From the moment you arrive in the Harran countryside, you'll notice that something isn't quite right. There are strange paintings of an otherworldly being, sacrificial pyres and other "religious" artifacts scattered throughout the world.
We don't know for sure, but there's a good chance that these ritual sites have been constructed by the very locals we plan to interact with. Speaking of the locals, they are EXTREMELY reluctant to help the protagonist, and will require a great many deeds done for them before they'll even look you in the eye.
There are some extremely shady characters in The Following, and although the player needs to earn the trust of the locals, trusting them back is something we do not condone.