nodes.”
Sandra describes the hands-on role Yonja then took in her treatment. She came with her to see consultants, advised her about diet and lifestyle, and told her to use cannabis oil and avoid chemotherapy, which Sandra is convinced killed her sister. When her oncologist refused to respect her wishes, Yonja urged her to get a second opinion.
“It was just as well, as the second doctor, Dr Sunil Skaria [from the Royal Marsden] agreed the chemotherapy would not be good for me, and could actually be very dangerous as they later found I had heart problems, including a leaky valve. If it wasn’t for Yonja, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
That was three years ago and Sandra, now aged 52, repeatedly tells me, “Yonja is amazing. She knows everything. My doctor, friends and family are all blown away by her.”
Sandra claims the psychic knew her daughter Leah was pregnant before they did, and has accurately read for her and her friends, even passing on messages from her father-in-law that would have been impossible for Yonja to know, but for her paranormal gifts.
She sees Yonja on a weekly basis for healing. In hour-long sessions, the Reiki specialist’s hands travel from the head down, transmitting energy that Sandra describes as like “a magnetic force. The pain just goes. Wherever her hand is, the pain just disappears.”
Towards the end of our calls, Sandra tells me “Everyone needs a Yonja. She always comes up with a solution,” and says she is “truly grateful” for all Yonja has done for her. The pair have become so close that Yonja was invited to Leah’s wedding and is also going to be present for the birth of the baby.
I have no way of verifying these claims, but the sincerity of the way each woman recounts their story, coupled with my own experiences, leave me in no doubt that Yonja does indeed possess astonishing powers.
After my many conversations with clients, I tell Yonja, “hun, who needs Google, Amazon and Apple’s Siri and Alexa, when we got you.” She bursts out laughing.