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Who knows what evils lurk in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

June 5, 2007

by HP

I have an active imagination and, when I was a little kid, I had to learn to keep it in check. For instance, every time I swam in my Uncle’s pool, I could (and did) visualize a great white shark swimming after me…in a thirty foot long, eight foot deep chlorinated pool. I avoided reading horror stories and seeing horror movies because they frightened me so. I can still remember the night that Freddy Kruger appeared in a dream of mine. I don’t remember the dream itself, but I was in a crowd, minding my own business when, suddenly, Freddy was there in front of me. He waved his hand and said “Hi there.” .00001 seconds later I was bolt upright in bed, sweating. This from a kid who has never even seen a Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

As a result, I quickly integrated a belief in big, bad evil early on in my theological career. I didn’t see a reason why there couldn’t be things like werewolves and vampires in real life. After all, since Mormons believe in an evil overlord, why not other, lesser evils.

However, that has changed. I can’t place my finger on it, but I don’t believe in those things anymore. I don’t really understand why this is. At some point, horror became more a place to examine my religious beliefs than a reason to lock the doors at night.

I guess part of this is that I am sufficiently convinced that people have enough evil in themselves to not necessitate supernatural origins. There simply hasn’t been a vampire imagined with the ruthless efficiency of a Hitler or a Stalin. Also horror for me is now a kind of comedy. This is especially the case in all those bad 80’s sequel movies. By learning to laugh at the ridiculousness of Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, and the Wolfen, I have rid myself of the fear that they once inspired.

At the same time, I had to come to a theological decision. I decided that a loving God simply wouldn’t allow there to be things like vampires and werewolves. Probably this is silly, but I had to decide that. Beings with powers over our wills are, I believe, outside the bounds that God has set for evil on earth. I don’t ultimately believe that the devil can make me do it; only I can.

So, I read horror and watch it occasionally without ill effects today. Sometimes it is profound; much more often it is silly. That said, this is no more and no less the case with the fantasy and sci-fi I read and those are supposed to be much more respectable genres (well, more respectable at least). I sleep well at night and when I encounter vampires in my dreams, I drive stakes through their hearts.

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5 comments

  1. Just laughing. My dad LOVED “The Shadow” as a kid and he could imitate the sinister laugh to a tee. (I heard the old radio recordings years later.) Whenever I had a slumber party, he would wait until after midnight and then get on the intercom go through you tagline, followed by “the laugh.” It always freaked out all my friends. 🙂


  2. OK I understand that more mythical creatures don’t exist, but what about ghosts? What about the spirit world? Don’t you think there is any cross-over? What about Satan’s host? Come on! What do you think?


  3. Sorry, CA. I believe in life after death. I have relatives who saw their spouses just before they died. I don’t have a problem with the dead interacting with the living, but I assume that there are boundaries to this interaction.

    In the New Testament (interestingly, not so much in the old testament), people are possessed by demons. I have heard first hand accounts of possession in modern times. I am open to the idea, but I don’t understand how this would fit into God’s plan. Particularly since those afflicted with possession are not usually the hardened criminal who brought this upon themselves type. If it is true, it is a disturbing phenomenon and possibly sufficient for me to give up my anti-vampire stance (if God could allow the one, then why not the other?).

    In the OT, there is the famous instance of the witch of En-dor summoning Samuel from the dead. I know that there is a hardy CES debate regarding whether this was really Samuel or if it was a minion of the devil disguised as Samuel. I don’t know and I am unsure that we could know, but I am open to both possibilities. FWIW


  4. Endor…isn’t that a planet in Star Wars? 🙂


  5. Okay… I’m going to go ahead and out the real elephant in the room… what about the Terrorist ghosts? Huh?



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