IIRC, it's one of those old magazine short stories from the '50s-'70s, written by one of the greats (although I don't remember which one).

It's about an evil spirit (or a more sciency interpretation of the concept) that possesses someone from time to time leading them to commit evil actions. The story goes over several instances of this; I remember details about two:

  • A guy that sprays his neighbour's milk (back when milk was delivered to your doorstep) with pesticide to poison him and his family.
  • Another that takes a sub machine gun (a M3 or a Sten I think) to a concentration of people and commits a mass shooting.

1 Answer 1


The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, by Harlan Ellison.

Cover of the book

It's a 1968 short story that won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1969

Its narrative structure is very complicated and its plot moves through different eras, but part of it is this:

A man, William Sterog, goes on a killing spree. He poisons two hundred people with an insecticide stolen from a pest control man, kills a hundred people on a jet flight by means of a time bomb planted in his mother's suitcase, and shoots 44 people in a stadium with a machine gun, before he is arrested.

This story should not be confused with the book of the same title whose cover I included above and which is a collection of short stories.


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