I am blessed to have a loving dad, something I do not take for granted. I know so many that have had controlling, manipulative and abusive fathers. The way our father treated us helps create the lens through which we view the world around us, and the God who made us, especially when our father is a pastor. I found the following blog by Mockingbird to be of interest as it deals with one of the ways some men have processed their ‘father issues,’ through the writing of supernatural short stories.
What Betjeman left for the facts to point out, is that all four of these men were the sons of Protestant ministers. Even the famous Henry James was the son of Henry James, Sr., a conscientious, writing lay-evangelist for the theology of Emmanuel Swedenborg.
If you add the two other luminaries of the genre, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, then every single practitioner of the ghost story in our language, prior to H.P. Lovecraft, was the son of a Protestant clergyman. (Blackwood’s father was a lay preacher and lay elder of the Sandemanian Church.)
(Oh, and remember that A.C. Benson, another master of the ghost story, was the son of … The Archbishop of Canterbury!)
What do you make of this? Every one of these “Stephen Kings” of their day was the child of a minister-father.
Well, I think you can understand why they had to write literature of exorcism. Fathers can be demons — often unwittingly — and exorcisms of some emotional kind are sometimes required.
Moreover, the fathers of our “weird tale” writers were strong characters. They were not to be “defeated’ at home, or successfully engaged directly. The warfare had to be Phantastic, in a parallel universe, like the Bronte children’s ‘Angria’ and ‘Grondal’. In fantasy, and for boys it was typically Gothic fantasy, the battles could be fought, and maybe the war won. No wonder, at least to me, that these creators of disturbing and often inspired ‘parallel universes’ had forceful, sincere, and somewhat overwhelming fathers.