Six Cylinder Sunset
In the ancient annals of every culture on earth, there are Monsters and there is Magic.
These two forces have dominated early human history and shaped culture, mythology and religion. The Monster gave man something to fear and to fight, an occasion to rise to. The hero became the archetype for mankind, and they soon believed they were the top of the food chain. Magic gave us reassurance that mankind could control the very forces of nature, or at least tap into them to gain understanding. Religion, which evolved out of Magic, became the basis for our ethics and epistemology. With these two things safely wrangled in, we built a cosmology with humanity in the center of the universe.
But just like the per-Capernican view of the universe, this was grossly flawed. Monsters did not fear us, they ate us. In sheer numbers, yes, humanity outweighed the things of the night, but picking them off one at a time was easy hunting, and the Monsters rested during the day with the knowledge that if they wanted to, they could take back the world at any time.
Human history proceeded blissfully ignorant of the Monsters, safe in their perverse view of Magic and delighted to be occasionally scared by tales of Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts and other nasties. There were a few who touched the Beyond, glimpsed the Shadow Plane or encountered Dark Beings who they could not reconcile with their limited grasp of reality. But for the most part, history as we know it just puttered along.
Monsters, who had become Legends, became Dreams. Magic, which had become Religion, became Science. When man went to war in the early part of the 20th century, it was Science that lead the charge, fueled by wicked Dreams. But man had grown powerful over the years and the once watchful eye of the Monster had strayed. Humanity soon grasped the Magic of combustion, then the atom. This went too far. Ancient evil that for years had manipulated humanity saw the puppets moving on their own. Displeased, and perhaps for the first time afraid, the Monsters emerged from Dreams and back into the world.
The Monsters still understood Magic, having never abandoned the dark balance of early Earth. With this knowledge they manipulated the events of the world to their ends. Ensuring that all the pieces were placed on the board just so.
The Monsters were pleased. It had been ages since they took an interest in humanity and they found them as easy to manipulate as ever. Since they weren’t even real, they couldn’t be caught. Humans didn’t understand Magic, and they didn’t believe in Monsters. It was too easy.