Spanning myth, history, and contemporary culture, a terrifying and illuminating excavation of the meaning of cannibalism.
Every culture has monsters that eat us, and every culture repels in horror when we eat ourselves. From Grendel to medieval Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean, and from the Ghuls of ancient Persia to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tales of being consumed are both universal and universally terrifying. In this book, Kevin J. Wetmore Jr. explores the full range of monsters that eat the dead: ghouls, cannibals, wendigos, and other beings that feast on human flesh. Moving from myth through history to contemporary popular culture, Wetmore considers everything from ancient Greek myths of feeding humans to the gods, through sky burial in Tibet and Zoroastrianism, to actual cases of cannibalism in modern societies. By examining these seemingly inhuman acts, Eaters of the Dead reveals that those who consume corpses can teach us a great deal about human nature—and our deepest human fears.
About the Author
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. is professor at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author or editor of many books, including Post-9/11 Horror in American Cinema and Uncovering “Stranger Things.” He lives in Los Angeles.
"Wetmore has written a fascinating history of the ultimate recycling—cannibalism. The taboo history of the eating of one’s own genus is a car-wreck you can neither turn away from nor erase from your mind. The book is two-fold, investigating not only the innate fear of being eaten but the nightmare of becoming a cannibal ourselves. It is a banquet of repulsion that needs to be devoured, a dissertation of disquietude." — Del Howison, award-winning editor, owner of Dark Delicacies
“Wetmore’s Eaters of the Dead is all-consuming. . . . You’ll discover things you never knew you needed to know and some you may never forget. . . . And if you get hungry while you’re reading this? See a therapist right away! A very readable, beautifully researched and written reference work that I’ll keep at the forefront of my library for many years to come.” — John Palisano, Bram Stoker Award–winning author of “Ghost Heart,” president of the Horror Writers Association
“Wetmore cuts to the bone with Eaters of the Dead, and serves up a wonderfully creepy insight into a shocking variety of cannibals, human and otherwise. Creepy, brilliant, and delicious!” — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times–bestselling author of “Relentless” and “Ink”