Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues

Edited by Loren Rhoads

(Scribner, available Sept 29, 2009: Link)

For ten years, Morbid Curiosity was a one-of-a-kind underground magazine that gained a devoted following for its celebration of absurd, grotesque, and unusual tales — all true — submitted from contributors around the country and across the world. Loren Rhoads, creator and editor of the magazine, has compiled her favorite stories from all ten issues in this sometimes shocking, occasionally gruesome, always fascinating, anthology.

This quirky book is filled with tales from ordinary people — who just happen to have eccentric, sometimes peculiar interests. Ranging from the outrageous (attending a Black Mass, fishing bodies out of San Francisco Bay, making fake snuff films), to the more "mundane" (visiting a torture museum and tracking real vampires), this curiously enjoyable collection of stories, complete with illustrations and informative asides, will entertain and haunt readers long after the final page is turned.

Buy the book here or on

For more about the magazine, and ordering information for remaining available issues, click here.


Editor's Introduction
Morbid Curiosity Changed My Life by Loren Rhoads

Childhood's End: Growing Up Morbid
Why by M. Parfitt
You Lock it Behind You by Lee Smith
The Barbie Wrecking Yard by Michael Hemmingson
The Fruit of All Evil by John A. Domeier
Gilding the Afterlife: My Pubescence in the Bathtub of the Dead by Dean Estes
This is a Very Old Scar by Dorian Katz
The Road of Life by Simon Wood

Far From Home: Morbid Curiosity on the Road
Souvenir of Hell by Brian Thomas
Happy Trails in Southeast Asia by Jessica Eisner
Museum Pieces by Julia Solis
Amsterdam by Christine Sulewski
Dragon's Teeth by Claudius Reich
Holiday in Genoa by Daniel McQuillan
Tracking the Zodiac by Darren Mckeeman

Gainful Employment: Morbid Things People Do for Money
Hell on Heels by Dana Fredsti
Blood Gags by Frank Burch
The Jumper and the Crabs by Kalifer Deil
A Night in the House of Dr. Moreau by R. N. Taylor
Brain Salad Surgery by Seth Flagsberg
Another Day, Another Dead Guy by Kim Poeppey-Del Rio
Halloween Hell by Mary Ann Stein

Curious Behavior: the Morbid Catchall Category
Prelude and Fugue State for Roadkill (An Accident Report) by William Selby
Thanksgiving at Bel's by Mehitobel Wilson
Feed by Katrina James
The Black Mass by Gravity Goldberg
The Pain of Art vs. the Art of Pain by Christopher R. Bales
Be Careful What You Ask For... by Vance Yount
The Bomoh by A. M. Muffaz

Medical Adventures: Morbid Medicine
Killing Max by JD
Slippery Little Devil by T. M. Gray
DIY Urology by Geoff Walker
Donating My Body to Science by Wm. Rage
Needles in the Spine by Dalton Graham
Man-o-gram: Guys Shouldn't Give Milk by Maurice G. Broaddus

Beyond Death: Exploring Behind the Curtain
Finding Paul by George V. Neville-Neil
In Grandpa's House by Trilby Plants
Going into Tombs by Hugues Leblanc
Love Among the Tombs: Adventures in Forensic Anthropology by Leilah Wendell
Grandmarama by Allegra Lundyworf
The Keeper of the Shop by Jill Tracy

Epitaph: the Final Word on Morbid Curiosity
The Mortician's Gift by Loren Rhoads

Praise for Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues:

Rhoads published ten annual issues (1997-2006) of Morbid Curiosity, a magazine devoted to the celebration of gross, disturbing, and macabre true tales. There is still a high demand for its content, which Rhoads addresses with this wonderfully disturbing anthology of articles from the magazine's full run. The stories range from a retelling of an accidental hit-and-run to a silly tale of one woman's attempt to get high naturally while on a trip through Asia. Occasionally, the pieces are upsetting (Brian Thomas's "Souvenir of Hell," for example, about his trip to the Nazi death camps), and sometimes they are simply weird (like Julia Solis's "Museum Pieces," about a Mexican mummy museum); yet all the essays collected here are mesmerizing. VERDICT A fun if disturbing read for lovers of great nonfiction and the macabre. As promised, the tales will cure your blues. — Deborah Hicks, Library Journal

"Nietzsche famously said that if you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you. Here the abyss is poking back at you with a very sharp stick. Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues — a testament to all that ever was great about the underground press — will crack through your armor, pry under your scales, and break through your numb envelope of reality to remind you what you're really made of. You'll shudder and cringe and laugh along the way, but the sheer gravity and humanity of every true story in this book will more than satisfy your morbid curiosity: it will change how you see the world for good. Until you die, anyway." — Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Goreletter

"A truly compelling collection of human oddities that pays pitch-perfect tribute to the magazine that first spawned them. — Rue Morgue magazine

"Our friend Loren Rhoads's new book, Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues, offers a wide spectrum of firsthand accounts with the 'paranormal' as recounted by women and men talking about walks they've taken on the wild side. Dozens of imagination-provoking ideas and experiences await the reader in this unsettling volume."" — V. Vale, RE/Search

"I would be remiss if I did not point out that, at least according to St Augustine, 'curiosity' is a grave sin. But I think in our age, a burning desire to acquire new knowledge and experiences is not our besetting sin; instead, we seem more prone to a kind of spiritual ennui, along with a flaccid and lazy intellect that does not inquire further, and does not know real awe, joy, or anguish. For that mental dis-ease, the always odd, often irreverent, frequently touching tales in this volume seem a delightful corrective. More than mere 'curiosity,' they are filled with a sense of wonder, of receptiveness and yearning for some hidden, better, higher meaning in our lives. This book makes you think as well as laugh, and that combination is as rare as it is enjoyable." — Dr. Kim Paffenroth, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, author of Gospel of the Living Dead, Dying to Live, and Valley of the Dead

"It's a cliché that truth is stranger than fiction, but this compendium of real-life accounts of the bizarre, horrific and just-plain-freaky proves it. From cavorting around the Far East looking for natural hallucinogens to getting trapped in the remains of a WWII gas chamber to working in an animal experiment lab to the unflinching account of an apparently fatal car vs. biker accident, Morbid Curiosity Cures The Blues is a lot like said accident — once its astonishing stories of life beyond the mundane catch your eye, you simply can't look away. This is a collection you'll never forget." — John Everson, author of Sacrifice and The 13th

Check out editor Loren Rhoads' YouTube channel here.

Editor Loren Rhoads made a series of appearances at West Coast book shops. Any upcoming appearances will be kept up-to-date at

For information about Morbid Curiosity magazine and ordering information for available back issues, please visit the magazine page.