Ghosts & The Paranormal · Movies/Television

Paranormal Investigation: Most Haunted.

Because of my fascination for all things paranormal, it is my habit of watching paranormal investigation shows. I come with an open mind; I am interested in the techniques used and what proof, if any, is found. After having experienced some ghostly encounters of my own, I am even more curious as to how such things are portrayed on television.

Recently, I binged watched some Netflix, including three seasons of Most Haunted. I have never seen this particular show before, so for those of you who have, bear with me. There are quite a few I haven’t seen and only Seasons 14-16 were available. Performing séances was probably as technical as it got during Season 14, however, the other two seasons they began using EVPs.

There was one episode in particular that really caught my attention. It was during the investigation of Annison’s Haunted Funeral Palour in Hull, England (you can read more about it here). During a séance, they believed they had picked up the spirit of a murdered girl who told them the name of her murderer. Not only did they pick up her spirit, but that of her murderer as well. When they mentioned the name, Fredrick Bailey Deeming, I was somewhat baffled as serial killers are of a particular interest of mine. Deeming murdered his first wife and four children in the U.K and is suspected of being Jack the Ripper. He murdered his second wife in Melbourne, burying her in one of the fireplaces in their home. He was convicted and executed for the crime and his bust is on display in Old Melbourne Gaol. How the spirit of a man who died here in Australia could travel back over to the U.K to haunt a building was beyond my comprehension. Maybe it’s just me, but I have to say I have never heard of that one before!

The last episode I saw was a two-part episode, which involved the investigators spending the night in a haunted suburban house. This particular house and its haunting was the basis for the movie When the Lights Went Out. The house was lauded as having the most ‘evil ghost in the world’. One was led to believe therefore that something really bad was going to happen. Sure a few things may have ‘happened’, but nothing quite as dramatic as one might have expected from such an evil entity. As the spirit is believed to be a priest, then why did he turn so bad? This was never explained and therefore made no sense to me. There is also a demonologist amongst the crew and if this house is supposed to have a real bad spirit there, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was not part of this particular investigation.

No actual spirits were caught on camera (although in a more recent episode, the team apparently filmed one, so I’ll let you be the judge of that) however some objects were shown to have moved. This can easily be explained away by trick photography. Objects were also thrown, but were usually done off camera. At one point, I thought it interesting that when an object fell from the ceiling, the cameraman did not point the camera in that direction – anywhere else but there it would seem.

All this this then begs the question that if these are actual haunted locations then where are the ghosts? Wouldn’t they have caught at least some real evidence while they were there? And if they did, would they be taken seriously? Yes, I do believe in the paranormal, but I also like to think rationally. I had previously watched a few seasons of Great British Ghosts, and I am therefore aware there have been reported incidents and sightings from people at some of these locations. I guess we may never know.

Yes, Most Haunted is not to be taken seriously and if given the chance, I probably would watch more of them, however, when it comes to more serious investigations though, I think I’ll look elsewhere.

Do you watch paranormal television shows? Do you keep an open mind when it comes to the paranormal or are you a sceptic? Do you find a lack of research jarring? Do you watch certain television shows for research purposes?

Research · Writing

What’s The Coolest Thing You Ever Had to Research?

When it comes to research there are some things that I would call cool, while others would consider weird. For example, I’m currently doing a plot outline for my next WIP, which involves research into such things as talamaurs and The Hellfire Club. Because I write both paranormal and suspense, well, anything goes I guess!

My stories are usually set some time in the past and as some of them are set during the 1980s, I believe this to be the coolest thing I’ve had to research (so far). In some ways, the rough draft of my first novel goes by the rule of ‘write what you know’, as I spent my teenage years growing up during the 1980s. Naturally, I thought that era was pretty cool. 😉

It’s been fun remembering things like music (some of it not so much), the fashion (again, some of that was pretty horrendous) as well as the progress in technologies, gaming, movies, television and world events. Of-course, things were happening during that time that I had no knowledge of (hey, I was young!), and from doing the research it really helped me remember things I may well have forgotten – especially when it came to a particular year.

