Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gift? Or curse?

One of my favorite shows is returning to TV on Feb. 2. Medium stars Patricia Arquette as Allison DuBois, a psychic medium who sees and talks to ghosts. She uses this quality to help an Arizona county attorney and a local detective solve crimes.

The coolest thing about the show is that it’s based on an actual person. The real Allison DuBois lives in Phoenix. Her husband is really named Joe, he’s an aerospace engineer and they have three daughters, as portrayed by the TV show. DuBois indicates that unlike Arquette's character, her visions come to her in the daytime rather than during sleep.

I have to admit I’m not a fan of Arquette. But she’s won an Emmy for her portrayal of DuBois, so what do I know? I have, however, always been intrigued by the prospect of using psychic abilities to solve crimes.

The charms of the paranormal sub-genre are largely lost on me. My feet are too firmly mired in reality to suspend disbelief for the alternate worlds, werewolves, and vampires so popular today, although I still admire a well-written story, regardless of the category! But when it comes to psychic phenomena…I’m intrigued. So much so that four of my books have featured a character with some sort of psychic ability. (The most fun was the one with a telepathic five year old.)

Parapsychologists argue that all people have some level of ‘superconsciousness’, some degree of ESP that can be developed the way we enhance physical skills. Everyone can think of times they’ve experienced strong intuitive feelings that their child was in trouble, or knew something bad was going to happen.

Those with the skill of precognition can’t call upon it at will. In reality, it comes in flashes, and usually isn’t reliable for the psychic or his/her loved ones. But what if it were? If you could have the ability of precognition, with no boundaries, would you want it?

What if you could warn a loved one not to take that plane; not to marry that person; or guide them to take the job that would prove most rewarding in the future? If you could foresee what would happen personally if you make one choice instead of the other, would that offset the possible negatives that came with the 'gift'?

Or maybe there are other abilities you’d rather have:

Telepathic—the ability to read others’ thoughts
Clairvoyant—the transfer of information without using the senses; the information is passed through the spirit world
Empathic—the ability to feel others’ emotions as if it were happening to you
Telekinetic—the ability to move or manipulate inanimate objects with your mind
Pyrokinesis—the ability to ignite or extinguish fire with your mind
Psychometry—the ability to ‘know’ things about people by holding objects that belonged to them
Precognition—the ability to foresee future events
Postcognition—the ability to know facts of an event after it occurred

So let’s be psychic-wannabes for a day ☺ Would you want to be able to foresee the future? Or is there another psychic ability you’d rather have? And if so, what would you use the ability for? Or have you experienced a sort of paranormal event that you want to share?


Margay said...

Any one of them would be cool, but I think the psychometry would be the most interesting.

Betina Krahn said...

Kylie, Alison Dubois has writte at least three books herself, describing her work and her life. I read "We Are Their Heaven" by her and was impressed. She's an interesting woman.

And did you know that brain researchers have discovered that most humans have the ability to predict the future up to three seconds ahead. Which explains how we're able to function in this world. These same researchers consider "paranormal ability" to be simply a more lengthy version of what we already have. And they hypothesize that we can "learn" to expand our predictive ability.

As for gifts, I'd like to be Clairvoyant. . .knowledge transferred without using the senses. . .cool. Unfortunately the one I'm closest to myself is Empathic. . .not a particularly comfortable "gift" to have. My dad was a case in point-- waaaaay too emotionally tied to the feelings of others. He was a school counselor for 12 years and was exhausted all the time from dealing with kids' emotions and problems. When he went back to teaching, he was much happier and at peace.

Kylie said...

In my book Bringing Benjy Home the heroine had those skills and she and the hero were trailing the hero's kidnapped nephew.

But I think it would be interesting to have those skills and go to places that sell old jewelry and antiques and know the story of each one.

Kylie said...

Betina, I too believe we all have the skills at birth and if they were developed, we'd all have some degree of the various abilities.

I'd read that DuBois had one book out, I didn't realize she had more. I'll have to check that out. I'm sure her life has been interesting.

Linda Howard's Dream Man always stuck with me. The heroine was an empath who'd identify the emotions of a victim being killed or of the villain. Easy to see how some of these abilities could also be a curse.

Anonymous said...

I love that show! And like you, I'm not a big Arquette fan. (She could stand a few acting lessons!)
Thanks for telling me it's coming back. I still have my Tivo set to record it. Now it'll have something to do.

Cindy Gerard said...

I think I'm Telepathic. For instance, when my cat wakes me up in the morning by pouncing on my chest, batter his paw in my face and yowling, I think he's telling me he's hungry.
And when my dog piddles on the carpet, I think she's telling me I should have let her outside sooner.

What do you think? Surely that's an advanced level of telepathic power. :o)

Seriously, I love the show too and I love the entire idea of 'special' abilities. If I had my choice, I think I'd go for Psychometry or Telekinesis. I wouldn't want the emotional weight of the others.

Kylie said...

Sshay, it's curious that we're drawn to the show in spite of Arquette, LOL! I agree, her acting leaves something to be desired. But I'm sucked in regardless by the story. I'm looking forward to the return of the show!

