by Timothy Chilman
<So we had the one about the Kama Sutra, the one about pubic shaving and the one about spontaneous human combustion. This one, however, could in no way be said to be about conspriacy theories. I did, however, read a few times that a blog shouldn’t restrict itself to one subject, so here we are. Couldn’t someone suggested something for me to write about, to the email address above?>
Since 1978, the United States has seen but four cases where the penises of men were severed, and there was one episode in each of Australia and Canada and three in Sweden. Thailand, however, has seen at least 100 since 1978. Thailand has the second largest number of transsexuals in the world, after Singapore, making it a center for gender re-assignment surgery. Penis re-attachment has become another specialty.
The phenomenon is known in Thailand as a “Bangkok haircut” and also “feeding the ducks.” This latter comes from one episode more than twenty years ago where a wife cut off her husband’s penis and threw it into a duckpond. To prevent the possibility of re-attachment, penises in Thailand have been not only fed to ducks but buried, fed to a dog, boiled, chopped up, or attached to a hot air balloon.
Polygamy in Thailand was banned in 1935, but it is widely believed that men have a right to a mistress, known in Thai as a mia noi – “minor wife.” While many Thai men regard this as an inalienable right, wives increasingly disagree. Wives objecting to extra-marital liaisons are generally the perpetrators of genital severance. Thai wives are not well treated, with the World Health Organization reporting that 44 percent have been abused by their partners, 20 percent have been abused sexually, and 12 percent were injured during pregnancy. Thais do not like to pry into the relationships of others and their culture applauds women who perform self-denial. In one high profile case, a university lecturer received a two-year suspended sentence after beating his wife to death with a golf club and umbrella. The penis, meanwhile, is revered as a symbol of fertility, and phallic symbols are often found in homes, temples, shops, and shrines.
Dr. Surasak Muangsombot works at Paolo Memorial Hospital in Bangkok and specializes in penis re-attachment. He and his team have reunited more than 30 penises with their owners. His most difficult case was that of an angry wife who cut off her husband’s penis and threw into a septic tank. He warned the patient of the risk of septicemia, but the patient said he wished the operation to be attempted so he could at least die with his penis. Fifteen hours had elapsed since the penis was cut, while it is popularly believed that eleven hours is the maximum if re-attachment is to be attempted due to tissue death. The operation was a success.
While it is possible to re-attach penises, only around half function as well as they did before the injury. No babies have been born to men who underwent the operation. Replacement penises can be created from skin and arteries taken from elsewhere in the body. None of Dr. Muangsombot’s patients were farang – foreigners. He believes this is because Thai women do not wish to “cut off their bankroll.” He advises that a severed penis be put in a thermos. Dr. Muangsombot previously specialized in re-attaching fingers. He has trained 56 students in penis re-attachment.
Recent headlines spoke of 48 year-old Catherine Kieu Becker of Garden Grove, California, who was accused of severing the penis of her husband. She introducing a soporific to his dinner, tied him up as he slept, and then cut off the organ while he was conscious using a “very sharp” 10-inch kitchen knife. When police officers came to her home, she told them her husband deserved it. Court records show the couple were divorcing, and suggest the husband initiated the process. Although Becker put the penis into a garbage disposal unit which she switched on, a police lieutenant said there was a possibility that it could be re-attached. In practice, however, this was not possible.
In Bangladesh, 40 year-old mother of three Monju Begum cut off the penis of a man she said tried to rape her. She brought the penis to a police station in a plastic bag as evidence. The man, neighbor Mozammel Haq Mazi, said they were having an affair, but he refused to abandon his wife and children. Re-attachment was, in this case, not possible.
On 19 February 2005, Kim Tran, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska, cut off her 44 year-old boyfriend’s penis. The boyfriend was married to Tran’s aunt. The pair had argued about the man’s refusal to split up with his wife. They had sex, during which Tran tied the man’s hands to a window handle. She then cut off his penis using a knife and flushed the organ down the toilet. When police arrived, they called maintenance staff, who retrieved it. It was then re-attached.
Early in 2005, the penis of a 44 year-old Chinese male was cut off in an accident which left him with a half-inch stump. Doctors at the Guangzhou General Hospital transplanted a penis taken from a 22 year-old man who was brain dead. Four days later, the man’s wife cut it off.
