Finding a definition of Paranoia seemed far more difficult than it ought to be, clearly they don’t want me to know what it is! I wanted to see whether paranoia could be a friend as well as a foe.
Every entry, from the google search term “paranoia definition”, seemed to give me differing levels of severity for the term. All of them (that I clicked on) indicated that it was a disorder that produced a feeling of impending doom that is someone elses fault and that the individual suffering the paranoia has made it all up. These definitions suggest that paranoia is your foe.
I find myself questioning the definitions. I don’t believe that every instance of paranoia is made up or unfounded. Provided it is not blown out of all proportion it can warn you of real threats or differences in your surroundings. It’s that sixth sense that tells you where your pursuer is or that someone has taken something off your desk, if only you could remember what it was that was missing. Perhaps there is another word for it but if there is I couldn’t find it.
Paranoia in Horror
It is your paranoia that some writers seek to harness. It is a difficult feeling to entice into the open because it is a primitive one, the one that tells you when a Saber Tooth Tiger is considering you for lunch.
Some will, no doubt, tell me this is the survival instinct and I can only reply that I believe paranoia to be a part of that.
Quite often when you feel paranoid it is because there is a reason for it, a feeling in your gut or a knowing. Maybe Sally in accounting has been talking about you or your ex has been bad mouthing you to anyone who will listen and you just know that it’s happening but can’t quite pin down the evidence. It is when you blow it out of proportion and it begins to have a negative effect on your life that it should be considered a disorder. It’s not a nice feeling but not all feelings are nice.
It is one thing for a writer or director to show you a character is paranoid but another entirely if they can harness your own paranoia and have you believe the threat is in your own room with you. That certainty that there is someone behind the shower curtain when you nip to the loo in the dark or that the bang you heard outside is someone creeping around your house and not just the neighbours cat tipping over the bin again.
Paranoia in Whispers
When you enter Whispers there should be nothing to disturb you. It is a pleasant, although remote, hotel and the hosts are welcoming. The rooms are divine and filled with interesting items and should you wish it you can delve into the depths of the history of the hotel in the library.
It is the little things you should take note of. The paintings on the walls, the extravagant mirrors, the cold drafts that seem to come from solid walls and the size of the rooms. And when people go missing there is always a perfectly logical explanation, isn’t there?
Whispers will be welcoming new guests soon. Bring your paranoia and we’ll turn it from a friend into a foe before your stay is over.