The Sunday Salon: Paranormality

I’m in the middle of reading this novel called The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose, which I classify as a paranomal mystery/thriller. It’s my first read by this author, but not my first foray into paranormal fiction. I’ve been thinking though, of what my first experience with this genre was.

I think, technically, the book that got me hooked on paranormal fiction (mystery, thriller, romance, or otherwise, was one I read several times as a young girl: Ghosts I Have Been, by Richard Peck. It’s about a girl named Blossom Culp who was a supporting character in Peck’s previous novel, The Ghost Belongs to Me, but so strong was her presence in the original book, and so long has it been since I’ve read either (I mean they were published in the 1970’s originally, despite Amazon only admitting to recent reprints) that I get plot elements of both stuck in my head. I know that The Ghost Belongs to Me was actually made into a movie called “Child of Glass,” in 1978, though.

In any case, Blossom is a feisty girl from a single-parent home on the wrong side of the tracks. She’s bright, but gets into trouble because of her cleverness, and she claims to be clairvoyant, except, as it turns out, she’s not just making it up because she ends up having a sort of out-of-body/out-of-time experience and being on the Titanic when it sinks.

Even if the entire plot hasn’t stuck with me, the essence of the book has.

I guess I’ve always liked books that explore the possibility of some kind of Otherness. I’m never entirely certain if I believe in it – I mean, sometimes I wake in the night and swear my grandmother’s perfume in my room – but mostly, it’s the possibility, the wonder, the not knowing, that I really enjoy.

As Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine wrote in Into the Woods, “Isn’t it nice to know a lot, and a little bit…not?”