Monsters Of The Modern World : Gremlins

You probably heard of them more than once, but they’re not as well known as they used to be. During World War II, everybody knew about them, and was cautious enough to avoid being victim of their mischiefs. Their first recorded mention in general public was in the 1920’s, when they started sabotaging aircrafts. Of course, the species is older than that.

Parents to the Goblins, Gremlins evolved as a separated species when mankind started building complex mechanisms. It is said that Gutenberg had issues with Gremlins when he built his first printing press, blaming them for quite a painful bruise on his right shin. Nobody knows of the first Gremlin, but amongst his people, legend says that he attempted a magical ritual which backfired at him, giving him a special connection to everything technological, which he transmitted to his quite important number of offsprings.

Since then, Gremlins know everything about any machine humans can build. They have such a connection to technology that they can produce the most improbable incident on demand. Remember when your computer crashed after you finished that important work and that the save didn’t work, so you had to redo everything ? That was a Gremlin. Your Uncle Steve, severely injured while repairing his old car’s engine just because some blocked piece suddenly moved ? A Gremlin too.

Gremlins have a special attraction to flying machines. Airplanes, space shuttles, helicopters… They seem to enjoy to fly, but also to make flying things fall, as if it was some sort of game to them. Many airplane crashes are due to Gremlins’ tricks. Fortunately, even the most sceptical of modern pilots are aware of their existence, and usually anticipate their mischievous actions. Not all the time, unfortunately. Some historians of magic blame them for these specific events:

But Gremlins aren’t only provoking big air catastrophes. They also like common technological devices: cars, tractors, cranes, chainsaws… So you better beware when you use any type of mechanical (or electronic) tool. A Gremlin might be nearby. Never forget the most elemental safety precautions around technological devices! That’s the best weapon against Gremlins.


Image credits : U.S. National Archives and Records Administration