I write paranormal thrillers that also border on scifi/fantasy. But do my stories have a basis in reality, or more importantly, life experiences? Call me crazy, but as a believing Christian, my worldview includes a larger picture than what a naturalistic worldview assumes, that the world around us we see with our eyes is all there is. As a Christian, I know that to be incorrect. There are spiritual realities we can’t see. So what does this have to do with writing paranormal stories and especially with any paranormal experiences.
Couple of things. One, I do have what I’ll call here paranormal experiences. Mine are rather low key. My wife and I often joke about me having ESPN (I know you get the pun). And I tell her, no, it’s rather more than that. I have ESPN2. (I hope that also produced a laugh.) This seems to be a very minor precognition. I say very minor, because invariably it is weak and only seconds preceding the actual discovery/recognition that something just happened. It’s really weird, but it’s entirely true. I promise. The examples I could give are ALL very mundane occurrences, like a strong impression of something my wife is going to say or do, and voila, it happens. These things are very random, but they at the same time are consistent through my life. As a scientist, I can’t explain it, but as a Christian AND a scientist, I know the expansiveness of the mind’s capabilities and the created order we dwell in. There is a vast spiritual plain secularists/naturalists know nothing of. Again, this is entirely consistent with Christianity.
Which leads to point two. I’m a Christian, though I come from a family background steeped in some “minor” occultic practices, entirely through my mother’s side. I grew up Roman Catholic in Cajun Louisiana in the 1950s and 60s, which I believe made it easier to inculcate some strictly unbiblical practices that my mother definitely had. I never got the chance to quiz her about these things before she passed when I was only 22 years old. I remember my mother had a ritual she used to do and claimed it had been passed down to her. Curiously, she would mumble some words (Not a prayer, I feel certain. I confirmed that with my much older sister before writing this.) over some hurt one of us received while rubbing her thumb over the offended area. Was it an incantation, an invocation, I have no idea. She wasn’t a witch or any other such thing, or else she wouldn’t have drug our butts off to mass so much. But it WAS something. Was there power there? I don’t know. I was never miraculously healed, never saved from a terrible accident depicted in those Final Destination movies that were so popular. It was low key and very personal.
So, as a Christian, I have a worldview that includes the spiritual. There are dark forces out there. Spiritual forces, unseen and malevolent. But I am also a reformed Christian and a Biblicist and I believe a consistent straightforward reading of the bible reveals a sovereign God who is in control. Yet the world is under judgment, a judgment that is at once happening before our eyes and will also have an eschatological endpoint.
One caveat to my being a novelist of the paranormal kind AND a biblical Christian is that I personally do not feel that I am free to deny the faith in my stories. For this, I follow the path of JRR Tolkien, who himself was a Christian (who brought CS Lewis to Christ), yet created an alternate mythology and mythological world, including an alternate creation story. I don’t believe he denied the faith either. As he put it, man is a sub-creator under the one creative mind that is the God of biblical revelation. But you judge for yourself by reading my stories. Look for the inconsistencies of faith there and point them out to me and we can debate the matter. All in good fun, and more importantly, with you having read my stories.
S. P. Brown