Only an all loving God could come up with a place as vile as Hell. Whether you think of it as a vast, empty space where you’re separate from God’s love for all eternity, a fiery inferno or a complex structure composed of nine circles, Hell is simply not a nice place. As an atheist I don’t believe in a Hell, Heaven or Afterlife and, although I find the idea pretty repugnant, I do find it fascinating. I’ll be very honest here, if there is a Hell then I have a one way ticket (apparently atheists and mass murderers deserve pretty much the same punishment in God’s eyes). The idea of meeting famous people in Hell came up at a recent site meeting and we’ve decided to write our own personal choices, admittedly mine is ‘late’ by several weeks but I have been experiencing a bought of emotional and psychological turbulance recently so I hope you don’t judge me too harshly. I have to stress that I don’t believe everyone on this list deserves to go to Hell but by the laws of the Bible they’ve all committed at least one sin. So, without further adieu, I present my top ten people I would like to meet in Hell!
10) Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Regardless of whether you want to torture him, worship him or interrogate him, Adolf Hitler is one of those people most would want to meet in Hell. Hitler is arguably the most vicious bastard in human history, he brutally slaughtered millions of innocent men, women and children, he started a war that affected the entire planet and he will probably be studied for the next millennium. So, why do I want to meet him? Well, while most historians pretty much agree that Hitler knew about the Holocaust, they are divided as to whether he was the prime mover behind it, many cite people like Heinrich Himmler as the real man behind the Holocaust. I think that’s where I’d start on the question front. The second point really revolves around him as a person. Evil as he was, Adolf Hitler was a very charismatic man and a passionate speaker who persuaded a country to back a war they could never win and butcher millions. I would want to meet him simply to experience that charisma in a clinical way. I do not like Hitler, but I am fascinated by him. How is it that a man less than adequate in all fields of life, manages to become the absolute personification of evil. He couldn’t get into art school but he somehow managed to be at the head of one of the 20th Century’s great military powers? Do you have any idea how easy it is to get into an art school??
Almost as easy as it is to get into this woman if you happen to be a former member of The Beatles…
Adolf Hitler is really on this list because I’d like to know why he did what he did, what was going through his mind and, perhaps most importantly, I would want to know just what sort of man he was and experience it.
9) Ted Bundy (1946-1989)
If you ask the average American to name a serial killer then they’ll probably name Ted Bundy and with good reason. The man is arguably the most iconic American serial killer and to this day leaves a bloody smear of the face of the country. Like a great many serial killers, Theodore Robert Bundy had a fascinatingly odd childhood. His mother gave birth to in the Vermont home for un-wed mothers in 1946 and, due to the public stigma she would face for having a child out of wedlock, Ted was raised believing that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister. Later in life Bundy would train to become a lawyer, volunteer at a suicide hotline and brutally murder at least 33 innocent young women.
Horrific crimes that come second only to that mono-brow…
Bundy was smart. I mean really smart. Serial killers tend to have an above average IQ but even by their standards Bundy is one hell of an intellect. He escaped police custody twice, going on to kill again after each escape, and, during his trial where he represented himself, the judge told him it was a shame that he had chosen such a monstrous life because he would’ve made one hell of a lawyer. Bundy’s charisma cannot be understated here. If you watch videos of him in court of interviews of him in prison then you’ll see how he manged to amass such a large body count. If you met him at a bar you’d talk to him, you’d like him. The charisma that would endear us to him suddenly becomes very sinister once you think about what he did. Those two key personality traits, his charisma and his intelligence, are the real reason why I’d like to meet Ted Bundy in Hell. I want to pit myself against him intellectually. He was a master of manipulation, you could never really tell what he was thinking and you had to be on your guard at all times. While my sympathies obviously remain with the friends and families of the victims as well as Bundy’s own mother, I want to try and see if I can match him, perhaps even outdo him. Hell, maybe we can have a chat over a game of cards or drinks.
