Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Delusion Meets Paranormal, Sadness and Amusement Ensue

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 13, 2015

I’ve had two relatives (on my wife’s side) with dementia or something akin to it which causes hallucinations. My grandfather had it in conjunction with Alzheimer’s. And my wife’s aunt suffered from delusional episodes. With her grandfather, he was pretty much off in his own world most of the time anyway, so while frustrating and sometimes outright scary, it was sort of like he was in and out of a dream state almost constantly. It was sad because of how he used to be. He was constantly experiencing strange hallucinations, and would sometimes ask us about it.

I had a conversation with her aunt several years ago, and that was another story. I don’t know if it was properly diagnosed as dementia or something else, but she suffered from hallucinations. It reminded me of the movie A Beautiful Mind. She was a very intelligent woman and was fully cognizant of what was happening to her, and it frustrated her to no end. She could never be sure what was real and what wasn’t. She told one story of being woken up in the middle of the night by her family warning her that there was a fire, and they had to get outside and wait for the fire department. She could smell the smoke, and of course, her family was warning her. She grabbed what she could and stood out on the lawn with her family in the chilly night.

Then her son (?) came up to her and asked her what she was doing on the lawn. She said, “You told me to! There’s a fire.”

Nope, it was all a hallucination. Dreams merging with wakefulness. It infuriated her, because what was she supposed to do? Wait for her family to prove to her that the house was really on fire before she got out of bed?

That was the real tragedy of it all. With grandpa, he was more-or-less checked out all the time and only half-conscious when he was awake. He wasn’t really aware of what was happening to him most of the time. But with my wife’s aunt, she was sharp as a tack, fully aware of what was going on, and fully frustrated in a world where she couldn’t be 100% sure what was real and what wasn’t.

Beyond-the-Wail-274x200And so it was with that background that I read Ginger C. Mann’s story, “The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty,”  found in the new paranormal anthology Beyond the Wail by Xchyler Publishing. I couldn’t help but think of my discussion with my wife’s aunt. In the story, eccentric Aunt Betty is a dynamic, take-charge kind of lady who kinda storms through life, but she is plagued with mental issues and has to take medication. So when weird stuff starts happening to her, she takes it in stride as part of her unique condition, and her family members assume the same. But what happens when some of the weird, impossible stuff happening around her isn’t just a figment of her imagination?

Anyway, I’ve liked Ginger’s stories since reading “China Doll” in Shades and Shadows. I wonder if it’s a software engineer thing… maybe we get fascinated by similar details (Ginger is a software developer for a security company in Texas).

It’s only one of many great stories in the book, but it was one that perhaps hit me a little harder because of personal experience. Not first-hand experience thankfully, but it still made me think. Once again, I think one of the advantages of this kind of storytelling is that it necessitates the reader taking on some of the storytelling burden, and thus personalizing it.

Tomorrow I’m spotlighting author L. K. McIntosh, author of the story “The ‘Grim’ Reaper,” also featured in Beyond the Wail.

For today – Ginger gets the spotlight in other blogs, including Jana S. Brown’s blog, Kristin Baker’s Fairies & Pirates,  and on L. K. McIntosh’s blog. She has interview details they are sharing with some insights into her story and with writing in general.

Have fun!

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  • Three Blogs and a Love Story | Notes said,

    […] mental illness abstracts reality for her. It is a lovely account, and I hope you will hop out to RampantGames and give it a read. Jay totally “gets” Aunt […]