Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

Why I Chose to Write About Ghosts and Sci-fi

Today with have a guest post from Erin Zarro, whose new book, Grave Touched, comes out today! Without further adieu, I’ll let her take over.

GT-cover-Y-PRAC3 copyGhosts and sci-fi, you say? Really?

Yep. I’m a big fan of ghosts and the afterlife, and when something [redacted] happened to one of the characters in Fey Touched (book 1), a light bulb went off in my head and I was like, “hey…that could work nicely.”

I’m also a big fan of blending and mixing things. Fey Touched came about when I decided to blend the Fey with sci-fi, making my Fey based in science instead of myth. Now ghosts are considered paranormal creatures, and I can’t think of anyone off the top (or bottom) of my head who’s done it before, so I thought, why not?

But I needed them to make sense within the framework of the Fey Touched world. I couldn’t just slip ghosts in and not have a reason, so that’s where the Nether came into being. The Nether is a frozen wasteland inhabited by the grave touched — restless dead who possess the living for bodies and sensation. Their existence is hellish, and they will do anything to get out. Even possess innocent people. And when they possess people, they take them over completely, erasing who they were before. Sound creepy enough for you?

What’s really creepy is a grave touched could be anywhere, inhabiting anyone — and you wouldn’t be the wiser. They’re good at blending into their surroundings and they use the memories of the poor soul they’ve possessed to fill in the gaps. So, if you really want to get whacky, you could have a grave touched sitting next to you on the bus, or it could be inhabiting your sister or your spouse (which is really nasty). You’d never know. Sleep tight.

There are also Queens fighting over who’s going to rule the Nether, and who is strongest, and who deserves it more. That part was pure fun, and not very scientific, I’m afraid. Both Queens came to me as I was writing the book, and they weren’t planned at all. They just showed up and attempted to take over. It was really creepy how that happened. 😉

Come to think of it, I could be inhabited by a grave touched, but fighting to get free, and wrote Grave Touched to warn the public of the coming takeover. Maybe I’m deep in the Nether, in a prison of ice and dead things, and this is my only way to keep my sanity.

It could happen, right?

Right?

Oh, no, here she comes…

*screams incoherently*

Erin Zarro is an indie novelist and poet living in Michigan. She’s married to her Prince Charming, and she has a feline child named Hailey who she’s convinced is part vampire. She loves all things scary and spooky, and is on a mission to scare herself, as nothing lately has scared her. She writes in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Her first published novel, Fey Touched, is a blend of sci-fi and fantasy. She is currently working on the sequel, Grave Touched, and is trying to stay out of trouble. Mostly.

The first book in the series, Fey Touched, is currently on sale in ebook form for $.99 at fine retailers such as Amazon. And you can pick up a copy of Grave Touched here!

An Appreciation of Haunted Collector

As you know, Squiders, I appreciate the odd ghost hunting show. Which is why I like Haunted Collector, because it does something different.

In the past, there’s been two types of ghost show: one where we recreate “true” experiences, and one where we explore supposedly haunted locations. Haunted Collector acknowledges that aside from places being haunted, objects can also be haunted. (Also: people can be haunted. But that’s a different thing altogether.)

So, if you’re unfamiliar with the show, the team goes into a location and attempts to locate an object that might be haunted. I think they must ask the owner to identify objects of suspicion before hand: things that entered the building right before the haunting started or escalated, things that are extremely old, things that they found left in the house by previous owners (as the leader, John, says, there’s often a reason things are left behind).

After they identify potential objects, they do a baseline sweep (during the day! Hallelujah!) to see if anything is giving off an EMF field or if they get any EVPs near a particular object (or one that was not previously identified), and then they return at night with the full ghost-hunting set-up to see if they can pinpoint activity to something specific.

What’s kind of neat is sometimes, when it’s not one of the suspected objects, sometimes they’ll follow the clues to find something else, like something buried in the basement, or something in a vent, or on the grounds outside.

I find it to be great story fodder because, let’s face it, this isn’t something people worry about usually. When you find something cool or old, would you think twice about picking it up and taking it home with you? If you find a locket buried beneath a tree, would you worry that its original owner never found peace? Probably not. And that opens a lot of doors.

A Treatise on Ghost Hunting Programs

So, if you guys have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I love a good ghost story. So it should come to no surprise that I watch the occasional ghost hunting show on television.

