In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week we cover:
The days of the dead have come again. Every year, different cultures in the world recognize festivals and holidays devoted to the dearly departed. These celebrations often involve colorful costumes, feasting on sweets and celebrating into the late night hours. Though there’s always a solemn respect under it all because a question has always loomed and weighed heavily on the hearts and minds of the people celebrating.
We all know that spirits are supposed to carry on and leave the mortal plane. But it’s undeniable that people have seen something lurking in the dark corners of rooms and floating weightlessly through hallways and outside windows. You hear things move and shift in the night or the faint whispers of someone you can’t quite find. A chill runs through you to the bone as you swear that you feel something entering the room with you while your back is turned.
Are they still with us?
Many have claimed they are. Sometimes, they even provide evidence to the fact. But what exactly are they providing proof of? What exactly is it that they’ve seen?
These are the ones we’ve all encountered in some form or another. You’ve felt them, seen them or heard them at least once in your life – even if you can’t or won’t admit it to yourself. Legend has it that when a person suffers a terrible emotional trauma at the time of their passing they leave an impression on this world. These echoes of the lost can go without notice for some time as they continue to play through their final moments or wait for something that may never come.
Sometimes they wander as disembodied lights, barely visible to the naked eye but often caught on film. These formless masses of light, caught only in the briefest of moments between the blink of an eye, float amongst us unseen. Often the air will chill as they enter, a passing thought you brush aside as you bundle up to shield yourself from something that was just a breeze. Some may be attuned to their presence. But only in the rare instance that you have a camera pointed your way during this moment do people like you see the truth.
Still stranger and far more unnerving is the form of those that still maintain a shred of that humanity they once had. Driving along old roads late in the night, a form may appear walking on the shoulder in the distance. It strikes you as odd: why would anyone be walking these old roads at this time of night? An internal conflict grows in you. Picking up hitch-hikers can be dangerous at this time of night, but leaving them on the shoulder is just as dangerous in these old back roads with no lights.
But when you get nearer the conflict is moot: they’re gone. Maybe you were tired, maybe the lights of the car caught an object on the road that you couldn’t recognize from a distance. But the thought occurs to you that it appeared to move, it looked to be walking. How could it vanish in the fraction of a second you weren’t looking their way? What did you really see?
These are the residual spirits, the remains of those who once lived. They don’t care that you’re there, they don’t even notice you exist. They’re a fraction of what they once were, the faint sign that people once existed. Maybe once they were like you, but now they remain fixed to our world as a reminder of whatever force ended their lives.
Sometimes, lost souls have suffered something so traumatic that their soul could not move on. Trapped with the living, these unfortunate apparitions continue to exist among us. This form is less common than that of the residual spirits you encounter. These spirits are aware you are there.
They may attempt to communicate, appearing to those before them in an attempt to touch on the world of the living again. Sometimes they may even speak or create sounds to communicate their presence. When they do they often cannot be heard easily due to their being half between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Once again, these forces are encountered best when filmed by electronic devices or when encountered in unusually calm circumstances.
However, some of these are hostile entities that wish to terrorize the living. They have been stripped of their life, often violently, and feel as though they are owed for their suffering. The living taunt them by continuing to live on when they could not and that can drive the spirit into wanting to make those around them suffer as much as they have. It is not uncommon for people to be driven to madness by the hatred of those haunting them.
And, of course, sometimes they can do more than just terrify.
Sometimes, they can still make contact with the material world. Fueled by an event so distressing that it has left an irrevocable scar on the world itself, these spirits can move their environment at will. If one of these has directed their hatred towards you, they may begin with slow, subtle motions.
Until eventually they decide that the mortals who have tread on their territory must be removed.
Sometime these spirits become violent and unrelenting. Appeasing them is difficult, as you cannot appease their needs without understanding who and what they are. Many hold theories that they may be acts of living entities that hold hidden power and secret burdens. But what everyone knows is that the living can do little to stop such entities. Their only recourse is to attempt to escape.
While it is unclear how many of these events are natural and how many of them may be man-made, it is no mistake that there is a great deal of documentation about the nature of hauntings. Are they the acts of malicious spirits or the works of man?
How could you be so sure?
(If you’d like to hide from the spirits this Halloween, give my books a read in the safety of your own home. Provided, of course, that the spirits haven’t found you there.)