Monday, March 14, 2016

Are You A Part of the 45% of Americans Who Believe in Ghosts?

Photo by: Xoe A. Reid


Did you know that most people believe that ghosts are real?  A matter of fact, the book cover of my book, Tales of a Numinous Nature, is a photo of what my family thinks is a ghost.  My daughter took the picture in my mother’s empty living room with her cellphone on the negative setting.  What came out definitely looked like a woman with long hair.  Creepy! 

Ghost sightings are as old as the sun is bright.  From the Witch of Endor summoning the dead prophet Samuel in "The Bible" to The Flying Dutchman to Bloody Mary to The Lady in White to the mysterious Tsunami cab passengers in Japan to my grandmother visiting me in a dream, ghosts are a rich part of the human culture and folklore.

As odd and eerie as it seems, ghost sightings are way more common than we think.  According to A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in 2012 that interviewed 1000 people, 45% of Americans believe in ghosts.  The same poll revealed that 64% of people polled believe in life after death. 

According to the Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2009 that interviewed 2003 people, 18% of Americans claim to have actually seen ghosts:16% of men and 20% of women, 17% of them were white, and blacks and Hispanics tied with 20%. I speculate that the number is probably much higher, because most people are afraid to admit that they have come face to face with the unknown.

This data is extremely interesting.  In my personal experience, like in the data, I find that people of color and women are way more accepting of the spiritual realm.  I have undeniably had my share of the supernatural.

Some of the most common beliefs about ghosts or spirits are:
1.                  Spirits become more active at night.
2.                  Spirits can manifest in different ways such as orbs, streaks of light, shadows, mists, strange blurs, and full body appearances.
3.                  Children, animals, and the dying are more likely to see ghosts.
4.                  If the room gets suddenly cold or a door closes on its own or something moves unexplainably or a familiar smell permeates the air, a ghost is thought to be present.
5.                  Spirits are trying to get our attention, have no sense of time, and may not know they’re dead.
6.                  Spirits can communicate through dreams, through subliminal thoughts, white noise, automatic writing, divination, mediums, or simply appearing and talking to you directly.
7.                  Some spirits can be mischievous and sometimes very dangerous. 
8.                  Spirits can often be helpful and sometimes protective over their families.
9.                  Sprits can haunt places, follow people, and be attached to objects.
10.              All spirits may not be of dead people but something of an entirely different nature.

Many argue about the nature of spirits.  It is debated if they are souls of the dead, surreptitious spiritual beings, angels, demons, aliens, or figments of our imaginations.  Whatever they are, they are real to a lot of us and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.  

So, whether you believe in ghosts or not, there is something extremely alluring about the possibility.  The next time you think someone is behind you and turn and no one is there, smile, it’s probably your Aunt Bertha trying to give you a hug!

As always, love hard and live free!

Want to know more about speculative fiction author Violette Meier?  Visit www.violettemeier.com.

Sources:



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Photo Source: India Today

Did you know that last week University of California Los Angeles scientists suggested that the earth is the product of two planets crashing and melding together?   Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel!  It is believed that four and a half billion years ago, the earth and a planet embryo, about the size of Mars, named Theia clashed.  The geochemist came to this conclusion by studying oxygen isotopes on the earth and the moon.  The UCLA team examined seven lunar rocks transported back to Earth by the Apollo missions, as well as six volcanic rocks from Earth's mantle. They found that both share identical chemical makeups; Theia was evenly dispersed throughout both.  "We don’t see any difference between Earth’s and the Moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable," said lead researcher Edward Young. 

It has always been speculated that Theia hit the earth, but it was assumed that it side swiped the earth and hobbled off into space.  Now scientist feel that it had to be a full on collision in order for Theia to be evenly scattered throughout the earth and the moon.

These new findings particularly fascinate me because in my first novel, The First Chronicle of Zayashariya: Out of Night, I wrote about a planet called Neoearthmoon.  It formed as the result of the earth and the moon clashing together and forming a new planet.   