And I really like them, but at the same time, they seem ridiculously silly to me.

Here is a list of things that are ridiculous:

1) At night, in the dark.
Every ghost-hunting show I have ever seen does this. And I don’t know why. If you listen to the claims, most of the time activity happens during the day, or with the lights on, or whenever. I mean, aside from apparitions watching people sleep, nothing seems terribly time or dark dependent. If anything, if you believe that entities need energy to manifest, it seems like turning off the lights just makes it harder for everyone involved. Plus so many of these haunted places have claims of shadow people, and tell me that the dark doesn’t make EVERYTHING look like a shadow person.

2) “Did you hear that?”
Ghost hunters rely on EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) as a mainstay ghost-hunting tool. They will cart tape recorders (or, I guess, digital recorders these days) everywhere and ask questions, trying to find voices that can’t be heard normally. Yet, every time there’s the slightest creak, everyone stops what they’re doing and says something like “OMG what was that? Did you hear that?” I would think, if you’re trying to listen for disembodied voices and you think you heard something that might possibly have paranormal origins, the last thing you would want to do would be to ask stupid questions. Also, they do this ALL THE TIME.

Actually, a good description of ghost hunting shows probably would be “a bunch of people wandering around in the dark saying ‘What was that?’ every few minutes.”

Related – doing this while outside. For example, Ghost Hunters International did at least three jungle investigations this last season. When they’d do the “What was that?” thing, I would yell at the TV, “IT’S A FREAKING ANIMAL. YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A JUNGLE.” And one time they were hearing growls, and I would have been out of there so fast, but GHI? No. They will risk being eaten by panthers in the name of paranormal science.

3) Every place is haunted.
This is getting worse as time goes on. At first, half or so of the investigations would turn up nothing. It wasn’t great television, but it did lead some credence to the whole thing. Ghost Hunters is a good example of this. Nowadays, even if they don’t catch anything truly paranormal, they’ll rely on phantom footsteps and strange feelings to keep things interesting. (Or, if you’re less cynical than I am, you could claim that as they’ve gotten more famous they tend to stick to more definitively haunted places. Whatever floats your boat.)

4) The spirits mean you no harm.
This is a new one on the list, because I’ve just noticed it. The owners of whatever will be terrified and want to know if they need to worry about their family/staff/visitors being harmed by said entity. Most of the time, the ghost hunting team will find nothing. But I’ve seen some episodes where the team is scratched, or has rocks thrown at them, or something else that I would classify as “not cool,” and then when they go back to the owners, they tell them that everything is fine and no one will get hurt. Their definition of “hurt” is apparently not the same as my definition of hurt.

Don’t get me wrong – I really do enjoy the shows. And sometimes they’ll find something that just makes your skin crawl, and those are good days. And the rest of the time you can pretend like you’re watching a really bad horror movie and yell things at the screen.

How do you feel about ghost hunting shows, Squiders? Excellent entertainment? Realistic at all? What are your pet peeves?

Friday Round-up

Space/Science
Private Company to put Robot on Moon (For some reason, this sounds like a terrible idea to me.  Sounds like a good way to leave trash everywhere and mess up scientific missions.)
Last Rollout of Space Shuttle Discovery (video)
Recycling the Space Program
Trying to Prove the Multiverse (The quantum physics at the bottom kind of hurts my head.)
All 1200 Possible Exoplanets Found by Kepler Visualized
NASA’s New Technique to Find Alien Life
Pictures of Space Shuttle Discovery’s Building

Scifi/Fantasy
The Furniture of Steampunk
Winners of the 2010 British Fantasy Awards
Chance to win a signed copy of Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Out
The Unreal and Why We Love It Part 6: Recognition
Star Wars Characters – Who Got Better?  Worse?
New #Torchat on Twitter
What Star Wars Job are you suited for?  (I’m a Jedi! \o/)

Misc Books
10 Greatest Child Geniuses in Literature

Writing
Stop Thrashing

Odds and Ends
Who to blame for the snow?
Science Valentines
If Social Media was High School
Headless Monk Forces Move of Amusement Park Ride
IKEA Instructions for the Large Hadron Collider

Also, this is awesome: Zombie Choose Your Own Adventure, all across the interwebs.