Friday, March 10, 2006

Mything Link

Myths and legends are the stuff of horror stories. From vampires and werewolves to the burned man in the sweater who will kill you in your dreams. Even when they are not the composition of the story itself they can be strong elements that add flavour, depth, and a sense of history. Myths and legends in horror represent a sense of the known that is every bit as scary as the unknown. Whispered rumours of dozens to hundreds of helpless victim at the hands of unbelieveable supernatural forces goes a long way to setting both characters and the audience on edge.

A story that sets up a well constructed and griping myth or legend rises to the top because it fits in well with the way that the audience tends to view the world. Who hasn't been prey to, party to, or witness to others who have been, struck by the myth of the closet monster, or terrible things under the bed? Sure it's an irrational childhood thing but its never isolated and it carries through generation after generation. It is a part of modern life, a legend for the now.

When people overcome these fears some forget all about it, and others see the excitement, if not fun, that it generated in their lives and they seek similar thrills and chills out elsewhere. They seek it for fun sometimes, and other times it is to prove to themselves that they are above the fear finally, that it is indeed something that is behind them. Overall they seek out proof that they are not alone, that others share the same link.

This link is that myths and legends are an integral part of our culture and has been for practically forever. The reason each group, and it is a global thing as well as eternal, created these stories was basically the same thing. They wanted to keep a sense of awe for what lies out past the farthest that our light and reason reaches. People need to feel that there is something beyond the world that can be seen and understood by everybody. That most to all of these myths and legends having frightening natures or elements says a lot about the human condition.

Most myths and legends that endure beyond literary circles change and grow as the years go by. They are often revised sometimes as quickly as from generation to generation. There was an article in a Miami paper in June of 2001 about homeless children who tell a well-defined and articulated story about a blue lady who is fighting the Devil with his minions and La Llorona a.k.a. Bloody Mary. Angels and dead relatives are a part of the battle and the children must keep their memories alive so they may continue the fight. Also to be safe the children must know the secret stories and pass them on to other homeless children. This story, and others of an extremely similar nature are popping up across the U.S.

There is no "real" reason to come up with such a story. It doesn't make their lives any better, it doesn't explain anything they've been forced to witness as a whole (one hopes the dead aren't really talking), so why has it come about? For the same reason that any other group needs a legend, to feel to be a part of something big and important, and the quench the human need for fear and horror.

© 2002 Robert G. Male

Mood: muted.
Music: Good Enough by Van Halen and All I Want is Everything by Def Leppard.

Van Halen: 5150
Buy these at Amazon.ca
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Def Leppard: Slang

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