As a child I had always had a fascination with ghosts and all things from the spirit world, but as I grew up the fascination wore off and never really gave it another thought until I became interested in the world of Derek Acorah.

The television psychic brought his Whispers from Heaven tour to Coalville and I had the opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.

The former Most Haunted regular has been in the news recently for his appearance in the Celebrity Big Brother house, even managing to reach the final in a public vote.

Mart Cooper, right, has designed the official posters in support of Derek Acorah

However, he has been long-followed by controversy. Are his powers real? Can he really interact with the dead and send messages to their friends and relatives? And if we believe this then do we believe in ghosts and spirits?

They were questions I was keen to answer and the only way to do that is see the man himself in action.

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The structure of his show, Derek explained, was that he would be speaking to his 'spirit guide' Sam who would pass messages to Derek from the dead. Derek would then pass this message to the intended member of the audience.

And while sometimes it could be a guessing game as to who the message was intended for, more often than not Derek would simply point to the intended recipient who would later burst into tears believing their wife, husband or father who had passed on was actually contacting them. And were they? I still don't know for sure.

Derek Acorah at Mart Cooper's 30th birthday

During the course of the sold-out show at the Century Theatre, Derek spoke to at least six members of the audience, all varying in ages. Some had incredibly sad stories to tell, and while not revealing much about their circumstances, they were able to receive messages from their loved ones.

In some instances Derek was simply passing on advice given to them by their late loved one but he was also simply rightly "guessing" parts of their lives.

In one instance Derek said he felt the presence of an elderly lady and picked out a member of the audience sitting in front of me. Derek started telling the unsuspecting man little stories about what the woman, who turned out to be his late grandmother, was like.

While some sceptics would say he was just good at playing guessing games, he then also rightly said the man was a ghost hunter which left me with more unanswered questions.

Derek Acorah thanks the Burton Mail readers for their support

I guess you would only know for sure whether Derek is the real deal if your loved one sent a message to him while you were at the show. Perhaps, the 300 people in the theatre believe he is the real deal.

He is certainly the real deal to many. He first appeared in the Burton Mail thanks to his friend Mart Cooper, from Woodville, who designs tour posters for the celebrity.

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As a thank you for his support, during the show Derek brought Mart's daughter, Skye, onto the stage to wish her a happy birthday.

Whatever you may think of his powers Derek certainly is grateful for his fans.

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