Excerpt from The First Chronicle of Zayashariya: Out of Night:

“Earth is no more.  This planet, Neoearthmoon, and our sister planet Neotsion were formed from the debris of the explosion of the Earth and the moon.  This phenomenon happened thousands of years ago.  One could say that a miracle occurred, if you believe in miracles.  Not many around here do.  We believe that there is a logical explanation for what happened.  We just have not found it yet,” Gredly said pretentiously. 
                “Explain further please,” Zayashariya urged, truly interested in his tale.  “I am not familiar with the history.”
“When the Earth exploded, the moon was destroyed along with it.  The other planets in the solar system remained intact and a new sun appeared.  It is a lot less powerful than the original sun that it orbits around and a lot less warming, but it makes a more beautiful sunset.  We got a few moons out of the deal too.”  Gredly smiled.  “Neoearthmoon and Neotsion were formed in a supernatural amount of time.  The debris of Earth and the moon miraculously came together like a big clump of hot rock and cooled instantly.  All of the elements needed on a planet in order for life to survive were present on the new planets automatically.  Overnight it seemed that plants and animals evolved out of nothing.  Everything happened as if a superhuman force spoke it into being.  Six days it took for Neoearthmoon to come into being.  Six days!  Can you believe it?  To this very day, scientists cannot explain how this miracle occurred.  All they knew was that they had a new planet to live on so they inhibited it.  Scientists say that Neotsion did it all within a day.  Neotsion is a very mysterious place.  Only humans live there.  Not natural homosapiens but more like supernatural humans, transformed into pure spirit beings.”  He paused.  “It’s complicated.  People say that they are immortal.  The atmosphere of Neotsion will not allow others to enter it but they can exit the planet if they wish to never return and to become mortal once more.”  He took a deep breath.  “A lot of myth and mystery surround that place but I don’t believe the hype,” he said, rolling his eyes up and sighing.  Gredly looked into Zayashariya’s attentive eyes and said, “Before the explosion, the technology of mankind became so advanced that they began to travel through space.  They found new lands to conquer and new planets to inhibit.  So the destruction of the planet Earth did little to prevent the life of humankind from striving.  Most of them were gone before the explosion anyway.  They had found new places to ruin, new people to harass.  Norps, our people, are descendants of Earthlings and Norpsongants.”

Of course it is scientifically impossible for the earth and moon to explode and a new sun to appear without causing gravity to go bonkers and not impacting space around them; but miracles are scientifically impossible! J   It gives me great joy to know that our world uncovers so many fascinating mysteries everyday.

Want to know more about Violette? Go to www.violettemeier.com

Sources:



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What's Magical and Spooky with Super Powers Fluky?

by: Ken https://flic.kr/p/6qvVZn

Do you know what vampires, fairies, ghosts, and robots have in common?  They all fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction.  Speculative fiction is any literature that contains elements based on human imagination that does not appear in the natural world or everyday life.  Speculative fiction may contain supernatural elements like: people coming back to life, talking plants or animals, werewolves, witches, angels and demons, elves, elementals, dragons, unicorns, or hybrids of them all. Speculative fiction may also embody things that are currently scientifically impossible like: interplanetary travel, alien invasions, artificial intelligence, robot-human/animal amalgamations or extreme mutant evolution (i.e. X-men).   The surroundings of a story can also contain speculative fiction elements like an inhabited planet with three suns or a magical forest that change landscapes daily.

According to GreenTentacles.com, “Speculative fiction is a term, attributed to Robert Heinlein in 1941, that has come to be used to collectively describe works in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.”  Wikipedia says that Heinlein coined it in 1947 in an editorial essay. Today speculative fiction also includes paranormal, alternate history, mysteries, and magical literature.  Almost anything with a little dash of whimsy and weirdness could be called speculative fiction.

Not surprisingly, speculative fiction is one of the most popular genres of literature.  Who doesn’t want to escape this world every now and then?  J.K Rowling’s magical Harry Potter, J. R. R. Tolkien’s  hobbits, Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat, Isaac Asimov’s robots, and even my fallen angel Turiel in my books Angel Crush and Son of the Rock and my demonic alien Zayashariya in Out of Night all bring to life numinous characters.  Comic books are a huge part of speculative fiction.  There isn’t an American alive who hasn’t heard of Spiderman, Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.

Speculative fiction has proven to make some the most famous box office hits and beloved movies like The Terminator series, Avatar, The Matrix series, Spiderman, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, Blade, Maleficent, The Wiz, Star Wars, and a host of others.  Hollywood is always bursting at the seams with fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and comic book films.  There is no better entertainment than to be visually drawn into another world.

