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An Obsession I Can’t Fully Explain

Today’s blog post is by Mark Leslie, the author of Haunted Hamilton, and the co-author of the forthcoming title Spooky Sudbury.  Born in Sudbury and raised in Levack, Ontario, he now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and son.

Haunted Hamilton

I have always been afraid of the monster under my bed.

And I still am, despite the fact I learned there really was no monster there – or so the rational mind in the bright light of day would suggest.

Part of the reason I write what I do is because that monster under my bed never really left. As the morning sunlight slowly inched its way into my room, dispelling the shadows and revealing the space under my bed as monster-free, physical evidence of that monster was abolished. But no amount of sunshine or logical reasoning could ever completely remove that monster from my mind.

Why? Because, despite the fact I never saw him I, I still knew he was there. And since I never laid eyes on him, the image I held in my mind was far more powerful than anything I could have actually beheld.

Our imaginations do that to us.  Good writers know this and draw upon that to make the stories they write even more horrifying. After all, our minds are far more powerful because they have access to our secret terrors and biggest fears – and no matter how great the written word can be, at best, it helps us draw upon those things inside us that conjure up monsters far more terrifying than the things we actually see, hear or read.

Writing about the paranormal works the same way. An author researches and then relays stories about frightening, disturbing and eerie things, often situations and events that aren’t easily explained.

And, because there are subtle gaps left to be filled, the reader’s mind inserts its own hidden fears, insecurities and terrors — the proverbial monsters under their own beds — making those words far more effective.

Writing about ghosts, strange sightings and the unexplained is thus an effective way for me to connect with readers at an intimate level. And, as a bonus, the research involved in gathering fascinating new pieces of information from the history and the people of places like Hamilton or Sudbury, helps me build a unique additional kinship with those locales.

Let’s just call this my unexplainable obsession.

About the author

The Markerting Coordinator at Dundurn, lover of books, tea and dancing in the rain.

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