Good And Evil

English: [detail].

English: [detail]. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s my question: Can one still be a “good” person and like (write) horror?

I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I think about horrific scenes I’ve seen in movies, or read in novels. Things that really get under your skin. Things that scared the crap out of me, honestly. And I wonder – “How did someone think this up?” and “If they thought it up, does that mean they might be capable of doing it themselves?”

I was fortunate enough to meet a very special person a few months ago. If any of you have seen the movie “The Rite,” this man is the priest who this movie was based on. He is an exorcist. That’s right. He casts out demons.

You may think this is all just more “fiction,” some kind of antiquated fable. But he says he gets hundreds of calls a month, more than he can handle. And he just works in a small section of California. There are literally thousands if not tens… hundreds of thousands of people who believe they are possessed by evil spirits. But that’s not the scary part. While he finds that most of them have other problems – drugs, mental health issues – he does say that a significant number of them… are right.

I can’t remember the exact number, but he said that something like 80% of people in Italy are regularly involved with the occult. He said that the exorcists there are overwhelmed with work. He said this country is getting very busy as well these days.

I find this all disturbing, and fascinating. He confirms the things shown in that movie. I know others who have witnessed exorcisms themselves. It was terrifying for them, but they are not doubters anymore.

I think horror in fiction can be gratuitous, if it is glorified. I see nothing commendable about having a story where the evil wins, where people are destroyed, and that is the happy ending. But I do think it is a good thing to scare people. It’s being honest. Because it’s something that is really happening in our world, whether you believe in it or not. It’s happening.

I didn’t realize that every parish in the US has an exorcist. Yes, there are litterally hundres of exorsists in this country engaged in a full time war against demons.

Think of that. Did you know?

Many of my stories are about what happens to people when they involve themselves with dark, powerful things – things they don’t completely understand and can’t control. I don’t want to glorify it… but I do want to scare you.

I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.

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16 thoughts on “Good And Evil

  1. Oh there are many many more in my part of world who claim to be experts in the field of exorcism. I would love to see a real demon,although i have seen a lot pretending to be humans ..

    I love horror and thriller stories,but i am not a bad person,its just one of the genres i like to read. They are stories and a good story in any genre will be a good story.

    I just finished both parts of Wind River ,loved both of them but the first part
    is so horrifying that I ( someone who seldom gets goosebumps watching or reading horror) had several moments when i had to take a pause…

    the prologue,the part where Sarah wonders about the dreams and future
    “….Come North! Wind River Awaits!
    A Trapper’s Dream! Water, Land, and Gold!
    The ink slides from the G as he fills in the outline of the letter and he
    curses Christ for allowing it to happen.” Marvelous

    both the parts are so well woven and so engaging,that i now will have to buy the book to read the rest.
    Had such a great time reading both parts,Thank you so much for sharing these.

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I hadn’t been told that it was “too” scary before! 🙂 I really appreciate all of the things you said. I will be posting more parts very soon. I hope you will read them!

  2. Anything that frightens me pushes my boundaries, causing me to question what I know and what I don’t. Historically speaking, getting out (or being forced out) of my comfort zone has been an incredibly positive experience, although not necessarily in the moment. You can definitely be a “good” person and still like/write horror, but the bigger question to me, is how do you define “good”?

    • I guess “good” is not doing what people do in horror novels. 🙂 The fact that I make up people who do horrible things in my stories sometimes scares me. But then again, there are many people out there who actually do horrible things to give us ideas for stories, aren’t there?

  3. Hi Daniel! I find the paranormal fascinating myself…especially exorcisms. Have you ever watched the tv show Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel? It’s one of my favorite shows. They’ve dealt with demonic entities on many occasions and have spoken to people who have undergone an exorcism…really scary stuff, but I’m a total believer. I don’t see how else to explain some of the things that are out there. Oooh and my husband and I have recently gotten into watching the X-Files on Netflix…wow, that show scares the crap out of me. Regardless of the cheesy 90’s special effects, it’s still scary!

    • All that is really entertaining, and I, too, miss the X-Files. The thing that got me about meeting that priest was the fact that this subject never comes up in conversation, and yet thousands of people everyday deal with demonic oppression/possession. You’d think it would have been on the news, at least once.

  4. I think the human psyche takes a certain amount of joy from “self-flagellation”. And this is perfectly OK as long as this tendency has not taken over one’s life. You are a good soul. At the same time, as a human being, you indulge in self-flagellation once in a while. It sounds totally normal to me.

    And about the second part, the paranormal, I tend to resort to see-to-believe strategy: as a person who’s been oppressed by a culture that utilizes unproven factoids to subdue the population for a big chunk of his life, I tend to take the low, scientific road.

    Define me Evil, explain me Good, and tell me why a loving, omnipotent God would let pain to dwell on earth and harass His children.

  5. I write fantasy horror as well and I try to not have pat endings where good always wins because in real life, it doesn’t. The outcome depends on the character’s choices, just like in real life.

    • Very true, but we also look to fiction to be fantastic, extraordinary, harsher than life, and also better than life. Sometimes good wins, and that should always be a very bad day.

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  7. I liked that movie so much that I was quite literally glued to the television and my husband walked into the room and was talking to me and I didn’t even notice!

    On a serious note this post gave me chills and I also love to write horror but as someone said above, writing and doing are completely different things. And if that is what you’re good at, don’t question, just rock on! Just don’t bludgeon anyone over the head either. 😉

    Sadly I’m just coming to realize all that after editing my own horror story to DEATH. Live and learn!

    • Editing can really help, or really hurt. I’m a firm believer in letting a story ripen for awhile. It needs time to solidify – like Jello. You follow the instructions, boil the water, stir it up, but when you’re done, you have to wait. Then, when it’s ready, you can cut it up and shape it how you want it.

      • Great advice!! I’m going to tell my hubby I’m treating my story like jello just so he’ll give me a funny look. 😉 Ahhh the little pleasures in life.

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