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The Sirens of Suspense




DEAN CRAWFORD began writing after his dream of becoming a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force was curtailed when he failed their stringent sight tests. Fusing his interest in science with a love of fast-paced revelatory thrillers, he soon found a career that he could pursue with as much passion as flying a fighter jet. He is the author of the internationally published series of novels featuring Ethan Warner, a former United States Marine now employed by a government agency tasked with investigating unusual scientific phenomena. The novels have been Sunday Times paperback best-sellers and have gained the interest of major Hollywood production studios. He is also the enthusiastic author of many science fiction novels.


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The nature of life, of human existence, is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Who are we? Why are we here? What happens to us when we die? Science has explored the distant fringes of these perplexing questions but its rigorous boundaries of evidence and replication mean that, sometimes, it can travel no further. We call the unknown realms beyond those boundaries supernatural or paranormal, like ghosts and poltergeists. But are they really so abnormal, so different from our own perspectives or experiences? What if, like the once popular human belief that our planet was flat when in fact it is a sphere, all it takes is a new perspective to illuminate the supernatural and understand it?

To date I have written five Ethan Warner thrillers, each based upon events and phenomena considered by modern science to be the stuff of fiction and yet each containing evidence to the contrary. In order to be sufficiently inspired to write each novel I have to obtain data that in my mind provides incontrovertible evidence that a phenomenon is real and not the product of fakery, hysteria or mistaken identity. Exposing myths is what the Ethan Warner series is really all about, and the nature of ghosts is well within its boundaries.

People mostly think of ghosts as hauntings. Some believe that the walls of buildings somehow ‘record’ the past; others that people who die within those walls become somehow connected to them and appear as ghosts to those fortunate ( or unfortunate ) people who are sensitive enough to notice. Yet within science there exists a more logical, although no less incredible, explanation. Time is not linear. It runs from past to present to future only in our human experience, but in fact time is merely one part of a more expansive medium: space-time. Beneath the illuminating light of physics, time can stretch, contract, loop over on itself and even run backwards. You see these words on the screen before you as they were a fraction of a second ago: the time it took for the light emitted by the screen to reach your eye. Look at the moon, and you’re seeing it as it was 1.3 seconds ago. The sun is seen by us as it was 8 minutes ago. The further away we look, the further back in time we see but the fainter the image becomes.

In the case of ghosts, is it not possible that we see time actually in motion, from the past? There are reliable instances of people saying that upon encountering a ghost the apparition appeared to also see them at the very same moment. Who was seeing a ghost and who was in the “present”? Contrary to popular stereotypes, not all ghostly sightings are of people wearing Victorian era clothes. A small crowd of people standing near a long-abandoned RAF airfield in Lincolnshire, England were reported as having heard a squadron of Lancaster bombers roar overhead one after the other as though having just left the ground. Machines cannot be claimed to have consciousness sufficient to produce a haunting, so is it not possible that the witnesses to this extraordinary event were in fact experiencing an aberration in time itself?

Occasionally, a case emerges where there is no haunting whatsoever as various paranormal phenomena are emitted by a living person. In 1967 in Rosenheim, Germany, a dramatic case of poltergeist activity struck the offices of a lawyer. Lights inexplicably turned on and off, telephones rang without a caller, photocopiers spilled their ink, the speaking clock was dialled more times than the mechanical dialling system of the time was capable of achieving and, in October 1967, every light-bulb in the building blew simultaneously.

It was not paranormal investigators who solved the startling case, but two scientists from the prestigious Max Planck Institute. They concluded after extensive investigations that the cause of the disturbances was not a ghost at all but a teenage employee suffering from stress and a neurological disorder. As soon as the girl left, all paranormal activity ceased. It remains one of the few cases of a genuine “haunting”, proved and solved by science, that illuminated the existence of what would normally be termed “paranormal phenomena”.

Our minds, the key and the window to our existence, are often underestimated in what they can achieve. There are scientists who are starting to believe that our brains are not just centres of processing power but antennas, capable of detecting another world around us that is unseen by our eyes. Perhaps those who claim to be more sensitive to paranormal activity simply have better attuned antenna than the rest of us, and are able to see or affect things that others are not. The only way science would be able to test this theory would be to replicate the effects in a laboratory, and event that may yet occur if science is willing to push through its boundaries and entertain the “impossible”.

For me, writing is all about exploring the impossible and making it as real as possible for the reader, while at the same time thrilling them and urging them to turn to the next page. The borders between science, mythology and the paranormal provide a powerful means of achieving this, keeping fiction as much within the boundaries of potential reality as I can. From the “mass-drives” that power the enormous star-ships in my science-fiction Atlantia Series, to the “Sterling Engine” that could eradicate the use of fossil fuels in Revolution and the holographic resurrection of the dead via digitised brains in my Holo Sapiens saga, every book I write seeks to make the unbelievable become a reality that feels as though it’s just around the corner in real life, and above all, seeks to make the reader think about the content long after they’ve finished the last page…





WHAT MYTH OR PIECE OF SCI-FI TECH WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE REAL? Tell us by commenting on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a a copy of APOCALYPSE (U.S. entrants only, please.)



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