Saturday, November 12, 2005

Where our ideas come from--you get what you ask for!

I agonized for a good long while about what to write in this blog. I’m pretty good about doing articles for other authors about the writing life, but what can I say to readers besides gush and sound like an idiot when I start out with “Gee, I’m so glad you liked my stuff!” (That’s the eloquent, public speaker coming out in me)

Well, what I came up with after starting and trashing two articles that were entirely too “author-oriented” is a bit of a story about an experience I had. A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas (both for my Keira Ramsay stories and my mainstream stuff). In both cases I tend to write about the paranormal, and after you read this, I bet you’ll understand why. Even tho Halloween is almost two weeks gone, this one is sure to give you goosebumps…and I assure you it’s true!

I lived in Yosemite National Park when I was in my early twenties, and it’s a very spiritual place…lots of little hidey holes where spirits tend to stick around, for whatever reason.

Not to long after I arrived, my buds and I decided to go on a spirit walk. I took this concept with a grain of salt, figuring they were a bunch of flakes, but they were my flakes, and hell, there was nothing else to do that night.

We drove to Tunnel View, a big turnout at the end of a long tunnel that brings people into Yosemite Valley from the southernmost entrance. It had snowed earlier in the week, so the whole area was blanketed by this gorgeous, pristine field of white. Because it was winter, we were the only folks in the parking lot. Turns out that was a good thing.

Since I’d driven, I got to sit on the hood of my nice warm car and ruminate while my friends went tromping around in the snow, freezing their booties off. Now remember, there’s no one else in the area but us, so what happened next completely freaked me out.

I was sitting there, warm as you please, when I felt a presence (there’s no other word for it…it was just there) settle onto the hood of the car next to me. I knew, just knew, that this was an eight-year-old named Danny. In that flash of a few seconds I also knew that he’d died in the tunnel. He’d been riding in a white van with his family, been involved in a head-on collision and was the only one who perished. It’s not like any words were spoken…the knowledge was just suddenly in my head—like an epiphany.

To say I was taken aback is a smidge of an understatement, so I just sat there, frozen and wondering if someone had slipped something into my soda back at the dorm.

Danny didn’t leave. Instead, he just stayed there with me, not saying anything. I didn’t get anything more about his life or death, nor did I get any sadness. It was almost as if he was in some kind of limbo, and wanted someone to hang out with.

My friends finally came back, cranky as hell because they hadn’t “found” anything. Danny left before they could sense or feel him, and I thought that was the end of that. I pawned it off as me being goofy or perhaps a bit of mass hypnosis, since my buddies so desperately wanted to find something. I thought I must have read something in the local paper about an accident in the tunnel and was making things up. Needless to say, I didn’t mention it to my friends. It was too personal, too private.

But as you’ve probably guessed, that’s not the end of the tale. A few days later I left the Valley to go shopping, and as I approached Tunnel View, I felt him again, settling into the passenger seat and just hanging out there. His presence was cold…noticeably so in the warm interior of the car. As soon as I hit the end of the tunnel, he was gone. Again, I thought it was my overactive imagination…until I actually had someone riding shotgun with me a few weeks later.

The second Danny settled in for the ride, my passenger (a total non-believer) started to shiver and said it felt like someone was watching her.

That sealed it for me. The next weekend I went down to Mariposa, my hometown and the closest burg, and asked the folks in the newspaper morgue if they knew anything about it. It took a little while, but since I’d gone to high school with a bunch of them, they kept digging until they found it. Danny had indeed been eight, the sole fatality in a head-on collision, riding in a white van with his family…in 1966, the year before I was born.

Yeah, gave me the willies too. The people at the newspaper thought I was a whack job of the highest order, but starting that day, I became a true believer.

Danny rode with me every time I drove out of the Valley until I left four years later. When I moved, I made sure I left by that exit, even though it added an hour to my drive time. I had to say goodbye.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

So while this may have seemed like a loooong, rambling story with no real purpose (or sex), keep this in mind…when you ask an author where they get their stories, beware! Sometimes the answer is weirder than you expected!

Before I check out, here’s today’s prize…if you blog with me today, I’ll pick one winner for a $10 gift certificate to Fictionwise!


Blogger Maggie Casper said...

Hi Keira,

Cool story and not at all creepy IMO. I've always "felt" things. Even as a child I would have dreams that were more like memories and have had one reoccuring dream/hightmare since I was about 5 or so. Used to freak my Mom out. I've never tried to explain or even talked much about my feelings or dreams, they're just part of me.

My MIL was my best friend, a very strange thing I know but when she crossed just over a year ago, I was devastated as were my daughters. She made it much easier for me to cope by hanging out at my house. I never felt her at her house or at the cemetery, only at mine. She stayed until I helped my girls through their grief, they were extremely close to their Nana who lived only 2 blocks away. Anyway, once I helped them over the major hurdles I was left feeling as though I were lost. My writing really helped me and soon she didn't hang out as much. I haven't felt her in weeks now, which in my heart I know is a good thing but I miss her something fierce. I don't normally talk about my "feelings" so to blog about it in a public arena is strange but tomorrow is her Birthday so she's been on my mind a lot.

