In Stephen King's plethora of novels, many of his characters have some sort of mental ability, be it pyrokinesis, telekinesis, or others. This ability is called "the Shine."

In the book Pet Sematary, mother Rachel Creed and her daughter, Ellie, seem to have some mild psychic powers. They both sense something is going on with the family cat, Winston Churchill, and Louis Creed, Ellie's father. Now, it is never explicitly stated that they have "the Shine," but it sure seems like it.

Has this ever been confirmed, or am I just speculating?


I wouldn't credit either of them (Rachel or Ellie) with having "the Shine" for sensing that things were awry with Louis and the cat. No more so than I would credit you for having the Shine when you know that someone in your family has had a bad day, or know that your pet's just not feeling well today.

Living with someone, or a pet, for a long time usually includes developing a sense about them. When their behaviors change you just know something's not right. It may not be well defined and you may not have a clue what's wrong, or even how you know. Still, you know.

Children sense it more than adults because they're wired that way - noticing tiny clues from close people is part of how they learn acceptable behavior. The "home-maker" is often sensitive to the "bread-winner" as well, since they are dependent on them to keep the finances for the household's well being. (Note that "home-maker" and "bread-winner" are functional terms, not gender-related terms.)

This is one of the times when Mr. King didn't need to create, ascribe, powers, or "the Shine," to someone for his story to work. All he needed to do, for that aspect, was make obvious to the readers what they have probably experienced many times before. And then promptly forgotten as well.

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I’d say she had a form of the Shining. I would argue that even Louis had the ability. Both communicated with the dead, and Ellie, as mentioned previously, had premonitions of the events to come. One could also easily look at Louis’ conversations with Victor as Louis’ ability to shine.

If we look at The Shining, Danny Torrence was able to:

  1. communicate in some form or another with the dead, and

  2. Tony was Danny’s older, future self trying to steer him in the right direction to avoid death.

Danny also possessed the ability to see the future in some capacity. It’s also arguable that all of the Torrences (at the very least, Jack) had a form of the Shining. It seems to be hereditary in this case if Jack passed it down to Danny. One could also argue that Louis passed it down to his kids.

It gets a little tricky with Pet Sematary, however. It’s clearly a little ambiguous as to whether or not the influence of the Wendigo is what is exclusively driving all of our characters toward their collective fates. It influences Judd to show Louis the place, it clearly influences Louis to make the poor decisions he makes, so it could be argued that Pascow is telling Louis exactly what the Wendigo wants him to hear.

I believe the Shining is an ability that cross-pollinates into many different King novels, and I believe this to be one of them. My opinion is that Ellie and possibly Louis have the Shine.

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Can you provide a quote showing that they can communicate with the dead? It would make this answer much stronger. – DavidW Oct 22 '19 at 20:52

There were a couple quotes that lead me to believe that Ellie could shine. Not so sure about Rachel.

For Ellie, there was a couple spots in the book were she had a dream about Church dying or that Cage had been brought back to life.

So I would say that Ellie could shine, but I may be wrong.

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  • 1
    Please add your sources. For instance, these quotes you mention. Thanks – amflare Nov 2 '17 at 21:21

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