Archive for February 24th, 2014


Confession: I’m a packrat for articles.

That means I’ve got stacks of articles.  File folders of articles.  A mini-library of articles.

Sure, I’ve kept some because they might give me ideas for a novel, but these days I’m moving away from writing, so I’m throwing away a lot of them.

But for you writers who might like some inspiration, especially in the sci-fi and paranormal genres, here are a few tales from my “Psychology” file.

There’s “Savant for a Day.”  It’s about “transcranial magnetic stimulation” or TMS, which means having a series of electromagnetic pulses directed into your frontal lobes.  One scientist had used TMS on university students (I assume they were volunteers), and while those pulses were being administered 40 percent of the students suddenly exhibited “extraordinary, and newfound, mental skills.”  Imagine almost instantly being able to draw like a real artist or solving mathematical problems with vastly increased speed.  It seems this effect only works while you’re connected to the TMS by electrodes, but who knows where this technology could lead.

brain machine blue

Then there’s the old article about multiple personalities and how some of them exhibit “the immense power of the human mind.” Psychiatrists describe how one personality in the same body can be an alcoholic, but another personality emerges and isn’t.  One is allergic to cats, another isn’t.  One patient has a “personality with an irregular heartbeat and another who has a perfect heart. Even an EEG shows different data for the two personalities” in the same body.

Then, finally, there was the touching piece written by a doctor.

His patient David was dying of cancer that had spread from his lungs through his body and into his brain.  David had a young family that was at his hospital bed every night for two weeks, even after he stopped speaking and moving.  Then one morning the doctor went to his room and found it empty.  The patient had died the night before. “As I turned to leave, I was blocked by a nurse, an older Irish lady with a doleful look on her face.”


“He woke up, you know, doctor—just after you left—and said goodbye to them all.  Like I’m talkin’ to you right here.  Like a miracle.  He talked to them and patted them and smiled for about five minutes.  Then he went out again, and he passed in the hour.”  David’s wife later confirmed the nurse’s account.

As the doctor writes, “But it wasn’t David’s brain that woke him up to say goodbye that Friday.  His brain had already been destroyed.  Tumor metastases don’t simply occupy space and press on things, leaving a whole brain.  The metastases actually replace tissue.  Where that gray stuff grows, the brain is just not there.

“What woke my patient that Friday was simply his mind, forcing its way through a broken brain, a father’s final act to comfort his family.”

How about you—do you come across real-life articles that make you want to write a novel, or at least a short story?