Playing With the Dead


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      As all of you may acknowledge, having sexual copulation without necessary contraceptive intervention is unethical and immoral, not to mention the mutual responsibility both of you have to pay off for any unpredictable consequences. But such sexual activities obviously involve two-sided consents, with sexual assaults and rapes being exceptions. If I am going to tell you somewhere around the world, a place horrid to dwell upon, a sober man continuously makes physical contacts with an icy-cold body, will you take any credits from it? Yes, he is playing with the dead. Though extremely disturbing the scenario is, maybe even more nauseating than watching pictures of smallpox patients in our class, that psycho is not alone, because there are scores of individuals who have that queer fetish across the globe, incredulously eccentric are those people that the scientists even coined a word for them: necrophile.

      I know many of you are protesting against such a weird topic, and in fact at the beginning I also questioned myself: "Is this really a scientific matter or a supernatural phenomenon?" After some considerations, I concluded that necrophiles are legitimate subjects of science, and the reason is simple: necrophile are group of people who are practicing an observable behavior. Therefore, it differentiates from many ghostly topics that science decides not to prescribe.

      Thanks to the great comprehensiveness of science, necrophilia indeed is a part of scientific discussion. According to Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, "Necrophilia, is one of the rarest and most extraordinary sexual disorders found in the legal field. It is classified in the DSM-IV-TR as a paraphilia not otherwise specified."  DSM, the acronym stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is a reference book for contemporary psychiatric practitioners.

      Anyone who has the least life experience may know that unrestricted sexual acts are fruits of physical pleasure and psychological comfort. During the process, adrenaline gland excretes a stream of excessive hormone, an unexpected surge compared to the normal daily life. Those naughty wicked hormone stimulates the central neural system and thus creates a mundane gratification designed exclusively for human beings. After thinking about this, I begged myself this question: how a necrophile procures a similarly exciting rollercoaster ride described above when facing a lifeless body?

      I heard this story from my uncle in 2008, which eventually became the inspiration of this article. On May 12, 2008, a mega-earthquake of RS 8.0 slammed Sichuan Province, China, a peripheral area of Tibetan Plateau ridges, and this juggernaut force claimed more than 60,000 deaths. Being one of the officials in the Department of Public Health in a nearby town, my uncle volunteered to help with the excavation and disposition of body remains in the heavily-stricken areas. As he described, on the second day after the earthquake, he witnessed an incident so bizarre that he claimed that he still had a spell of hangover with it. As what he did for the first day, he helped carry corpse bags into the mortuary. Because of an enormous demand for venues of corpse disposition, incinerator pots barely had sufficient capacity to process hundreds of bodies in a short period of time. So the vast majority of newly-arrived bodies were aligned on the ground in the mortuary for further operations. Then he saw something astounding: Near the end of the hallway close to the backdoor, a man, having knelt down to the ground, directed his face inside one of those corpse bags. With his upper body drastically bumping, he lifted a woman's body up in the air, fondling her hairs and rubbing her face fanatically. My uncle was petrified, and without saying a word, he quietly quitted the chamber. Two of his coworkers also caught that unbelievable act in their eyes, and one told my uncle that the body was most probably the man's partner.

      It is somewhat reasonable for a person to touch a family member who recently died, but the situation which my uncle unfolded was mind-blowing to me. While preparing this topic, I suddenly realized a crucial factor of necrophilia. In my uncle's case, the natural disaster that had just happened put countless lives to a sudden end, after which many survivors were immensely savaged by the torturous earthquake flashbacks and the loss of their significant others. But generally, a sudden death of one's close companions will result in an inconsolable bereavement immediately to the one who still lives. Having realized this, I reached my first plausible explanation of necrophilia behaviors, which ties to the Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). Following a highly traumatic event, such as other's death, the victimization of crimes and natural catastrophes, a fair number of people will experience a chaotic imbalance with their mental states, which could later engender physical discomforts. An appealing example would be 9-11 attack. Just like the heavy smog which cloaked streets in Manhattan on that day, relatives of victims could hardly jerk themselves out of this tragedy in the thickest fog of their lives. Psych Central, an information-based website, listed one of the common syndromes of ASD as "derealization", in which one almost lost his identity and conduct acts that could hardly find any foundation in daily life. Necrophilia, a reprobate misdemeanor in our society, was found with the involvement with the dead. ASD, which could be triggered by someone's sudden death, thus find its way to creep in with necrophilia. Though this supposition lacks some instrumental proofs and scientific observations, it serves to give us a part of the picture to "justify" necrophilia based on our knowledge toward the mechanism of human beings.

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      On YouTube, I discovered a rare documentary produced on the history channel of KPI. This necrophilic story happened in Key West, Florida. In the 1920s, a British man called Von Cosel, traveled to America to pursue his dream. He arrived at Key West, and found a job as X-ray technician. Then he deadly fell in love with a girl named Alenna who was not even half the age of Von Cosel. Alenna later died from tuberculosis. Out of the great sensation on her, Von Cosel built her a mausoleum to bury her. During the following years, he descended to the mausoleum intermittently in hopes of communicating with her. In the second year, he literally carried all some worldly materials, such as wax, silk, into the mausoleum to resurrect her. Applying different material on her body, he primed her face and body as if she were in front of a dowry room, then he slept with her. This documentary seems to be even more offbeat than my uncle's narrative, but as we come across the ideas of these accounts, we easily see the pattern that necrophilia happens with the beloved one who died in an accident. This interaction of human's emotions, though half of it being inactive, proves the point that necrophilia is a mental disorder which an individual mistakenly channels sexual energies toward his past love.

      Alarmingly, it is assumed that necrophilia is on the rise among humankinds. "Although assumed rare," says Stephen Hucker, a forensic psychiatric professor, "necrophilia may be more prevalent than statistics imply, given that the act would be carried out in secret with a victim unable to complain." He also mentioned that 122 cases of necrophilia was documented in a study conducted in 1988. These analyses point to the fact that necrophilia is not an isolated disorder, but one with a telling provocative effect on human's mental state. So, who can deny necrophilia is not an interesting topic of science?

      This bottom line will surely complicate the whole problem: necrophile not only targets those whom they loved, but also victimize strangers. Historical documents have recorded a handful of repugnant cases, in which necrophiles exhumed body remains and used them as objects of their sexual rituals. Is necrophilia an indiscriminative disorder which happens to both acquaintances and strangers? Or playing with strangers a pure act of masochism?

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/science/article/pii/S1752928X11000874

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx44.htm

http://www.forensicpsychiatry.ca/paraphilia/necro.htm

2 Comments

This is the first time for me to comment on my own blog,which I hope will tally the count.But I do want to reflect some thoughts on this article.
I can't believe that I really finished this article,while constantly being battered with the sexual contents contained.But as science as a subject strives to create an unbiased community,mild suggestions of sensitive topics should not be considered to be profanity.On the other hand,necrophilia,as the cryptic terminology hints,is a rarely heard disorder,and we are yet to have a conving theory for the cause of necrophilia.But in this article,I gave a great amount of background knowledge as well as an authentic anecdote,for the push of some tentative hypotheses to form.I hope it will give you a broader stage to expand this interesting topic,which I believe serves as one of the main purposes of blogging in SC200.

Being as though you categorized necrophilia as a mental disorder, there should be ways to treat it. Of course, before this can happen, there should be more extensive research done in order to create the methods in which psychologists will fix this problem. As you said in your comment, I don't think the contents of your blog was too explicit or taboo. You merely covered a topic that is highly sensitive but many know little about it. Thank you for sharing the rather bizarre anecdote fro your uncle.

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