The horrors of the season don’t frighten me. Vampires, witches, assorted ghostly apparitions dripping gore and glaring balefully — good for a laugh, perhaps. All the twisted supernatural perversities that ooze out of the mind of Stephen King and his ilk don’t do a thing for me. What scares me are the monsters in real life.
I don’t believe in spirits of the dead or haunters of the night. But I know too well the reality of human monsters who delight in cruelty. You hear about them in the news. If you are unfortunate, you have had first-hand experience with them. Sometimes they aren’t to blame for their evil. They are damaged souls, the victims of other monsters. In that sense, the bite of the werewolf is quite real. Violence and viciousness infect the victim, especially when that victim is a child. The poison can work its dark magic to turn victim into perpetrator, and thus the curse is passed on.
Sometimes the sickness of mind is something the person was born with. There are human beings whose facility for empathy never develops. They don’t feel the pain of others. They know only their own needs and desires. They prey on the unsuspecting. Often they are charming, intelligent, outwardly attractive. It’s called Machiavellianism by psychologists, a tendency to detach oneself from conventional morality and thus feel free to use all manner of deception and guile to manipulate others. In their cold selfishness, they are indifferent to the suffering they cause.
There are the monsters who torment animals, who derive a sense of superiority and strength by inflicting pain and terror on those unable to defend themselves. Or whose warped attitudes lead them to collect animals in pathological numbers, until they are unable to care for them, letting them starve in misery and neglect. The horrors rescue workers have found when they raid the homes of these “hoarders” are as terrible as any fiction.
Within the battle of the sexes is the foul specimen of male who is driven to dominate, whose fragile sense of self-worth demands the subjugation of the female. Strong, confident women enrage them, driving them to seek revenge, to commit rape, often brutally. The image of a woman, terrified and pleading, delights them. They feel no compassion, no love, only the need to break into whimpering submission the object of their wrath. Sometimes, their methods are more subtle; they become active politically; they become the head of a church.
These are the monsters I fear. And, unfortunately, they don’t come out only once a year. They are with us always.
Thanks for joining us in this Halloween blog tour. Be sure to check out the final entries on my fellow participant’s websites:
Elizabeth Black (blog may contain adult content)
A Novel Friend (Trisha Wooldridge)
Whimsical Words (Vonnie Winslow Crist)
and L.C. Hu at elsiewho.com