8) Gaius “Caligula” Caesar (12AD-41AD)
I know what you’re thinking, “Caligula? The insane Roman Emperor who screwed his sisters, made himself a god and declared war on the sea??” Yeah, Caligula. There’s a great deal of debate among classical historians as to how many of the stories surrounding Caligula are actually true and what exactly his motivations were. Caligula probably wasn’t incestuous, although he did mint coins with his sister’s faces on them, and half of the other stories that look like madness could well be the actions of a 20 something trying to be witty. For example, everyone knows Caligula made his horse a consul but this was no act of insanity or vanity; he was saying that his horse would be better in the position than any of his senators. The more difficult question is why Caligula did what he did.It may have been that he was just a dick, an arrogant, spoilt brat given everything he could possibly want who managed to find himself in control of millions of people whose lives are totally in his hands
He’s like Justin Bieber only entertaining
There are, however, records of him suffering from severe headaches and wandering the palace at night unable to sleep. There are also historians who think of Caligula as a young man given all the power in the fucking world and seeing just how far he could go before someone called him out on his douchbaggery. Turns out it would take four years and would manifest in thirty brutal stab wounds rather than a stern telling off.
I think the reason I want to meet Caligula in Hell is two-fold. Firstly, I want to get to know the guy. Maybe he was insane, maybe he was testing his power; we just don’t know and we probably never will. Secondly, Caligula actually seems like a pretty fun guy to be around, providing you can control him to some degree. He’s sort of like your friend’s crazy cousin, he’s really fun at parties and you’d like hanging around him but you’d never want to spend more than a day with him. I think I’d like to get drunk with Caligula, I think it would be fun. I’d be sure to leave before he sobered up though…
7) Peter O’Toole (1932-2013) AND Roger Ebert (1942-2013)
Now, I have to stress that I don’t believe either of these two deserve to go to Hell; I love these guys. But, if we’re looking at the Bible and other esteemed Christian sources then both of them are regrettably there. Peter O’Toole was a bit of a drinker so that falls under gluttony and Roger Ebert once wrote soft porn so I suppose that falls under lust. It’s really part of the reason I find Hell such a horrific concept, because good, innocent people may be sent there for the smallest of indiscretions.
This woman once put the recycling out on the wrong day. Now she’s tied to a rack and being beaten by demons
Peter O’Toole is without a doubt one of my favourite actors of all time. He was a consummate professional who adored his work and loved the theater. O’Toole’s very presence could immediately increase the quality of whatever he was in; he was just a great actor. The main reason why I’d like to meet Peter O’Toole is because of an obscure tv mini-series he starred in. Masada (1981) tells the story of a Jewish revolt in the Roman province of Palestine in the middle of the 1st Century AD. Masada has great characters, good pacing, amazing actors and a brilliant story; in fact, the only downside is that not nearly enough people have heard of it. I loved Masada when I first saw it and O’Toole’s character, Roman commander Flavius Silva, is one of my favourite characters of all time. It bothers me that I never got to tell O’Toole just how much I loved it, he was probably inundated with people complimenting him for Laurence of Arabia (1962) but I bet next to no one has ever talked to him about Masada. It’s an opportunity that I never got but would love to have.
It’s a very similar case with film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert was hugely influential in his time, partly due to his review show that he did with Gene Siskel but mostly due to his excellent writing and infectious passion. One of the many people influenced by Ebert’s reviews was the young Doug Walker who later went on to become The Nostalgia Critic, an internet persona that posts reviews of films online. Walker’s own brand of comedy and passion later went on to influence me, without him I may never have chosen to study for a degree in film studies. In the past few years I began to look at Ebert’s own work and took a liking to it immediately. I would love a chance to talk with the guy about Citizen Kane (1941) or Casablanca (1942) and thank him for the impact he made on my life, if mostly by proxy.
6) Arthur Leigh Allen (1934-1992)
I’m willing to wager that none of you reading this know the name Arthur Leigh Allen. Allen was an American child molester with a reasonably high IQ and no real accomplishments to his name. Oh, and he’s the prime suspect in the Zodiac Killing case.
