The Plague (and how it Scarred our Myths and Culture) ✯ Monsters of the Week
A. Thick. Plume of smoke, rises. From the town square. Securing. The carrion, birds circling, overhead. Poor. Souls, huddling, abandoned, houses and, darkened, alleyways. Desperate. To stave off the inevitable. The. Cries and moans of, the dying, echo. Of the cobblestone. Pavement, a. Silent. Horror stalks. The streets of this town. Wagon. Wheels sound, a crack, crack, against, the streets they, bear their cargo, Walmart. Carts. Littered, with corpses, carry. The monstrous victims, to the charnel pits and mass graves, that have already claimed, half, of the town. He, always begins, with a cough. Fever. Vomiting. And, a, mysterious loss, of blood. Soon. The victim is consumed, by the monster, the. Slowly wastes. Away to a mere, shell their, former self. Donald. Is left behind. His. Death. The. Rich and the poor the, young and the old the. Sinner are the same no. One the same from its rough. The. Plane, has. Come to town. You. As, long as human, civilization has, existed. Disease. And sickness have, been our constant, companions. Early. Humanity, faced many predators. None. Was, more dangerous and, mysterious. Than disease. For. Prehistoric, humanity. Sickness. Was as common, as it was terrible, and frightening. All. Those early, human, fears, gave, birth to the, many folk, tales and myths surrounding. Diseases, and mass, epidemics. Demonic. Possession, a cold, magic, and monsters, of every kind are all connected, to this primal, human fear, of infection, and bodily contamination. With. A benefit of hindsight it, might be easy to see these tales as mere superstition. Run amok, but. For pre-modern, humanity. Plagues. Were biblical events. That could decimate the, population and. Looking. Back through history we, can see that mass epidemics, are often pivotal, moments. Microscopic. Invaders powerful. Enough to bring even an empire, to, its knees. Now. Generally, the word plague, is used pre interchangeably. When talking about epidemics. And mass outbreaks, of disease throughout history but if, we want to get real technical, about it plague. Is actually, a real, scientific. Term in the medical profession, it. Refers to the bacterium, Yersinia. Pestis a hardy. Little bacillus, that's responsible, for some of the most devastating, epidemics. Of all time. Ksenia. Pestis is responsible. For one of the most severe, forms, of pneumonia, the. Pneumonic plague a. Bloodier. Respiratory. Infection, which literally, devours. The lungs of its victim. Left. Untreated the pneumonic plague has a mortality rate, of 100%. Yesenia. Pestis, also, gave birth to the septa semuc plague which is transmitted. By bites, from infected insects. And vermin, septicemia. Invades. The blood of its victims. Hijacking the body's blood clotting, mechanism, and causing, infected, areas to rot and decay and, like.
It's Cousins, it is completely, fatal. When left untreated and. Finally. Ksenia, pestis, is the cause of the bubonic plague which. Inflicts, horrible. Painful, swellings. On the bodies sensitive, glands, in the neck armpits. And groin. Recurring. Throughout human, history the. Bubonic plague has, been responsible for some of the most infamous, and terrible. Mass epidemics. Ever witnessed. The. Most well known outbreak. Of bubonic plague was, the Black Death the devastated. Medieval, Europe, but. The very first bubonic, epidemic. Ever recorded. Took. Place almost an entire millennium. Before the black death on the, same continent, the. Plague of Justinian. By. 541. Ad the. Roman Empire was well past, the height of its imperial glories, it, had been divided into East and West for more than a century and a half, while. The western half of the empire began, a slow decline almost, immediately, after this split the. Eastern Roman Empire thrived. At. Least for a time. But. In 541. Ad, scattered. Reports of mass outbreaks, began, to reach the court at Constantinople. The, grand capital, of the Eastern Roman Empire. First. It, took Egypt then. Syria. And. Turkey and. Eventually, Constantinople. The threshold, between East and West itself. Within. The space of only, one year, an estimated, 25. Million, people lost, their lives to, the plague of Justinian, about. 15% of, the world's population at. The time and, the. Disease would go on to double this death toll and flare ups that would recur, over the next two centuries. The. Lightning, fast spread, of the plague was, surely, a cruel and bitter irony for, the Romans the. Disease was able to spread so quickly precisely, because, of, the Empire's highly, advanced, infrastructure, highways. Aqueducts. And whores proved, as effective, at transmitting, disease as they were at moving people and goods, the. Enemies of Constantinople. Took notice of this moment, of weakness and, were quick to seize the advantage the. Goths. No. No not, these Goths, these. Goths, the, Gothic, war with the Eastern Roman Empire found, new momentum thanks, to help badly the plague and weakened, Constantinople. And its armies. As. A rule of the Empire could no longer maintain, control of huge swathes of the Italian peninsula perhaps. The ultimate symbol of how far, the legacy, of Rome had already fallen. This. Quirk of history, human. Interconnectedness. Is both a strength and ultimate vulnerability. Has defined, our anxieties. Around mass, disease, down, through the years. The. Proverbial building, blocks of our civilization. Could, be the very same thing, that brings us down. In. A. Good thousand, years later the, same fatal, pandemic, would sweep across Europe, once more but. This time at an even more terrifying, scale, it. Is hard to overstate the, sheer havoc. And terror that the Black Death, wreaked, on Europe, and the world, an estimated. 