One of the reasons why researching the 1980s has been cool is that it has involved my entire family one way or another. It’s been fun for my husband to talk and play games of that time period with the kids. My husband and I have been playing our taste in music (which can cause some debates), as well as watching movies and television shows together. Doing these kinds of things and visiting museums and exhibitions, can make research all the more enjoyable. Whoever said research is boring?

What’s the coolest/weirdest thing you ever had to research for your story? How do you make research fun? Have you included your family in your research projects?

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

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Writing · Writing Process

How Pinterest Can Help You Plan Your Novel.

pinterest-793051_1280I was a late-comer when it came to joining Pinterest. I was a bit dubious at the thought and found it was a case of ‘not another social network’. When I did eventually join I soon found it to be quite useful; especially when it came to planning a novel.

Recently, I have been working on writing my first novella (or is that a novelette?), and in order to help me ‘see’ what I was writing, I created a secret board. I scoured the internet for pictures of my setting, characters and various articles for research. Once I began doing this, I had a better understanding about my characters (especially my protagonist) and the world in which they live. The only downside to gathering pictures on Pinterest however, is like any other form of research – it can become time-consuming. You get so caught up in it, that the writing side can become sadly neglected.

I currently have about half a dozen secret boards for various works in progress, including the novel I will be working on for NaNoWriMo this year. Just like my novella, I have found having a secret Pinterest board of great help in the planning process. It has helped me to work on my protagonist, as well as establish a time period and location. I have gathered quotes that focus on my protagonist’s state of mind at the beginning of the novel and have a picture I find to be applicable for a book cover. Having a book cover, like a working title, gives you something to focus on while you write your novel as it allows you to keep your theme in mind. Having a secret Pinterest board is a great way to keep you motivated, especially during those times when your enthusiasm starts to wane.

Pinterest has become a popular social network amongst writers and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great addition to researching our stories and provides motivation and an audience at the same time.

Are you on Pinterest? Do you use Pinterest to help research your novels? Do you have secret boards? How do you use Pinterest?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

 Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Inspiration · Research

Time Travel: Would You Go Backwards or Forwards in Time?

back-in-time-rose-1706449_1280If I could travel through time, I wouldn’t hesitate in going back in time; reliving my carefree days as a kid or even venturing to a different time period altogether, just for a day. Personally, I wouldn’t care for travelling forwards in time. Having two kids, I naturally worry for their future and I don’t like the way this planet is heading. Besides, travelling to the future takes all the mystery out of it, and I guess I’ll get there eventually. 😉

I’ve always been a sucker for the past. I guess from an early age I continuously romanticised it. Whenever visiting old towns and houses in and around Sydney as a child, I liked to imagine what life was like back then. My childhood fantasies fired my imagination and elicited a life-long interest in history. From the ancients and medieval times to the Victorian era and the 1950s, there were very few periods in history that I didn’t wish to find out more about. I absorbed what the teachers taught us throughout school and I had no hesitation in choosing history subjects at University level as my electives. To travel back in time I hold no illusions though; the days of early medicine before anaesthetics and just being a woman in general was a tough life, but the past fascinates me and we can learn so much from it – there have even been reality television shows based on this very premise.

As a writer, the past has always been an endless source of inspiration for me. Travelling back in time and really living the experience would make the best possible research material for our stories, don’t you think?

If you could travel in time, would you go to the future or the past? Why? Is there a period in history that you like best?

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 Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Movies/Television · Writing

3 Reasons Writers Should Watch Television.

woman watching tvI’ve read advice in the past that writers should either cut down on watching television or don’t watch television at all. In order to get more writing done, we need to prioritise and make the most of our time. That’s a very valid point as the key is to live by the old rule ‘everything in moderation’. However, it would appear that this is the ‘golden age of television’, so there are still valid reasons in which to make the most of our television viewing as writers.

