Literary Perspective - Characters of the Mind

Supenatural Fiction (Chapman and Hall)
Credit: Chapman and Hall
(Wikimedia Commons)

Characters of the Mind

Aliens, ghosts, and monsters make a regular appearance in science fiction and horror stories. Interest will not wane as otherworldly entities manifest themselves. What makes creators of paranormal plots successful?

Their secret lies in the ability to frighten and enlighten. Excursions into unknown recesses of the brain form the basis for intelligent literature in all periods. Excitement the adult experiences when watching a horror movie may not be suitable for children, but ironically, subject matter that educated censors consider inappropriate in a cinema may be praised in an English classroom.

At the end of a film, the viewer realizes the tale was mere entertainment and shrugs off uncomfortable and unfamiliar concepts, yet at the end of a literature course, the student walks away with changed beliefs about this world and other realms that may exist, even if this controversial place is only a figment of the imagination. Characters of the mind reside within this elusive psychological setting, symbols of repressed emotions and buried needs.

This rift between drama and literature has been present for centuries. In the early days of stage performances, the church frowned on deviant attitudes presented in plays before the masses. The condemnation resulted in suppression of creativity, a futile shot at thought control. Ingenious writers found allegorical and euphemistic ways around state and clerical restrictions.

In contemporary society, authors exercise freedom of expression, even if the process of conception scares someone. A hidden message emerges from every unexpected, illusory visitor. Attempts at smothering feelings such as fear, and refusing to acknowledge forbidden desire, lead to a stronger manifestation of the emerging character.

The protagonist struggles with an unrecognized problem, wish, or belief. A supernatural being wins the battle and makes an appearance. An astute writer demonstrates ability to reach the heart of the disturbance.

ForeWord Review - Haunted Plantations of the South

Haunted Plantations of the South (Cover)

Supernatural phenomena and fireside legend haunt the pages of this spooky history text. Richard Southall explores the mansions of a bygone era, visiting seven states notorious for paranormal activity. Creepy and fascinating, this compilation of unforgettable stories defies explanation. Even a seasoned skeptic may find it difficult to disprove the strange events that intrude on the now tranquil, regal homes featured in his book, all places that were once the focal point of war during one of the most tumultuous times in America.

Apple Books - Oscar Wilde's Love Song

Love Song Cover

OSCAR WILDE’S LOVE SONG is a supernatural novella about Carina Angelo, an English literature professor who places a love letter on the grave of Oscar Wilde, then spends three days in Paris seduced by the writer’s ghost in a haunting liaison. Based on the famous Irish legend, this story features an unpublished poetry fragment taken from the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, composed in 1876 and left unfinished. Only through the mysticism of his words will she revive his soul, creating a spiritual pathway... an eternal bond. Available December 26, 2023, on Apple Books.

This story is a departure from typical portrayals in derivative fiction as it illuminates Wilde’s bisexuality. Devastated over the end of her marriage to an award-winning author, Carina travels to Europe for a recovery period. While visiting the Père La Chaise Cemetery, she lays a rose on Wilde’s headstone. His spirit overwhelms her, distracting her from reality. He pulls her from the depths of depression into a dream world of pleasure. A psychic bond makes his character come alive, his energy tangible. She sees him, hears him, and touches him, but he’s perceptible only to her. The foreign scent of a man’s cologne surrounds her... mingling with the exotic taste of his lips. Carina feels the warmth of his kiss and the caress of his hands... his presence in her bed at night. His personality entwines with hers, bringing psychological freedom and peace.