Brough Perkins grew up in the Pierrefonds suburb of Montreal, learning French at school but speaking English at home, as his parents were of British and German ancestry, with a bit of native blood on his father’s side. His dad being into biking, he named his son after the WWI period Brough motorcycle made in England. In the U.K. this name is pronounced to rhyme with “rough” but he simply pronounces it “Bro”. One day he looked in the mirror at his blonde hair and blue eyes and threw a tantrum. When his mother asked him what was wrong, he told her, “You made me wrong!” He explained that he was supposed to have dark hair and dark skin.
He and his two sisters had a fun childhood with friends, extended family, lots of freedom to run around. His parents worked long hours, but his his older sister Holly helped with the household. Brough was a sociable kid, always partnered up with one or two pals or cousins and running between houses or through the forest. But it was clear from early on that life was not going to be altogether normal. Like any kid, Brough would sometimes get afraid of the dark. One night while not able to sleep at the age of four, a man appeared in his bedroom. Brough initially thought it must be his dad, but realized he was much too tall. Still, he didn’t feel scared. The man sat by Brough’s bed and told him to be a good boy and take care of his mother. He had huge hands, and would cradle Brough’s head in one hand until he fell asleep. The man would visit Brough now and then, and one day he told his mother. She said that his grandfather Hans was very tall, in fact seven feet, with large hands. When Rebecca Perkins was a child her father would cradle her head in his hand when she was sick. Hans had died a year previously, Brough having met him only once. In kindergarten, Brough would write about the man in his journal, calling him “the tall man who visits me in my bedroom.” The teacher became concerned with this. She brought in a social worker to talk to Brough. He was pleased that people were interested in knowing more about him and told the social worker about the tall man. The social worker called Brough’s parents about the situation. Brough’s father sat him down to explain who this lady was and why she was talking to him. He said that if she thought there was a problem at home she could take him away from his family. Brough was furious with his teacher and asked to talk to the social worker again. He explained to her that the man was not real, although he did in fact see the man as real. At age eight, Brough joined the swim team and would spend all his free time at the pool with his cousins and his new best friend Jean-Philippe. One night he dreamt he had a very realistic dream that Jean-Philippe no longer wanted to be his friend, and woke up crying. The next day in class Jean-Philippe moved to another desk away from Brough, and stopped talking to him. He was his only friend at school, so Brough would wander the schoolyard at lunch by himself.
Brough started to feel that there was something different about him. Sometimes he would lie on the couch staring at the clock on the wall, and go into a trance. He would go into a state that he calls “hyper-awareness”. He explains, “I had a sense that I knew things that people my age shouldn’t know. Like understanding where I was spatially in the world. Understanding that I have cognitive abilities that are not normal. There was no word ‘psychic’ but I was aware of being psychic.” With this increased awareness however, came the need to repress his experiences and keep them hidden, since he associated his first two experiences, with the social worker and his best friend, with trauma. Precognitions and intuitions continued to happen on occasion, but he didn’t tell anyone about them if he could avoid it. Sometimes he could not avoid it. In fourth grade he noticed a pink light around his teacher. He felt himself going into a trance, “which feels like your brain is being tickled and you’re just staring.” The words you’re having a baby fell out of his mouth. “Immediately when I said it she stopped, her mouth opened, she looked at me, and I felt completely humiliated. I was like, ‘What the hell did I just say?’ All the children are just awkward and are some are looking me.” She explained to Brough in front of the class that she had just found out that day that she was pregnant, after trying to conceive for fourteen years. At lunch, she took Brough aside and told him that she thought he was very special. The art teacher heard the story, and told Brough that the light he saw was called an aura. The following year, Brough got off the school bus and felt something compelling him to run home. While sprinting through the woods, he had a vision in his head that the side door to the house was open, which it normally wouldn’t be. “What was making me run was this feeling of being a superhero and being needed.” He got to the house and the side door was open. He knew to run upstairs to his sister Holly’s bedroom. She was there crying, and her friend Ryan was having a seizure due to an asthma attack. “I thought I was imagining it. Then once I get home, I’m like, ‘Oh shit, that’s not imagination, I’m living it.’” He then knew that he should run to the neighbour’s house. 911 didn’t exist. The neighbour had a nebulizer which delivers asthma medication, which saved Ryan. A couple days later Ryan came to the house to thank them, saying he could have ended up with permanent brain damage. Brough explained what he experienced, running home knowing something was wrong. Ryan was riveted, his eyes like saucers.
