Quantum has asked for our “views/discussion of paranormal fiction, particularly with ghosts and time slip involved.” She adds, “It seems to me that plausibility is very important in grabbing reader interest, but main stream science is rather dismissive of this area. . .What do the Wenches think?”
Well, as always, the Wenches have an opinion, and we owe Quantum one free book for her excellent question, thank you!
I’ll let the other Wenches speak to their own beliefs, but I’m totally open to all possibilities, up to and including space aliens seeding this earth a gazillion years ago. <G> Science tends to be fact-focused, as it should be, and facts are very hard to come by when it comes to the more woo-woo aspects of our world. Scientists have their hands full measuring what they can see. Working with what they can’t see is currently beyond their abilities, and possibly, beyond the imaginations of the people who fund them.
I like to believe that people who claim to see ghosts, possess clairvoyance, or other unexplained oddities have neural pathways that we have yet to explore. And maybe one day we’ll understand what’s behind string theory and quantum physics and develop a better comprehension of what reality means.
But lacking more than word-of-mouth evidence, I am free to create healers, dog whisperers, and psychic mediums with any characteristics I care to give them—which is what I love to do in my various Magic series romances. Complicating life and romance with abilities that defy the known and come with equal disabilities tests my characters and their relationships in ways that entertain me greatly! And I hope that if I ground my people in enough reality, that readers will sympathize and anticipate the lessons the hero and heroine must learn to accept their differences.
I've never experienced any paranormal forces like ghosts and ESP but there's a part of me that isn't willing to rule out the possibilities. My grandfather was a dowser of water, and though I don't know the science behind it, I believe absolutely that he could find underground water with only a forked stick. He did it again and again, and it was an ability that was both valued and taken for granted in the rural community he lived in.
I think it's logical not to rule such things out. Our world is full of things that seem magical because we don't experience them ourselves. Dogs can hear things at frequencies we can't, they read scent as we read books. Birds can navigate by reading invisible magnetic patterns. The world is full of 'magic' of this sort. I have often wondered whether, if 99.9% of people were colourblind, we would regard as charlatans, or deluded, the few people who claimed to be able to see red and green instead of grey. Okay, that's a small thing, and easily tested scientifically, but for me, it's no big stretch of the imagination to allow the possibility that some people have untapped abilities.
Stories of ghosts and other paranormal activities pop up again and again, over the centuries, from all cultures and from people at all walks of life, so who am I to dismiss those possibilities, merely because I haven't experienced it myself? And as a writer, I love the idea that there's a world full of hidden possibilities.
I’ve never personally experienced any paranormal incident—no ghosts, no awareness of being transported to another reality. But I am quite open to the possibility that there are realms of existence that at present we can’t sense or access. One has only to look at recent science to see world upon world that sounded like science fiction in the past have been discovered through sophisticated equipment and experimental techniques, and are now seen as mainstream. Quantum physics has concepts that are hard for most of us to fathom–like a particle being able to exist in two places at the same time. According to experts in the field, time and space react differently in the quantum world than they do in the classic Newtonian world. So I definitely keep an open mind, and actually think it’s rather nice that we don’t understand everything. Mystery does add a certain spice to life!
Science aside, “plausible” fiction also, IMO, depends a great deal on the writer’s skill at storytelling. A strong voice can make a reader willing, and eager, to be transported to the farthest corners of the imagination—and beyond. That’s the magic of books and language!
As someone who has had a number of experiences that I would describe as “unexplained” I am very open to the idea that not everything in our universe can be explained away rationally. In fact I think it would be quite arrogant to think that we have reached the pinnacle of scientific discovery where there is a logical reason for everything. That doesn’t leave any space to learn, or discover new things. The human race’s fascination with the unexplained comes out time and again in storytelling down the ages and I love that this thread has always been a part of our lives.
I’ve written three books now that contain supernatural elements: time travel, ghosts, magic, possession, and I absolutely love exploring paranormal issues in my writing and my reading. As with all alternative worlds, whether they be historical, science fiction or any other, I feel that the plausibility always comes back to the characters and their situations. If a reader is invested in those characters and their emotional journey then they will come with you back into the past, forward into the future, into the dragon’s lair. It’s where our imaginations can play and who knows what alternative realities may be waiting to be discovered…
For as long as I can remember, I've been intrigued and fascinated by the paranormal. Books and stories, TV and movies, real experiences, ghosts, time slips, fairies and dragons and angels, tarot and Celtic magical practices, meditation, energy healing, chi work, unexplained mysteries and just about any sort of woo-woo—I'm there. As a reader, I love ghost stories, time travelers, reincarnation, fairies (I am not, however, wild about vampires and monsters). I’d be thrilled to see a ghost. Scary, yes, but I'd want to help—why are you still here, can we help resolve that? That hasn't happened, but I'm always hopeful. I'm a ghost show addict—but I'm sceptical too. The experiences need real substantiation for me to buy in. In my own historical fiction, I've almost always included a trace or more of paranormal, from psychics to healers to magical elements. My own stories don't feel full enough to me without some hint of a metaphysical mystery that expands the characters and the story. I'm trained in energy healing, and I've had some hard-to-explain experiences in that and other modes. Some of that I've tapped in writing fiction.
Whatever view we take, wherever our interests lie, I think we all get something out of beliefs and explorations that stretch our thinking beyond what science and our own senses can prove. We all find ways to ponder and decide what life is about, whether that comes through religious beliefs or the draw of paranormal elements. Paranormal refers to beyond normal, outside our everyday understanding. If we’re drawn to any of these questions, we’re prodded to think outside the box, to realize to some degree that there's way, way more to life and existence than we might think at first.
From Mary Jo:
Having spent my childhood reading as much science fiction as I could get my grubby little hands on, I'm perfectly happy to assume there is much we don't know about the universe, and to include such unexplained elements in my stories. While I've not seen ghosts or ghoulies or things that go thump in the night, I've known very credible people who have seen and done inexplicable things. Some have abilities that can be called psychic, and sometimes my own intuition has been surprisingly good.
I'm not actually fond of time travel stories because thinking about the paradoxes makes me want to bury my head under a pillow, but no one needs to point out that I've written four time traveling novels. I consider that proof that a good story premise will lure a writer into all sorts of areas!
I particularly enjoy writing about magic, which is the basis for seven of my novels and a bunch of shorter works. I love the idea that magic might be taking place out of the corner of one's eye, out of sight but not out of imagination. And writing about it is fun!
My Guardian stories, three novels and several shorter works, posit a world where unusual abilities run in families, and those who have such abilities have done things that made history turn out the way we know it. This is great fun from a storytelling point of view. What if weather mages conjured the hurricane that destroyed the vast Spanish Armada in 1588? Or maybe they produced the highly unusual weather that allowed the British to evacuate over three hundred thousand troops from Dunkirk when the Admiralty had thought they'd manage maybe thirty thousand at best? Magic!
So, as you see, the wenches are all in favor of the unknown and a wider perspective than science currently allows. But we have creative imaginations. How about everyone else? Do you believe in things that go bump in the night? Do you fear the paranormal? Enjoy reading it?