The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Michelle Belanger

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

Michelle Belanger should be no stranger to anyone with an interest in the paranormal. From A&E’s Paranormal State, to appearances on Paranormal Lockdown, Portals to Hell, and others, Michelle is a familiar and welcome face on Paraentertainment TV.

She has authored a number of books on the occult and paranormal, including The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide, Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the Occult, and, my personal favorite, The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned.

A Limited Edition Hardcover edition of The Dictionary of Demons, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, is available for pre-order from the publisher, Llewelyn Books, or through Amazon.

Who better to perform Last Writes upon than a gifted psychic and energy worker, with deep ties in the Vampire community?

LAST MEAL

This one’s easy: grilled cheese – but not just any grilled cheese. For me, the cheese must be Munster (it melts into this perfect, mild, chewy butteriness). For the bread, Dave’s Killer White bread or a thinly-sliced French boule de pain with a nice, dense miche. Finally, real butter, preferably something like Kerry’s Irish butter. It has a subtly different taste that, as a super-taster, I appreciate. And … because this is how I grew up eating grilled cheese, a very light smear of Miracle Whip Light inside, which I know is sacrilege to most people, but the nostalgia is real and the vinegar gives it just a little bite. Grill it up till the outside is crisp and golden, and everything is soft and melty inside and the mix of flavors and textures is my perfect comfort food.

LAST BOOK

This one is difficult. I’ve read so many that I’m not sure I can possibly narrow down a favorite. But, again, I default to the associations built for me around a very fine thing, so I will have to say Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice. Not only is it a fantastic (and sometimes heartwrenching) tour-de-force of high fantasy, it is also a book that my wife Elyria Rose often reads to me. Reading aloud to one another is one of our favorite activities – sharing and dreaming good stories together. We bond over character, storycraft, and language. So, the book has all these cozy-together-in-mutual-appreciation feels for me and it is a lovely work of exquisitely woven language, to boot. Definitely things I’d like to carry across with me.

LAST MOVIE

For this, I have to confess that I don’t watch a lot of movies. So, I think I will go out watching the very first movie I saw in theaters in this life: Fantasia. I was maybe three when my mother took me to see it, possibly four, and I was absolutely entranced by the spectacle of commingled art and music that unfolded on that enormous screen. I drew satyrs and fauns for years after as that pastorale part of the movie inspired me to devour Greek myth as soon as I had a handle on reading. But – and this is totally on brand for me – the section of the movie that truly thrilled me in ways I had no language for at the time was the Night on Bald Mountain piece. I think my mom expected me to find that part scary, but I felt something completely different. It gripped me and excited me and ignited my imagination in ways that ripple down even to this day, and I think that says a lot about who I was, even then.

LAST SONG

“Lazarus,” by David Bowie. Hands-down. I believe in reincarnation and, in fact, have recounted memories of past selves since I was the tiny, enchanted being watching Disney demons cavort to Night on Bald Mountain. And, although I am aware from his son Duncan that Bowie was an atheist, “Lazarus,” to me (and really, the whole Black Star album) is such a brilliant work expressing the process of moving from one lifetime to the next – and Bowie did it intentionally, consciously, crafting this profoundly self-aware masterwork as his exit from this life. Lazarus gets it – that leap of the Tarot’s Fool into the chasm, perhaps only to tumble into oblivion, but perhaps, instead, to successfully cross the abyss and become … something new.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

Bowie, because with “Lazarus” and Black Star fresh in my spirit, I would love to talk to him about his process and what it was like to live a creative life so large that it shaped our culture. I know other folks are waiting over there to bend my ear, but I never had a chance to meet Bowie in person, and I think he’d have quite a lot to say.

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