We have all bumped into monsters. I don’t mean sci fi characters. But real life monsters. People who hurt us. They may not intend to do it. But they do. And research shows that the pain is worse if we believe that they did intend it.
This is an important idea to master in conflict management. In these situations, getting sucked into speculation about evil intent is a bad idea. It exaggerates the emotional element and multiplies the risk of injury. And some folks use this to produce just this paralyzing effect. The truth is that when bad things happen, we usually don’t know what is behind it.
In this light, consider the story about the Palmyra atoll. Is it really an evil place? But having read that evil lurks there, would you want to visit it? Notice that the problem is not so much that bad things happened there. It is the suggestion of an evil intent that sends shivers down the spine!