Black Medicine: The Dark Art of Death – N. Mashiro, Ph.D.
Paladin Press – First published 1978
When I was a teenager, I went to the Gaeltacht, an Irish language summer camp. One of the other boys staying in the same house as me was a very interesting individual. He had a penchant for exposing himself, and he had brought two rather curious items with him for the 3 weeks of camp. One of these items was a leather gimp mask, a real one. It was not part of a Halloween costume. The other item was a book about how to kill people. We spent a few afternoons looking through it, laughing at the pictures.
I recently came across another copy of this book, and I decided to read it for nostalgia’s sake. It doesn’t quite fit in with books I normally review, but whatever. It’s the darkest thing I’ve read in a while.
This is a book about how to quickly and efficiently murder a human being. It discusses the most sensitive parts of the human body and the most efficient ways of destroying them. This isn’t simple ‘kick him in the balls’ stuff. It’s more ‘stick the knife in here and twist it upwards to paralyse your attacker and leave him vulnerable to decapitation’. I guess I’m a bit of a wuss because I actually felt quite sick as I was reading through this. The description in here is extremely gory. It’s easy to forget just how fragile the human body really is.
Only the actual need for a book like this is more upsetting than the gore it contains. This is a self defense manual. It’s supposed to be read by people who need to know how to promptly incapacitate an attacker. How many people need to know this? Lots, unfortunately. I only hope that it’s the people who need to know this stuff that end up reading this book. Black Medicine was followed with a series of sequels, but I don’t personally feel any desire or need to read them, thank goodness.
This image has stayed with me.
As for the boy who first showed me this nasty book, we have remained good friends ever since. I have a strong urge to recount some of the further adventures we had with each other, but doing so online would doubtlessly be a poor decision. I’ll just post this picture of us from 2006, and maybe you’ll get the idea.
He always carried a weapon, sometimes it was a hatchet or a crowbar. Once he had a hammer on a chain.