Good luck sleeping…
The Zodiac killer stalked the streets of San Francisco in the late 60’s and early 70’s, killing six people using a variety of different weapons including guns and knives. Although his victims tended to be young couples in lovers lanes, the Zodiac killer did kill a taxi driver and claimed to have threatened to throw a woman and her baby out of his car after picking them up by the roadside. The Zodiac killer sent letters to the police and newspapers taunting them for months and eventually ended his correspondence by saying that he wouldn’t report any more of his murders and that he would make them look like accidents. To this day the case remains unsolved but the main suspect has always been, and still is, Arthur Leigh Allen, and the evidence is simply overwhelming:
-Allen once joked about shooting schoolchildren as they came off a bus, the Zodiac killer told to police he would do the very same thing in a letter.
-Allen spelled certain words wrong which the Zodiac killer also spelled wrong, like ‘Christmass’
-Allen can be placed at the scene for at least one murder and came home covered in blood. He later told police he had helped some people cut up a chicken
-The sketches of Allen look like some of the sketches of the unmasked Zodiac killer
-Allen owned the same sorts of guns used in the killings.
-Allen was identified by the only surviving victim to see the Zodiac killer’s face.
-Allen is reported to have admitted being the Zodiac killer to numerous friends.
-Allen wore a Zodiac watch with a symbol identical to that used by the killer.
-The letters were only sent when Allen was free from prison. When he was arrested the letters stopped until he was free again
Hell, Chief Wiggum could’ve cracked this thing!
In fact, the only thing that doesn’t match is DNA. Forensic scientists manage to obtain a partial DNA profile of the Zodiac killer from DNA left on letters he had sent and found that it did not match with Allen. However, this was only a partial profile of the Zodiac killer and one of Allen’s former friends claims that Allen had him lick envelopes and stamps as well as post letters. The evidence was so overwhelming that detectives were actually going to charge Allen with the crimes but, guess what, he died of a heart attack before they could arrest him. In a way, it’s really unfair of me to be so hard on the police departments working on this case. I think there are two main reasons why Allen was never charged earlier. Firstly, all that evidence listed above is convincing but circumstantial; it probably wouldn’t hold up in a court of law because none of that definitively proves Allen was the killer. Secondly, there were multiple police departments working on this case because the crimes took place in different counties, so each police department had a different piece of the puzzle. On top of this, the Zodiac killer was friggen huge, I mean this guy was everywhere, on the TV, on the front page of national papers; everywhere, and the guy who caught him would’ve been a legend of the day. Because of this, it could be argued that the police departments probably didn’t want to work together because they were afraid of giving away any huge advantage they had. Regardless of the fact that the Zodiac killer almost certainly was Allen, I just have to know for certain and what better way to find out than by asking the man himself? Although, if it turns out not to be Allen then I guess I may ever know the psychotic animal behind the Zodiac killer.
This is unnervingly believable…
5) Harold Shipman (1946-2004)
Harold Shipman is the Olympiad of serial killers. In many ways he is history’s ‘greatest serial killer’. I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, his body count is astronomically high. While Shipman was only found guilty of 15 murders further reviews found he killed at least 215 and probably as many as 250. That’s more than seven times as many as Ted Bundy. Secondly, the fact that he killed in a first world country. Shipman is the most prolific serial killer in British history, the second is Dennis Nilsen who killed 15 people. That is an immense difference is victims. The majority of the world’s most prolific serial killers come from third world countries, mostly from Columbia in South America. This is because first world policing tends to be far more advanced and serial killers are usually easier to catch. For a man to get away with more than 200 murders is staggering. Thirdl, he got away with it for 30 years. Finally, we still have no real idea of why he killed. With many serial killers, we can usually prescribe some sort of motive by looking at their early lives, modus operandi etc. Shipman is the exception to the rule. There are theories as to why Shipman did what he did but no real answers. Was it because he wanted control over life and death? Because he just liked killing? Because his mother died of cancer when he was young and he saw the relief that morphine gave her? Because he was angry at himself for his own morphine addiction and wanted to inflict it on others?
Because his admittedly impressive beard told him to??