50, to 60 percent of the population, of Europe perished, along with some hundred, to 200 million, people across both Europe, and Asia. It. Took more than two centuries, for, the world's population. To recover from the mass casualties. Caused by the Black Death. Europe. Was utterly, devastated. From. Madrid, to Moscow. Every. Town bodies. Piled, up by the thousands. Plate. Riots, starvation. And widespread. Social collapse, became regular, facts, of life the. Healers of the time have no explanation. For what, this disease was how. It spread or how to prevent it and with, no way of knowing the cause the, kings and Lords who ruled this era were powerless, to stop it from spreading a great. Period, of mass unreason. Gripped Europe in superstition. And dogma ran. Amok, in. Turn peasants. And the nobility of like turned to divination. Astrology. And religious, dogma, to try to make sense of this senseless. Catastrophe. In. The wake of this great unraveling. Europe. Experienced. An unprecedented. Wave, of fanaticism. And, religiously, motivated violence. It.
Gave Birth to superstitions. And bigotries, that lingered, well into, the Renaissance and beyond. Minority. Groups like Jews and Romani were singled, out for persecution, in. Many countries escape. Goats for the plague. And. Even simple skin conditions, like acne and, eczema came. Cause for suspicion and, scorn and for. Accusations, of heresy. You. Of. Course. There have also been massive, Oh Deming events that are every, bit as epic, as the bubonic plague even if they aren't plagues, in the medical, sense, the. Collette's the epidemics, of 1545. To 1548. Were caused by a viral, hemorrhagic fever, that is believed to have killed, 80%, of the native population of, Mexico, at the time. Some. Of the worst demographic. Devastation. Ever recorded. Coming. Just a few decades after, the bloody and brutal Spanish, conquest, of Mexico in, 1519. The coca, Litzy epidemics, were a final, killing, blow to, the region's indigenous, peoples. For. Most of humanity the, fear of a mass outbreak, of disease is, not even a distant memory. Plagues. Have persisted, well into the modern era, exactly. One century, ago this year, a strange, and deadly new, strain of influenza, began. Cropping, up around the world, by. Early 1918, World. War one was winding down the. United States had formally, ended the war and the German Ottoman alliance was crumbling. Mass. Outbreaks, of disease during war were nothing new but, this, time, something. Was different. This. New pandemic dubbed. The Spanish, flu was swift vicious, and deadly. Despite. The relatively, high quality of, medical care available at the time the, Spanish flu still had a staggeringly. High mortality rate, up to 20%, in, some regions, and. Unlike the pandemics, that came before it the. Spanish flu was well and truly global, in scale. Europe. Asia, the. Americas. Middle East Africa. No. One was, spared its rough, the. Onset, of the disease was, quick and the, symptoms were, severe. After. Infection, a perfectly. Healthy person could. Be dead in less than a week, this. Disease was able to spread at a breakneck, pace thanks, to the morals, of humanity's, new industrial age. Lower. One is considered, a pivotal, era in history a time, when the technology, of industrial. Manufacturing. Was turned to, the art of warfare, resulting. In mass slaughter, on a scale that had never been witnessed before, those. Same technologies, were, awesome, an ideal vector, for, the spread of a pandemic. Soldiers. Moved across battlefields. And massive, troop formations by, truck and train spreading. Disease to the living and dead alike, food. Was scarce now. Nourishment, among both soldiers, and civilians, made transmission. Of the disease that, much more easy and. Once. The scale of the outbreak became clear, six, soldiers, were herded, together onto trains and forced, into crowded hospital camps. With, a disease could fester, and spread, even more rapidly. By. The time the, dust had settled some. 75. Million, people around the world had lost their lives to the Spanish, flu. The. Morgues were packed almost to the ceiling with bodies stacked one on top of another the. Morticians, were day and night you. Could never turn around without seeing a big red truck loaded, with caskets, for the train station, so bodies could be sent home. Though. The Spanish flu itself is considered by many to be something like a forgotten, pandemic. Thanks to the fact that was strongly overshadowed. By the events of World War one the, scenes of devastation birth, from this epidemic, have haunted our collective, memories, for the last century, even, in areas where the actual, number of deaths was low the rate of infection was, aggressive, enough to leave permanent. Scars. Towns. Were forced, to close down schools and government, buildings and. Shopkeepers kept.
