Return to Home Page

Twilight: Werewolves, Supermen, Vampires and Zombies

1859: Humans as Animals

In 1859 Darwin asserted his theory that human-beings are animals, that we have no immortal soul and so have no destiny with our Maker. This irresponsible theory, crudely prefigured by the fantasy of Mary Shelley’s soulless Frankenstein and swallowed by the naive, led to absurd nihilism. It also meant that if animals could ‘evolve’ into humans, then perhaps humans could also evolve back into animals. And so, a generation after Darwin’s theory, in 1886, Stevenson published his story in which a human did indeed become a cruel and soulless animal: Dr Jekyll became Mr Hyde. This led to stories of werewolves, to the twentieth century myths of men who lived with animals and could speak to them, Tarzan (1912), and to the myths of women who fell in love with animals, King Kong (1933).

1883: Humans as Super-Animals

In the wake of Darwin, in 1883, Nietzsche, proclaiming that ‘God is dead’, asserted that humans had to become superhumans in order to save themselves. This new anti-Christian theory, also swallowed by the naive, later led not only to the further development of Western racist myths practised by Hitler, but in the USA to myths of ‘Superman’ in 1932 and its feminist version ‘Wonderwoman’ in 1941. It also led to more animal-myths, to ‘Batman’ in 1939 and, later, to ‘Spiderman’ in 1962. These modern superstitions, the modern myths of false saviours of the Universe, are false because they cannot save, because such saviours do not exist and cannot exist. Man cannot save himself, to say otherwise, even through the wishful thinking of comic book heroes, is merely to propound the myth of humanism.

1897: Humans as Demon-Animals

Following Darwin’s animal myth and Nietzsche’s superhuman myth, some thought to create the grotesque myth of the dead human-being evolving into a demon, a little devil, in exotic Romanian, ‘Dracula’. Thus, in 1897 the author Bram Stoker invented his monster. In this new myth, based on Slavic paganism, humans became vampires, demons of the night who, cloaked in the bodies of the dead, drained the blood of the living. This myth gave rise to the zombie myth, based on African paganism, written of as early as 1929. In this myth, soulless but resurrected human bodies, the undead, are lived in and manipulated by demons. Today, the current adolescent craze for the devilish beauty of vampires and werewolves in The Twilight Saga, suggests that popular culture has accepted the full rebirth of paganism.

Twenty years after Dracula in 1897, in that so fateful and blood-draining year of 1917, the German thinker Spengler announced ‘The Twilight of the West’ in a century from then. He was prophetically right. Nearly a century on, the West is indeed between two lights, in the zone of Twilight.

  to top of page