Every writer should be an amateur psychologist. If your characters act in ways inconsistent with human behavior, your readers will throw up their hands (or just throw up) and say, “Nobody would do that!” Their suspended disbelief will drop like a dead bat. But, besides knowing what your characters would not do, psychology can help you design them and tell you what they would do.
In the process of writing my historical novel, In the Mouth of the Lion, I had to psychoanalyze Hitler, not an easy or pleasant task. But so many facts about Hitler are in the literature that adding up enough of them will give clues to what was going on in his noggin, bearing in mind that about 20% of the facts about Hitler are untrue. I think I succeeded to the degree necessary to discover valid, or at least potential answers to these twelve questions:
- Did Hitler have supernatural powers?
- Who killed Geli Raubal, Hitler’s niece?
- Why was Geli Raubal killed?
- How did her murderer get away with it?
- Who is the newest candidate for Hitler’s mystery grandfather?
- Why did Hitler want to eliminate Jews?
- Why did Hitler attacked Russia?
- Why did he destroy his father’s home town?
- Did Hitler really have “Jewish blood?”
- What was the connection between Geli’s death and the Holocaust?
- Was Hitler insane?
- What was Hitler’s greatest fear?
Not bad, considering that these are authentic answers and the book is historical fiction. The entire train of logic leading to the answers for these questions is contained in In the Mouth of the Lion, and won’t be replicated here. I will, however, explore the first question, above.
Question 1: Hitler’s Supernatural Power(s): Hitler’s life was saved at Verdun [Ypres, actually] during WWI when an inner “Voice” warned him to get up and move down the trench from where he was eating dinner with his companions. Seconds later, a “stray shell” went off right where Hitler had been sitting. Apparently this “Voice” spoke to Hitler on other occasions, and he had the notion that it was infallible, if and when it did so. Ultimately, it must have failed him. Did it start leading him astray, giving wrong answers? Did it stop speaking? The manner of its failure would be interesting to know.
But what was this voice? Was it demonic? Many believe that it was. Hitler was known to read occult literature and owned a copy of Ernst Schertel’s History of Magic, a book on black magic that contains this line:
“He who does not have the demonic seed within himself will never give birth to a magical world.”
Hitler underlined that passage. His annotated copy has been found, replicated, and published. I wouldn’t buy one, if I were you.
Or, rather than demonic, was his “Voice” the result of some part of Hitler’s mind being able to compute probable trajectories of shells based on the behavior of previous rounds, in the manner of an “idiot savant?” It comes down to this: Do we believe in magic? Or not? Savant syndrome, as it is now called, is not magic. We can see it in action, but can’t really explain it.
We may never know the answer to Question 1, but if it has a non-magic answer, we should probably explore it. My proposed answer depends on the Guardienne Hypothesis, a general and fundamental guess at how the human mind functions. To read a draft of my article on that hypothesis, follow this link:
More on this in a week or two. Please comment with any questions or you may ask questions at the ResearchGate site.