Their Doors bolted tight. Hospital. Workers were unable to care for the sick they. Weren't nearly enough gravediggers, to care for the dead leaving, bodies to pile up in the streets a dark. Mirror to the worst days of the Black Death and. Once. More the technology. Of the Industrial Age became tangled up in these horrors. Drains. And trucks transported. Huge numbers, of corpses, for internment, and giant, steam shovels, were developed, to dig out mass graves. These. Ghastly, images. These scenes, of pure horror, would. Last a profound, impact, on the artists, of the era and on, humanity's. Collective imagination. Because. Throughout history and, with the Spanish flu in particular, disease. And plague has always given, rise to folklore. And legends. Of, dark monsters. And. Even dark magic. For. A, record. Of history. Plagues. And diseases have. Been intimately. Connected, to humanity's, fear of monsters, the, occult. For. Ancient and medieval humanity. A plague, was an event that was positively. Mythological. In nature, an act. Of terrible. And random, destruction, caused, by fickle, and malicious, God's. Plagues. Feature prominently. In some of the earliest stories, recorded in. Greek mythology the arrows, of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, were said to be responsible, for sudden, mass outbreaks, of disease. The. Capricious, cruelty, of the gods made, manifest. Pandemics. Also appear in Christian mythology in, the, Book of Revelations, one, of the Four Horsemen, of the Apocalypse is, named pestilence. So. Called for the plagues he will bring in his way during the final, days of humanity. During. Those days people, will seek death but. Will not find it they. Were long, to die but. Death will elude them, the. Book of Revelation, chapter, 9 verse. 6 and. These. Biblical fears. Were then literalized. In the form of giant, lizards, basilisks, and. Dragons. Many. Reptiles, are carriers, of bacteria, like Clostridium. And salmonella. Generally. Harmless, to the lizard hosts but positively. Deadly, for humans, so it, was no great leap for dragons, to become the embodiment, of the wanton, destruction, visited. By a plague for similar, natural, disasters, a, devours. Livestock, it raids villages, and it ravages, the countryside. And the only thing, left in its wake is a pile, of burned, corpses. It's. No coincidence that, worm. The, most common, old English word for dragon. Was, also a synonym for the carrion, worms that, feasted, on the sick and the dead. Dragons. Appear, in many European, tales and legends but, perhaps the most famous and enduring, depiction, is on, a national flag that is still flown to this day the. Flag of Wales in, the. Medieval Romans, Lud and the fellas two warring, Dragons, bring plague, and devastation, to the Isle of Britain, the. Red dragon, representing, the Welsh and, the white dragon, representing. The anglo-saxons. The. Cries and shrieks of these creatures were, so powerful, they. Echoed across the, countryside, and, cast a pall of plague across the land. Men. Lost their hue, and their strength, women. Lost their children, young. Men and the maidens lost their senses, and all. The animals, and trees and, the earth and the waters, were. Left barren. And. Myth. And folklore plagues. Have also appeared in forms, that are a little more familiar. Witches. Warlocks. And, other, practitioners. Of the occult. With. Only a rudimentary understanding, of. Biology and the natural world pre, modern humans, were quick to assign magical. Superstitions, to all kinds, of unwellness. Early. Christians, and pagans alike, believed that dark forces, were always lying in wait ready to, inflict pain and suffering, at a moment's notice. Insomnia. And sleepwalking. Were believed to be the result of occult forces either, through, the dark designs of a magician, or through, literal, possession, by a demon. The. Hallucinations. And mental instability brought. On by intense fevers, were similarly, dubbed an affliction, of the devil and were believed to be the result of dark magics. Entering, the human body. It. Was believed that in exchange for their occult power, witches. And warlocks had, to sell their souls and allow their bodies to become vessels, for demons, and dark forces. This. Hose for unclean, spirits, the very act of practicing. Black magic brought. With it disease, and plague, and, this. Relationship, between magic. And the spread of disease, is similarly, rooted, than many ancient, mysteries, surrounding the, occult.
