by AmyBeth InvernessOn Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California, there are rocks that move seeming of their own volition, sometimes even sliding uphill. They leave long trails behind them. It is a well-documented phenomenon, and numerous scientific studies have attempted to solve the mystery. An abundance of theories have been proposed over the years, such as some kind of interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field or hurricane force winds. With no conclusive evidence, the sailing stones remained a mystery until 2014 when a pair of investigators used GPS to solve the puzzle. When conditions are just right, a combination of daytime rain and nighttime freezing followed by high winds pushes the rocks along on thin sheets of ice. Several scientific authors wrote an article on the phenomenon in August this year.
One might think that this news would be greeted with enthusiastic cheers by the world at large. However, there were some who expressed a certain disappointment that the mystery was no longer a mystery. There is a sense of loss that something once thought to be fantastic has turned out to be, if not exactly normal, mundane.
Humans are fascinated by the paranormal. The sailing rocks are no longer in that category.
As humans, we strive to understand the world around us. For millennia, scientists have performed careful studies while self-proclaimed intellectuals fabricated theories based on speculation instead of evidence. Junk science is alive and well, where investigators use questionable methods to reach their often paranormal conclusions.
Explaining Paranormal Activity
Paranormal phenomena abound on Earth. An anomaly does not have to be proven to involve aliens, ghosts or gods to be considered paranormal, it only has to lack an explanation related to what scientists know about our world. These mysteries are the perfect inspiration for speculative fiction. The Stargate franchise, for instance, is based on the idea that aliens once lived on Earth and enslaved humans. The show points to the pyramids at Giza and hypothesizes that the ancient Egyptians did not have the technology to build them, therefore it must have been aliens with superior technology.
Reality television also jumps on the bandwagon of pseudoscience. Several shows claim to hunt for and even find evidence of ghosts. For thousands of years, humans have postulated that, sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit lingers on Earth in some kind of other state of being. With such equipment as infrared cameras and EMF meters, investigators attempt to prove their existence.
Sherlock Holmes, a popular fictional character, is known for saying “Eliminate the impossible; whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” A good speculative fiction writer can come up with near infinite explanations for any scenario, whether mundane or abnormal.
Introducing The Incorporeum
The Incorporeum stories (included in the Biblical Legends anthology series from Garden Gnome Publications) postulate a single theory to explain multiple phenomena. The Incorporeum are non-corporeal creatures that exist symbiotically with humans. They are sentient and benevolent, referring to their human hosts as ‘Beloveds.’
The Incorporeum are not constrained by time. They move forwards and backwards at will, slipping seamlessly from a host in one era to a host in another and then back again. Ghosts are not the spirits of the dead, they are incorporeum who linger for a time after their hosts have died. A person remembering past lives is not reincarnated. They are simply sharing the memories of their incorporeum’s other hosts. Someone who hears a voice in their head is simply having a conversation with their symbiote.
In this purely fictional scenario, not all humans have an incorporeum, and those who do have one don’t always know it. Without evidence to the contrary, humans form mundane explanations for Incorporeum-related phenomena. They postulate that a person is mentally ill, or a charlatan, or that they are recalling something fictional and believing it is real. Sometimes humans attribute the Incorporeum’s presence to something supernatural, such as communion with an angel or a telepathic link with aliens.
Science Vs. Speculative Fiction
Real science and speculative fiction will forever be interrelated. A science-fiction writer looks at the science of their time and imagines how life would be different if the technology was much further advanced. Real scientists look at science fiction and sometimes find ways to turn the imagined science into something real and useful.
The purpose of science is the advancement of human knowledge and betterment of the human condition. The purpose of speculative fiction is to entertain and inspire. Both make valuable contributions to our world. The key is to always know which is which.
A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance. She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel, or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home. AmyBeth Inverness is a featured writer in Garden Gnome Publications’ Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah anthologies.