Has Hollywood gone paranormal?
Go to a theater or turn on your TV and you'll find a housewife medium who solves crimes, psychics with talk shows, psychic detectives, pet psychics, a teenager who talks to God, and a chilling movie that is making a lot of spooky noise about Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP).
Clearly ghosts have arrived—and they're trying to talk to us. Even more exciting, if high ratings are any indication, the public is listening.
I'm not sure whether it's serendipity or luck that I'm writing about psychics and strange happenings at a time when paranormal topics are hot. I've noticed a pattern over the years that whatever is popular on screen, becomes popular with books later. And as an author of two paranormal series, this is great news!
My two Llewellyn series are aimed at teens, 'tweens, and the young at heart:
The Seer has elements in common with the hit TV show, Medium. In both stories, a main character communicates with ghosts and uses her abilities to solve crimes. Despite skeptics, family challenges, and their own insecurities, both are ultimately successful.
The lead character of Medium, Allison DuBois, is based on an actual person: a housewife who uses her talent for contacting ghosts to assist police in solving crimes. The teen heroine in The Seer, Sabine Rose, is 100% fiction, although many of her traits are based on my research of respected psychics. I found out that many of them inherit their abilities from a parent or grandparent and usually see ghosts, angels, and spirits at a young age. I used this information in The Seer and gave Sabine a supportive grandmother, Nona, who also has intuitive skills. Sabine was labeled a freak at her old school, so she keeps her gift a secret while she tries to fit in at a new high school. But when she has a vision that warns her of danger, she investigates with help from her quirky friends and bossy spirit guide.
The TV drama Medium mixes traditional investigation procedure with information gleaned from the Other Side. Starring Patricia Arquette, each episode offers a fascinating blend of mystery, humor, and the supernatural. It's Allison's daughter who appears to inherit her mother's gift. As part of Allison's quest to help people, she offers her services to legal authorities. I like how Allison balances her psychic skills with the responsibilities of being a mother and maintaining a loving relationship with her (mostly) supportive husband. I'm totally hooked on this entertaining, realistic show and eager to watch every Monday night.
Another big media success is the movie White Noise, a thriller that takes the phrase "seeing ghosts" to a new, scientific level. What if anyone could communicate to ghosts just by speaking into an electronic device? Like sending email to the other side. White Noise, starring Michael Keaton, is a thriller about a grieving husband desperate to contact his deceased wife using the science of EVP, where messages from the dead appear within the static of TV, computer screens, and recording devices. In an interview, Keaton said he had never heard of EVP before doing the movie and had signed on because he felt it was really well-written and original.
This combination of science in a fictional format is similar to how I construct my other juvenile series, Strange Encounters. In the first book, Oh No! UFO!, the Strange family goes to a campground where a UFO was sighted—the very same campground I went to with my family in search of UFOs when I was a young girl.
In the second Strange Encounters book, Shamrocked!, real legends of little people living under mystic Mount Shasta are explored when my fictional characters follow clues from a treasure map. And the third book, Sea Switch, takes the Strange family to Newport, Oregon, on a tour of Ripley's Museum. There, after seeing the factual display of fabled Figi Mermaid, Cassie trades places with a fictional wicked mermaid.
I've enjoyed creating stories that explore the possibilities of ghosts, angels, aliens, psychics, and paranormal mysteries. And clearly these topics appeal to TV and movie viewers. Hollywood seems to have a strong interest in reaching out to the Other Side—or maybe it's the Other Side that's reaching out to us.