Psychics, their gifts and their inner experiences, are as different as snowflakes. That’s why depicting them is really a challenge for fiction, television or film writers. Then there’s the issue of credibility. Not only are there a lot of skeptics out there, but the scientific community, especially in the United States, actively resists the idea of psychic intelligence or abilities. This worries publishers and producers, who then put pressure on writers.
But to quote the TV version of psychic Allison DuBois in Medium, (as well as most of the rest of us psychics) “I know what I know.” And so do people everywhere who don’t consider themselves psychics, but who have had paranormal experiences such as premonitions of danger which saved their lives, or dreams that were glimpses into the future.
Authenticity on TV
Psychics everywhere must be grateful to the America television series, Medium, for presenting an extremely successful psychic as a real person, a mom with an alternately helpful and sometimes challenging husband, kids with growing up issues, bills that plague the family and skeptics posing ridiculous challenges at awkward moments. The show is also successful in showing that much psychic information is delivered symbolically – it often reveals itself in layers and can occasionally be misinterpreted, even by a top notch psychic.
But even with the advantage of being based on the life of a real psychic, and having that psychic as a consultant, Medium, is limited in its ability to present the inner experience and process of psychics. For example, DuBois (in real life) doesn’t actually get her visions in dreams at night, but the constraints of time and the visual medium made dreams the best creative solution. This is where novelists clearly have the edge over television writers.
Books are better
There are four New York Times bestselling authors who do a terrific job of writing about today’s psychics, even as they soothe publishers and skeptics by adding some fantasy spice. Even better, three of them, Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz and Kay Hooper started out as romance novelists, so, in addition to the mystery or thriller aspects, there’s always a hot romance – and you haven’t lived until you’ve read one of their jaw-dropping descriptions of what happens when two psychics have sex!
Roberts (aka J.D. Robb) has been writing knowledgably about psychics since at least the early 90’s, when her Donovan Legacy trilogy was published. Although she usually throws magic into the mix, or connects the story with Ireland (same effect), she’s extremely accurate in depicting psychic experiences and psychic phenomena, especially that of mediums, telepaths and empaths. And, who knows? Maybe there are psychics who also levitate! Usually her psychics show up in her trilogies, such as the recent Sign of the Seven series, which began with Blood Brothers.
Authors on psychics
Krentz (aka Amanda Quick & Jayne Castle) has been creating psychic characters with her signature quirky good humor since the 1980s. She recently launched the Arcane Society series, which shows both modern and Victorian era psychics. And, it’s really too bad that we psychics don’t have access to her fictional Arcane Society, which provides community, networking, counseling, matchmaking, assessment and categorization for its members. Krentz credibly shows how psychic talents are regularly put to use in mainstream society every day and she slyly implies that talents which usually aren’t considered psychic, such as strategic planning and the kind of heightened instincts which mark the best cops and spec warriors, should be categorized as psychic abilities, too. Some of her psychics’ talents may seem inflated, but her descriptions of the experience of their gifts and the trials of being different are spot on.
In 2000 Hooper began a series about a psychic FBI unit that pits a team of highly talented psychics – empaths, mediums and telepaths who are also trained FBI agents – against serial killers. In the earlier series of trilogies, the Shadows and Evil novels in particular, she effectively shows the personal and physical challenges that high-level psychic skills can bring. Hooper deftly weaves fate, karma, death and police work into a mix that may be a little too creepy for more sensitive people, but thought-provoking if you’re up for it.
Last but not least, a special prize must go to Jim Butcher’s wonderfully film noir-ish stories of modern day Chicago with wizard and police department consultant Harry Dresden. In the Dresden Files opening novel, Storm Warning, Butcher’s description of Wizard Sight describes the simultaneous operation of a number of psychic abilities, or “extended senses,” accurately, comprehensively and, perhaps for non-psychics, incredibly. But for those of us who’ve had psychic experiences? We know what we know!
If the world of psychic possibilities intrigues you, these psychic characters will keep you entertained, inspired and amazed for months to come.
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