The magical powers of MONSTERS are often what draw us to monster stories. Supernatural strength, extraordinary size and peculiar physiognomy, are all compelling, but the other powers are even more intriguing. The ability to fly, change shape, telekinetically move objects, read minds, pass through solid walls, time travel and become invisible, are all super-deluxe/super-monstrous powers.
There’s another one that I’d definitely call a super-deluxe, although it is subtle and is often associated with non-monsters. It’s the ability to influence others. Vampires are said to “glamour” their human prey. They manipulate with a magically enhanced form of hypnotism.
Charismatic human individuals practice a form of this all the time. I’ve never met President Clinton, but I’ve heard over and over (from people I know and in the media) that his face-to-face charisma is off the charts. One woman, now deceased but then an elderly fundraiser for the Democrats, told me that Clinton looked you in the eye and touched you — holding your arm, shoulder or hand — as he spoke. This concentrated attention was a powerful, but not supernatural, kind of influence.
Politicians across the right to left spectrum are often blessed with this talent. The smart ones cultivate this natural ability. Add a pleasing tone of voice, an easy affability and the ability to improvise on the spot and you have a political winner.
Take that package, and add some truly MONSTROUS attributes — super strength, invisibility, mind reading or flight and you have a really interesting MONSTER for a story.
What’s your favorite supernatural power? Do you want to glamour your boss, client, lover, teacher…? Up for sharing some thoughts on what makes a monster? I’m looking forward to your replies.