Congratulations, my hapless pilgrims of the macabre. At last, you have arrived at the final abomination in our Horrors and Nightmare Series. You have come far, escaping the ravaging clutches of Zombie Mold, the all-consuming terror of our Street Drug Laboratory, and even possession via one of Utah’s many restless spirits. Such a pity that none of that will prepare you for this – our most disturbing encounter yet: Monstrous Transformations!
But where are you going? I’m afraid you’ll find the door locked tight behind you. And with such disorienting lightning crawling through the sky above, I advise you not to wander. The path ahead is treacherous, after all, and who knows what else may be roaming these dark byways.
Look. See how the inconsistent flickering of the storm briefly illuminates the shadows? It preys on the mind, creating any number of vile shapes. But surely, the blurs of jagged teeth and ragged fur are nothing more than your overactive mind. And, of course, thunder is so easily mistaken for the growls of beasts.
Indeed, this patchwork of brutish shapes is nothing but the imagination plagued by fear. Such horrible creatures cannot truly exist inside the confines of reality.
But what is this? A form that does not vanish in the harsh gleam of the storm. Its burning eyes persist into the darkness and the torchlight alike. See how it towers, even while crouching for the pounce, readying its brutal claws? Can you smell the rancid aroma of death clinging to its hairy flesh?
Is it a mutant wolf or a cursed soul doomed to wander the earth? Or, worse yet, perhaps the truth is darker than the myth.
No one knows exactly where the legends of these bestial horrors got their start. Some date them to The Epic of Gilgamesh or even the Greek Legend of Lycaon. Yet no matter their origin, there’s no doubt we’ve come to know them as ravenous killers. And perhaps that is easier to bear than a world where animalistic urges overtake the human mind.
Consider the tale of Michel Verdun, a Frenchman living in the year 1521. Michel was a serial killer known, in medieval times, as a werewolf. After several heartless murders, Michel confessed to swearing himself to the devil, obtaining the ability to turn himself into a wolf. They burned him at the stake for his crimes, but the mystery of his story persists today. And he is not alone. Pierre Burgot, Giles Garnier, and other killers claimed to have made similar demonic pacts.
Were these the ravings of men plagued by mental illness and the corruption of their minds? Or are there truly forces in this world that can transform a man’s very body into that of a beast? Either way, it is far easier to believe that such savage actions can only belong to those bewitched by the demonic spirits.
That was certainly true of our ancestors. To them, the story served an important function – explaining the unthinkable. Moreover, a belief in dark magic would have preserved trust in their community overall. (And faith that their religion could spare them from the evils and hardships of the world.)
So, we leave it to you, venturesome mortals. Vicious beast, or vicious human? And perhaps, more importantly, would you dare to step closer either way?
Hurry now, and do not look the beast in the eyes. Slip past the werewolves and their vicious appetites. Come further into the dark.
Careful now, and mind what you say. The fair folk do not take kindly to insults.
But where is this creature? All that waits before us is an infant sleeping in its crib, wrapped in frail lace. There is no sign of anything amiss except, of course, the ever insistent flash of lightning. But then, that is the true horror of this particular fiend.
Take another look.
Do you see the child’s unusually wrinkled brow? How it cries and wails with the shrillest of voices? No amount of consoling eases its whimpers, either. At times it cannot even lift its thin limbs into the air.
In Irish lore, there is a name for such a child: the dreaded changeling. According to those old-world tales, a changeling comes when the fairies replace a babe with one of their own kind – transforming the child into a miserable sort of creature. According to legend, a child taken into the world of the fairies would suffer a life of servitude, all so a fairy might experience love or enact its revenge. Though, inevitably, the changeling would fall ill, pass on, or find themselves abandoned.
Once more, however, if we take a keener look at these tales, we may find darker truths. History, after all, is an incredibly harsh landscape. Why, when we consider the circumstances of the pre-industrial world, is it any surprise such stories exist? Without proper medicine, care, or understanding of certain ailments, infant mortality was high. So, perhaps these legends softened the blow of impossible losses and choices. Perhaps changelings are nothing more than a way to explain the ravages of poverty and disease.
Come now, mortals. Leave the changeling to the care of our doting specters. You may notice that we ascend now into a more modern environment.
You do know this place.
You’ve seen the artwork on the walls before, as well as the familiar furniture and steady floor beneath your feet. Even in the lighting, you know these rooms, as personally as possible. This is none other than your very own home.
You see, this particular monstrous transformation lingers in rather unexpected places. It comes to us not from the ancient legends, but from more modern inclinations, and its residue can linger for decades. This household invader is none other than the notorious substance – methamphetamine.
You may remember meth from our earlier exhibition on street drugs. Though, you may not realize the sheer transformative power it contains. For the user, it attacks the cardiovascular system, capable of causing psychosis and various mental impairments. It wears away a person’s mental faculties, such as impulse control and decision making. In some cases, meth can even promote violent behavior, robbing the user of sleep and appetite, transforming them into a shadow of who they once were. Over time, users may suffer brain damage, permanently altering their personality, as their teeth and organs rot away and decay. Indeed, many former users look back at themselves with shock, wondering who that person was and how such a being could reside within them.*
Worse yet, this substance does not simply evaporate when it is smoked or cooked. No. As we said – it stays, leaving harmful residues that can make you and your family ill. This, our final monstrous transformation, erodes the very safety of your home or property, leaving all within at risk.
So. At last, we come to the bone-chilling conclusion of our Horrors and Nightmare Series. We hope it has provided you with a new respect for the world around you and the mysteries it contains. We hope, too, that it has also demonstrated the true nature of household contaminants and their capacity for monstrous transformations.
Though, it need not be the end for you. You can still ensure the sanctity of your household tombs and haunting grounds. How you ask? Why, by calling upon the help of a Certified Decontamination Specialist. And for those of you lucky enough to rest your bones in Utah, AEI Decon is here to lend our assistance. Feel free to call upon our friendly ghouls during this, or any season, at (801) 888-6698.
Image by Etienne Marais from Pixabay – Man Running Through The Woods, Image by Amber Avalona from Pixabay – werewolf, Image by Amber Avalona from Pixabay – Screaming Baby, Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay – Man Crouching.
*If you or a loved one is suffering from meth addiction, please call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Helpline. 1-800-662-HELP (4357).