As we approach All Hallows Eve, we start to notice that monsters are suddenly everywhere: at the movies, on television—and making guest appearances in advertisements for just about any product from soft drinks to luxury cars. Werewolves, zombies, vampires, and all manner of monsters are suddenly staring back at you from the window of the convenience store, the lobby of your local bank or perhaps even your own front yard.
The Monster Next Door
Academics, cultural historians, and those who study our enduring fascination with monsters often point out several reasons for the perennial lure of such fantastic beings. Monsters represent the ultimate “other.” They’re a safe way to pretend that evil is less human than it usually is … or that ugliness or deformity is less human than it often is … and, perhaps crucially, they reinforce the comforting fantasy that you can instantly tell who’s good and who’s bad. In real life, of course, it’s hardly ever that simple.
In the early 1970s, a ruggedly handsome young man had just graduated from college and was still having a hard time getting over his ex-girlfriend. But he was dating again, applying to law schools, volunteering as a rape crisis counselor, and working his way up the ranks in the Washington state Republican Party after working on a governor’s re-election campaign. Less than five years later, Ted Bundy was one of the most infamous men in the country and was the target of a local, state, and national manhunt when he escaped from jail in Colorado, where he was awaiting trial for murdering one of his many victims. He then managed to make his way to Florida in less than a week, where he killed two female college students in their beds and left a third beaten unconscious as he escaped again, only to kidnap and kill one more woman before he was finally arrested once more.
In a strange twist of fate, Ann Rule, one of the country’s top crime writers and a former police officer, volunteered at the rape crisis center with Bundy just a few years before his notorious cross-country crime spree. In The Stranger Beside Me she reflects on his deadly likability. Even as she went to visit Bundy on death row, after multiple trials in different states with evidence linking him to multiple rapes and murders, when in his presence she still had a hard time believing that the police had the right man—that Ted was actually a monster. In her book she explains that as a sociopath, Bundy felt no real empathy for any other human beings; but a lifetime spent scrutinizing the emotional reactions of other people, combined with his intelligence, endowed him with an extraordinary ability to lie—fooling everyone from his victims to his girlfriend to the police. He could blend in, and he knew how to lie to get his way, but one of his most monstrous traits was the sorrow he displayed while awaiting execution. Because, according to Rule, the only thing that caused him agonizing grief on death row seemed to be the simple fact that he got caught.
Real monsters are truly horrifying—and provide a good reason to hone your psychic skills. Many people have avoided being the victim of a crime simply by listening to their intuition and avoiding a street they walk down every night, or by being extra alert if it suddenly feels like they’re being watched.
Fortunately there isn’t a serial killer around every corner—although the FBI does estimate that there may be as many as fifty operating in the United States at any given time. Even so, “merely” getting mugged probably isn’t your idea of a good time, either.
In Case of Emergency, Picture This!
The visualization below is a shorter version of an exercise designed to strengthen your aura and help shield you from negative energies. It can also help protect you from physical harm—but never rely on any psychic skill in lieu of good old common sense! Ideally it’s best to practice this for a few minutes each day, because the more you practice, the less you will have to think about it should you find yourself facing a dangerous situation.
|The Tower of Light (Emergency Method)
Seeking a Strange Encounter?
There are monsters you want to avoid at all costs, and then there are those monsters that you may actually want to find. Sure, there’s ghost hunting, but for the truly fearless, a monster-hunting field trip might be just the thing for a hair-raising Halloween adventure!
Before you laugh at such an outlandish idea, consider this: in 1993, scientists discovered Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, a large horned mammal that looks somewhat like a cross between an Ox and a deer in the mountains of Vietnam. Before this official recognition, it was but one more strange monster of the mountains. Several other species of deer and a new species of pheasant have since been discovered in the same region.
Monster lore stretches around the world, and our curiosity, imagination, and, in some cases, ignorance of what’s actually out there will likely continue to feed such legends as long as there are wild and remote places left to inspire them. The Yeti is the Himalayan version of our very own Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you prefer). The Yeti has been known to Tibetans as a magical creature for centuries, and reports from Western mountain climbers of this formidable bipedal ape-man stretch as far back as the 1920s.
Most of our evidence for the Yeti’s existence is in the form of unverifiable tracks, dirty pelts, and eyewitness sightings from a considerable distance. There is no proof that such a monster exists. Then again, when you consider that we share more than 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees, it’s not so impossible to believe that there might just be another ape-like species that we have hardly ever seen—especially if it favors a climate that can easily kill most unprepared Homo sapiens within hours.
So as the nights grow longer and another Halloween looms near, take a moment to marvel at the multitude of things we have yet to learn about our world, and keep your eyes and your mind open. Because you can be sure that somewhere out there lives a monster.
|A Brief Guide for the Fledgling Monster Hunter
Keep an open mind and remember that you are looking for two things: evidence that supports the idea that a monster has been present, and any evidence that the apparent sighting was due to natural causes, or could even be a hoax.