"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

It's a philosophical question for the ages that has bled over into quantum mechanics. As a Cynic, this type of twaddle occupies a determinable and invariable state - typhos. Needless distraction from the more basic things in life, like vandalising currency or thwapping your penis on a bar when the waitron would rather file her nails than notice you're waiting for another beer.

But with a bit of lateral thinking, the question also poses some interesting possibilities. Like: If a necrophile drains his nutsack while on the job at the morgue and nobody knows, does it really make any difference ?

Morgue worker sentenced to three more years in prison for corpse sex

Sandra Williams was devastated in 1991 when her sister, Charlene Apling Edwards, was killed.

Williams dealt with the grief for years before being told of an even more nightmarish crime – her sister’s body was sexually assaulted by a Hamilton County morgue worker as it was awaiting autopsy.

“I thought burying my sister was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do,” she told Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Nadine Allen. “I thought we could just put it behind us and lay it to rest, but when this happened, I re-lived her death all over again.”

Of course there's photo goodness.

“This” was one of two counts of gross abuse of a corpse for which morgue worker Kenneth Douglas was sentenced Tuesday. In all, Douglas pleaded guilty to having sex with three corpses when he worked at the morgue from 1976-92.

Douglas was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for having sex with the corpses of Apling and Angel Hicks. That’s in addition to the three-year prison term imposed on him in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to having sex with the corpse of Karen Range who was murdered in 1982. He had sex with Range’s corpse which was bloody, its head almost severed and had been stored in the morgue cooler for hours.

And so it waffles -

The judge said Douglas’ crimes were depraved.

“There’s a reason we say ‘the dearly departed, may they rest in peace.’ What happened he isn’t even primitive. It’s depraved and inhumane,” the judge said.

With the obligatory, and irrelevant, appeal to emotion from the sister of one of the deceased in an attempt to influence sentencing -

“He raped a five-months pregnant dead woman,” Apling, now in his mid-20s, said.

Ignoring the whole debatable "consent" issue, being "pregnant" while being "dead" hits a logical fallacy jackpot.

The sister was traumatised, of this there is no doubt. Probably for life. Don't need some junior court reporter to arrive at that conclusion for us. But like the tree in the forest, what benefit does it actually serve the sister being made aware of it ? A pervert that hasn't actually harmed anyone gets sent to the big house to a life surrounded by people that have genuinely, often violently, invaded and damaged peoples lives. She is left with poisoned memories that can't be repaired. And people like me stumble upon the story and compulsively have to share. All could have been avoided with a bit of delicacy and tact. It is, strictly speaking, a victimless crime. Instead, thanks to concerned citizenry, there is trauma all round.


* Main image credit: Still from Jörg Buttgereit's rather excellent Nekromantik, the touchingly sad story of a love triangle between a boy, a girl and a corpse.

* From ForensicPsychiatry.ca: "Although assumed rare, many have argued that necrophilia may be more prevalent than statistics imply, given that the act would be carried out in secret with a victim unable to complain and given the length of time which the paraphilia has been recognized [...] As with most sexual anomalies, the cases reported in the literature have actually involved males between the ages of 20 and 50 with occupations that provide ready access to corpses: gravediggers, mortuary attendants, orderlies, etc. Most individuals have been reported to be heterosexual."

* For anyone that thinks necrophilia is a boys only adventure, there's always Karen Greenlee.

* Herodotus wrote of the Egyptians some two and a half millenia ago: "When the wife of a distinguished man dies, or any woman who happens to be beautiful or well known, her body is not given to the embalmers immediately, but only after the lapse of three or four days. This is a precautionary measure to prevent the embalmers from violating her corpse, a thing which is actually said to have happened in the case of a woman who had just died."

* And for an Indian engrish point of view, filed under "Kama Sutra" (!): "The Dead Corpse Can Fantasize Physical Pleasure" [link]

Tags: Schrödinger's cat, busted, freethinker, necrophilia, puritans, quantum mechanics

Views: 299

Replies to This Discussion

Yes. But one that seeks to evolve beyond purely biological and conditioned reflex / response to external phenomena and stimuli.