For. Anthropologists. Of early humanity, the word witchcraft. Doesn't, necessarily, refer to pointy. Black hats cauldrons. And broomsticks. Witchcraft. Can also be the very aura and, atmosphere. That surrounds someone. Who is in tune with the invisible magical. Energies, of the universe in, this. Context. Witchcraft. Is the ability of these gifted, individuals. To literally, impose, their will on others, to, use their feelings, of wrath jealousy. Bitterness, and, spite, as a weapon, that infects, their victim, and causes. Them to suffer physically. In. Other words. To. Inflict a plague. While. Occult magic and Dragons are considered, to be mere legends, these days the. Human fascination, with disease, has endured well into the present. Indeed. The most well known monster, and pop culture today, is probably, the zombie, a, perfect. Encapsulation, of our fears of bodily, contamination. The, devastation, that pandemics. A week on society. You. Can also see our ancient, fears of disease given new life in the body horror genre. Violations. Mutilations. Of the human shell play, on the same primal, anxieties, as the play. The. Fear of losing control of ourselves our bodies, invaded. And subverted. By a monstrous, force that is beyond our influence. Maybe. One of the most intelligent, works, of fiction with a subject, of pandemic, diseases is. Pathologic. The 2005. Open, world survival adventure, by ice big lodge. It. Thrusts, the player into a remote city in the Russian Tundra that falls victim to a faceless, merciless. And truly unvanquishable. Foe. The. Spread of a highly contagious disease that. Decimates, the population, unless the players face an overwhelming. Avalanche, of problems, that such a crisis, evokes. Superstition. Erupting, and fear breaking, out among the populace. Political. Intrigue, and subterfuge among, the powers that be fueled. By the instability. Of the situation.
The. Town suffocated. By a debilitating mass. Panic and hysteria and. Now of all the players can choose between three, completely, different character. Archetypes, that all experience, the events from their very own distinct. But ultimately, futile, point-of-view the, true strength, of pathologic. Nonlinear. Storytelling is, how it manages, to render the, plague itself, this ungraspable. Catastrophe. Of seminal, proportions, a villain, that utters no word and can never be confronted. In a conversation. Or confrontation. Pathologic. Makes this the actual, central. Figure, the true protagonist. And antagonist of. The story it, lets us experience, firsthand, how. People in, dire, times, and, facing, a hopelessly, deadly. Threat like a devastating. Pandemic that, is too eclectic. To make sense off turn. To superstition. Occultism. And myth in order to give their worst fears, an actual, face how. When is too hard to bear fact. Gets rejected and replaced with fiction, in order to cope with a hopeless, situation. Pathologic. Is the player a literal. Front-row, seat during, the birth of mythology, the, anthropomorphic. Conception. In utero a monster. One, of flesh and blood that, embodies, the debilitating fears. Such, a pandemic, strikes, in the hearts of its victims, a. Monster. Created not. Unlike it used to be with one of our ultimate, representatives. Of these ancient fears, surrounding pandemic. Diseases. The. Vampire. Cultures. All around the world maintain, legends, about creatures that drain the blood of the living. Some. Hold, that vampires, are sorrowful. And solitary. Creatures, that forego in contact, with the outside world. Eternally. Tortured, by their desire for blood. Others. See vampires, as apex, predators. That relish. Their midnight hunts, from food or sport. But. However you look at it the, modern incarnation of, the bloodsucker, is intimately. Linked to our fears of plague and disease. Vampirism. Is literally. A disease, spread. Through infection, a bite. From a vampire, infects, its victim, causing. Them to lose control of themselves and, be slowly transformed. Into an undead creature of the night themselves. Bram. Stoker's, famous, novel, Dracula the, proverbial, Bible. Of vampire, lore touches. On many of these themes, in. The epistolary, novel, Dracula's, predation. Causes, his victims, to waste, away lose. Their minds, just like the plagues that haunted, the nightmares, of the people in those days but. Ultimately, it was freely, given, mon house, 1922. Film Nosferatu. Itself. A plagiarism, of Stoker's, Dracula that. Cemented, this connection. Between vampires. And disease. The. Titular vampire. Of Nosferatu is, a pale elegant. And emaciated, figure, his, deep-set, eyes and, spidery, limbs. It's. A picture-perfect depiction. Of a play victim and at, the same time the, archetypal. Vampire, in, the. Story of Nosferatu, the, vampyre, Count Orlok arrives. By shipment, a fictional, German, town of Bisbal. Arriving. With him a small, army of rats which brings, plague, and disease to the hapless, village. Stoker's. Estate sued more now for plagiarizing, Dracula. And ultimately won in court, more, now was ordered to destroy all copies of. Nosferatu, but. A handful, of reels survived, and the film has endured as a highly, influential, masterpiece. Of early cinema. And as one of the first and greatest horror films ever made.
