October Frights, Day 3, Dark Spirits
I am fascinated by the supernatural. When I was younger I used to see ghosts all the time and I suffered from terrible dreams and sleepless nights. If I remember it correctly one day I decided I wouldn’t see them any more. Every time I got a whiff of something spooky I calmly rationalized what I was seeing and explained it away. Logic killed my ghosts. As an adult I’m drawn to the strange and unusual, but I don’t see ghosts anymore. I want to find my way back to that state of seeing and believing, but I don’t know how.
I work in a very old house and regularly discover out of place smells like peat fires or dying flowers. It makes me wonder what the nature of ghosts might be – memories or entities or even a glimpse of a different place or time.
My favourite books about dark spirits are both written by female authors – Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”. What I love about both of these is that it is the connection between the living and the dead that causes the troublesome spirit to hang around, or in the case of “Beloved” physically hurt and torment the living. In both cases extreme guilt and love create a bond that stretches beyond death and torments the main character.
Some of my published stories include dark or evil spirits.
My urban fantasy “The Ballerina and the Revolutionary” features terrifying ghosts or tangible memories which plague Crow and threaten the protagonist’s sanity when ze moved back into their family home. The purpose of the ghosts in this story is to guide Crow through history and allow the protagonist to understand, accept and move beyond past trauma. (Note ze and their used as Crow is gender neutral).
One of the stories in my Broken Mirror collection features a spirit possession. The story “Cracked” was inspired by a visit to an old mental asylum during my fashion days, we did a photo shoot on location there. There was an awful, crushing, smothering atmosphere in a couple of the buildings and although (of course) I didn’t see anything, I definitely felt the presence of something malevolent. In the story a pair of teens decide to document a ghost hunt on Twitter. I believe the story manages to evoke the darkness I felt in that place.
Another story from the same collection, "Salon of Lost Souls" is about a woman who moves into a haunted house and the way she tries to convince herself that what she sees and hears is due to stress and tiredness, tricks of the imagination.
Another of my stories, this time featured in a Vamptasy anthology entitled “Another Beautiful Nightmare” focuses on the story of a woman who has lost her mother and becomes so isolated and lonely that she attracts dark spirits to her who seem, at first, to improve her life. This one was called “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend”.
Finally, in the Starblood series the ghost of a murdered young woman, Raven, tries to exact revenge by using a disturbed woman as a weapon.
All these tales focus on the relationship between the dead and the living, the past and the present. It is the interaction between the two that fascinates me.
But what is a dark or evil spirit?
Is it the product of a fractured mind, an identity disorder? Certainly one psychologist and therapist believes spirit possession is frequently misdiagnosed as dissociative identity disorder (can the reverse also be true)? Is it a dead person unable to move on (an Earthbound spirit)? Is it a demon? A bad memory? Or is it some other type of supernatural creature like a fairy?
I am honestly not sure which of these is true, but I suspect that each might be true sometimes. We know (or at least science tells us) that energy does not die, we just don’t know what happens to it after a body passes on.
Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.
You may also be interested in a Facebook based event this weekend – Horror Weekend 2019, from October 12 – 13.
Remember to hop on over to check out the other participants' offerings as well.