Wednesday, September 28, 2011


By Mark W. Danielson

I’m well into the sequel to Writer’s Block, which is due out this November. Tentatively named The Insomniac, it is based on a real haunting within Fort Worth’s Scott Theater. The main culprit is a spirit that has been residing there since a young man hanged himself in 1970, a mere four years after the live theater was completed. As this suicide was a relatively recent occurrence, it became the perfect setting for homicide detective Maxx Watts to determine whether this was madness or a cold case homicide. Writing this story has involved some very interesting paranormal research.

I’m having fun playing characters who believe in the paranormal against those who don’t. While I haven’t seen any ghosts or experienced any odd phenomena, my wife Lyne has. Over the last few years while working in the backyard, the side gate has opened and closed with no wind or anyone around, she’s felt something touch her thigh when no one was nearby, and twice the running sprinkler has been shut off at the twist valve directly behind her with no one else in the yard. Such unexplainable events tend to run in the family, too, with relatives seeing manifestations and experiencing strange things.

Needing expertise, I contacted Long Island Paranormal Investigations for an explanation of what another paranormal team claimed to be photographic evidence of orb manifestations in the Scott Theater. LIPI is of the opinion that the white dots in the Scott Theater photos are actually dust spots on the lens. Interestingly, one such dust spot appears on LIPI’s web page crew photo. When I asked them about the peculiar events my wife had experienced, I was told that some people are more receptive to spiritual events than others. Ironically, it seems that those who desperately want to experience paranormal events are the least likely to. I see that as proof that spirits retain their sense of humor in the afterlife.

There is a significant difference between manifestations and poltergeists. Manifestations are spirits that show themselves in one shape or another, whereas poltergeists may create chaos while remaining invisible. What I have written into my story parallels what has actually been witnessed and recorded at the Scott Theater. Why would I reinvent ghosts when they are already dancing for you? I hope these spirits enjoy the story. I’m sure they can download it on their G-net. If they disapprove, I suppose Lyne can expect more “polter” events.

When discussing the paranormal, most people automatically envision the poltergeists invented by Hollywood. According to Wikipedia, a poltergeist is “a paranormal phenomenon which consists of events alluding to the manifestation of an imperceptible entity. Such manifestation typically includes inanimate objects moving or being thrown about, sentient noises (such as impaired knocking, pounding or banging) and, on some occasions, physical attacks on those witnessing the events. Since no conclusive scientific explanation of the events exists up to this day, poltergeists have traditionally been described in folklore as troublesome spirits or ghosts which haunt a particular person, hence the name. Such alleged poltergeist manifestations have been reported in many cultures and countries including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and all European nations, and the earliest recorded cases date back to the 1st century.”

Although Wikipedia’s explanation continues, it verifies that ghostly behavior is not always a figment of our imagination. I’m not one to say that poltergeists don’t exist, but the energy required for a ghost to manifest and actually move something is incomprehensible. Then again, that’s what makes ghost stories like this one fun – especially when it is set days before Halloween. Whatever follows is limited only by your imaginations. Sleep well.


Michael J. McCann said...

Very interesting post, Mark. Paranormal fiction can be fun to write, can't it? And there seems to be a natural crossover with crime fiction, since it involves death and invites investigation. I also found Hans Holzer's book Ghosts to be a good resource because he provides good basic definitions and a whack of case studies. Best of luck!

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks, Michael. It's even better when the spirits cooperate:)

Jean Henry Mead said...

I've been visited by members of my family who have returned 2-3 weeks after their deaths. My brother Gary blinked the house lights, my mother appeared as a silver shimmering mist and my dad slammed the front door (there was no one else around and no wind at the time). I've always had psychic awareness so I knew who they were when they appeared.

I also used a Ouija board when I was a teen, which I've incorporated into my Hamilton Kids' mystery series.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Jean, I suspect there are plenty of people who have had such experiences, but either don't want to admit it or prefer to deny them. The list of unusual events and sitings on Lyne's side seems endless. My story focuses on occurrences that have been documented by paranormal investigators.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I enjoyed reading your WRITERS BLOCK ARC and can't wait to read THE INSOMNIAC.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks, Jean. I'll let you know when The Insomniac is out. Writer's Block should be released on November 15th, 2011.

Jaden Terrell said...

It must have been interesting researching that book, Mark. I don't think I've ever experienced paranormal phenomena, only imaginary friends.