Throughout history people have claimed to see the unexplained and the mysterious. Some things have been explained by science. Where superstition has filled the gaps we now can test and come to concrete answers. With the dawn of the scientific age, knowledge is no longer hidden in the shadows. Not only has science blown the lid off superstitions but it has provided better medicine and knowledge of biology, the earth, and universe. Science has become such a powerful tool of discovery that some proclaim all mysteries will one day become answered through this process. However, this powerful tool has made some become arrogant.
Some assume things like ghosts, angels, and demons are nothing more than silly superstitions. The things that people see that they cannot explain are their imagination, illusions, or hallucinations. I find this to be incredibly arrogant. It lacks nuance, and is frankly dishonest with some of the evidence presented. Now, I do acknowledge that some cases, maybe most, can be explained by natural phenomenon. An unknown breeze, alcohol, or drugs are all possibilities. The easiest way to not think is to completely dismiss or believe all these stories. Those who claim it is all nonsense fail to take into consideration there are many spiritual encounters that have incredible consistency. For example, those terrorized by demons often exhibit claw marks of three in places they cannot reach or are terrorized at 3:00 AM. That of course isn’t hardened scientific proof, I do acknowledge that. However, mass hallucinations do not exist, and if multiple people report the same thing with detailed accounts, I believe they should be considered.
Speaking from experience, those who have encounters with the supernatural often feel isolated, that we cannot talk to anyone or they will think we are crazy or superstitious nuts. I’m one who is knowledgeable of science, what the mind is capable of and the tricks it can play, and look for other explanations before jumping to conclusions. However, in this world there is evil and sometimes that evil defies naturalism. In spirit of the holiday, if there is someone you know that shares a paranormal encounter, listen. You can choose what to do with the information, but at least listen. Maybe just maybe they aren’t crazy and there is a reason you are hearing this story.
It is my favorite time of year again. If you have been following my blog for a while now, you are undoubtedly aware that I absolutely love autumn. It is when the leaves turn beautiful colors, the temperature drops (I hate hot weather), and we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Not to mention the mosquitos are finally gone, which is a big deal here in Minnesota. Not one of these single aspects are what makes fall wonderful to me, not even all of them combined.
For me, fall has a certain feel to it. It is a spiritually refreshing time of year. Sure, everything I listed contributes to that feeling, but there is something deeper to autumn. I see it as the annual climax in God’s creation before everything becomes white and brown.
Then there is Halloween. Oddly, I used to hate that holiday as a child, a time in most people’s lives when they were actually excited for it. I was easily scared as a child, and it didn’t take much to keep me awake at night worried something was going to get me. Aside from that, Halloween was simply creepy and felt like it left a stain on my being. Once I became an adult, things changed. I began to enjoy dressing up and going to costume parties with my wife. After some experiences in college, I also became fascinated by the Celtic origins of Halloween. When I became a father, Halloween became even more fun.
As a writer, autumn is a very inspirational time of year, and it is difficult to pinpoint why exactly that is. Perhaps it is the absolute freshness of nature, or the fleeting beauty that trees display only for a few weeks out of the year. Fall is truly a beautiful time of year and so fleeting. Take time out of your day to enjoy the marvel of nature before it is gone for yet another year, especially if you are a writer. Your soul will thank you.
At the writing of this blog, Halloween is a little less than a month away. Unless you are a hermit, you know what it is all about, and even if you are a hermit, I’m guessing you are still familiar with the holiday. Most of its imagery and themes are lined up with the Horror genre. However, witches, ghosts, and demons all find their place in Fantasy as well.
In my last blog post, I stated that there is a clear boundary between Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy. I still stand by that statement and defend it, but that isn’t to say that I cannot appreciate the overlaps as well. Often things such as ghosts are presented in a much different way in Fantasy than in Horror. In Horror, ghosts are generally horrific and killers. In fantasy, spiritual beings may not necessarily be villainous, and they sometimes offer guidance or serve as a metaphor. They also appear in the form of The Army of the Dead that helps to deliver the people of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings films.
Horror may not be the genre I write, but that does not mean I cannot appreciate the imagination at Halloween. Witches and sorcerers, main Halloween staples, appear in fantasy stories such as Harry Potter or The Once and Future King.
Halloween reminds me of the power of imagination and can be very inspiring for me. What people choose to dress up as, what characters inspire them, and how people carve their jack-o-lanterns are all things that show the creativity of the human spirit. It is that creativity mixed with reality that forges Fantasy, and brings with it the question, “How much of this is really fantasy?”