Monday, September 21, 2009
The Sixth Sense
I can't remember a movie in years that frightened me so much that I couldn't go to sleep--until I saw "The Sixth Sense" some years ago. Likewise, I was scared sleepless after reading "When Ghosts Speak," by Mary Ann Winkowski. Why? Because there could actually be ghosts among us and we can't see them. The possibility that something really exists makes it that much more frightening. Most of us can't see ghosts. Some of us can. Others might not be able to see them, but they can sense their presence. Thankfully, I don't fall into any of these categories, but just because I don't have the ability to know when ghosts are around, it doesn't mean I disallow their existence.
The supernatural is, according to Webster's dictionary (1) "of our relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; esp: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil. (2) departing from what is usual or normal esp. so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature."
Belief in the supernatural has been in our society from the beginning of time and has always been a part of life. Fear and uncertainty are most likely the roots of many of these beliefs.
As writers, we can put our imaginations to work for us and use the sixth sense in our stories and books right along with those other five senses I've been blogging about. For me, the sixth sense is super fun to work with because imagination completely rules and anything goes--well, almost anything as long as you, the writer, can make it believable enough that your readers will be afraid to go to sleep at night, or they'll double-check the doors to make sure they're still locked.
In the paranormal realm, there are a lot of different elements to work with besides ghosts. It's all those creepy, spine-chilling "feelings" we have that can't be explained. It's all those entities in every culture and corner of the earth that may or may not walk the earth; vampires, werewolves, skinwalkers, angels, demons, fairies, witches, monsters--and the list goes on. It's the possibility of being able to travel through time, or be reincarnated. It's the ability of second sight that allows us to foresee events or simple "see" them after they've happened. It's being able to reach the dead through a medium, or be contacted by the dead through a dream. It is magical powers derived from any number of things like certain stones, the moon, or witchcraft. It can be something as simple as believing that walking under a ladder will bring you seven years of bad luck, or wearing a certain necklace will protect you from evil.
In every myth there is an element of truth. It is your job as a writer to make your reader believe anything.