Category Archives: superhero

Last night, the muse kicked in again

Chase Walker is a kick-ass friend.  He has always understood my writing style and made it coherent with color and details I never imagined.  He is my co-author on the Bayou series.  We have a good writing and personal relationship.  After being in Minneapolis for years and moving back to Waynesville NC has been a pleasure.  Details in the books, the mountains are real, Waynesville and Asheville are real towns.  The beauty is real.  The characters are real to us.

We both have been doing other projects the last two years and been busy with life, not getting to the Bayou series.

We got together Thursday night and had a Bayou Savage discussion that had been long overdue.  We discussed the 2002 beginning and the 2004 publication of “The Resurrection of Bayou Savage, Guitar Ghost Fighter.”  We discussed book II “The Ghost Wars.”  and we both knew exactly what happened on book III, “Attack on the Institute” and why it never was finished.

I kept adding elements and it grew too complex.  I had read that adding romance was the way to go for big time ratings and profits.  The problem is that it (in our small focus groups) we found that the romance took away from the other two books as paranormal action themes.  As we discussed the not finished book III, I remembered my two favorite scenes in the book.  Chase said he didn’t remember those scenes as he had been doing his mojo on the first half of the book.  My scenes were at the end of the book.  Curious if I had imagined writing those scenes I came home, pulled up the original manuscript, reread what I written years ago.  It was there, yeahhh, I hadn’t imagined it, I copied and sent it to him.

But as I reread the ending it made me cry.  It was the finale that I had written the book for.  For me that’s not unusual.  In my mind books I and II were one big book.  Book III, I had the ending in mind when I started.

Last night, I had a glass of wine and thinking about that ending I wanted to finish up a few stray thoughts I had.  Going into the zone, I started writing.  Book IV started forming.  Tentatively called “Bloodstone Moonshine or the Bloodstone Chronicles or something else…  This time I took the ending from the not published book III and wrote 7 straight pages, picking up where book III left off.  Probably didn’t help that I was watching John Wick 2 in the background with the wine.  Somewhere between the two I found my muse and it kicked in.  I have a rough outline in my mind how the book should go. Mist now has the Bloodstone and grown more powerful, Bayou is a now older, wiser guitar ghost fighter, Quirk has gone through a big change and organizing some big adjustments.  Steve Johnson is a freshly minted guitar ghost fighter, and his wife Jade is there also.

So for any friends/fans of the Bayou series,  if book III every gets finished, understand I am now working on book IV, lol.  Its all good.   Don’t know about other authors but for me if felt good getting back in touch with the characters we created.  The characters have been friends for years.

 

ps: If any of you had not done the series, the best way to do it is to listen to the audio book.  Chase does the reading with his gravely voice and the music is cool.  Here is the link we posted on YouTube to give you a taste:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNkjUsI6L1I

Ghost are voices of history in the present

 

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great blog

 

As light faded, a century dissolved, and I heard ghosts. No ectoplasm or voices, just a powerful presence of the past, heightened by the potential consequences of my own folly in being there.

So, think about ghosts. If we visit the original place, or we hold the artifact in our hand, and, if we find the right frame of mind, then something happens. Combine knowledge of the past with the physical object, and we can get much more than the sum of two parts. If the circumstances are right, we share something with those who once touched — or who saw — what we now touch or see.

We find history transcending dates and facts. We join the past by sensing its unique texture. We hear what it’s telling us. The same thing happened to me when a Polish friend took me to see Auschwitz on a rainy weekday — a day when we, and the ghosts, were the only beings in that desolate place.

But, put aside slaughter and genocide. Happier ghosts dwell in, say, old books. Look at marginalia in books from other centuries — in books that’ve changed lives. As we read what readers have left in the margins, their ghosts reveal the transforming power of the written word in other ages. Or walk through old houses, for all houses are haunted in the sense that I offer the word.

