Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

Many of you may remember Becoming Me, the YA novel that I reviewed three days ago. I’m excited to announce that the author of the book, Melody Carlson, is a guest on my blog today. She has written the following article, one that I feel is very important and deserves our consideration. The teen literary world is spinning out of control. It only takes one visit to the YA section in Barnes & Noble to see how involved they are becoming in the supernatural. It sells because that’s what they are reading right now! Kind of scary when you really slow down to think about it. Where will the next generation take us…

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

By Melody Carlson

Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?

Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.

But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence…trying to connect with my inner teen…and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.

However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.

This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.

This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her
life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.

But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re
fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.

Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow
the money.
The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money back guaranty. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.

So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and searching…meet up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control…for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For that…you’ll have to read the book.

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6 responses to “Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

  1. I love writing fantasical elements. I do *not* love the idea of being an unwitting tool in dragging readers to the dark side, away from the light I believe in.

    To that end, I try to be careful not to glorify magic as something humans need to be messing around with. Living winds, elves, water horses, etc. — these are disparate creatures with disparate rules, and (I have been known to state outright within the story) still ultimately answer to a higher power they’ll usually know to respect.

    I think an author’s worldview will tend to tell in their writing, and in their treatment of the supernatural therein.

    • I know what you mean. My whole life I’ve wanted to write fantasy – dragons, magic, the whole deal. Lately, though, my perspective has changed, and so have my goals. I would still like to write Christian science fiction and fantasy, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to do this without making magic look desirable to readers. I certainly wouldn’t want to send someone down the wrong path…

  2. I sure do agree with your guest, Melody Carson.
    I would like to add that everyone is looking because inside them is an unnamed and unnameable hungering for something more than just this existence. Call it a “Holy-Spirit-shaped vacuum”, if you want, that must be filled.

    • Katharine, you are so right! It’s a good thing we have that hole in our lives too. Only He can fill it, so we keep searching until we find Him. Isn’t it wonderful that He has given us that built-in desire to have a relationship with Him? We just have to be careful that our children don’t go looking in the wrong places. We should also do our best to help others find Him; chances are, they’re already looking.

  3. Thank you for this posting! I am so glad Melody wrote about this. Teens are so very insecure and they are willing to do so much to feel secure in anything. I had no idea that there was an enterprise and money making underneath these things. I really didn’t. Thank you for getting this information out.

    • I was surprised to read that as well. I guess I shouldn’t have been though. It seems there’s a market for everything nowadays. All of this interest in dark mythology and the dark side of the supernatural has me pretty disturbed though. I’m glad she did the research for us, because I surely didn’t want to do that kind of research for myself!

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