Can an object embody the evil intent of its maker? Obviously, if the thing is a weapon, then violence is a natural outcome of the object’s creation, but does the particular personality of the person who made it actually affect the thing itself? In my book, The Lives of Things, there are definitely objects whose intent is to hurt or destroy.
This concept is certainly not limited to my work. Steven King, for example, in his best-selling horror novel, Christine, creates a malevolently jealous car that actually murders people, and there are countless fairy tales where an object has been cursed, so that those who seek to acquire it meet a dreadful fate.
In everyday life, things often become “bad” because we risk too much to acquire them and then those things control our futures. Think of the homes bought during the housing bubble that people were told they could afford. When the houses lost value and people could no longer afford to pay for them, they became sources of unhappiness for the families who bought them. A cherished acquisition became a horrible mistake, an evil if you will.
My husband, Gordon, thinks that objects turn bad when you put too many expectations on them. In his case, this refers to the various expensive golf clubs he regularly acquires because they are going to “revolutionize” his game. They don’t, of course, so then he thinks of them as evil —promising skills they can’t deliver.
I personally have a deep superstition about “bad luck” items, which usually refers to clothing. Just as there are “good luck” outfits that somehow affect your confidence and therefore wonderful things ALWAYS happen when you wear them, so there are bad luck clothes that drag you down. Usually you find this out the first time you wear the item in question. I have a peach-colored summer dress, for example, now hiding in the back of my closet, because the first time I wore it, I had a huge argument with my aunt, to whom I no longer speak. Is it really the dress’s fault? Maybe not, but I think of that horrible day every time I look at the dress, so really, I think I should throw it away. I could give it to Goodwill, but then it might just affect someone else adversely. On the other hand, maybe “bad” things behave better with different owners—they need a fresh start. I think I’ll get that dress out right now and donate it somewhere. Even things deserve a second chance.