Final request: as I lay dying, feed me salt water, then slow-roast me & put me in a walnut shell coffin.

Final request: as I lay dying, feed me salt water, then slow-roast me & put me in a walnut shell coffin.

“What a strange thing to say,” the Internet whispers.


But I just described precisely what some people in the Kabayan Phillipines were doing to their dead until around 1500.

(The lady on the left is alive, probably.)

What makes the Fire Mummies particularly cool is the fact that the process began before the person died. People who were on their way out would drink very salty fluids before they bounced. Then they’d cook them in the fetal position, with herbs, no less.

“Grandma’s gonna kick it,” the townsfolk said. “Someone get Guy Fieri.”

(“Fieri is my name, and fire is, coincidentally, my game.”)

The Kabayan Mummy Caves were rediscovered in the 1900s, and since then, there’s been a problem of mummy theft.

My Internet travels haven’t revealed whether this is Cultural Theft For Museums or General Pickpocket Behavior.

(“What a conversation piece for my living room!”)

So now it’s on a watch list. Because we, as humans, cannot have cool things.

Nearby, however, is the visit-able Opdas Mass Burial Cave, which does welcome tourists.

(Spooky and fun! This girl knows how to party!)

Onto the Bucket List the Philippines goes! I need to see these things in person!

Thanks, Internet, for all the gruesome and lovely things you have to offer.

Corpses, Anatomical Models, Bullet Wounds, and Paintings

Death, disease, tumors, and pustules peppered my family’s dinner conversation as I grew up.

“Pass the salt,” my parents said, as well as: “you wouldn’t believe what I found inside a body today.”

And also: “honey, never go into medicine.”


I only dabble in the macabre on weekends.

My latest morbid jaunt was the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.


The museum was chock-full of samples, specimens, illustrations, replicas, prototypes, and tools. The most beautiful and horrible things hopscotched across the line between medicine and torture.

Life-sized dolls that look like diseased humans.

Flash cards of skin lesions.

Orderly rows of scissors, saws, syringes, and knives.


Don’t forget tidy kits for exsanguination.


I didn’t become a doctor, but I have a stomach of steel.

Bring on the corpses.

4-Year-Olds Talking About Death

A 4-year-old buddy of mine and I were drawing on a blackboard over the weekend.

We were being quiet when she looked into my eyes and said:

“When I die, I want to remember drawing with you.”

Which was very sweet, but very ominous. Kids can be really creepy.

I told her she had a long time before she died. It’s what we both needed to hear, even if it’s not necessarily true.

Trust me: anything can happen. Yesterday was the first book club since one of our founding members abruptly died.


Matt was a runner, a tea enthusiast, an LGBT activist, and a Scrabble player at the state level.

Matt was in his 30s.

One day, he fell ill and went to the hospital. The doctors found basically nothing but cancer inside him.

He was gone within 2 weeks.


A bunch of our members know each other through a cancer support group (which he was not, ironically, in).

A few didn’t come to the meeting, maybe because the emotional wound still hurt.

Matt’s ottoman sat empty while we discussed the meh-ness of the book. I don’t think he’d’ve liked it, either.

I guess we’ll have to consult with him on the other side, if there is one.

People scatter ashes in Disney parks? Put me in the Haunted Mansion!

As tempting as it is to leave grandparent-dust in the Haunted Mansion forever, you’re not supposed to do that.


People are allegedly leaving their dearly departed in various attractions, including the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s A Small World. Special janitors have to come in and handle it. 

Guests are possibly breathing in corpses on certain rides.


I mean, uh, horrible. Just horrible.

There’s absolutely no goth-y part of me that finds that fascinating and a little bit wonderful at all. Nope.

But seriously, I want to go back and keep an eye out for people with family-baggies now.

I’ll take any excuse, really, to hit Disney World again.

I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with Disney. That’s not sarcasm or hipster-ism. (It’s suddenly become cool to like Disney, as the Hot Topic Disney department demonstrates.) I’m not finding it again — because I never grew out of it in the first place.

I’ve never grown out of anything. Naps, cartoons, and stuffed animals are all clutch. I’d probably still suck my thumb if it weren’t for peer pressure when I was seven-ish to quit.

How you reconcile that part of my personality with the part that’s fixated on cremains is up to you.

Starling’s Starred Links: September Edition

Hey kids! Wanna die in a cool way? How about a euthanasia coaster? “Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death.”

Speaking of morbid shit I’m obsessed with, this season of American Horror Story (Freakshow) looks rad

More favorite TV: There was a mini-Space Cases reunion in Montreal this week!


Yeah. I still love Space Cases. I  long as my bills are paid and laws are upheld, I get to do whatever I want. (Comic: xkcd.)


Except wear leggings in public. Yoga pants aren’t pants — unless you’re at the gym, or at Wal-Mart. A friend tried to argue with me about what constituted “pants,” and I linked her to this. Case closed.

Speaking of clothing, Urban Outfitters’ screams for attention are getting more pathetic. If you thought the mental health mockery shirts were bad, strap in for the bloody Kent State shirt. (I realize the irony of saying they want attention, then giving it to them. Trust me. I’m on board. I just cannot get over the Kent State shirt.)

In more weird company choices, Burger King is releasing a black ‘Goth’ burger in Japan.

Looking at the Goth burger makes me oddly hungry — just like always.

Did you like those dogs? Here’s the last living dog that served in 9-11.

And, finally, the uplifting message that though not everyone is beautiful, you can still be valuable, important, interesting, and worth loving.