Thursday, March 14, 2013

Taste Test

William Seabrook was a journalist, active during the years of 1919 to 1945, whose thirst for esoteric knowledge was only matched by his thirst for booze. He got his start in the news business as a reporter and later editor for the August Chronicle of Georgia. After World War One, he contributed articles to the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Reader's Digest.

Perhaps it was the suffocating boredom of Reader's Digest that pushed Seabrook into a life of world travel. He was fascinated by occult practices and foreign mysticism, and sought out then-unusual locales to investigate. He wrote accounts of his time spent with the Bedouins and Kurds of Saudi Arabia, the habits of voodoo practitioners of Haiti, his adventures with daredevil pilots, and what must have been an extremely stressful weekend with self-proclaimed evil wizard Aleister Crowley. In adherence to journalistic standards, he claimed to never embellish his stories, but the books were very much like pulp novels in their subject matter.

In addition to these pursuits, Seabrook also dabbled in culinary criticism, submitting perhaps the definitive analysis of the taste and texture of....human flesh. For Seabrook, cannibalism was apparently just another exotic experience to write about. The man had books to sell, after all.

While visiting the tribes of West Africa, Seabrook met up with some cannibals and was disappointed when they were unable to fully articulate the process of cooking and eating people. Determined to find out for himself, Seabrook departed for France and somehow managed to get a large chunk of flesh from a hospital. He proceeded to get a stew going and the results were apparently delicious, with Seabrook comparing human to "fully developed veal."

The decision to become a cannibal may or not have been made under the influence of alcohol. Despite checking himself into a mental institution to deal with his addiction (which he wrote about in his book Asylum) Seabrook's alcoholism lead to the ruination of his marriage to novelist Marjorie Worthington, which in turn lead to his suicide in 1945. Aleister Crowley marked the occasion in his diary, referring to the Seabrook as a "swine-dog."

An indecent epitaph, even for a cannibal.

But don't take my word for it!
-You can read about it in a book!


  1. Mr. Monday, I had just about given up on you, so I am glad to see you back with another fine post.

    Apropos of nothing but my recent Wikipedia adventures, have you ever read about the theory of the bicameral mind? It is a fascinating theory about ancient humanity's experience of consciousness that may be 100% bull hockey, as we said as kids. Well worth learning about.

  2. I remember the bicameral mind theory from an issue of Micronauts, believe it or not. If I remember right, they postulated that it might be the origin of the concept of god; that people had some distant recollection of "hearing" voices in their heads. I don't know if I buy it, but it was interesting stuff.

  3. Your non sequitur combined with this article evokes "The Beginning Was The End." Mark Nuckols and his famed Hufu also spring to mind.

  4. 'taint the meat...IT'S THE HUMANITY!

  5. Terrance GoldwaithApril 15, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    throwing away your liver to alcoholism? why not eat it?! much better than attracting wild beasts to your local dump with the scent of human flesh. conquered your archnemesis? why not eat a part of him/her to gain their power?

    it's good to be back!

  6. Replies
    1. I have been needing some transport services lately.