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©2001-2002 Clay A. Henss

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Ben-Nine has emerged as an icon for corruption and indulgence. It is a name heard among drug addicts, the terminally ill and the criminally insane. Convicted murderer Stephen Faulkner even blamed the character for influencing the killing spree that left eight people dead at a popular nightclub.

Psychologists have identified the grinning, demonic caricature as a sort of shared delusion. Some religious organizations believe he is an entity conjured from the recent upsurge in domestic violence and the "moral decay of society".

Oddly enough, Ben-Nine's morbid visage can be seen on everything from coffee mugs to T-shirts and bumper stickers. The phrase "Don't blame me, Ben made me do it" has become a normal part of the local vernacular.