Word of Evil

“Man inflicts evil on his kind every minute of every day around the globe  and it doesn’t always fester deep in the recesses… it sometimes flourishes where you least expect it, just next door.” 

The general consensus among philosophers is that the world will never rid itself of evil (shocker) and that it should instead look to redress the balance with goodness. Well, I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been wondering if we’re doing a particularly good job.  It feels like every day there’s a report of yet another seemingly senseless act of barbarity,  it could therefore be very easy to argue that the ‘balance’ is still very much in favour  of evil.

On the other hand we do live in a society where drama, tragedy, corruption is big news and goodness, positivity and love has become a feel good foot note at the end of each bulletin.

I guess, given the absence of anarchy on most streets across the globe the law enforcement agencies (goodness) are doing a fairly good job of battling  (terrorism and crime).

What do you think?

I have to confess that, despite the above, I’m still struggling. I don’t know if it’s my own skewed view of the world and people or the fact that I’ve just woken up from a lifelong coma but I’m seeing much more unkindness not just in lands far from the four corners of my home but all around me, in the people of people I know and hear about and just can’t help but wonder what is the world coming to?

Now if that isn’t a sign of maturity (or getting older if you allow yourself to accept those words) I don’t know what is.

That said, my niece is still in her teens and she’s regularly reporting some of the most hurtful and horrific things happening in the world and her orbit of friends, and I can’t help but wonder.

Ghandi was believed to have said (although this is now being questioned) “be the change that you want to see in the world”.

Whoever said it said it well.  The world is not ugly; it’s the inhabitant, man, who appears to foster an inherent blackness and chooses to make it his  life long ambition to suffocate the light of others with it.  The following is a good example but I need to warn you; what you’re about to read is deeply disturbing so, if you’re eating breakfast, you may want to finish that last bite.

A couple board a flight to South America with their baby. The crew noticed nothing unusual about them, at least not before they approached to ask if they needed anything for the baby.  It was then that they became aware of the duo’s skittishness and professional curiosity turned to suspicion. For peace of mind, they called ahead and asked that local authorities at their destination meet the flight upon its arrival. That’s when the truth was uncovered; the infant the woman was carrying in her arms was  actually dead and instead of its organs was carrying a cargo of cocaine.

Horrified? Sickened?

I know I was.  I concluded that in my wildest creative fantasies I couldn’t come up with such a plot.

Yet before you wretch into the breakfast bowl, let me allay your fears; the story is actually an urban myth, there are no reported/recorded stories of this kind. It’s actually believed that this fable was fabricated as a training aid to teach drug enforcers in South America to ‘expect the unexpected’.

But hold on before you exhale that sigh of relief, be under no illusion; evil does exist. It’s all around us; in the strangers we see, the people that cross our lifeline and sometimes even the ones we share our home with.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” 

Man inflicts evil on his kind every minute of every day around the globe  and it doesn’t always fester deep in the recesses of our world, sometimes it flourishes where you least expect it, just next door.

1965. Sylvia Likens’ parents were ‘Carnys’ (American colloquialism for people who ‘work in carnivals’), they ‘left’ their 15 year old daughter in the ‘care’ of Gertrude Baniszewski and her two children in exchange for $20 a week.  What they didn’t stop to consider (or maybe they did) was that Baniszewski, who would later be described as a “haggard, underweight asthmatic”, suffered from depression and the stress of several failed marriages, and she began taking her frustrations out on Sylvia  by beating her with a paddle, especially when payment from the girl’s parents failed to arrive on time.  Sylvia’s abuse got worse when the boyfriend of one of Baniszewski’s daughters contributed to her torture by stubbing out cigarettes on her skin and violating her with jagged objects.  Sylvia was forced to live in the basement with just crackers for food. Mercifully, her  harrowing ordeal came to a tragic conclusion the day of her failed escape when she was beaten and scalded with boiling water as punishment. Sylvia later died of internal injuries and from the shock.  Gertrude Baniszewski, her daughters and the daughter’s boyfriend was convicted of her death. Sylvia’s case was described by the prosecutor as “the most terrible crime ever committed in the State of Indiana, USA”. The horrors that Sylvia endured in that house were captured in two movies (one with the rather fitting title of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR) and multiple novels.

Sylvia’s story is just one of a myriad of such hideous cases, some more infamous than others and so unspeakable that many of us choose to ‘protect’ ourselves from them. In fact, you may well have considered or be considering not reading this article because it may or may be making you feel ‘icky’. But hide as you may and very much in keeping with the article that I published a few weeks ago (the things we hide),  just ignoring something does not make it any less truthful.

