Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ghosts and other spirits

There are ghost stories everywhere, across the country, around the world. I know many people who have "seen" ghosts, felt them, hunted them, searched for them. There are people who have told me incredible stories, and I have my own experiences to share. Recently, I began watching the BBC show Being Human, which features its own cast of paranormal characters - a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire who share a house. The ghost's story? She was killed in the house by her boyfriend, and throughout the first season, she's tried to figure out why she stayed. Last night was the season finale - she knows why now.

These types of stories resonate with us and with our readers because there is always that thought below our surface: "What's really out there in the darkness?" It's a scary thought that we may co-exist with things we've only read about, heard about or watched a scary movie about. Because what if they're real?

The "what-if" is the basis of all storytelling. What would happen if ghosts were real? If werewolves were real? If vampires or any other supernatural creature were real? Does it scare you to think there are unseen things beneath your bed or outside your door? Writers like Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton, Dean Koontz and many others depend on it. They may have their own supernatural fears to fight, and they may do it in the pages of their books.

The supernatural, paranormal, whatever you want to call it, gives us hope, keeps our everyday fears manageable, makes us wonder and believe and have faith, all those things that make us human. We write about them because we love to explore those thoughts, ideas and feelings. We read about them because we want to find out how others deal with the same things. That's why we're here in the Otherworld Diner. That's why we hope you come visit.

That's why there are still things that go bump in the night.