Have you ever felt the urge to trip up a stranger for absolutely no reason?
How about the urge to shout something absurd or offensive in a formal assembly?
According to American writer and OG spooky boy Edgar Allan Poe, you have an imp in your brain pushing you to do irrational things.
Like knocking food out of someone's hands.
Or throwing a cup of hot tea in somebody's face.
Chucking your phone away.
Flipping a table.
Aggressively sweeping a desk.
Punching an old lady in the face.
Just all terrible things you shouldn't ever, EVER do.
Poe compared these perverse thoughts to "a shadow that seems to flit across the brain" in his short story The Imp of the Perverse.
No one really knows why we think these things, but theories range from the need for your brain to declutter itself to the brain improving its problem-solving skills by rehearsing future crisis situations to see how you'd react. Thanks, brain.
The important thing is that we DON'T do these crazy things that pop into our minds for all of a millisecond, and that it's perfectly normal to have these sudden, unacceptable urges. Phew.
So next time you want to push over a child in the street, thank the imp for its contribution and move away from the small child!