Of all modern-day serial killers, Harold Shipman is the one that raises the most questions and, when it comes down to it, that’s the main reason why I’d want to meet him. The other real reason is that there are surprisingly few interviews with Shipman, he’s certainly one of those seria killers that prefers not to talk about his crimes. Sure, we have the recorded interviews from after he was arrested but that’s not the real Harold Shipman, that’s Shipman trying to evade justice. There are stories about an interview he did for Granada news back in the late 1980’s but I’ve not been able to find it. The majority of other serial killers have something of a public identity, but Shipman is shrouded in mystery. Ask yourself, what did Shipman sound like? How did he laugh? Did he have an accent? Most people can answer these questions when it comes to other famous serial killers but Shipman is an enigma, an enigma with a nasty drug habit. I’d want to meet Shipman and know what he was like and maybe, just maybe, find out why he did what he did.
I’m still sticking with the beard theory…
4) Elisabeth Short (1924-1947)
Like Arthur Leigh Allen, I doubt many of you have heard of Elisabeth Short. In fact, I doubt many of you know her even by her infamous nickname ‘The Black Dahlia‘. Elisabeth Short was a beautiful young woman who lived in the sleepy little town of Medford, Massachusetts and dreamed of the bright lights of Hollywood and of becoming an actress. In 1946, Short moved to Los Angeles where she attempted to become a serious actress. Her career never really took off and she was forced to do something many women in the 1940’s did to make ends meet, ‘date for dinner’. Dating for dinner was when a woman went out with a man because she needed to eat and maybe a place for the night. It was a difficult time financially for many people and we shouldn’t judge Short for doing what she did to make ends meet and keep herself alive. Dating for dinner is not morally wrong.
Dating for attention on the other hand…
On January 15th 1947, Betty Bersinger and her three year old daughter were walking past a vacant lot in Los Angeles when they saw something that they first mistook for a shop mannequin. The nude body of Elisabeth Short, heavily mutilated, drained of blood and cut in half. She was 22 years old. The newspapers began to call her “The Black Dahlia” and labeled her as a prostitute who, in all likelihood, probably had it coming. The media stooped to an all new low when one paper phoned up Short’s mother and told her that her Daughter had won a beauty contest in order to get information about Elisabeth’s youth. It was only when the mother had given all the information the paper needed that she was informed that her daughter was dead and then asked if she would be willing to travel to LA to help the police with their inquiries, a strategic move that would have prevented other papers from getting the same information.
Somewhere, Piers Morgan is making notes…
By all accounts, however, Elisabeth Short was a nice, if naive young girl. Her friends and family described her as sweet, kind and generous; words that are in complete contrast to those the media used so viciously. Elisabeth Short had short and tragic life with a short and tragic end. Her father committed suicide after his business failed in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and her fiance died in a plane crash She didn’t deserve to be butchered in such a horrific manner. I’d like to meet Elisabeth Short because that girl needs a hug and someone to tell her that everything is going to be ok, something that seems to have rarely happened in reality.
3) Anne Boleyn (1501-1536)
If ambition is a sin then Anne Boleyn burns in Hell. I cannot help being fascinated with this woman, after all, she is one of the most important figures in English history. Anne Boleyn was born to a minor noble family in 1501 and was sent to France when she was 12 to learn the finer arts of etiquette. Twenty years later, Anne had seduced a king, turned the politics of Europe on its head and brought England to the brink of war. Suffice to say, Anne Boleyn learned a great deal in France.
She spent the first 5 years mastering the art of the pastry
The strange thing is, we know exactly how Anne managed to become Queen, she seduced Henry VIII, promised him an heir and then withheld sex until he divorced Catherine and married her. There is no real debate here, we have the letters they sent one another and some historians are convinced they can pinpoint the exact date that Anne gave in to Henry. It isn’t really a case of me having questions that I just have to have answered here, although I would ask Anne the obvious stuff about the degree of her personal ambitions and the nature of her downfall. The reason I want to meet Anne Boleyn is because she sounds like someone I would get along pretty well with. By all accounts Anne Boleyn was a well-read, intelligent, witty, sarcastic, bright, ruthlessly ambitious and outspoken woman towards whom many people gravitated. If you were at a party and she was there then you’d want to spend the entire evening talking to her and you’d want her to like you. In many ways, Anne Boleyn encompasses all the traits I admire in a person; intelligence, wit, charisma and above all, ambition. There isn’t really a great deal else to say about her, I think we’d just go for drinks and discuss theology, or the human condition or the exact moral nature of a ‘loving’ God who see’s an eternity of burning as a fitting punishment for a little bit of buggery. As touchy a subject it would probably be, I think I’d have to ask her whether there was any truth in the accusations of adultery with led to her execution, after all, at least one academic believes them to be true.