It's. Also in the public domain so you can actually go watch it on YouTube right now and. This. Connection, between, vampires. And disease survive, with it Nosferatu. Was, so influential, that the official, 1931. Film adaptation, of Dracula, even absorbed, this detail, about the play into its story. When. You consider the era in which these movies, were created, new, years, after the end of the devastating. Spanish, flu this, link, between vampirism. And sickness, becomes, even more apparent. Europe. Had just been scarred, by the bloody battles, of World War one and at, the same time the, Spanish who had decimated. The population of. Almost every, country on the continent. Leaving, behind scenes, of horror in every, village and City. In, turn a grim, figure, arose from the ruins, of Europe and beheld a continent. Cowering, and fear of. The. Vampire, and. Its plague. Today. The. Zombie is in many, ways the modern, spin-off, of the vampire, a, reflection. Of our anxieties. Over the fragility, of our physical, shell of our, world, and over, how quickly the things we've built can. Come crashing, down. Ever. Since the smash success of Danny Boyle's, 2002, masterpiece, 28, days later zombies. Have become a permanent fixture, in pop culture again. And for. The last seven, years The, Walking Dead has been the most-watched, television show, in the world, socks. Donut. At. The same time video, games like blood-borne, have also carried this pandemic torch into the modern era this. 2015, action, RPG, from From Software's, a masterful, depiction. Of a society, of Flik by a monstrous, plague in the throes of collapse. I. Fear. The, old blood, and. The. Recently released bumpier. From, dontnod, studios, this, mythological, connection. Between the fear of a deadly, pandemic and, vampirism, is depicted, in an even more literal. Way, the. Player assumes the role of a world war 1 military, doctor, who returns, to England in 1918. To find the country gripped in a Spanish flu, and. Amidst this to blow of death and devastation. Rises. An even darker play. It. Is the table of the modern vampire made. Literal, along. With its tangled web, of connections, to disease war. And, social. Collapse. In. The 1947. Novel, the pests, by the French existentialist. Philosopher, and writer of alchemy, the Algerian. Coastal, town of ohan becomes, afflicted, by a deadly, pandemic a new. Outbreak, of the bubonic plague. As. The town's population and. Among, them the story central characters, struggle, to survive and, maintain their humanity in the face of this unforgiving. Catastrophe. They. Can face to face with the cruelty and viciousness that, humans, are capable of in dark, dog times like these, the.
World Had just breathe a sigh of relief was, the conclusion, of world war ii and the defeat of fascism in Europe the. Allied nations gave, out cheers, of victory, proudly. Vowed never. Again. But. Committed who. Can sell that fought in the French Resistance for, many years, during the Nazi occupation of France he. Understood, that these dark undercurrents. War. Famine. Disease. Authoritarianism. They're. Not so easily banished. Those. Eternally. Recurring, veins of humankind. They. Always lie in wait just. Out of sight, always. Lurking, always. Watching, always waiting. For the right moment to strike again. The. Plague will return, as, it always does, it's. Not a matter of if. Leo. Win. Thank. You so much for watching, producing. Monsters, of the week takes an enormous amount of time effort and, resources especially. For, a one-man operation like, my channel so. If you'd like to see more want, to consider joining my patreon, campaign to, support my work there you can, follow the link in the description or click the card that just popped up in the top right it. Helps, out massively, and I'm really thankful to all the people who already support, me there and, a special shout out this month goes out to these top-tier, supporters. Our. Cell markeson, Cantone. Modem swag. Am Chuck. Taylor, Nicholas. Soros a pooch even. Take her Kira. Starr Haku. Maraca, starlets ten. Of Spades Jen, way Morgan. Sickles. Cameron. Richter, makan. Isla, rocks. A classic Susana. Maria, Dominica. Tobacco. Adam. Burr, Vladimir. About you, Casper. ROM Schulich. Under. A tree a cushioned, Jonathan. Urban a trail, Garcia, Liam. Jones, Lucas. James. Lynch, clichy, a Vita. Daily, Nicola. Zell, Malin. Matt. Davis. Julia. David. Nadal the. Melting, squad Sean. Quigley. Angam. Coleman. Vaz and Miller, Nathan. The ground, alex. Lake. Thomasville, re Syriac. Mathiason. Augustin. Ortega. Maxwell. Brown. Max Herbert, rusev. Jones, David's. Eleniak. Cayuga. Martin. Schmidt. Brian, Vieira, Adam. Cross Michael. Spina or the fourth Dennis. Peppercorn. Mr.. Burdon me. Torino, but scale, failing. Milan. Voinovich Sebastian. Garcia, and. Jacob. Wood ward until next. Time, data.