The Monsters Within, Technical Notes

Evil Pumpkin (4)
We try to deny it, but we all have monsters within us. They seethe just below the surface, all fangs and teeth and incorporeal rage. We glimpse them when we turn away from mirrors, out of the corners of our eyes. We feel them when we look at a beloved friend lying asleep and some part of us, some dark, hungry part of us that cannot be tamed, feels the urge to do something terrible. It is not enough to acknowledge these monsters. We must understand them, lest they control us, urge us into actions as horrific as they are sublime.

This understanding is my great endeavor, and it is through this work that I have discovered these truths that I am about to unveil. These monsters are not nameless, nor or they formless. Once the light of rigorous scrutiny is shined upon them, they are all too familiar. We each are made up of not one monster, but three.

Specifically, we each have within us the following:

  1. A zombie
  2. A ghost
  3. A lycanthrope

Before I go into detail, a note on my qualifications. Firstly, I was born on October 27th, which was the date of the original Halloween (probably) back when it was a pre-Indoeuropean festival honoring Dark Cthonia, Lord of Horror Stories. It’s important to note that the reason their god of evil and fright was the god of stories, because unlike their descendants, these peoples weren’t dumb enough to think that shit was real. Also I made up the name Cthonia because records from that period are sketchy, but I think it sounds pretty call.

In addition to the birthday thing, I’ve read a lot of urban fantasy. Also my wife has read even more of it (all of it? nearly), and she’s told me about a lot of it in pretty good detail.

Okay, back to the theory. We are all made up of a zombie, a ghost, and a lycanthrope, and these three factors explain everything about us. Well, okay, they don’t explain everything about why we decide to become plumbers or why we like black olives. But they describe everything about how we manifest as monsters. Let us address each one briefly.

The Zombie: Our zombie is our corporeal body. That part of us that is nothing but empty, hungry flesh, seeking to sustain and duplicate our own existence mindless of the costs and the consequences. It also years to improve itself, to regain the intellect it lost when it was a complete entity, but its methods for doing so are as futile as they are useless. The zombie is even unable to recognize that the last sentence is redundant.

The Ghost: The ghost inside of us is our spirit, and our mind. The ghost allows us to think and function as intelligent beings, but it is shackled by its attachments. The emotional urges that make up so much of thought are present in the ghost, but it is lacking both the neurochemical factors that originally produced those urges and also the corporeality to act upon them.Thus, the ghost can think and feel but by itself it cannot change.

The Lycanthrope: The lycanthrope is the most rarefied of our monsters, but perhaps also the most important. The lycanthrope is the living principle. It is the spark of life that turns the lifeless zombie and the bodiless ghost into breathing, bleeding humans. It is also what lets us grow and change. But it also encompasses our rage, our passion, and the extremes of our emotions. NOTE: the lycanthrope was originally the werewolf, but the source material has taught me that maybe not everyone is a werewolf. Some people are turtles and probably also other things.

In a normal person, all three of these monsters are present and in balance. Strange things happen when you remove them.

If you rip the ghost out of a person, what remains is a ghost and a zombie. This is where ghosts and zombies come from. In this procedure, the lycanthrope is torn in half, and each of the remaining creatures has a fragment of it.

The zombie that remains is the hungry, mindless, brain-eating beast found in novels, movies, and parts of Detroit. It has no mind, because it has no ghost.

The ghost that remains has the personality of the original person, but obviously it also has no body of its own. It can interact with the physical world only weakly if at all. The personality that remains is only a shadow of its formal self, however, because it cannot change. Lacking the physical brain of the zombie and the full lycanthrope, it has only a limited set of emotions and thoughts, usually those it experienced at the moment of death. It is usually drawn to scenes of its life, people and places that remind it of what it was, in an attempt to regain what it cannot understand that it has lost. An isolated ghost is a slave to its own identity, as we all are, sometimes.

A full-blown lycanthrope manifests if this monster aspect gains dominance over the other two. The mechanisms for this are varied and outside of the reach of this endeavor.

If a lycanthrope is removed or destroyed from a person, what is left is a vampire. This conclusion is inevitable, both because of the logic I am about to present, and because of course there’s a vampire.

Once the life-force in the form of the were-creature is removed from a person, what is left is a body and a mind that are not alive, lacking in life’s vibrancy and dynamic nature, but still full cognizant and functional. It will not die naturally because it no longer has metabolic function. It can no longer change. It can still reproduce, but that reproduction is mechanical and infectious. It cannot create new life as that requires the lycanthrope. It can only transform others into those like itself, but since it has the mental awareness granted by its ghost, so do its “offspring.”

It requires very little additional speculation to see how this theory can be used to explain how people can be transformed into all variety of monsters. At least, all variety of the Urban Fantasy/World of Darkness/Halloween variety which are the purview of these notes. For example, it takes very little imagination to see how one would use these rules to explain the advent of mummies, or pumpkin kings, or teen wolves.

