USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘cannibalism’
folk metaphor
Folk speech

I’m so hungry I could eat a corpse and chase the mourners

Informant: “I’m so hungry I could eat a corpse and chase the mourners.”

 

The informant is a young man who comes from suburban Mission Hills, San Diego and describes himself as relatively “quiet and introverted” and “nerdy” as well as very involved in politics. The informant is a sophomore neuroscience major at USC and works in a neuroscience image and understanding lab, which focused on visual research.

The informant heard this metaphor when he was about 14 years old as a freshman in high school from a photography teacher. The informant described this teacher as very eccentric, with a “very unique” and hilarious personality who would say this metaphor in a very happy way. The informant says that because of this, he associates the saying with something positive and likes to use it himself. Additionally, the informant stated, “we had his class right before lunch and sometimes he would say ‘oooh (raised vocal inflection) I’m so hungry, I could eat a corpse and chase the mourners,’ and start hustling down the stairs.” The informant likes this saying because “it is just so bizarre ” and it just stuck in my mind because “he said it a lot and it was said in such a fantastic way.”

The informant does not know exactly what saying is suppose to mean, but the informant thinks that perhaps it means that the speaker is so hungry they could eat a corpse and then would still be hungry enough to chase the mourners to eat them as well. However, the informant also pointed out that “because there are mourners the corpse must still be fresh.” Ultimately, he thinks the saying is just supposed to be bizarre.

This is a somewhat unique variant of the “I’m so hungry I could eat a ___” folk metaphors. Typically the blank is filled with something like a cow, a horse, some other large animal, or a mass quantity of food such as 1000 hamburgers. This variant on the other hand, refers to cannibalism and death. The change in the normal usage is slightly disconcerting and creates a form of death-humor paradox as the metaphor becomes humorous when it is so unexpected.

Legends
Narrative

Slushbucket

“Not too long ago, there was a truck driver whose job was to drive across the country.  But he wasn’t just an ordinary truck driver.  He transported dead bodies.  For 20 years he did this, driving back and forth across the country and never had any problems…

But one day, he was driving through a horrible blizzard on a narrow mountain road.  Suddenly, the truck hit a patch of ice, swerved off the road and was stranded in a ditch on the side of the mountain.  The crash knocked the driver unconscious and by the time he woke up, the truck was completely enclosed in snow.  He tried to open his doors, but he couldn’t get out.

For days, he was stuck in the truck and was forced to eat leather from the car seats.  But after weeks, the starving truck driver had no other choice.  He made his way to the back door of the truck, into the storage container.  He was so ravenous that he opened the caskets and quickly began feeding on the dead corpses… and to keep warm, he used the skins as a coat.  The truck driver now acquired a taste for human flesh.  No one ever found the truck until the snow melted that spring, but only open coffins and scattered bones were found.  There was no sign of the driver…

On one dark and rainy night, a young girl was babysitting.  She had already put the two children to bed and was watching TV, when all of a sudden; she heard a faint noise outdoors,

‘Slushbucket, slushbucket, slushbucket…’

Thinking it was either the TV or the sound of the falling rain outside, she hesitantly returned to watching her program.  After a few minutes, she started to hear creaking, and then footsteps on the second floor of the house.  But thinking it was just the kids getting up for a glass of water, she didn’t pay it any mind, until she heard a voice,

‘Slushbucket, slushbucket, slushbucket…’

This time she heard it much clearer and much louder than before, and it was coming from upstairs!  The babysitter just thought it was the kids playing a joke on her, so she walked upstairs so that she could put the children back to bed.

Soon after, the parents came home, but the house was completely quiet.  They called for the babysitter, and no answer.  Then they went upstairs to check on the children.  Maybe the babysitter was in their room.

But as they opened the door to the kids’ room, they found the babysitter on the floor, with a pool of blood by her side. It looked as if a person had bit off mouthfuls of flesh!  Horrified, they rushed to the children and threw off their covers.  They too had been eaten!  As they turned to rush for the phone, they were stopped in their tracks as they heard staggering footsteps coming from the hallway towards the room, and a rasping whisper with each step,

‘Slushbucket, slushbucket, slushbucket…’”

 

 

My informant first heard this horror story when she was a teenager at summer camp.  She hates scary stories, so she remembers being really scared by this one.  She says she probably retold the story hundreds of times when she was younger to her siblings right before bed and friends around the campfire.  She explained that she hadn’t told the story in such a long time, so she probably added details that weren’t in the version she heard, but she tried to keep the sequence of events the same.  “Horror stories are all about the details,” she said.

The “Slushbucket” story is really similar to other babysitter-themed horror stories, which play on the eeriness and vulnerability of being the only one awake in the house after the kids go to sleep.  Therefore, this story is mostly directed toward teenagers, the age group that is just beginning to baby-sit.  The tale also seems to scare its audience into being apprehensive while babysitting, by showing the fatal result of the nonchalant babysitter in the story.  “Slushbucket” also includes elements of cannibalism, which adds to the horror.  Interestingly enough, when I looked up the definition of “slushbucket,” one of the meanings is “a foul feeder.”  Therefore, this term most likely refers to the fact that the killer is a cannibal.  It’s already bad when a mass murderer is on the loose with knife, but a cannibalistic killer who eats you alive is probably worse.

[geolocation]