Though whether Professor George Bernard is actually Thomas Cromwell in disguise is still up for debate…
2) Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)
If I had heroes then Christopher Hitchens would be right at the top of the list. Where do I even begin with this guy. Hitchens is perhaps the most exquisite writer that I have ever come across, a genuine academic who dedicated his life to literature, politics, history and fighting the evils of religion. You see, Christopher Hitchens wasn’t just an atheist, he was a full blown anti-theist; that is to say he was totally against the concept of religion and he thought we’d be far better off without it (I just so happen to agree). Hitchen’s war on religion first hit mainstream audiences in his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007), a book which led him to become one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism along with Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Not only was Hitchens a first class writer, he was also a first class debater, Richard Dawkin’s review of God Is Not Great includes the line “If you are a religious apologist invited to debate with Christopher Hitchens then politely decline”. Hitchens was so formidable that his fans invented a phrase to use when ever he crushed a bishop or demolished a rabbi; the Hitchslap. It would be rude of me to ignore the other targets of Hitchens wrath. He also criticized Mother Teresa in The Missionary Position (1995), calling her the most successful con artist of the 20th century, and he spoke out against the mass of ‘mourners’ after the death of Princess Diana attacking the idea of her as an image of perfection. I tend to agree with Hitchens on most things but he attracted a great deal of criticism when he came out as an avid supporter of the disastrous Iraq war, but even then Hitchens managed to present a sound argument that made a decent amount of sense. If there was one thing Christopher Hitchens could do it was approach the most controversial topics with a brilliant mix of seriousness and humour.; Hitchens was a very witty man.
Although when performed together they are remarkably average…
Of all the major players behind New Atheism, Christopher Hitchens is by far the most intelligent, cultured and witty. If he goes to Hell for one thing then it’ll be for the staunch anti-theistic stance he took throughout his life and for the damage he did to all world religions, this is not to say that there aren’t other sins for which a loving God may see fit to punish him. Christopher Hitchens quite probably committed each of the seven deadly sins on a daily basis. The man was bi-sexual and had a pretty active sex drive made evident by his quote “Ever since my member decided to give me no peace I decided to do my bit in return and give it no rest”. Trust me, if you can think of a legal sin then Hitchens probably committed it. He loved smoking, sex and drinking and the internet is full to the brim with pictures that prove that.
This isn’t even a publicity picture, Hitchens always smoked in the shower…
Sadly, in 2011, Christopher Hitchens died from throat cancer. Even in his final days he refused to allow the disease to affect his passion, wit and moral integrity. Some douchebag Christians sent him emails saying that the cancer was a fitting punishment from God because it attacked the part of the body with which he had used to sin. Hitchens replied that he had used more than just one organ to sin. If I was in Hell then I’d want to meet Hitchens. We could bitch about God or discuss the ethics of the inferno or talk about literature. He’s the sort of guy that if you talked to him for an hour then you’d learn something. I miss him a great deal, not just because he’s arguably one of the most important atheist speakers of the last century but because of his wit, kindness, integrity and eloquence. Even at his worst he still managed to teach and inspire people worldwide.