Most of the video games that children and adults play are based off of speculative fiction. The plethora of characters battle demons, defy gods, rescue princesses from dragons, or find magical items in a mystical world.  From Super Mario to Halo or Batman: Arkham Knight to Mortal Kombat X video games are filled with speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction is everywhere and we all have been engaged in a little of it ourselves.  We’ve told ghost stories or picked up a love potion while visiting New Orleans or played Dungeons and Dragons.  So, the next time you go to the bookstore or visit Amazon.com, don’t be afraid to walk on the wild side. Pick out a speculative fiction novel, preferably one by yours truly. J  It’s good to have a little thrill in your life!


To learn more about Violette, please visit www.violettemeier.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Old as Methuselah?



Old as Methuselah?  Well not quite, but according to Fox news, there may be an anti-aging drug that can possibly expand human life to an average of 120 years.  In a little while, 60 will be the new 40 and I will truly be 99 and still fine!

Belgian researchers have been testing a drug called Metformin, which is commonly used for diabetes, on roundworms.  The drug helps bring more oxygen to the cells, therefore slowing down the aging process. Metformin will be tried next on humans.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.  If this is successful, people will be able to live longer and healthier lives.


I always said that I would live to be 128.  Looks like I may get my wish! 

To learn more about Violette, visit www.violettemeier.com

Source:
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/12/02/new-anti-aging-drug-could-extend-human-life-span-to-120-years.html

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vampire Bambi?


With its fangs hanging ready for action, the Kashmir musk deer reappeared last year in Afghanistan 60 years after its last sighting in1948.  Luckily these herbivores aren’t in search for blood.  A bite from one of their fangs would make a nip from Dracula seem painless!

These fanged bucks bare their teeth to impress hot does, and to fight off other deer.  Unfortunately, while the deer are looking for does, hunters are looking for them.  Their meat is a local delicacy.  Apparently they are worth over $20,455 per pound ($45,000 per kilogram), according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, on the black market.  Their scent glands are used for medicines and perfumes.  Because of destruction of habitat and poaching, the musk deer has become an endangered species, and like vampires, they are pretty darn hard to photograph.

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

To learn more about Violette, visit www.violettemeier.com

Works cited:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/10/31/fanged-deer-pops-up-in-afghanistan-60-years-after-its-last-appearance/

http://www.livescience.com/48585-fanged-deer-sighting-afghanistan.html

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Marvin the Martian could be real…



Well, no.  He’s a Looney Tune cartoon, but scientists think they may have discovered water on Mars.  Water equals the prospect of life on the red planet.  For decades humans have been dreaming of aliens and now there may be proof that they could exist.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water -- albeit briny -- is flowing today on the surface of Mars.” [1]

It is unclear if the salt content of the water on Mars is low enough to support Earth life, but the possible existence of water on the planet could mean that life once thrived there or/and microscopic life still strives there.  Area 51 doesn’t sound crazy now huh?   Maybe we’ll meet ET and Marvin the Martian sooner than we think.


To learn more about Violette, visit www.violettemeier.com




[1] https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-today-s-mars

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Skinny on Water



Did you know that water has skin? Well kinda!  Water has skin in a sense that a molecular layer is formed at the top of it.  “It is not really true that a "skin" forms on the water surface; the stronger cohesion between the water molecules as opposed to the attraction of the water molecules to the air makes it more difficult to move an object through the surface than to move it when it is completely submerged.” (http://water.usgs.gov/edu/surface-tension.html)  

This is called surface tension.  Surface tension is the force that causes the molecules on the surface of a liquid to be pushed together and form a layer.  This layer or skin is what allows water to bead up and turn into drops. It also allows water to be filled up above the rim. Water is only second to mercury in having the greatest amount of service tension.  Small objects will float as long as the object doesn’t separate the top layer of water molecules. Surface tension allows light weight insects like water striders to literally walk on water.  Jesus must have been pretty light on his feet! 


The next time you drink a glass water, pause to think about how very cool it is!  Happy hydrating!  


To learn more about Violette, visit www.violettemeier.com