His mother brought up Brough seeing his grandfather when he was younger, and his Dad revealed that he used to see auras around people when he was a kid. The experience left Brough feeling more accepted by his family. “This undid all the built-up fear that I had around it. It was finally getting it off my chest.” Brough was now out in the open with his family, and Ryan and Holly’s story got around at school. Kids would come up to him saying, “Are you Holly’s brother?” The nickname “Aura Boy” started up, even though the story didn’t involve auras. But despite this new openness about his abilities with himself and others, the prospect of high school and trying to find his place in the world was too much. His mother took him for a tour of the high school, which in Quebec starts in grade 7. He said to her, “I don’t think I’m going to be very happy next year.” He knew this wasn’t a reaction to seeing the school, which was perfectly fine -- it was a prediction. Some time after starting high school the depression hit. It manifested in heart palpitations, numbness of hands, intensely stiff muscles. One time his neck froze and he couldn’t turn his head. “Essentially depression is when you’re repressing anxiety,” he explains now. “You have too much information coming that you can’t cognitively work through so you have to ignore it, repress it. But that causes a depression in your psyche.”
Science fiction and shows about the paranormal became points of reference for Brough in understanding his reality which was clearly different from the reality he was taught. Star Trek was one of his touchstones, and still is. When I don’t know what to get him for Christmas or his birthday, I default to Star Trek posters, puzzles, fridge magnets, and he usually has one of the dozen or so Trek movies on in the background at his place. While going through emotional difficulties he became fond of Spock. “I was going to adopt the Vulcan philosophy and shut off all my emotions. Which I was quite successful with. Which was also the way to become a depressed lunatic.” This was the beginning of his adolescent persona: contained exterior, dyed green and black hair, and his music was industrial, goth and death metal. In 1999, when Brough was 15, the family moved to Mississauga, Ontario, which meant leaving behind his friends and cousins. Brough started 9th grade and soon dropped out due to anxiety. His parents got him into an alternative school where he had a later start and could work at his own pace. His marks went up into the 80s. At school he met Laura who also dressed Goth and was into the psychic and paranormal world. Visions and precognitive dreams continued sporadically. He ate up Unsolved Mysteries, Ghostbusters, and discovered The Art Bell Show on late night AM radio. He saw the psychic Sylvia Browne on the Montel Williams Show. She introduced him to the concept of a spirit guide. The idea was that everyone had one, although they normally weren’t conscious of it. One day with Laura and some friends, Brough out loud asked his spirit guide to turn a lamp on. Nothing happened and everyone had a chuckle. Then after a minute, the lamp turned on. One of the friends there said, “I saw it, but I don’t believe it.” Once again it was time to move, this time to Richmond Hill, Ontario. Once again, leaving friends, and going back to a regular high school, where Brough dropped out. He was hitting rock bottom. “I’m feeling completely useless with life, I’ve failed everything. And I’m disenfranchised. I collected all the pills I could find. Sleeping pills. I was ready to down them all.”
