74. Death by Cannibal: Criminals With an Appetite for Murder – Peter Davidson
After reading The Devil’s Rooming House and Crackpot: the Obsessions of John Waters I became slightly more interested in reading some more true crime stories. As I have mentioned previously, I enjoy the programs about crime featuring the narration of Bill Kurtis and knowing that John Waters is just like those little old ladies at the library consuming true crime made me slightly more adventurous. Reading Death by Cannibal let me know that I am not as desensitized to cannibalism as I thought and that reading about it truly bothers me. I thought all those zombie movies would have prepared me better, but, I am a bit squeamish and not into personal injury. Anyway, the events in Death by Cannibal were perhaps a bit too close to home for me to put aside because, not unlike in (the book I have yet to finish) The Stranger Beside Me (Ann Rule’s account of working right next to Ted Bundy at a crisis line of all places), I am concerned for my own personal safety and I’ve seen firsthand how different people are from how they present themselves in public. I have a van; I do not need to get into your windowless one to find candy. Thankfully, at this point I am a bit too old to fit the part of Ted Bundy’s victims now and I will most likely never help anyone load anything into a van that I don’t already know – thanks, Silence of the Lambs!
Death by Cannibal discusses five different cannibals that aren’t famous. They may be famous in their home areas, but as far as nationwide fame, they’re not widely known. Maybe it’s because they’re not from Wisconsin. I love that state, but it has produced two very famous cannibals. The things people do to prevent boredom, I mean, really. At least some Midwesterners choose to create art without killing anyone, digging anybody up, or chloroform. Now that I’m done digressing, one of the cannibals was a history teacher with a bit of a self-esteem problem, one was a pedophile who would dress up as a cop and prowl around schools, one wanted to be a vampire, one kidnapped developmentally challenged women off the streets and put them in his pit while “running a church” to avoid taxes, and one murdered his wife’s sister, practically beat his wife to death, and tape recorded himself describing the absolutely horrific things that he did to them. Pretty strong stuff with mild sensational photos on the glossy pages in the middle. I don’t really recommend reading it if you want to stay interested in eating any kind of meat. It would be good vegetarian propaganda.
One more digression since I’m discussing true crime: I have noticed that many shows on Investigation Discovery (America’s fastest growing network) are using the tones from Twin Peaks in their soundtracks. Whenever anyone needed to make a super-serious face or a solitary scene from outside was being shown (remember that red light?) on Twin Peaks there were these tones and now I’m hearing them attached to other murder investigations, it’s a bit weird. I have the soundtrack to Twin Peaks on cassette and I’m pretty proud of it. Plus I can still listen to it in my car…since the CD player broke over a year ago and the cigarette lighter set my ipod connector on fire. Tapes forever!