excerpt from an interview with a professional grave robber
Q: Have you ever dug someone up and discovered that they were still alive?
A: No, they’ve all been dead. You read all these stories about men being buried alive, but I’ve never found one. I daydream about it sometimes though. I’ve heard people say it’s so awful, that it’s the worst thing that can happen to a man, but I don’t think so. People who say that have never handled a real corpse, at least not before it’s been embalmed and make-uped. No, being dead is the worst thing. Being rigid and bloated and having some desperate fucker pry your cheap box open and sell you for beer money like you were scrap iron or a spool of copper wire, that’s the worst thing. And it’s not just that you’d be traded like junk. It’s that you wouldn’t even know it. No part of you would even think to object, because no part of you is still thinking. You’re not like junk; you are junk.
But imagine you woke up. What would it matter if you were in a coffin, underground, or stretched out on the kitchen table? You were nothing just a second ago, and now you’re something again. A minute ago you were compost, and now you’re a man. Even the fear would be a relief; even suffocating would be a thrill.
One time, in the operating theater, I watched a doctor electrocute one of the bodies I got him. The dead man sat straight up, and he pissed himself. (I mean, wouldn’t you?) He was still dead afterward though.
a case study originally published in the Journal of the Society for the Study of the Impact of the Magical Sciences on Mental Health, abridged
I am writing to share the peculiar case of one of my patients, hereafter referred to only as NW in order to protect his anonymity, which I believe to be of interest to the society’s membership. NW is an unemployed drifter and hobbyist wizard who has suffered from severe depression since at least early adolescence. He is, at the time of writing, in his 36th year, and has received only sporadic treatment for his melancholia in the intervening time.
In the absence of formal therapy, NW has developed his own pathological means of temporarily relieving the weight of his despair. He has described to me a process in which he enchants a length of rope, placing it under the direct control of his conscious mind. This allows him to manipulate the rope remotely, without utilizing his hands or other extremities.
NW, who at this point is typically suffering from extreme emotional agitation, then seeks out a sturdy ceiling fixture, such as a support beam or chandelier, and relocates a bench or chair so that it is immediately below said fixture. While standing on this bench or chair, NW levitates one end of the rope towards the ceiling and uses his telekinetic influence over the rope to wrap it around the fixture’s base while the opposite end of the rope forms a coil around his neck. Both ends of the rope are drawn tight but left unknotted. After this, NW may remain standing on his improvised perch for an extended period, sometimes quietly catatonic, sometimes sobbing or vocalizing to himself, or he may dismount immediately.
Regardless of the length of the wait, NW always jumps. As he descends, the rope instinctively leaves enough slack so that the fall does not break his spine, but never so much slack that his feet are allowed to touch the floor. The result, of course, is that NW is left hanging, awake and alive, but suffocating. He continues to hang in this state until he loses consciousness, at which point the spell terminates and the rope (which, you recall, holds no knots) relaxes and drops the patient.
NW usually awakens within four to eight hours, and reports catharsis and a marked increase in energy and improvement in mood that generally lasts for several days.
All attempts by myself and other clinicians to break NW of this habit have ended without success. Any treatment suggestions you can offer will be graciously received.
Dr. C. H. Lewes
Institute of Behavioral Shamanism
P.S. When asked how he developed this morbid technique, NW implicated a former friend and fellow sorcerer who reportedly could only achieve sexual arousal through autoerotic asphyxiation. This wizard, apparently, utilized a similar spell to safeguard himself against some of the obvious pitfalls of his fetish.