Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
My novels are filled with the occult and supernatural, other than just vampires. One such thing is the use of a psychomanteum in Blood Tears. What IS a psychomanteum?
Simply put, it's a mirrored room that's specially set up to communicate with the spiritual realm (think a séance in one of those maze of mirrors at the carnival). In fact, its origins stem from an ancient Greek ritual for contacting those in the spirit realm, wherein individuals where led through an underground maze into a dimly lit space which held a bowl with water, blood or oil (reflective surfaces all considered conduits to the spiritual world in ancient times). The individual would then look into the bowl and hope to see the spirit of the one they wanted to contact – one of the earliest forms of scrying (later uses would include crystal balls).
Sometimes described as an “apparition booth”, the room is set up to optimize psychological effects such as trances. Key features include: low light or near dark, flickering light, and a mirror. The dimness is a form of visual sensory deprivation, which is helpful for inducing trancelike states.
In Blood Tears, Josette, our psychic, used this device to bring forth several vampires in order to help Christian to understand the world and power of the “Other Side.” She has him sit in a throne-like chair in her psychomanteum room, and explains the concept to him as she coaches his breathing. As a devout Catholic, however, he finds the entire concept bizarre to say the least. (Yes, a Catholic vampire!)
Here's an excerpt:
It was difficult at first but slowly he found his rhythm and realized that Josette had stopped counting. He studied the ornate frame as it seemed to melt into the background….Thin wisps of smoke curled up, rising before his eyes, and filling the mirror with circular forms. Christian realized it was not smoke but a mist coming from inside the mirror itself, swirling slowly at first, and then faster and faster until…
No, it could not be.
Christian thought he saw a shape forming and then he realized it was the outline of a man. He told himself it was all a hallucination, yet when the man’s body took shape, and a face complete with burning blue eyes and sandy colored hair, he gasped.
This is not possible!
He felt his own heart beat race and sweat trickle down his back.
The figure seemed to grow larger and larger and then it scanned the room slowly from side to side as if to see who was present.
What do you think? Would you be willing to try out a psychomanteum room if it meant being able to see past loved ones?