Last Summer Guest Post…

Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jon Jefferson is the final Candy’s Monsters Summer Guest blogger. He’s contributed a MONSTER MEDITATION that I think you’ll find intriguing.

Here Be Dragons

The tale is the same. We sit around a campfire to hear of the old explorers and their discoveries. The old maps were marked with what was known. There were sections for what would be explored. And then the section marked “Here be dragons.” These were the places no one returned from. Only the fools and the overly brave ( same thing really)  would venture into these places.

This was our history. We created monsters to give a shape to our fears. Pathogens wipe out a culture, we blame ghosts or witches. Our livestock is found dead in the field, it must be a werewolf or worse a dragon. No matter the story, we created a monster to cover the fear we harbored of the unknown.

Something changed over the past few hundred years though. We got smarter. We discovered the causes of many of the things we once blamed on the evil creatures that lurked in the night. We know what makes us sick. It isn’t some witch that cast a curse on us. No, it was our own forgetfulness to leave the potato salad on the counter all day

Our fear of the unknown still exists. The dragons and demons are no longer in a land far away that we might only run into if we sail off the edge of the map. No, now these creatures are our neighbors. They walk among us. You never know what the girl next door may harbor in her basement. You don’t know if that weird boy is an insult away from coming at you with an Uzi.

We give weight to our fears in our efforts to fight against them. Have you used an anti-bacterial wipe today? This is a new ritual, a new counter for the evil eye. We hear a news report, about an atrocity that baffles and confuses us. How could something like this happen. In our hearts though we know the truth, “Here be dragons.”

We assume we are safe when we stay in our warm homes. The walls keep out the creatures of the night. But we still know, out there in the distance, away from where we live, the dragons are there. They wait for that unwary traveler and they will strike.

We have gone to great lengths to make our old monsters warm and fuzzy. Our vampires now sparkle, demons fight along side angels to bring down greater evils, and witches are sexy and love to party. Maybe this is simply the mask they wear now. A mask that hides the true horrors hidden below the surface.

It is an interesting thought. We claim we are free of our old beliefs. We have no fear of the old monsters that once haunted us. But we see the evidence all around us of their existence. They have simply changed form, taken new masters. Sometimes it is a wonder we can make it outside our door.

In the end, our monsters terrify us as much as they fascinate us. We look to those who chronicle their existence to entertain us with a new vision. Sometimes it is the ones we find on paper that take our minds off the monsters that lurk in the world.


Jon Jefferson is a long time fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy stories in all their forms.  He has spent most of his life looking for magic in the every day moments of life.  He hails from the tundra of Southwest Michigan. The monsters in his life include his wife, two daughters and a grand daughter.

He writes and maintains the blogs 10th Day Brewing ( and Misadventures in Strange Places (  His book Fractured Hearts can be found on Amazon (



Jon Map Jon photo




  1. I think you’re right Jon. Deep down inside we’re all still scared of the dark because, despite all our science and tech, we’re still not in control.

    • Candy

      It’s a primal fear and you just have to experience a black out to know that it all comes back. What is lurking in the dark? What unknown danger is in hiding? It must have taken amazing bravery (foolish & wonderful) to sail out into the ocean where “Dragons Be.”

    • Fear of the unknown is one of our strongest fears. It’s crazy that we discover so much and now know so much of the world, yet we continue to find things to scare ourselves within it.

        • Oh ya. It wasn’t more than a month or two ago that I had the strangest dream early in the morning. Freaked me out enough that paranoia set in. You know that moment when you are afraid something is under the bed or about to burst through your doorway.

          Logic tells you that there is nothing there. But it is that deep down primal response that says something completely different.

          • Candy

            Having grown up with cats, I taught myself at a very young age to assume that if the cat was sleeping soundly at the end of the bed nothing under it or on the other side of the door was out to do me harm. Of course, our first cat “saw ghosts.” She was always intently staring at something that wasn’t there and then flying up, or down, the stairs to get away from it. Nothing like a ghost hunting kitty to spark the imagination of a storyteller.

  2. Our fascination with monsters real and unreal is such a fascinating subject. When you think about it, we haven’t changed much in what we fear as we grow. What has changed is our sophistication level of our subjects and how we soften them or expand there fearsomeness. Our imaginations truly have no bounds. Just my thoughts.

    • Candy

      That’s true and most of our fears come down to what goes bump in the night. Darkness, the unknown, the outsider, the unfamiliar all stir uneasiness that can ramp up to fear in a heartbeat.

  3. What message are we sending ourselves when our old monsters are shiny and appealing and we now see the real monsters as looking like us? Are we delusional? Have we become very pragmatic about what sits behind our fears or is it that we don’t think much of ourselves, maybe a bit of everything.

    • You do bring up some good points. We have found the monsters and they be us?

      The interesting thing is though, we have blamed ourselves for being monsters for ages. We have burned our neighbors at the stake for witch craft. We have dug up and desecrated our dead for being vampires or worse. Now the sparkly vampires and such give us a false sense of security while also reminding us that they walk among us.

      • Candy

        The cuddly vampire trend is interesting — sexy dangerous blood suckers are a bit more understandable, as they combine the monstrous/other with the attractive/other. The sparkling thing is just too annoying. LOL…

  4. It’s part of the human condition. We have to have monsters so we have excuses for the things we fear, no matter how irrational. Love this post!

  5. I once heard that when you name your fears you need not fear them any more. I disagree. When you can name your fears you turn them from the realm of the irrational to the realm of the rational. You now know why that spooky looking dood scares the crap out of you.

    This doesn’t make it any more rational, you just understand it more.

  6. Monsters connote a sense of “other” and so much of life always boils down to “us” vs. “them.” So I often wonder what it says about the current trend in literature to make monsters more humanly endearing rather than overtly menacing?

    • Candy

      I agree. I think we’re setting up a dilemma.
      I think that some of the contemporary vampire/monsters succeeded in riding the line between the sexy beast and the all-out-scary monster — True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. — while others transformed the “other” into one of “us” and undermined the tension in the storytelling. Thrillers, mysteries, romantic suspense — all need the monsters to be, at least somewhat, MONSTROUS. Without that, there’s no reason to tread “where dragons be” nothing to be brave about and the stories go flat.

    • Odd thought, if we look at the Disney approach to monsters, it would appear that the monsters are merely misunderstood. It is the beautiful people who are the real monsters now.

      Of course this falls into how many teens feel like they are ugly and malformed. The popular and rich fill in the gap of the crowd none of us fit into.

      • Candy

        LOL… not sure I should get started on BEAUTIFUL Monsters!
        There’s the Beauty & the Beast Inside/Outside goodness triumphs paradigm and the beautiful on the outside, monstrous on the inside counterpoint. But we also live in a world where beauty, male and female beauty, are defined in narrow terms and give people a great deal, beauty as a currency that buys opportunity and access.

        So many threads. Pull any one and get a story (or two or three or more…)


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