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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

Why is Viola a 'SCANC'

My main character in the Viola Valentine Mystery series — yes, her name is Viola — is a SCANC. But it's not what you think.

SCANC stands for Specific Communication with Apparitions, Non-Entities and the Comatose. And Viola has seen all three!

The key word here is "specific." Viola repressed her psychic abilities when she was young, tired of being chastised as having a vivid imagination when ghosts would appear. "Children of the Paranormal" TV show had yet to air so poor Vi had no support system, either. Years later, a trauma would open that door back up, but this time, the ghosts Vi sees are strictly related to that trauma.

Here's Viola explaining her unique "talent" to her acquaintance Hazel Callaway in "Ghost Fever," book seven in the series hitting bookstores Oct 26, 2021:

“What are you?” Hazel says a bit too loud and too strong.

I don’t know how she suspects my paranormal abilities but I’m not too keen to rush into admitting them to this stranger. I take a deep sip of my coffee, relishing that Hazel indeed makes a damn good cup. “Good coffee,” I offer.

I gaze around the room looking for clues, anything that would prove this woman isn’t going to call 911 to have someone haul me off to a mental clinic. After a few moments of silence, Hazel breaks the tension. “I’m not crazy.”

I look back at this woman and there’s a sadness lingering in her eyes. How many times have I felt the exact same thing? The pain of being different.

“I’m a SCANC,” I tell her. “It stands for….”

“Specific communication with apparitions, non-entities and the comatose.”

I’m speechless because it’s a rare person who understands, let alone knows about my condition. We’re not your standard mediums, although most people guess that from the silly anacronym. Thanks to a weird twist of nature, SCANCs are selective in what ghosts we can see.

Hazel leans in close. “So, how does it work? This just came on suddenly one day?”

“Not quite.” I take another long sip of my coffee. Wow, it’s really that good, think to ask Hazel where she gets her beans. Did I mention I have ADHD? My mind wonders the world.

I sigh. “I was born with the talent, would see ghosts everywhere, ever since I was a kid. My parents were academics so they rarely believed me when I mentioned the dead janitor at school or the neighbor who talked to me from her porch and my friends made fun of me because there was no one there. At least no one that they could see.”

Hazel nods. “The world is a skeptical place.”

“I think if I would have had someone explain to me what was happening, I could have learned to turn things off when I needed to. But, I grew up with these spirits driving me nuts, especially this coed in college who killed herself and haunted my dorm. She never let me sleep.”

I shutter at the memory and Hazel surprises me by patting my hand.

“Anyway, I told them to go away and they did.”

Hazel removes her hand and straightens. “That’s it?”

I wish. “You become a SCANC when you repress your abilities like I did and a later trauma reopens that door. For me, Hurricane Katrina blew my door wide open but now I only see ghosts that have died by water. Specific communication with apparitions, meaning only one kind. So, in my case, water.”

Hazel nods taking it in. “Good thing it wasn’t wind. Then you’d probably never see ghosts.”

Never thought about that. “But then, think of all the fun I would have missed.”

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