Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ghosts and Other Entities - Real and Imagined?

“Now, about those ghosts... I'm sure they're here and I'm not half so alarmed at meeting up with any of them as I am at having to meet the live nuts I have to see every day.”
Bess Truman

As a writer of paranormal thrillers, the world of the occult fascinates me.  On looking at the dictionary definition of the word occult, I can see that it can mean esoteric knowledge, secretive mystery and supernatural.

To me the world of occult is mainly associated with the supernatural. It can include such things as Extra sensory perception, spirits, special powers, demons and devils, doppelgangers, possession and special powers ( such as telekinesis, telepathy etc). All these things are great fodder for the supernatural thriller writer. However one thing that is uppermost in my mind when I write is that, irrespective of the supernatural elements, the story must still hold together as a well plotted tale with good, believable characters. It must have the elements of a thriller with rising tension, conflict and suspense and a character in jeopardy.

I also do believe that stories centred on the occult world should grip readers and the supernatural element should be unnerving, scary and even a little terrible. Readers of these kinds of stories expect to be transported to an alternate reality where supernatural abound and yet are still pretty scary.

In the readers mind a little voice poses the question, at least for the duration of the story, “could this possibly happen?”

Suspension of disbelief is what keeps horror and supernatural writers going, as well as the enjoyment of heightened sensations if the story scares as much as it should. The fear, I believe comes from the not knowing.

After all, we really don’t know what awaits us in the afterlife and the possibility of spirits, ghosts etc is not that unbelievable to many people. And lots of perfectly rational folk do indeed believe in the Devil and Demons (for that matter many religions do too). I guess it is this notion of belief and the outside possibility of these things actually happening that captures the imagination of so many supernatural thriller readers – including me!

 Does the occult world scare you? Or are you more scared of the nuts you meet every day?



  1. I don't have any encounters with the occult world, so it's definitely the nuts who frighten me. Bess Truman was a wise woman.


  2. I have seen a ghost and had a few supernatural experiences and they didn't scare me half as much as some people! Having said that, I do get very scared reading about fictional scary-things - which just goes to show how good writing really gets under your skin :-) x

  3. Agree that regardless of having supernatural events or characters, your story can't have huge holes in the plot and can't leave readers thinking, "Oh come on!"

  4. That "could this really happen" part is the scariest part of a good paranormal thriller!

  5. An element of truth is why supernatural novels scare the beejees out of me. Pat, check out Keith Pyeatt's work. I think you two have much in common.

  6. I think real people can be more scary - we know for sure they're real and that some are bad and/or intend to cause others harm.

  7. Another great post, Pat. I fear occults and real people. YIKES!

    On another note, I wanted to let you know that I have awarded you with The Sunshine Blog Award. If you want to know what it's all about, stop on by my blog to find out.

    Hope your holiday season is bright.

  8. Congratulations on the Sunshine Award Pat.

    Not into horror stories, movies per se but have had a few personal experiences with supernatural if you could call it that. It is interesting and intriguing to think of the possibility of the other side and making connections. Perhaps, there's more going on than what the eye can see or mind understand.

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  12. The occult world definitely scares me. I try not to think about it too much!