And I leave you with this claim. It is, simply, that we never fully know any history until we quiet our minds, and listen to the people who once lived it.

 

From a John Lienhard blog post at the University of Houston

 

http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2030.htm

North Carolina Ghosts

North Carolina’s mountains are full of phantoms, spooks, haunts, haints, weird creatures and crazy happenings. The hills are filled with classic ghost stories, and with places to go to seek out the unusual and paranormal. We’ve got demon dogs, haunted hot springs, mysterious lights, stories and songs to keep folk singers and storytellers busy forever.

Thought for the day

Thought for the day. We all love the paranormal. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t. Me personally, I keep looking for that one event that will blow my mind.

My problem is that I recognize my assumptions and know my own personality. My personality wants to believe, my education over-questions each supernatural occurrence. I never hunt alone, and have found it effects my mind on how I think depending who I hunt with. I find myself prey to mirror-imaging and related mindsets. Don’t know about you, but I find myself cherry-picking to support my ghost. My motto and its very, very hard to live: Value evidence over belief.

Interesting quote from, “The Dark World of the Ghost Adventures Crew”

http://lasvegas.informermg.com/2011/11/02/the-ghost-adventures-crew/

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“Demonic entities are different from human spirits,” Bagans explained. “You get into a fight with a human you shake it off a week later; demonic spirits they never leave you alone after you provoke them once, and I’ve learned that the hard way.”

 

Ghost Hunting, Dopamine, am I getting delusional?

Looking at the DSM 5.  Look you’ll. Let’s look at hormones and could they influence a ghost hunt, Bigfoot hunt, paranormal investigation?

For this blog we are just looking at one hormone.  DOPAMINE!

What is dopamine

Dopamine is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters – a chemical transmitting messages between neurons.

Why is it important?

Dopamine is often referred to as a “reward chemical.”  “Reinforcement” would be a better term.  Dopamine reinforces and orients attention and motivation.  When dopamine gets activated in our brains by a particular stimulus or action, it is nature’s way of telling us that something is important for us.  It is nature’s way of telling us to focus on particular stimulus.

How does it relate to paranormal investigations?

When we detect more “signal” than relative to “noise”, then we identify more patterns.  This is called “patternicity,” the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.

New research suggests that dopamine plays an important role in error detection, helping to determine whether a perception meets expectations or predictions.  When there is a discrepancy or error between expectations and perceptions (say a signal of the paranormal) then dopamine release might mark the event as important, novel and warranting attention.  If the perception exceeds expectation, it may be experience as rewarding or pleasurable and the person will want to repeat the experience.

It gets worse!

The most common type of delusion is called a “referential” delusion.  Everything happens for a reason.  The environment is somehow being manipulated.  With patternicity the detection of hidden messages and signs are not coincidences.

Dopamine over-activity may erroneously reinforce the learning or pairing of associations between what would otherwise be unrelated, or coincidental events to be attributed to the paranormal.

As I have said many times, I want to believe, but also want my science training to kick in and verify and validate my conclusions.  A dopamine release in a ghost hunt could influence the reality of what is happening.

Jus saying….

 

Keep smiling and thinking!

Dean Russell

 

Thinking out loud again

Doing my research again as I play “Drops of Jupiter” on my Washburn acoustic guitar.  It helps as I try to ponder for the millionth time the problem of mixing my want to believe with my science-methodology background.

The common problems I see in ghost hunts are 1. Misinterpreted results. 2. Conflicts of interest. 3.  Correlation and causation issues (confirmation bias). 4.  Cherry picked results.  5.  Unreplicable results.  (research 101) Why, why, why can’t ghosts just make it easy?

C’mon ghosts, is it so hard just to provide a little hard data for us (evidence) that satisfies number 5.  The others are basic human nature, but,… just give me a little evidence to satisfy #5 please!!  Same effect, same time, same place, night after night, so we can run the blind/control tests.

Sorry, just never give up on the science.