By Julie, decking the halls in Somerville
I’m thrilled to welcome Carolyn Wilkins back to the blog, and to celebrate the release of her latest mystery, Death at a Séance . I was fortunate enough to read an early copy of this book, and loved meeting Carrie McFarland, the protagonist of the novel. Welcome to the Wickeds, Carolyn!
Psychics in History and Fiction
Mystery readers are fascinated by the supernatural. Images of seances, haunted houses, poltergeists, and evil spirits rising from the grave remain eternally popular with readers and writers alike.
However as a practicing psychic medium, I know for a fact that much of what is portrayed as “psychic activity” in the popular media has little to do with reality. The dead rarely show themselves to psychics as living, breathing 3-D figures. Nor do they make a habit of popping out of walls, throwing items around the living room in a fit of pique or returning from the dead to seek vengeance on those who harmed them while they were alive.
Don’t get me wrong. The dead are very much aware of what goes on in the world of the living, and they are perfectly capable of making their presence felt when necessary. However their visitations tend to be subtle – far less dramatic that what we see in the movies.
Am I saying that every so-called “spirit manifestation” is genuine? Not at all. I would be the first to admit there are plenty of fakers, frauds and downright rip-off artists who have claimed to have psychic powers.
My book Death at a Séance takes place in 1920, when interest in Spiritualism was at an all-time high. Ten million soldiers lost their lives during World War One, and people on both sides of the Atlantic were desperate to communicate with their departed loved ones. As we all know, where there is great human need, con men, fakers and phony mediums are not far behind.
In 1923, at a summer retreat for Spiritualists located in southern Indiana, seven Spiritualist mediums were arrested for fraud. According to their accusers, these so-called mediums had access to a hidden library containing the personal information of thousands of potential clients. During the séance, the phony psychic would claim to have received this information from the Spirit World ,when in actual fact they had memorized it from a file!
As you will see, this juicy bit of history serves as an important plot point in my book.
The true work of the psychic medium is to help people understand their connection to the larger world in which we live – a world in which all souls, living and dead participate in a greater unity. The most meaningful spirit messages do not consist of merely of names and addresses. In this age of Facebook and Instagram, this kind of information is easily faked. The most profound evidence that the human soul lives on after death happens when the medium describes the personality, character traits and hobbies of the deceased. Even more meaningful are those moments when the medium is able to bring through advice from the deceased on a problem confronting the recipient in their current life.
Crazy as it seems, I have witnessed these kind of miraculous messages time and again as a practicing psychic medium. I’ve even been lucky enough to have brought through a few of my own.
Readers: Have you ever experienced a synchronicity or déjà vu moment that you just couldn’t explain? Leave a comment below by December 15.
Giveaway: I will give a free PDF of Death at a Séance to the two readers who share their most unusual and/or dramatic psychic moments.
About Death at a Séance:
Carrie McFarland’s psychic gifts land her in trouble wherever she goes.
The year is 1920. Corruption, bootleggers and the Klan are part of everyday life in Aronsville, Indiana. As an African American teenager, Carrie McFarland knows she must watch her step carefully. She’s already in hot water for putting a Love Hex under the pillow of the wealthy white man who seduced and abandoned her.
Carrie hopes she’s put the past behind her when she lands a job cleaning house for an eccentric Spiritualist. But when she foresees the death of a guest at her boss’s weekly séance, Carrie finds herself accused of murder. Intent on keeping her community from being torched by the KKK in retaliation for the slaying, Carrie enlists the help of two friends—a handsome young reverend and a notorious bootlegger. To uncover the truth, she will have to search for answers in the dark and dangerous world of spiritual frauds, gangsters and con men.
There’s a vicious killer loose in Aronsville. Will Carrie’s psychic powers save her from becoming the next victim?
About Carolyn Wilkins:
Carolyn Marie Wilkins is a practicing Reiki Master, a Psychic Medium and an initiated Priestess of Yemaya, the African goddess of compassion, motherhood and the ocean. Her other novels Mojo For Murder and Melody For Murder feature the crime-fighting exploits of Bertie Bigelow, a forty-something choir director and amateur sleuth living on the South Side of Chicago.