I find trends fascinating. I remember growing up in the 80’s and the fascination then with nuclear war, radiation, and another world war. In the nineties when the U.S.S.R. broke up and we became “friends” with Russia, it seemed other things became popular, like hackers, cyberspace, computers and artificial intelligence. (Remember Terminator?)
Nowadays it seems everywhere on television, the movies and in books, it’s all about the paranormal. Not ghosts so much–that already had its little heyday in the 2000’s with the ghost hunter shows and celebrity ghosts and The Ring and whatnot.
And lately it’s been all about vampires, werecreatures, demons, and the Fae.
Now I’ve heard psychologists say that what we fear holds a fascination for people, because something you fear is something that holds power over you, and the human psyche wants control over that. I’ve also read that we seek answers that are provable and reliant. We don’t have that with paranormal. You may watch that special about catching Bigfoot or the body that they found of a merman (the deep sea video was pretty creepy). But that’s not real proof that you can reach out and touch. You can’t trust it.
One other aspect is a fear of death. Many of the most popular paranormal forms are undead: vampires and zombies. Others are immortal or nearly impervious to damage: werecreatures, elves, demons, other Fae. So perhaps the current popularity of such creatures is our own discomfort with our own mortality.
What’s interesting is that these are all very old fables and legends, hundreds if not thousands of years old. You don’t see a ton of robot movies (Iron Man notwithstanding). So as a society, I think we’ve lost faith in modern medicine or technology to bring us immortality, or even invulnerability. Either that, or we’re feeling overburdened by all the trappings of modern civilization and we’re yearning for simpler times, more mystical times. What’s the most interesting, however, is the popularity of urban fantasy.
That way we get to have our ancient myths and our iPhones at the same time.