In 1994, Nelu Radonescu was the subject of a routine operation upon a testicular malformation in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. During the surgery, Dr. Naum Ciomu, who lectures in anatomy, accidentally cut the patient’s urinary channel, and lost his temper. He cut off the man’s penis, sliced it into pieces, and then angrily departed the operating theater. When he was tried for grievous bodily harm, Dr. Ciomu admitted that he “over-reacted.” The penis was reconstructed from tissue taken from Mr. Radonescu’s arm.
In 2001, Amin Meiwes met Bernd Brandes in Rotenburg, Germany, after placing an advertisement at the Cannibal Cafe website for a “well-built 18 to 30 year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” Brandes called at Meiwes’ abode, and asked him to bite off his (Brandes’) penis. Meiwes could not accomplish this, and resorted to a knife. Brandes attempted to eat part of the penis uncooked, but was unable as it was “chewy.” Meiwes sliced the penis and fed some to his dog. He ensconced himself in the reading of a Star Trek novel for three hours as Brandes bled to death in his bath. Meiwes supplied Brandes with sleeping pills, alcohol, and pain killers, before kissing him and then stabbing his neck.
In the course of the next ten months, as advertized, Meiwes consumed as much as 44 pounds of Brandes. His arrest came in December 2002. He had made a video recording of his activities, which has been shown to journalists but not to the public. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment after an appeal by prosecutors. In jail, he has turned to vegetarianism.
In 1994, it was reported by the Chinese Guangxi Daily newspaper that a man living in Henan province had to pay a fine of 3,000 yuan ($472 at the current rate) after his wife produced a third child, contravening China’s “one child” policy. The child was a son, while the other two were daughters. The man joked about having to pay so much money “just for this little penis.” In jest, he suggested it be cut off. While he tended his fields, his two infant daughters cut of the boy’s penis with a knife, after which the boy bled to death. When the father returned, he became enraged and beat the girls to death with a shovel, before committing suicide by drinking insecticide. When his wife discovered what had transpired, she became hysterical, and ran naked into the street, screaming the names of her dead children and husband.
The best-known instance of penis amputation was that of John Bobbitt in 1993. He had a volatile relationship with his wife, Lorena, and she claims he abused her emotionally, sexually, and physically. One night, Mr. Bobbitt arrived home very drunk. She claims he raped her. Afterward, she obtained a knife from the kitchen, entered the bedroom, and cut away more than half of her husband’s penis. She left the house, threw the section of penis into a field, and called 911. The penis was found, packed in ice, and later re-attached.
Mrs. Bobbitt was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She founded Lorena’s Red Wagon, which aims to prevent domestic violence. Mr. Bobbitt appeared in porn films and was a minister of the Universal Life Church in Las Vegas. He has been arrested seven times for offenses which range from assault to grand larceny.
More than 20 years ago in Thailand, the penis of Songphong Nammwan was cut off by his wife while he was drunk, as she was unhappy that he had a mistress. Mr. Nammwan’s penis was thrown into a sewer, so re-attachment was not possible, but a substitute was constructed from muscle, skin, and vein grafts. Even then, he had some fortune: if the cut is too near to the pubic bone, there is nothing to which a new penis can be attached. Mr. Nammwan said, “As a men we consider the penis as the highlight of our lives. If we lose it, it means we die while living.” He remains married.
Some time prior to February 1977, a mentally ill 21 year-old American male obsessed with guilt over his sexual feelings cut off his penis using a razor. He went to a hospital carrying the amputated body part, and it was put on ice. The world’s first ever penis re-attachment operation was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital. Full function was restored.
A group of aristocrats killed Grigori Rasputin because they feared his hold upon the Tsarina Alexandria. It is widely accepted that Rasputin was poisoned, shot, beaten, and then had his penis cut off, after which he was thrown into an icy river. Various fanciful stories circulate supposedly featuring the severed organ. A museum in St. Petersburg claims to possess the penis, which is a foot long. The owner of the museum has claimed that looking at the penis will cure a man of impotence.
William Chester Minor served as a surgeon in the army of the Union during the War of Northern Aggression (you know, 1861-1865). After his experiences, he developed schizophrenia. He resigned from the army and moved to London, where he shot dead a man who was unknown to him. He was declared not guilty of murder due to insanity and was confined to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. He had a private income, and acquired an extensive library. He became a major participant in the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, finding quotations to illustrate rare words. In 1902, he cut off his penis because he believed it was the source of his impure thoughts.
An autopsy was performed upon Napoleon Bonaparte after he died in 1821. Some body parts were removed. His penis was described as “small.” No eyewitness recounted that the penis was removed, but various parties have claimed to possess it over the years.
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