There is much left to be explored regarding the nuances of this theory, but its explanatory power is undeniable. As are its practical applications. By learning to comprehend our inner monsters, we can learn to resist them. More importantly, we can learn to harness and utilize them, for our own terrible, terrible ends.




大仏コロッケ&白えびコロッケ&味噌汁 (DAIBUTSU croquette & white shrimp croquette & MISO soup)

Lee stood up during the first commercial after halftime.

“Hey, where you going?” asked Stern. “Bathroom’s that way.”

“I know where the bathroom is, fool,” said Lee. “This is my house. I’m going to get the shrimp croquettes. Wait till you taste these motherfuckers. They’re tight.”

“None of that shit for me,” said Barry. “I don’t touch shrimp and shit like that.”

Lee shook his head as he walked into the kitchen.

“Man,” said Stern. “How come you never try nothing? How the fuck you know if you like it if you don’t try it?”

“It’s not like that,” said Barry. “I just can’t eat shrimp and crab and all that. I got allergies.”

“What are you talking about, allergies?” said Stern. “I never heard about that.”

“Well, I got allergies,” said Barry. “Why I got to talk about it?”

“Like, real allergies? Or just some food intolerance bullshit?”

“How the fuck should I know! I never been to the doctor or nothing. I just know when I eat shrimp and shit it aint pretty.”

“Well, is it a histamine reaction, or not? Shit be serious.”

Barry laughed. “Look at this motherfucker talking about histaneen reactions and shit. How the fuck should I know?”

“Well what happens when you eat it?” asked Stern. “You get itchy? You break out in hives?”

Barry shifted in his chair. “I don’t like to talk about it. That’s how come you don’t know about it. Just trust me. It aint pretty.”

“What you fools talking about?” said Lee as he walked in, carrying a tray of golden brown croquettes and several ramekins full of green sauce.

“Motherfucker says he has allergies,” said Stern.

“I do.”

“Right,” said Lee. “This is just another excuse not to try something because you’re a pussy. You wouldn’t touch the dip, either.”

“It’s fucking allergies!” Barry protested again. Then he grabbed a crostini, plunged it into the dip in front of him, and shoved it into his mouth.

“What’s he supposed to be allergic to, anyway?” asked Lee.

“He says seafood and crustaceans,” said Stern. “Shrimp and crab and that shit.”

“Yeah?” Lee’s eyebrow raised. “If that’s true, he probably shouldn’t try the dip. It has crab in it.”

Barry’s eyes widened, and he spit the food out of his mouth and right into the bowl of dip.

“Dude!” Lee cried. “I slaved over that shit!?

“It’s got crab in it?” Barry asked, scraping at his tongue with a napkin.


“Oh fuck. Why didn’t you say nothing?”

“I didn’t think…”

Barry lurched forward.

“Holy shit,” said Stern. “Motherfucker wasn’t lying.”

Lee and Stern backed away on the couch and watched as Barry began to spasm. There was a sickening crack, as the bones in his face snapped and shifted under his skin. The muscles on his exposed arms seemed to quiver, then new muscle tissue burst through the flesh and wrapped around his arms. Barry stood up and screamed out in pain. His nose stretched out. Blood sprayed from his fingertips and claws burst forth. Hair erupted from all over his body, like grass on a time-lapsed chia pet. Barry threw his arms out, then snapped his head back and howled.

“Shit!” said Lee.

Stern stood up, and walked towards his friend. “Motherfucker,” he said. “That shit aint no allergies. That’s fucking lycanthropy.”

“What?” growled Barry.

“Lycanthropy,” said Stern. “Werewolfism.”

Lee laughed. “Holy shit. You’re right.”

“You weren’t lying when you said you never been to the doctor about it,” said Stern. “What the fuck made you think it was an allergy?”

“I don’t know,” said Barry. “It only happens with food. Allergies be doing that, right?”

Stern shook his head. “Lycanthropy induced by crustacean intolerance,” said Stern. “My cousin had this same shit, only with shellfish. Given that your nose all bumpy, you probably a kyphorrhinos. That means you got the West Coast strain.”

“Fuck,” said Barry. “Sounds serious.”

“Nah,” said Stern. “It aint nothing.” He turned to Lee. “You still got that wormwood extract your old lady left here?”

“Yeah,” said Lee. “I’ve got it.”

“Should calm this shit right down,” said Stern.

“Fucking A,” said Barry. “Usually I just have to wait it out.”

“I’ll go get it,” said Lee. He stood up.

“Shh, shh!” said Stern. “Game’s back on.”

Lee dropped back into his seat. “You’re just going to have to wait.” He shook his head. “Food allergy.”

“Fine,” said Barry. “Whatever.”

“Another thing, motherfucker,” said Lee.

Barry looked at him quizzically.

“You’re paying for that damn couch.”