Humans have and continue to perpetrate some of the most  horrific and  unspeakable acts which will be forever ingrained in history and our consciousness no matter how hard we try to scrub it clean. None more notorious than those masterminded by the most notorious harbinger of evil, one who was equally as charismatic as he was sadistic,  a man who made his way from relative obscurity to orchestrate, along with his generals, one of the worse campaigns of genocide of our time, I’m talking of course about Adolf Hilter whom was once quoted as saying “we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews”.  He then went on, from 1935 – 1945, to condone the systematic murder of 14 million people, including approximately 6 million Jews, representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe at that time.

Close Up Portrait of Ted Bundy Waving

In 1946, one year after Hitler took his own life in a German bunker evil was reborn but this time in Nottingham, England in the form of Harold Fredrick Shipman who went on to become one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Dr Shipman graduated from Leeds University in 1970 and not long after started the slow and systematic murder of his patients by lethal overdose of diamorphine. He was eventually convicted for the death of 15 patients and sentenced to life imprisonment. It was later found that Shipman was  most likely responsible for a further 235 deaths. However, before Shipman shot to notoriety, England spawned another merciless perpetrator of evil, Frederick Walter Stephen West, who, between 1967 and 1987 (along with his wife, Rosemary) tortured, raped and murdered at least 11 young women and girls, many at the couple’s home. Then there’s American, Jeffrey Dahmer who murdered at least 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with the majority of the murders occurring between 1989 and 1991. Theodore Robert ‘Ted’ Bundy (November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) is one of the most infamous serial killers in U.S. history. Bundy raped and murdered scores of young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. After more than a decade of vigorous denials, Bundy eventually confessed to 30 murders, although the actual total of victims remains unknown. It’s believed that Bundy managed to amass such a high body count due to his good looks with many becoming the victim of his charms before meeting their demise.

These are just some of history’s most heinous perpetrators of evil.  Sadly, the list is endless, and I have to tell you that researching and compiling it made me pause for thought not just for the lives of those senselessly tortured and murdered but the fact that such purveyors of death actually exist, and the fact that as I write this there’s a whole new breed of malevolence just waiting to be discovered.

Our world is sick.  It’s depraved and I guess it’s  the very reason why many question how anyone can bring a child into such a world.

Well, for a start, let’s get it straight. It isn’t our world that’s sick, it’s those who inhabit it; the men, the women and the children who take it upon themselves to to commit such cruelty onto others often without cause or provocation. The sick minds that derive pleasure from the suffering of others

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”

Yes I’m hoping that these subliminal messages will suddenly make everything better.  They most likely will not but there are people out there who are trying, and these people may not get the same media attention as the sick and twisted in our midst but they are nonetheless changing the lives of many.


in 2000, Kevin Spacey and ‘Sixth Sense’ star, Haley Joel Osmond, starred in a film by that very title. The film’s premise centers around a child’s school project and how it goes on to inspire a movement that reaches masses across various United States; to repay each good deed passed to them in kind to somebody else.  It’s a bit like a ‘pyramid scheme’ only the objective is to pass on goodness and not to rob others of their life savings!

Oh the irony.

For example, imagine drive through at McDonald’s, placing your order and then driving up to the kiosk to pay for your meal and learn that the car in front of you had already paid it for you? Or learning that your 17 year old son panicked from the fact that his first ever flight was cancelled was helped by the woman sitting next to him, a stranger, who assisted with changing his ticket, paid for safe overnight accommodation and then drove him home from the airport,  or maybe you’d prefer to be walking down the street one day to see two ‘hooded’ characters walk towards you and just before approaching you, see them both pull down their hoods and say “smile, you are beautiful”, or how about standing in a queue as the man in front of you buys a collection of lottery tickets and then hands them out to the people in the queue behind him?

For every hideous story there are countless beautiful ones that take place all around the world. For every mushroom of evil there’s a whole meadow of flowers. We just need to find them.

Two years ago, I touched on this subject when I wrote about Random Acts of Weirdness.

Meanwhile, in a world that is suffering from acute bout of cynicism and an unhealthy dose of negativity, courtesy of the media and the new order of video phone reporters, the PAY IT FORWARD movement is gathering momentum  as the recession weary populous looks where it can to find a pickmeup. The premise is simple; for every good deed done onto you, pay it forward to somebody else. It doesn’t have to be somebody you know but just another human being.