Kylie said...

Cindy, you apparently are a female Dr. Doolittle, LOL! But I do think there's something to understanding what the pets are saying. For instance, any time I walk into the house in the afternoon, my dog starts barking and acting like a loon. She thinks it's time to eat. No matter if I got out early and it's two hours before dinner.

I despair of teaching her to tell time, LOL. Especially now that she's blind.

Helen Brenna said...

I'm absolutely fascinated by psychic abilities. Haven't yet written a book with a character dealing with any form of these abilities, but I predicts it in my future. lol

Personally, I don't think I'd want any of these abilities. Every once in a while I get this sense about things happening and I hate it.

Telekinesis is the only one that I could probably deal with.

Fun topic, Kylie.

lois greiman said...

Interesting topic. I do think we all have some extent of psychic powers that we could strengthen if we tried. But maybe that's just me being weird.

Kylie said...

Helen and Lois--sometimes I wonder what would happen if we worked on babies's abilities this way the way we work, for example, on their musical ability or language.

I think precognition, if it affected my ability to tell things about my loved ones, would be a curse. I couldn't handle knowing how long I had with them, or some sad event that was going to happen in their future.

So for those precogs who say it doesn't occur for them or their loved ones, I think that must be a blessing.

MaryC said...

On my father's return to China after WWII to visit his mother, he was told by an astrologer thay he would have five children and own two properties, all of which came true. The day he was to buy close on a third property, the owner passed away.

I agree with Lois that we all have abiities - it just depends on whether we choose to use them.

Kylie said...

MaryC--that is spooky how correct the astrologer was! I think 98% of the people claiming psychic powers are fakes, but those other two percent I firmly believe have abilities that we don't.

Michele Hauf said...

Hate to tell you, Kylie, but you're writing paranormal romance. Welcome to the club. :-)

I believe intuition and ESP stuff is all just a part of our 'sixth sense'. We all have it; some exercise it better than others. Eventually we'll all have developed it to an extreme, but I figure that'll take another thousand years or so.

Lori said...

Oh gosh, who didn't love Dream Man?

I absolutely love this show, too! Aside from the premise of the show, and that I think it's very well done, I love that Arquette is not a skinny minny, and that those girls are a pain in the ass! They are portrayed as real kids - not just conveniently appearing here and there when it suits the script. Allison and Joe fight over who is picking up the kids from school. The girls fight with and pick on each other. It's real, but still totally entertaining. I love that.

Kylie said...

Michele, I agree! But when I referred to one of the stories as paranormal my editor was shocked. I was informed psychic books were not considered paranormal (at least for H/S purposes.)

They also did what they could to 'hide' those elements from the reader by not referring to it in the back cover copy. They contended paranormal elements didn't sell in the IM line.

But we've had ghosts and skinwalkers and such too and I don't see how they can't consider all of that paranormal.

Kylie said...

Lori--I also love the parts where the girls are discovering psychic abilities of their own, and how that ties into the plot. The real Allison DuBois believes all three of her girls have abilities similar to hers. How lucky they are to have a mother who can help them understand and use their skills responsibly.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I've been telling my family for years that I can foresee the future. "If you do/don't do X then Y will surely come pass." More often than not my prognostications are ignored. Me and Cassandra. (I know. She was crazy. Your point?)

Kylie said...

Kathleen, just because she was crazy doesn't mean she doesn't know what she was talking about, right??

Sadly, I'm right more than I want to be when it comes to predicting students who are headed for trouble. Sigh. Those are the times you'd like to be proven wrong.

Estella said...

I don't think I would want any of them.

Debra Dixon said...

I'd like to be a telekinetic precog. That would be awesome. :)

I do believe in the "superconsciousness" because I've seen too many things over the years that simply were too weird to explain.

I have a good friend who is a medical intuitive. At first I said, "How nice." But then over the years as she's casually nailed medical problems before I knew them, I've become a believer.

Her family's company became a client of mine and once when she'd been out of the country...I hadn't talked to her...I hadn't told anyone else...and I was sitting behind a desk with both hands on a computer keyboard...she walked in and said, "Hello! What's wrong with your hip?"

I wasn't leaning. I wasn't grimacing. My hip was hurting in the mornings when I got out of bed. But not the rest of the day. It had just started. Maybe only a couple of days at that point.

So, I listen when she tells me things.

Keri Ford said...

Telekinetic would be pretty cool. open refrig, put out supper, get the pot... yeah, that would be handy.

Postcognition would be neat. I'm nosy though.

Empathic is so not for me. I can put myself in someone else's shoes if I want and imagine how they feel just fine on my own. I'm not intereted in having that where it can't be turned off.

Anonymous said...

What a cool gift! I'd love to have a friend like that.

This is a great discussion, guys. I wonder if there's a way to develop that 6th sense?


Kylie said...

Keri, I'm with you! Anything that helps get dinner on the table without me lifting a finger would be worth looking in to. Right now I have to make do with take out, LOL!