An Introduction to Monster Here & There
All throughout human history, all over the world, humans have told stories about strange creatures that defy imagination and, sometimes, description... bizarre beings that can do impossible things such as change forms, see the future, and survive death.
These days, in countries where life is comforted by the discoveries of science, adults tend to laugh at old tales of monsters... overall, the average person is likely to consider creatures like Unicorns and Dragons to be just quaint stories from a simpler time when people didn’t know their world so well. And yet... monsters are still with us.
What are Monsters?
It may seem silly, but most people don’t have a good idea of just what a monster is. Generally speaking, a monster is believed to be something huge, scary, and dangerous; but not all monsters are. Monsters have very few things in common... so the best way to describe a monster is to think about in what ways they are uncommon.
First off, monsters are creatures that run against human expectations; they display characteristics and behaviors that are not, at the time, considered normal for the world around them. Secondly, monsters can do things that humans often wish they could do... but these creatures also disrupt normal life by their mere appearance. In short, a monster is almost anything that humans consider to be against their common idea of how the world should work.
For example, Werewolves can do something humans wish they could do; they can change from a person into an animal, and run free of human cares and worries. But werewolves also kill people, which definitely disrupts normal life for those living near them! When a werewolf was suspected to be in a community, people would stop traveling alone, stop going outside at night, and largely stop all normal life until the beast was thought to have been driven away or slain.
So monsters are, generally, creatures or beings that can do amazing things, and that people will change their normal day to day activities to accommodate. Some few monsters may threaten our lives, but all monsters tend to change the way we live our lives.
Are Monsters Real?
This is not a simple question because through the ages what people have considered to be “real” has changed. At the present time we tend to determine what is real by the yardstick of science, which is a belief in the human ability to measure and predict the world around us. Science has served us well; people have learned much about the world, and dismissed many monsters of the past as simply scientifically impossible.
But science has two weaknesses that are rarely mentioned. First, while science is strong at measuring, quantifying, and predicting things that can be touched, examined, and repeated, most monsters can’t be touched or examined, and don’t repeat their behaviors. If a monster is only encountered once, or seen by just one person, then there just isn’t much science can definitively say on the matter.
Second, no matter how good the evidence a scientist gathers, they cannot prove that something doesn’t exist. The best a scientist can say is that, in every attempt they made to find something, they were unable to find it; and so they assume it doesn’t exist.
But what if that something does exist, and the scientist didn’t see it? Learned men heard from farmers about rocks falling from the skies for centuries before they finally realized that rocks ― re-named “meteors” ― really do fall from the skies... but the learned men had to see it happen with their own eyes before they’d acknowledge it as real. So the possibility of strange things science can’t explain does exist; and this is why there are people who spend serious time trying to find monsters.
And, of course, there’s always that little detail that scientists and skeptics quickly jump to debate... the fact that, worldwide, there are still people of sound mind and body who report having encountered something strange; something unreal; something... monstrous.