When I tell people that paranormal investigators like myself deal more with human behavior than spirits and magic, a nervous moment stretches into an awkward one. To them, my profession is a con, and they see my statement as proof. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of hacks running cons on vulnerable people, but I'm not one of them.
The subject seldom comes up since I don't talk to many people. I find them irritating, especially the lengths they will go to in service of their ignorance.
When it comes to the living about the only thing I understand better than anything is I can't stop anyone from doing something they are capable of doing—even the dangerous supernatural stuff. In the paranormal world, this almost always means dark magic.
In plain terms, dark magic is a twisted type of wish fulfillment. There are no magic words, chants, or incantations. No prior experiences or education is required. Anyone with a desire strong enough to over power common sense can cast a dark spell.
But nothing in this life or the next one is free. Casting a dark spell requires taking on a long-lasting spiritual debt. The details of which are undisclosed at the time of borrowing. Important things like the price and timing of payment remain a mystery until it's time to settle. No one I know has ever come out the same.
There are some other less demanding requirements, which I'll be keeping to myself for the time being. I'm not about to lose sleep wondering if someone is dumb enough to sell their soul to beat the next traffic light or to connect to their neighbor's Wi-Fi without needing a password. Because there is no wondering, some people are determined to avoid the slightest inconvenience in their day; even at the expense of their future.
No one can stop stupid. We can only educate people and hope they become smart enough to be scared of ignorance.
A person wouldn't be crazy for thinking they've never heard of paranormal investigators or dark magic before. Far from it. You'd be crazy not to wonder about it.
The widespread use of toxic supernatural powers is a great threat to humanity. For hundreds, maybe thousands, of years, we have been shielded against unimaginable calamities by a great web of conspiracies, all intent on discouraging people from discovering they possess the ability to conjure their desires and vanquish their fears in an instant.
Ignorance and misinformation have so far been effective as our first and only line of defense. If no one knows dark magic exists, then no one will be tempted to use it.
I doubt these methods can succeed indefinitely, and in my own experience, I've found several instances where the strategy has failed. Cases, like the one that follows, where people learned how easily something could be conjured through dark magic. I can't help but wonder what decisions these people would have made if they had better information.
But how much information is the right amount? I still harbor fears of exposing the lies we rely on for protection. A hole in a wall of ignorance is not easy to patch. Open conversations on this subject might demolish the whole wall altogether. The consequences of which would be both unknown and abundant—the perfect mixture for a disaster, if not the apocalypse.
So I am revealing these truths with a great amount of caution, limiting myself to sharing just three fragments of a greater whole:
Magic exists in many forms.
Dark magic is a form available to anyone.
Dark magic always has a terrible cost.
The truth of the matter is short. However, the consequence of understating or disregarding the truth borders on eternal. This is why I've assembled a collection of cautionary tales from my case files and a few other sources.
This particular story is not the most profound or even the most deadly. But I consider it one of the most relatable accounts I have documented. An awkward college student named Merle whose unfair share of 'real world' problems started long before any encounter with the supernatural. A young man whose burdens spiraled beyond his ability to manage them and was unprepared when a supernatural solution presented itself.
Names have been changed for everyone's protection, including those claiming to be vampires.