Not only does the ghost’s physically challenged state present logistical problems for the author but it is difficult to bring the story to a happily ever after conclusion that will satisfy the reader.
As a medium, I’ve had my share of paranormal experiences and was inspired by one especially phenomenal encounter with the ghost of a Civil War soldier to begin my Phantom Lovers Series (Ellora’s Cave) which debuted in April 2008, with Gatekeeper.
But as the series progressed into the third installment, Watchkeeper, featuring real-life pirate, Stede Bonnet, I had to come up with new ways to create that all-important happily ever after ending which is a must in romance.
I carried my heroine, Gwendolyn Wyse, to a bed and breakfast in romantic Charleston, South Carolina, where she’d hoped to rekindle the flame in her cold, unresponsive husband. What she didn’t expect were divorce papers—or her husband’s untimely death.
The plot took a twist when Gwen had to rely on her background as a witch and her knowledge of magic, to bring her husband back from the dead. Instead of her husband a swashbuckling spirit answers her call—Stede Bonnet who died on that very spot three centuries prior and who now wants possession of her husband’s body.
Certainly, ghost romances carry an element of fantasy which lures us to the other-worldly escape of paranormal stories in the first place, but adding components of truth to your ghost romances will help to make your ghostly heroes solid multi-dimensional characters in turn, grounding your stories for readers who have had first hand experiences with ghosts. According to a Harris Poll, conducted in 2003, fifty-one percent of Americans believe in ghosts. Of the women polled, fifty-eight percent believed in the existence of ghosts.
As a medium, I strive to educate as well as entertain my readers about ghosts and spirits. So, in order to make my ghost heroes believable, I relied heavily on my knowledge of spirits from my personal experiences with those on The Other Side.
Base your fiction in fact and you’re sure to create fascinating and realistic ghost heroes which will carry your readers on a magical journey into your stories!
The following are thirteen facts about those enigmatic, mysterious spirits.
Ghosts are earthbound entities. While ghosts are souls who are trapped on the earth plane for varied reasons (Sixth Sense, Ghost), spirits choose to return to here to offer guidance to the living. An example of a returning spirit might be a Spirit Guide or a protective spirit known as a Gatekeeper. Often souls you have known in other lifetimes (through reincarnation) offer their assistance and companionship to the living. An earthbound spirit might be someone who has chosen not to go to The Other Side or who might not even know he/she is dead!
Ghost and spirit are not interchangeable terms. Ghosts are earthbound souls who have not transitioned to The Other Side. Spirits are those who have transitioned and can travel between dimensions at will.
Ghosts do need our assistance to cross over to The Other Side. If you’ve seen Medium, then you know the ghosts on the show need Melinda’s help to make the transition to The Other Side. A ghost still feels the gravitational pull and energy of the earth and is trapped here by it, unable to cross over. A grounded, living person has the ability to connect the dimensions of heaven and earth, to release the ghost from this pull, thus offering a path of Light for the ghost to follow to The Other Side.
Ghosts don’t all have unfinished business. Ghosts will linger on the earth plane for a variety of reasons. Some certainly do have unfinished business—an insurance policy that lapsed before death leaving behind a struggling spouse, a foundering business or helpless family member left behind, hidden wealth. Others don’t feel worthy, for whatever reasons, to move on to The Other Side. Some simply choose to remain behind because they enjoyed life. A heinous, untimely death is not a pre-requisite to becoming a ghost. Remaining on the earth plane is merely a matter of choice.
Ghosts don’t have to die in a place to haunt it. One of the most common inaccuracies about ghosts is that a person had to die in a certain place in order to haunt it. Ghosts and spirits have free will and can travel at the speed of thought. Both can visit any places they choose whenever they choose.
Ghosts and spirits can communicate with anyone. The dead can appear to or communicate with anyone. No special abilities are required. You do not have to be a powerful psychic or gifted medium, open to spirit contact, or even to believe in ghosts in order to have an encounter. The most credible and stunning accounts of paranormal phenomena come from non-believers. Nevertheless, ghosts and spirits are more attracted to those who are receptive and to mediums whose energy they recognize as being approachable.
Ghosts and spirits use our energy to appear and communicate with us. Ghosts and spirits are made of the same stuff our souls are made of—energy. Conversely, they communicate through thought energy. They project a thought—or rather, a concept—to a living person who then incorporates and translates it within their own being. For instance, there is nothing magical or inherently evil about tools such as the Ouija Board. The dead simply blend their energy with ours to move our hands on the planchette in order to pass messages to us.