I have to confess that I was inspired to write this post because I had become somewhat disillusioned by all of the negativity that I had been absorbing over the past few weeks and I questioned whether or not the world had actually turned into a pretty crappy place.  But it turns out that whilst perspectives may have changed the basic goodness of some has not. I’ve now reappraised myself of the belief that each and everyone of us has the power to to make a difference to the life of somebody else, the only question is how we choose to use that power.

Who would have thought that, together, we can be the change we want to see in the world after all!

“Do all the good you can and make as little fuss about it as possible. ”
Charles Dickens 

Have a pay it forward Sunday! 🙂

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Another thought provoking Article ,we make our own Heaven or Hell in this World and Evil will always attempt to overthrow good .and yes we are faced with Ugly acts that Humans inflict on each other every day of the week ,but there are good deeds being performed very quietlly and without preamble.I like to think there is more inherant Goodess in People than Evil .and know of a Handful of people within my own Circle who regularly perform Good deeds toward their fellow Man ,so surely if every person on Earth has a Circle of Good this can only Grow and Flourish to counteract the Evil .I am glad that the baby Story was an Urban myth but not so Naieve to think that there is not something else just as Evil in it’s stead .”Think Good and do Good”

  2. Tammy says:

    I am glad that 1) The story of the baby on the flight was just part of a training exercise, & 2) That you have reappraised yourself 🙂 If we all Pay It Forward, just imagine the possibilities! I can highly recommend the viewing of the film ‘Pay It Forward’. This film is certainly inspirational. For myself, I will continue to try and protect myself from the wickedness in the world around me but be aware that wickedness exists, I shall continue to spend time with my beautiful hearted friends, & shall remember to Pay It Forward wherever & whenever I can. Thank you for another thought provoking blog, which will hopefully inspire its readers to be just that little bit nicer.

  3. Bella says:

    It is a common belief that we live in the most evil of times but this simply isn’t true…the Charles Dickens quote “Do all the good you can and make as little fuss about it as possible. ” was written in a time when children were hanged for minor crimes and very few people made a fuss about that. Stalin surpassed even Hitler by overseeing the murder of 20 million of his fellow countrymen. And the cruelty experienced in history exceeds anything we can imagine for ourselves. We, homo sapiens, are very sophisticated creatures…we are protected and nurtured like hot-house plants…but for all our advances in humanity, justice, medicine and technology, we still know virtually nothing about the workings of the human brain and what makes some people bad. There are cruel, heartless, greedy, freakish, murderous people out there and some of them represent whole nations. It is beyond our comprehension at quite how bad individuals can be…likewise it is hard to comprehend quite how good others can be. It sounds cliched but there is good and bad in everyone but not usually in equal parts, one will conquer the other and it is usually good and it will be a sad world when we lose sight of that fact. As for ‘pay it forward’ that’s a bit too Hollywood for me…just live a good and honest life and trust that others will do the same, and if you fall off the wagon occasionally, hey ho, as long as nobody died!

  4. Mel Latsch says:

    Agree that since beginning of time evil has been planted here on earth. Eve having Adam eat the fruit and the first murder brother killing brother due to jealous of Gods approval. How ironic and we have not come to far from those events. Man has become more sinister over time and with the help of media, movies, books, and television what horror evil could not think of on their own these tools have helped. I am sicken myself with the wicked heartless soulless ways a living being can act out on another living being. My body twists on the inside with muscles flexed my eyes swell with tears. God did not create this He created good. Two things in this world will stand good evil love hate light dark luck unlucky God devil how ever you want to call or see it. It is up to the individual which path to take. The paths are all different for each of us but there are two things in common for us. We each have paths and we each must choose, one cannot not choose we must move. Be it forward or backward. These evil souls blame everyone from mothers fathers society to their victims. They are so blinded by there hate they cannot see the actual beauty that life has to offer. I do not want to come across with a religious overtone but growing up I remember my mother telling me in the last days (I am not wanting to offend the ones that do not believe in this but it does have reference) God is going to pull back His power. Making those seek him do it more diligently and when doing so the devil will have more reign and stronger. Now again I am not saying I have the answer just an observation, Could that be why we are seeing more horrible crimes in every country home wars hate and we are just seeing the ones that are on the news. I am sure there are some we never hear of and sure we don’t want to . I will close now but I will say for me. I was raised to see beauty in everything, and everything has purpose. I will see beauty I will see love and if I do not see it I will search it out. God made this world and us to love Him and each other to be caretakers and peacemakers. I hope I do Him justice. Love to you all and you Tony for making us think write and reflect.

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