More psychic tales gleaned from the book Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, some of which may prove useful when writing about Tana in Afghanistan (The Khyber Chronicle).
Nelya Mikhailova was fourteen when the Germans invaded Russia. She was then caught up in the siege of Leningrad from September 1941 until Jan 1944]. (p82)
She became a soldier, with her brother, father, and sister in the Red Army. The conditions were very severe in the city: the bread ration per day was about four ounces; hunger in Leningrad lasted almost 900 days; the winter temperature sometimes -40; and the water and electricity were cut off frequently. As time passed the city was razed by bombs and artillery fire.
Nelya served in Tank T-34 as a radio operator. Still in her early teens, she became a Red Army sergeant of the 226th tank regiment. Later Nelya and some of her family served in an armoured train which helped bring desperately needed provisions to the stricken city.
She was seriously injured by artillery fire, but survived to marry an engineer, have a son in the army and become a grandmother. She also discovered she had PK (psychokinesis) ability. [In the late 19th century Alexander Aksakov, a councillor to the Tsar became the first psychic researcher in Russia. He later became a spiritualist and studied mediums. He is believed to have coined the term ‘telekinesis’. He died 1903, aged 70.]
During her PK experiments, strain etched the dimples deep in Nelya’s cheeks, and her pulse beat up to 250 per minute. Apparently, her powers diminished in stormy weather, this being later attributed to the magnetic field around her body being affected (this attested by the Leningrad Institute of Metrology). Afterwards, she looked drained, and had lost over three lbs in weight. [To date, in the real world we inhabit, controlled experiments have found no proof of telekinesis.]
She died in 1990.
I’ve used Aksakov’s name for my Spetsnaz assassin, Lidiya, who first appears in The Tehran Text. She reappears in The Khyber Chronicle.
Tana Standish, my psychic spy, cannot move objects with her mental faculties. This, I felt, was a step too far. She can detect danger (bad vibes, if you will), being a sensitive, and when in close proximity can snatch the thoughts of others – if those people are in a heightened emotional state, for example. Again, it is not a parlour trick she can invoke at will every time. Some of her tests at headquarters have proved failures. But Dr James Fisk, the psychologist at Fenner House is encouraging, for he’s seen how she can exceed expectations at other times of high stress.