I think it is great that you searched for Danny and found him. He made himself known to you for a reason. Maybe one day you'll find the answer to that as well. Creator has always got a plan.


11:06 AM  
Anonymous Robin Danner said...

What a cool experience, Keira. I've never had any experiences with the supernatural, so I don't have one to share with you. But thanks for sharing yours! It's just like a movie.

Robin (grabbing the popcorn and waiting for the next scene)

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Rae Morgan said...

Hey, Keira--

I've had moments like yours. Guess that's why I remain open to all the possibilities and love to read and write paranormal also.

Rae Morgan

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Lily Ashford said...

Oh, my God -- that story completely made me tingle all over. I've never been a fan of the supernatural, just because it scares me so much. But the boy wasn't trying to do you harm, and he just wanted a friend, I guess. But still, that sort of thing really frightens me. When I write paranormals, they usually involve gods or vampires or shape-shifters. Ghosts and other "presences" are too much for me to handle.

But I do feel that we're not alone and sometimes, things do linger. And not always bad things. I agree with Maggie that maybe this boy found you for a reason.


12:51 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Morning Keira,

I've never had an experience like the one you wrote about, but I've always been a believer in things that go bump in the night.

Thank you for sharing the story with us.

Michelle Hoppe

1:31 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Wow, Keira! I did get goosebumps. What a neat story, and I can see that there are many, many places in Yosemite for spirits to haunt.

Great blog!


4:33 PM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...

That's a great story. I, too, believe in ghosts and have had many encounters with the supernatural. I've held seances, found the source and reason for hauntings, etc. I love this subject!

"Baby, let's put the X in sex
Love's like a muscle and you make me wanna flex
Baby, let's put the X in sex..."


4:59 PM  
Blogger Jeanette J said...

What a neat experience..all the more neat because you are sooo not alone experiencing things like that. I think most people do but they just shrug it off..I know I have had a number of similar experiences. It is unnerving at first but after a while you kind of like it

8:30 PM  
Blogger Trista Ann Michaels said...

I've never seen him myself, but my oldest son swears we have a ghost in out house-he'd seen a man standing over his hed more than once. I didn't think anything of it until one of the neighbors asked if we had seen Homer yet.

Homer? I asked.

Turns out a man died in our house just a few years before we bought it. His name was Homer. So from then on, whenever my son would see him, he'd just raise his hand and say, "Hey, Homer." For some reason it didn't freak him out as much to know who he was.


8:57 PM  
Anonymous shellya said...

Keira, I've never had any experiences with ghosts or spirits. Did you ever wonder, if you went back there today, if he would still be there? I'm glad you went to "see" him before you left town.

Fairly new to reading paranormal type books. I'm enjoying them so far! :)

11:08 PM  
Blogger Shara Lanel said...

Ooh, chills went through me reading your story. I've never had a personal experience like that, but my friend told me about a spirit sitting on the end of her bed one night. Same thing--chills. I think it's that belief in the possibility that has me freaking out every time I watch Ghost Story again.

11:36 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

Hi Keira, what an interesting paranormal experience. Luckily for me, I've never had such encounters although I do believe they are around us. I wonder if anything could have been done to help spirits like Danny cross over to the other world completely. If you have the chance, would you visit the tunnel again and see if Danny is still there?

12:10 AM  
Blogger Cynthya said...

Your story gave me goosebumps. I think I would have been really scared if I were you. It's very sad to think of the little guy hanging around for so long.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Pam P. said...

Interesting experience, Keira. I wonder if Danny would still be there or if he ever found a way to move on.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Keira Ramsay said...

Hey gang -- to start with, thanks SO much for sharing with me! Your stories are totally cool!

I really wanted to go back and see if Danny was still hanging around last time we went home. This is kind of a funny story; my hubby has always accused me of inhaling some not-so-legal stuff when I had my "encounters", and no matter how many times I told him I was totally sober, his straight-laced Air Force mind just wouldn't accept it. Sooooo, last time we went up there, we took a little walk. He got TOTALLY zapped by something. Whatever it was completely bogged down his legs--he said it felt like someone had attached 30 lb weights to his feet. It totally freaked him out, so no Danny, at least not on that trip. We're talking about going home this spring, tho, so I'm hoping to see if Danny's still around, or if he's moved on.

Thanks SO much for blogging with me! It was fun!


12:13 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Dee said...

I used to wish something like that would happen to me. Now, I don't want it. Especially if I'm, like, obliged to try to help send the spirit on to the other side. Being me I would be highly unsympathetic. "What are you still doing here? Cross over, ya idiot."

11:10 AM  

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