Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feeding Off Of and Sustaining Each Other

For a number of years I have been thinking about doing a haunted house novel. I have done a couple stories with ghosts in them, a couple of haunted items, and in a similar but disconnected vein, a possessed house. What I find to be a real challenge is on deciding what kind of ghosts to use, what traditional haunting phenomena, and other related things. There is more than one approach to writing ghosts. There are different kinds of ghosts around the world, each with their own particular beliefs and superstitions floating around them. Then there are other divergent explanations to work with as well.

One can certainly delineate the meaning of hauntings into two categories, the supernatural, and the scientific. The supernatural explanations run from noisy, mostly mindless spirits, to apparitions seeking to complete some earth task or unmask their killers, to ghost who don’t know they actually died. The scientific explanations run from the overspill of mental energies to cause physical phenomena, to echoes of the past somehow imprinted on locations, to factors impacting on the human brain to cause false impressions and hallucinations.

Even without looking at the why’s and how’s science can still help out tremendously in explaining the phenomena involved in a haunting. There is the ever-popular cold spot theory that associates ghosts, even ones unseen, with a sudden drop in temperature in the area they “physically” occupy. There are the Electro-Magnetic readings which can either be evidence of the ghost, or evidence that it is the mind of the witness being effected, depending on what kind of readings are gathered and where. There is also audio-visual evidence, though much of it remains controversial, and the most compelling of this sort of evidence is elusive and hard to collect.

This is a mere brushing of the topic, but it gives a good impression of the breadth of factors to consider in just a couple of lines of thought on the matter. This is without taking a look at the story factors that will determine what phenomena, explanations and other details of the haunting will best fit the given story being worked on. Looking at things from the writing perspective, the rest of the story outside of the haunting itself should affect the haunting details the writer will use, and the details used in turn will affect the rest of the story, making for a relationship best described as symbiotic.

Mood: level.
Music: Good Mourning/Black Friday by Megadeth and These Colours Don't Run by Iron Maiden.

Megadeth: Peace Sells...But Whos Buying?
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Iron Maiden: A Matter of Life and Death

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