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Know Jack #425 Real Monsters

“…our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.  ~Thomas Paine


Those words are from Paine’s Common Sense and I am taking them out of context. If you read the news or watch it on television, you’re used to that and so I feel at ease doing it. It is taken out of context only in the sense that Paine is speaking about the suffering caused by government.

However, our being the chief cause of our own suffering can be readily applied to most humans.

Monsters are our own evil come to life, a reflection of those things we see within ourselves, fear, and hope to conquer. That is why the best heroes in horror are ordinary people. I am not interested in superheroes—they don’t exist. Monsters, however, are very real. They are us.

What is the werewolf, but the person so consumed by rage that they act like a beast? I’ve seen that monster. I know him intimately. He may not sprout fangs and claws, but they are there in the inner man. We have all seen him—we have all been him.

Those who study dreams say that dreaming of vampires is the subconscious feasting on desires we are ashamed to act out. The vampire is the ultimate narcissist, existing forever on the life blood of others. They are never really dead or alive, empty husks without empathy and dwelling in darkness.

In the tale of Frankenstein, who is the real monster? Is it the animated pieces of corpses or the man who presumes to play God by “bestowing” life? It is one small step for man to go from Frankenstein’s Creature to the radioactive monsters of the 50s and 60s. Tinkering with nature in the name of science is the stuff monsters are made of.

Monsters surprise us. They seem to burst onto the scene from nowhere in defiance of belief. Convincing everyone that the monster exists is the prelude to its defeat. As long as the monster can be denied, there is no stopping it. If the devil does not exist, we cannot be touched by evil or fret over letting it free.

I have been asked how, as a Christian and a minister, I can write horror stories. The answer is, in the same way I can speak of sin and evil. Horror stories are our way of combating the evil within by giving it a body and slaying it. As we all know, sometimes the monster does not stay dead. Wars have many battles before there is a victor. We have met the enemy, and it is us.


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