Shapeshifters, Werewolves and Animal Legends
August 10, 2009
Vampire Lovers
August 12, 2009

All right authors, how many of you do your homework when it comes to paranormal research? While the myths and legends surrounding vampires, werewolves and fairies are fairly eclectic and leave you a lot of wiggle room for creativity, what ghosts? Telepathy? ESP? These are all subjects of quantifiable research.

Paranormal Research: Ghostbusters

I remember the first time I watched Ghostbusters and laughing myself silly at the idea that Dr. Venkman was doing psychic research (and badly because he was trying to get the young college coeds) by having his test subjects choose what card he held. But despite how ludicrous I thought that was then (I was a wise old age of 10ish), that type of research isn’t as far-fetched.

Paranormal and psychic phenomena continue to fascinate both lay persons and scientists as they look for ways to measure and track the events. Ghost Hunters on the SyFy Channel is just one example of these paranormal hunters. But there are others, some better known than others. But when it comes to writing, it can’t hurt to do your homework and familiarize yourself with what real people are doing in the real world.

Truth is far stranger than fiction, after all.

Resources and Research

Paranormal Research Society of North America (PRSNA)

This team of paranormal investigators cite their primary goal as documenting the existence of ghosts in an effort to prove their hypothesis that ghosts exist. The group works to educate the public on the reality of hauntings and to help those who have suffered psychologically due to experiences with ghosts.

Paranormal Research Society

Founded by a student in 2001, the Paranormal Research society combines spirituality with science in their quest for understanding.

Tri-State Paranormal Research

This group investigates and researches paranormal claims and alleged hauntings in the New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey area.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society

A resource with teams investigating demonology, angelogy, hauntings, spiritual and out of body experiences as well as natural spirit and Native spiritual events.

Society for Psychical Research

The SPR is a Registered Charity, established in 1882 and is one of the more established organizations of its kind seeking truth and debunking fraud when it comes to psychic experiences.

American Society for Psychical Research

Founded just three years after the SPR, the ASPR is the oldest psychical research organization in the United States. The group explores the extraordinary or as yet unexplained phenomena that have been called psychic or paranormal, and their implications for our understanding of the world around us.

The list could go on and on and on. I love to do research and once I start digging down, I could spend days reading, calling and visiting locations. I think one of the best things we as authors can do is to experience or research experiences that we want to share with our readers.

I think research ultimately adds to the writing experience, do you think it adds to the reading?


  1. I get lost in research sometimes as well. I collect books on the paranormal/new age/wicca/etc. So, I have alot of information at my disposal, which can distract me from writing goal ALL THE TIME.

    However, I do believe it adds to the reading/writing experience. And even using just one small thing that you find based in reality somewhere gives validity to the story. Even if it is full of fantastic events and creatures.

  2. Linda Ellen says:

    I just emailed myself a copy of this post. It's a great post. I do believe good research adds to the reading experience. (I'm not a writer yet, but maybe someday…) When an event in a book is not recounted correctly, say the historical facts, the way police procedurals actually work, the way lawyers should address others in court, the way a character's experience is being described…

    If it's inaccurate and the reader picks up, that's sometimes enough for a reader to drop a book and never pick it back up again. On the other hand, accurate detail with facts that can be backed up makes for a wonderful read.

    I once read a book that mentioned a renaissance painter of which I have never heard of, and yet their name was mentioned alongside those of Leonardo and Raphael. I googled it and was saddened that the new name was a bogus one, even though it was a work of fiction. I guess I should have known, but it was misleading.

    I've read somewhere that research can sometimes lead writers astray because the object of their research is interesting to them. Some writers need to know all the facts before writing their story, while others prefer to write as they go, then come back after the first draft is written to fill in the blanks.

    I can only wonder which of the two is better.

    (I'm sorry I rambled, but this really got me talking.) =/

  3. Heather Long says:

    Hey Linda, thanks for coming by. I'm glad this got you talking. That's a large part of what I write the Daily Dose for. I agree that knowing your facts and making it accurate is important. Too often, a bad use of science or even just referring to computers the wrong way can throw me right out of a story. I have many tales of this through the years!

    Christle, I admit to being guilty of getting distracted by the research. But I love studying all kinds of things, particularly items like paranormal studies, mythology and even demonology tales that I plan to use in my stories.

    Thanks to both of you for swinging by!