Transcribing this second portion of the interview with Mr Engel took somewhat longer than I had anticipated and hoped, due to interrupted sleep and a rising frustration with being continuously insulted by the members of the Dante Effect. It seems to me, indeed, that the menfolk are particularly prejudiced against my presence and tolerate it only at the insistence of Ste.Croix. With such a woman in their midst I marvel at their continued misogyny.
VICTORIA: Let’s continue with this line of inquiry. Would you tell me more about your education?
SIGMUND: I was from a poor family so I had no education until my sister and I were taken into custody by the church after our parents’ deaths. We were…
VICTORIA: Would you mind elaborating on the nature of your parents’ deaths?
SIGMUND: My mother in a fire when I was very young, my father two years later in a hunting accident. I thought you wanted to know about my education.
VICTORIA: I apologise if this is emotionally difficult for you, Mr Engel.
SIGMUND: It is not difficult; it is insignificant, much like your feigned sympathy.
VICTORIA: Most people generally find the deaths of their parents significant, regardless of their willingness to admit it.
SIGMUND: You look down on me because I am a man of faith. I have met many like you: professors, physicians, scientists who think that belief clouds the judgment. They are wrong. Belief is everything; knowledge is nothing without the conviction to use it. I will tell you something about myself: I was born on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas; he believed that faith and science were intertwined and I share that belief. My fa-mentor taught me that our knowledge of the natural world and our knowledge of the spiritual world grow together. So do not look at me like I am the kind of maniac that would deny Galileo or Copernicus or Darwin.
VICTORIA: Just the kind that believes in witches and evil spirits.
SIGMUND: Do you not believe there is evil in this world?
VICTORIA: I am not certain I define ‘evil’ as you do.
SIGMUND: Do you not believe in forces greater than yourself?
SIGMUND: Regardless of what you believe, the simple truth is that beyond the trivial concerns of this waning mortal sphere there is a great battle between good and evil. Daily the agents of righteousness and the agents of corruption vie for the souls of all mankind. People do not simply act justly or sinfully by chance they are influenced by an infinite and shifting spiritual cosmos that one such as you can never hope to understand.
VICTORIA: Indeed, I never have been able to understand anything that wasn’t at least slightly based in reality.
SIGMUND: Your sceptical condescension is duly noted Doctor, I pray you do not ultimately suffer for it.
VICTORIA: I see no way in which your moral contemptuousness is any better. I propose we simply attempt to overlook our mutual disdain, at least for a few more minutes.
SIGMUND: The only way to defeat evil is through constant vigilance. I cannot overlook the fact that evil promulgates through the wilful ignorance of the learned, such as yourself, who are blind to anything that cannot be measured by scientific tests. It is your caste of scientific elite that encourage the world to turn their eye away from the ethereal to focus on the empirical. I watched for many years as humanity succumbed to the idolization of scientific and industrial progress. The world has been losing its faith; misplacing it in these quantifiable things, machines and money, which offer the soul no more reward than a golden cow. As we lose our faith, so too do we lose our souls to the machinations evil. As good as your intentions may be the road to hell is thus paved. Is it not my responsibility to show…
VICTORIA: That is quite enough, Mr Engel. First, I hardly think that your assumptions about me are predicated on anything more than your anti-intellectual prejudice. Second, the notion that science is somehow linked to moral degradation…
SIGMUND: That’s not what I’m saying.
VICTORIA: Then perhaps you would care to clarify further?
SIGMUND: The pursuit of knowledge in itself does not cause an absence of faith. It is the dismissal of faith as an impediment to knowledge with which I am concerned. When we look at this world scientifically we cannot forget to see God’s hand in all things. It was one of the greatest physicists of all time I believe, who said, ‘Gott spielt nicht mit dem wurfel’, or ‘God does not play at dice’. The more we understand of our universe the more we realize the complexity of its design and the more praise we should give to its designer.
VICTORIA: I see…Am I correct, then, in believing that you would consider yourself a man of science?
SIGMUND: Yes, I can understand why you would dismiss my more colloquial title of ‘demonologist’ but I study the ways in which spiritual energy interacts with the corporal world.
VICTORIA: A ‘demonologist’. And how exactly is one educated in demonology?
SIGMUND: I studied under Dr. Caius Mueller. He was the most recognized scholar of spiritual entities in Europe.
VICTORIA: And he was a demonologist?
SIGMUND: He was a doctor of divinity. You should not mock him. He was a great man who cared for me like his own son since I was ten. We travelled together and he taught me all that he knew.
VICTORIA: And if I were interested in his work, where would I find it?
SIGMUND: His life’s work was collected in a compendium entitled Auf Schutzen die Seele, On Protecting the Soul. The copies that were not lost were destroyed and even if you were to acquire one the book is encrypted so that only those on the side of the angels may read it.
VICTORIA: How convenient…
SIGMUND: I tire of your scepticism, Doctor. A sense of practical suspicion is healthy, but I have never seen someone who so fervently attempts to deny what appears plainly before them again and again. If you refuse to accept the improbable truth about the witch or myself or any of the other residents of this halfway house for the damned you are practicing self-deceit not scientific rigor. When you allow yourself to believe in something beyond this world of flesh, perhaps your eyes will open; then I should be glad to converse with you further, until such a time, farewell.