In my blog at the Fiction Wikia I previously introduced my ghost story project, Moon Hammer. In the story, Earth is “haunted” by a “ghost” from the 15th century. The “ghost” is the “spirit” of Heinrich Kramer, a famous witch hunter who died in about 1505.
While Kramer did become famous for the widely published witch hunting manual that he wrote, he spent most of his life working to counter early elements of Protestantism. It is fun to think how Kramer might have reacted if he had been taken to the Moon and allowed to watch events on Earth during the past five centuries.
In “Reason as memetic immune disorder” by PhilGoetz there is discussion of the idea that religions are like memetic viruses and human cultures have ways of “immunizing” themselves against the damage that can be done by virulent ideas arising from religion. For example, religious zealots like Kramer can believe in evil-doing witches, but secular societies can simply say, “there are no witches and we will not prosecute people as witches”. Of course, immunization takes time, and many innocent people were persecuted as witches before Western culture learned how to protect itself from witch hunters. And even in the “end”, it is still an on-going struggle, just as flu viruses endlessly circulate and challenge our biological immune systems. You never know when a virus will mutate and the old immunity will no longer be adequate protection.
What if Kramer “came back from the dead” in 2009? How much damage to Earth could be done if a “Sermon from Purgatory” was delivered by Kramer? In Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact“, a “booming voice from the sky” is received by radio telescopes. Some of the religious faithful expect to be visited by a vengeful God, so they turn to acts of violence in order to show that they are not complicit with all the sinners. “Moon Hammer” might work best in 2012 since that year seems the next “big thing” for folks who want to see the end of the world, but I’m trying to get a first draft done by the end of this October. It would be fun if a complete production like The War of the Worlds could be ready by 2012.
Image. Public Domain.