At that moment he heard a woman’s voice. She said, “Honey honey honey, my name is Laron.” “I hear this like she’s right here floating. I’m so terrified that I run out of the house. I ran down to the park and started crying. Releasing all this emotion.” The memories of the psychic events throughout his life flashed to him, his grandfather, the teacher who was pregnant, Ryan’s asthma attack. Up until then they were still isolated incidents. Laron connected them together and showed him the bigger picture about who he was. This direct contact with someone who seemed to be a spirit guide startled Brough out of suicidal thoughts and gave him a sense of comfort. He also started to think that life after death was a likely thing, in which case, suicide didn’t seem like an escape from problems. Brough’s father found the suicide note. He took Brough out to lunch. He explained to him that high school isn’t the only way to succeed in life. His uncle Danny was a self-made millionaire, and never started high school. He told Brough to take some time off without any pressure. They would revisit school when the time was right. “The problem was I felt like a huge failure, so this permission slip was very important to me.” Brough felt guided to change everything. “My job was to wake up, stop listening to dark goth music, and start focusing on positive things. This will sound stupid, but I watched Touched By An Angel. I’d go to Chapters and find spiritual books.” For the first time Brough sought out people to do psychic readings for. He found internet chat rooms dedicated to the subject of psychic work. He impressed one girl named Kelly who turned out to live in Aurora, next door to Richmond Hill, even though most people in the chat were from the U.S. Kelly. They became friends in real life, and she took him to her high school and introduced him around. A crowd of students gathered around him in the cafeteria and he gave them readings. One guy started crying. “I was starting to reconstruct a worldview where spirit is real, and light and good has a valid place.” Laron continued to talk to him. She told him, “The first step is to take down the mental blocks you have built to repress your natural gift.” Brough said, “What do you mean, what mental blocks?” She replied, “All of your false beliefs.” “And with that message flooded into my mind all of the times where, you know, your parent loses their temper with you, but you interpret that forever as you being not good enough, or society telling you that you’re not a real person and you have to create yourself.” He would have moments of vivid realization, similar to when younger lying on the couch and having hyper-awareness. “Now I’m wearing light coloured clothing, meditating. It took three days – each day I woke up I felt significantly happier. I was seeing sparks of light, having Kundalini-like love feelings; love would flow out of me. Within three days I’m cured of all depression. It had been deep for three years, like there wasn’t anywhere lower to go.” His new realization was that if light is all that there is, and darkness is an absence of light, then darkness when it exists in us is due to a blockage. He was taking down false beliefs and replacing them with true beliefs. “You’re psychic, you’re a loving soul, and the reason you’re so angry is because you love so much -- your anger is like a call for love. So something snapped in me and I realized, I am only love. And the things that are not-love about me are not really me.” He decided he needed to get a job and stay active to keep his momentum going. He thought a bookstore might work. He mentally received the information, “On main street in town there’s a shop.” He walked around and found a spiritual New Age place called Where Angels Gather. Gloria the owner gave him a job there, and said he could use a room in the back of the store to do readings. Brough had a film camera and accidentally exposed a few frames on the roll of film. On getting it developed, he saw that one of the pictures had an image on a woman on it. She was smiling, and appeared to be clapping, the camera capturing her hands just as they met. Her blue shirt, jewellery and glasses looked 1970’s or 80’s. A watch was visible on her wrist. Her image was cut off in a straight line below her shoulders. The background of the picture was black, and she seemed to be lit up as if she was on a stage with a spotlight on her. In the upper right of the photo are three squares that could pass for stage lighting. Brough received the same image mentally around the same time the film was exposed and was told that the picture is of Laron. He keeps the photo framed on his desk.
Brough had reconnected with a teacher from high school, and her daughter, Amanda Walsh, had become a host on the popular Canadian TV channel MuchMusic. She heard that Brough was going to investigate a haunted house in Goderich, Ontario, and suggested they make a Hallowe’en special out of it. Brough was interested in media work and was excited. On the show, Brough and Amanda walked around the house with the camera crew and he picked up impressions about the house’s history. He named the original owner of the house, which they later verified. The first showing had half a million viewers, making it one of the most popular shows they had done. Brough’s email address was given, and he received over a thousand emails in the first hour and many more later. Over three years he answered each one. This opportunity led to regular appearances in mainstream television and radio over the next few years. Brough was comfortable with a big audience. He could keep his charm and sense of humor, while displaying his abilities, during a live broadcast. The media work, along with word of mouth from client to client, gave him a steady stream of people looking for readings.