Seeing ghostly objects floating at the end of your bed is fortunately not an everyday occurrence. Most people would attribute it to a vivid imagination, a few too many drinks, tiredness or eating the wrong thing before bed. There is also something called hypnagogia which is a dream state where you can believe what you are seeing is real, even though you are half asleep or half awake.
A few years ago, I visited a hotel in Kent, England where I had this kind of experience and honestly, it completely freaked me out. I thought I saw a floating object, a bit like an upside down colander or large tea strainer hovering above my bed in the middle of the night. When I had calmed down and applied rational thinking, I did some research, only to find that I was not the only person to have experienced strange things at that location. It was listed on a paranormal website with stories of doors slamming on their own and sightings of ghostly staff. Discovering that I was not alone made me feel even more alarmed.
Amusingly, I also noticed that when I shared my story with other people their first reaction was not to back away, instead, they often chose to share their own weird stories with me. I’ve now heard some excellent tales of lights turning themselves on, strange voices and the appearance of full apparitions.
Years later, my experience proved excellent fodder for the first chapter of my first book and sparked an interest in going along to the occasional ghost hunt. My novel is not a ghost story, but investigating the paranormal is a passion of one of my characters and I wanted to write about his experiences with a degree of knowledge. I can now proudly admit to sitting in creepy, freezing buildings in the middle of the night with groups of people who are fascinated in anything unexplainable. I have discovered that there is a whole collection of scientific equipment that is regularly used for hunting ghosts and a host of people who profess to talk to them directly. I have also added a few more weird stories to my collection.
Having a good imagination is crucial to writing fiction, but you also have to do your research. It helps to know exactly how it feels to be alone in the dark in a supposedly haunted location before you can write about it convincingly. If you can recreate the situation in your head, you can explain how the darkness feels claustrophobic, how your body reacts to feeling nervous and how your mind can play tricks on you.
Personal experience is the best way to understand something and, one of the reasons why I love writing so much is that it gives me an excellent excuse to research lots of subjects that I find interesting.
So, if you ever want to write a ghost story, or a tale about paranormal kitchen utensils, I might be able to help.