As well as making a lot of wine merchants very wealthy…
1) Lucifer (N/A)
Yeah, much as I hate to admit it, Gwinnett really beat me on this one. Then again, how could your first choice be anyone other than Lucifer? He’s the second most powerful character in Christianity and, to some extent, the whole of fiction. Various Christian sources make up Lucifer’s characterisation and back-story, including things like Paradise Lost (1667) and Dante’s Divine Comedy (308-1321). Lucifer is described by poet John Milton as “The brightest star in God’s sky”, the human race may well be God’s personal favourite creation but there is no doubt that Lucifer is the real pinnacle of God’s work. The story goes that Lucifer begins to see God’s tyranny and feels that he would do a better job ruling the universe. Lucifer starts a coup which attracts the support of 1/3 of “all the stars in God’s sky” or in other words, 1/3 of all the angels in Heaven. That is a vast amount and it’s due to two major things. Firstly, the main personality trait that pretty much every version of the devil includes is an incredible charisma; that’s how he can do the things he does and that’s how he managed to persuade so many angels to join his cause. Secondly, Lucifer kinda has a point. This doesn’t start of as some vicious rebellion, it starts off as democratic thought. Lucifer is simply seeing God as he is; a dictator with frankly very serious, flaws and realising that a change of management is required. Look at every single uprising in history and you’ll find that the majority start the same way, especially modern-day ones such as those in Syria, Libya and Egypt.
I am only the second person in history to compare Colonel Gaddafi and God. The first was Colonel Gaddafi…
Rather unsurprisingly, Lucifer loses his war against the single most powerful being in existence and he and his angels are cast out of Heaven into Hell. In fact, Dante writes that the 9 circles of Hell are the impact crater formed when Lucifer hit the Earth. Dante also writes that the very last circle of Hell is Treachery where traitors are frozen for all eternity in Lake Cocytus. Right at the heart of Lake Cocytus is Lucifer, frozen in his own tears and desperately trying to fly back to heaven. To a certain extent, both Dante and Milton saw Lucifer as a sympathetic character, so to avoid bias we’ll look at some of the stuff he does in the major text of the Christian faith.
Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t actually talk about Lucifer that much but there are several stories that feature him prominently. While I could discuss at least three of them, there is one story that perfectly sums up Lucifer; the story of the Garden of Eden. God created Adam and Eve on the 6th day, left them in a pretty Garden over which they were given total dominion and said they could do whatever they wanted provided they didn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Lucifer comes in the guise of a serpent and persuades Eve to eat from the tree, which she does, and quickly persuades Adam to do the same. God finds out, Adam and Eve are literally introduced to a world of pain, Lucifer is forever known as that dick that ruined everything and Eve becomes the poster child for the “Why women suck” campaign.
She’s like a Biblical version of Bella from Twilight
The thing about the Garden of Eden story is that Lucifer is its hero. Think about it, what exactly were Adam and Eve going to do for all eternity? I mean, God is quite content to have them sitting there doing next to nothing. The Tree of Knowledge represents the freedom to improve oneself and move on but it also represents the concept of free thought, remember that God can send you to Hell for thinking something. Lucifer enters the picture and immediately persuades Eve to eat from the tree and share the love with Adam, God comes in and gets pissed because his creation has defied his orders and eaten from the tree. Wait a second, God creates people with free will, curiosity and the potential to be persuaded and then gets angry when they do something as a result of things he placed within then? Hell, if he didn’t want mankind to eat from the tree then he shouldn’t have put the tree in the garden! Lucifer plays a key role in giving humanity the ability to think. He hasn’t corrupted them, either he has helped humanity on the road to logic or he has been a major cog in God’s stupid-ass convoluted plan to introduce original sin to the world. In no way should he be criticised for either.
Lucifer is one of the most criminally misunderstood fictional characters of all time. He isn’t evil, he isn’t sadistic and he isn’t the polar opposite of God. Lucifer is a freedom fighter who attempted to overthrow a cruel, petty, insecure and bigoted dictator and spent the rest of eternity being punished for it while every now and then helping humanity along by introducing them to knowledge and pleasure. The worst thing you could say about the guy is that he occasionally hurts humans to get to God but, to be honest, that’s pretty understandable. I’d like to meet Lucifer because I’d like to be in his presence and tell him that I see him for what he is; a better version of God. Would things be perfect if God was replaced with Lucifer? No, but they would be vastly, vastly better. Lucifer is the number one person that I would want to meet in Hell.