That translates as "thinking before reacting". The world would be a nicer place if more people did it.
have you invented an evolve-o-ray? or are you talking about some kind of imaginary evolution going on inside your head?

i did think before reacting. your question was provocative, but your conclusion is absurd. i commend you for putting it out there, but you shouldn't be surprised when some ignorant mammal such as myself stumbles by and disturbs your highly evolved train of thought.
Let me put it another way - if the only thing you have to add to discussion here is cookie cutter blethering of the kind even Oprah would approve, you should really move along. We're not interested in majority consensus morality or anything else you may have to parrot. If you're prepared to free your mind and think empirically and without crutches or preconceptions, by all means participate. Surprise us even. But you are off to a very repetitive start.
alright. enjoy your circle jerk.
Talia: In this case the details seem to have come to light, so are you asking what we think about withholding information for a persons 'own good' and saving them fom any emotional trauma?

I dont like the idea of deciding what information should and shouldnt be made available if its true and and already known by others.

Thanks Talia. So refreshing to have a thinker after Bobby's twaddle. It is a conundrum - justifiable suppression of information ? It goes so completely against everything I believe in, yet when you look at the cost / benefit analysis in this instance, it's not so simple is it ? This is the problem with any kind of ideology - if you do not shield yourself selectively from reality, sooner or later you will run into a spanner that will jam the whole machine and cognitive dissonance will occur. This realisation is what allows small "c" cynicism to set in - that it is logical and sensible to simply believe in nothing. This is the world realpolitik, and is probably the greatest reason why our world has been turned into a shithole.

Lots of relatives are happy to go along with organ donation or donating bodies to research if someone makes it known while they are alive.
So if anyone would like to donate their bodies to frisky morgue technicians and gravediggers, I've come up with this: [deadsexy.co.ck]

That's great. Should register it. Everyone would be happy. For a while in the 90's when the internet was free and interesting, I used to use this as a .sig file -

If I were not donating my parts to science or better yet, having a sky burial, I would join Talia's "fuck me when I am dead" register, why not?
If someone wants to pay me a nice amount of money in order to have use of my body once I'm dead, even better.

I'll bet I could make a tidy amount of cash auctioning my corpse on eBay.
I'm heartless as it is. If the sky burial does not work out, I'll be contacting you.
@Talia - Thank you for reminding me about this:

The Plastinator

... The exhibition at London's Atlantis Gallery shows 200 specimens, from whole bodies to "thin, transparent body slices." Among them will be von Hagens' most controversial piece -- a pregnant woman with her womb peeled open to reveal a seven-month-old fetus.

He insists his show is educational and not designed to shock. But several exhibits are slightly surreal, such as the man with his skin neatly removed and draped over his arm, or the horseman carrying his own brain in his hand...

I would love to go see the exhibition.
I know a couple who have an agreement about fucking each other's corpses when they die.
"Williams dealt with the grief for years before being told of an even more nightmarish crime – her sister’s body was sexually assaulted by a Hamilton County morgue worker as it was awaiting autopsy."

It isn't clear from the parts of the article quoted here how the actions of Kenneth Douglas came to public notice.

Nor is it clear how Sandra Williams came to know about it.

But it does seem odd that the act committed against a corpse was considered worse than passing this information on to the grieving sister, who, as felch rightly points out, was probably traumatised for life by the knowledge.

This isn't so much a story about the old epistemological chestnut of whether the falling tree made a noise when there was no one around to hear it as it is a problem of moral agency.

Who is the real agent of misery here? The pathetic necropile (probably acting on impulses created by anomalous neurology), or the newspaper/reporter/unknown informant who made the unfortunate sister aware of these facts?

Despite the visceral "yuck factor" in such a story, necrophilia must be a victimless "crime" – unless you count the effect on Sandra Williams. And it's right to question the way it was dealt with.
Who is the real agent of misery here?

I thought I said as much - the concerned citizen. The puritan. They have brought more pointless misery to the planet than any other group. The same type of mentality that in the islamic world justifies throwing acid in the faces of unveiled women. "It's wrong!" "Why?" "That's irelevant. It's wrong!"


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