Many people speak of ‘social-vampires’ – humans who behave like parasites, sucking the life, joy or money out of other people for their own benefit. I’d like to point out that the many creatures we know of today are in fact anthropomorphic of those base, dark urges lurking within us all. A man who is excessively hairy and suffers from sporadic shots of adrenaline – promoting irrational anger and extraordinary strength – would fit the bill of a werewolf, or any other Jekyll-and-Hyde notion.
Spotting a troll these days is not quite as simple, especially given the ambiguity of trolls in the first place. Let’s begin with Internet Trolls: people who post in forums in such a way as to upset others, or incite them into attacking one another. This is easy to spot; clear indications of belligerence, or ham-fisted posting that deliberately rocks the boat.
In society, the trick of identifying a troll is to recognize the principle features, same as with the myths. Now, big eyes, ears or a nose does not automatically a troll make. Referring to Jung’s archetypes, a troll is likely narrow-minded, brutish in manner, and when things don’t go their way, quick to anger and violence. Some trolls are more cunning, though no more intelligent, as they delight in mischief and playing tricks on the people around them. Once again, when their games go awry, they are often angry and sometimes petulant. Sometimes, their genetics reflect their nature; look for signs of Neanderthal ancestry, such a pronounced brow, large nose or ears, and bad teeth.
As each archetype is clothed in the local culture, an American troll may be found from anywhere in the mid-west, usually wearing flannel and living in modern day equivalents of mounds of earth (trailer parks), to the caves high above ground in central business districts, usually wearing an oppressive amount of cologne and demanding tolls of passersby and locals alike. Always remember that when a troll is being mischievous or pulling a prank, unlike a trickster or fairy, the prank is usually malicious on some level; case in point, the Internet Troll.
Always be diligent and careful when bargaining with trolls. Usually, their offer of help comes with a terrible price, as with Fin or those ever popular Patent Trolls. However, the mysterious power of the bargain holds the troll in check, more or less, when he loses. You will see a tantrum, perhaps a bit of destruction, but ultimately they recognize that it’s ‘game over’ for them, until next time. Pranks spoiled in this way usually elicit the same reaction from the antagonist.