1. Research

One of the more enjoyable ways in which to start your research is by watching television. Things like documentaries and real life stories can not only provide you with interesting facts, but can also help fire your imagination and allows you to dig deeper. I have a tendency to watch television shows that explore the darker side of life, and therefore, there are some situations where I need to catch a glimpse of first-hand accounts. Through watching such shows, I can envisage certain situations for my characters and assist with certain elements within my stories.

2. Characters

Like some of the books you read, one of the first things you may think of when it comes to television shows is the characters. Some can be larger than life, like Gene Hunt on Life on Mars or maybe a group of characters that work so well together they almost feel like family (Firefly and Criminal Minds for example). There are also times when a character leaves the show, that the show may never be the same again – think Mulder in The X-Files. My husband said at the time ‘Mulder IS The X-Files’ (and yes, happy dance that it’s staging a comeback 🙂 ), which demonstrates the importance of characters within a show; sometimes you can’t have one without the other. When it comes to writing our own characters, we really have to work hard on making them as unique and realistic as possible. We need to ask ourselves what makes ours different? Watching television can help.

3. Genre

Watching television can give us a good insight into particular genres, including our own and allows us to ask questions about our own stories. What shows in particular genres have become popular and why? What has been done differently within this particular genre and how can I apply something similar within my own writing? Sometimes you can take an idea from a show and ask yourself ‘what if?’ and apply it to a different genre with a completely different outcome. We can learn from watching television, not only for our own writing, but it can also give us an idea of what the public wants.

Since getting pay television installed in our house last winter, I’m the first to admit I have been watching more television that I used to. I am, however, watching shows that not only interest me, but I know they will help me with my writing projects. Next time you watch television, remember to put your writer’s cap on – you just might learn something. 😉

Has watching certain television shows helped you with your writing? Do you find watching television a distraction from your writing and not watch it at all? Were you disappointed to see the end of Firefly? Are you happy to see the return of The X-Files? What shows/characters do you like best?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+. You can also find me on Goodreads and Pinterest.

Back to the 80s · Research

1985 – The Year that Was.

As writers, we need to undertake a fair amount of research for our stories, although sometimes we can get a bit carried away. The actual writing is delayed either because we’re bogged down in research or because we’re having too much fun.  Fun is certainly where I’ve been at recently!

1985 was a memorable year for me, for a couple of reasons.  It was my last year in High School, where I undertook my exams for my HSC (Higher School Certificate). My future career was based upon those exams, yet I was eager to leave both high school and that particular year behind me (more about that later as it is the inspiration behind one of my YA novels).

The other reason was that towards the end of 1985, I was a bridesmaid at my eldest sister’s wedding (yes, that really is me in the photo at 18 years of age).  I was free of school, free of braces and looked forward to the future!

Here are some of the events that happened around the world during 1985:-

  • Live Aid concerts performed in both London and the U.S to raise money for famine relief.
  • American naturalist Dian Fossey is found murdered in Rwanda.
  • Amadeus wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
  • Back to the Future opens and is the highest grossing film of the year.
  • The Unabomber strikes again, and for the first time causes injury and death.
  • The serial killer known as the Night Stalker is captured.
  • The wreck of the Titanic is found in the North Atlantic.
  • Space shuttle Atlantis takes its first flight.
  • Commodore launches the Amiga personal computer.
  • Nintendo Entertainment System, including Super Mario Bros is released.
  • Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk by French agents in Auckland harbour.
  • DNA Fingerprinting is developed in the United Kingdom.

1985 was quite an eventful year and one that began to make some technological breakthroughs.

What do you remember about 1985? Would you like to have been living in the 1980’s? Do you enjoy research? Do you feel so bogged down by research that you don’t get the writing done?

Image by Debbie Johansson.