Blurb: Tamar Steele’s life was never supposed to be like this. A sensitive working with a team of paranormal investigators, she is trapped in a loveless relationship with the team’s medium, Reed James, who believes that having sex on haunted ground enhances paranormal activity. Tamar maintains their partnership for the sake of the crew, forcing herself to ignore the burgeoning sexual tension between her and fellow investigator Jason Bray.
Until one night when, alone and bored, Tamar sings to herself and is knocked to the ground by an invisible force. Somehow she is able to invoke spirits with the power of her voice. And one particular sexy, matchmaking spirit is determined to turn her life upside down.
One of my favourite parts of writing is the research. I love having an excuse to read up on things that interest me. And for my new paranormal novella I Heard Your Voice, I went one step further – I attended a paranormal investigation.
“Investigation” may be the wrong word. There are a lot of paranormal events companies in the UK who arrange for groups of paying customers to come to known haunted locations and scare themselves. Not much investigation involved there. Nevertheless, it sounded entertaining, and it was a great way to see what these groups actually do.
I have to admit that what I wrote was considerably more exciting than what actually happened on the night. In fact, the scariest thing that happened to me all evening was my satnav abandoning me in a rough-looking housing estate, forcing me to knock on someone’s door and ask for directions. However, the techniques used to “encourage” paranormal activity were fascinating. We opened with the simplest – calling out to any nearby spirits to give us a sign – and escalated from there to table-tipping, glass work, Ouija boards and finally a human pendulum.
The most useful aspects for me were the little things that I would never have thought of. For instance, everyone had a torch, but we were instructed to point them at the ground at all times to avoid blinding people in the dark. We also were setting beams of light across doorways to check for entrance and, despite the fact that these were only light and not high-powered lasers, people were channelling the Ministry of Silly Walks to step over them as though they thought their feet would be cut off. Our medium – who was not the model for my arrogant jerk of a medium, Reed – had appeared on “Most Haunted”, which made him at least slightly famous in my eyes although I had never heard of him before.
And of course, there was the obvious aspect – the fakers.
I don’t believe the organisers were faking. There was, however, a group of four girls who I strongly suspected were playing games. The table-tipping, for instance, only worked when they were on it – as soon as I joined the table it came to an abrupt halt. I will say that they must have been working in unison to make the table move as it did: it skittered sideways across the floor in a zigzag pattern which would have been impossible for one person alone to manage. Of course, it could have been genuine – who knows?
But the finest point of the evening? The Ouija board.
I’m not a great fan of them, to be honest, but I bit the bullet and joined the group resting trembling fingers on the planchette. You probably know these boards have the alphabet, a sun and moon, a “yes”, “no” and “goodbye”. As we asked questions, it floated across the board as though on a bed of air.
Could you move it to the first letter of your name? NO.
Are you attached to this building? NO.
Are you attached to one of us? NO.
Do you want us to leave? YES.
So now I can say I’ve been told to piss off by a ghost. I suppose if someone came into my house asking stupid questions I’d get a bit grumpy too.