Ghosts and spirits know what we’re thinking. Again, the dead communicate via thought energy. You’ve heard the adage that an animal senses fear. Ghosts and spirits pick up our emotions in much the same way. Their emotions are much more intensified than ours and they feel love, fear, anger, sadness, to a much greater degree than we mortals. Since they are no longer in bodies and lack the luxury of ears, they read our thoughts and feelings rather than our spoken words.
Ghosts and spirits can appear as solid, living people. Although most movies depict ghosts as translucent, effervescent beings, when they appear, they more often than not show themselves the way they looked when alive. Ghosts are not quite as brilliantly colored as a living person however, they are not see-through. They are three-dimensional, in color, and they appear much like an image on a faded photograph. Ghosts can appear either full bodied, as only a trunk and head, from the knees down, or any combination of the afore mentioned. Throughout history, ghosts have appeared either clothed or unclothed. In my book Skeletons On Campus—True Ghost Stories of Alabama Colleges and Universities, I include a story about Bart at Athens State University who often appears completely nude to female co-eds. Although Bart is a bit of a prankster and certainly appears naked on purpose, other ghosts or spirits might not have control of how they present themselves.
Ghosts can appear during the day as well as at night. Ghosts and spirits are not concerned with the time of day and/or the lighting. Darkened rooms for séances are for the benefit of the living. I’ve also heard some psychics claim that ghosts and spirits can only see candlelight. Since they no longer possess eyes, I beg to differ on that point.
Ghosts communicate with the living in a variety of different ways. Aside from sending messages through thought energy, ghosts and spirits can work with the living through various ways and tools to communicate. They can sometimes produce audible voices. They can write through the hand of a living person through a technique known as free writing or automatic writing. Of course, the Ouija board is a well known method of spirit communication. Ghosts and spirits often employ electronic voice phenomenon where they produce an audible, understandable voice using white noise on a radio or by digital recording. Spirits can communicate via pendulums—any object suspended by a chain or ribbon which the spirit manipulates by either spinning or swinging the object one way for “yes” answers and another way for “no” answers. And of course, there is trance mediumship where the spirit enters the body of a living person (usually an experienced medium) and speaks through that living person.
Ghosts and spirits can touch a living person. Spirit energy feels much like the static energy of a computer screen or a television screen, but a spirit or ghost can physically and indisputably touch a living person. Most spirit touch contact is comforting in nature but there are reported cases of disgruntled spirits scratching or slapping victims and leaving visible evidence behind. The Bell Witch, a poltergeist who haunted the John Bell family in the early nineteenth century in Tennessee, left ugly whelps and handprints on the daughter’s face and body. The ghost threatened to kill John Bell himself and he later mysteriously died of poisoning. John Bell’s death is documented in the Tennessee State Records, curiously attributing his murder to The Bell Witch. It is the only such case on record in the United States.
Ghosts and spirits can have sex with the living. It’s true. Several people have reported sex or sex-like responses to ghost and/or spirit lovers. Ghosts have sex with the living by blending their energy with the living person’s to elicit sexual responses in that person. Those who’ve experienced this phenomenon describe it as “out of this world sex,” and “different than with a living person yet the same”. I included such an encounter in my second Phantom Lovers paranormal romance, Shadowkeeper. Although I do not advocate inviting spirits to have sex with you, such encounters can and do happen. Often, these visitations occur at night, sometimes in a dream state or upon falling asleep or awakening when the human consciousness is open to communication with those on other planes of existence. Sexual experiences with ghosts are more of a melding of souls than actual physical sex however the brain assimilates and interprets the energy as sexual, thus eliciting physical responses, even to the point of orgasm.
Hopefully, these facts have dispelled some of the mystery surrounding ghosts. By incorporating the truth about ghosts and spirits interspersed with the flight of an author’s imagination, ghostly heroes will entertain us for a long time to come—if the spirit is willing…
Learn more at the blog Debra shares with fellow intuitive and author, Elissa Wilds, http://themagickallife.blogspot.com/.
Suggested Reading: Mediumship To Go by Debra Glass, Jasmine-Jade Publishing, Akron, OH, 2007, 2008. (release date tba)