Tag Archives: cannibalism

Hobo’s Castle


In the suburbs of Chicago, there is a long-deserted building by a railroad that stands about ten stories tall. It has holes, its windows are broken, and its doors remain open. This building is called Hobo’s castle. There are hobos that live inside, and if you go in there and get caught by them, they’ll eat you!


It’s probably called Hobo’s castle because its size makes it look like a castle from the outside and hobos would stay there in between hitching rides on trains back when it was first abandoned. There have been hobos living there since then. Parents would tell their children not to go there. So, obviously, the kids would all bike there and explore. Only the first floor was accessible, but the kids would explore it, all while poking each other to scare their friends and daring them to do things. The people living there would chase them out sometimes, which is likely what spurred the children to begin telling each other that if they got caught, they would be eaten. 


A recently popularized phrase found online is “fuck around and find out”, which is to engage in an action that is usually risky, and usually results in an unpleasant consequence. The desire to fuck around and find out is unquenchable in children, and this legend came about because of this. Children always want to feel more like full humans when they can, as in many areas of life they are limited by rules even when they feel that they have the physical and mental capabilities to be on par with everyone else, even if this feeling is erroneous. Thus, when there is no one around holding them to rules, they like to break the rules that they don’t think are necessary. They also embellish stories of their lives to make them seem more interesting and with higher risks, like how they view those of adults. Thus, the hobos in the castle will eat them if they are caught, not merely tell them off.

Native Version of “Hansel and Gretel”

Main Piece:

Informant: Ok, so there is like a legend and you know how Natives, they travel? Like, when one place kinda dries out or doesn’t have any buffalo or food, they move to the next place.  Well, that kinda like happened. There was these children and their mom asked them to get berries before they left. They kinda got distracted when they were picking berries. And when they came back they had already left. So they went and said, “ok, maybe this is the way they went.” They went and found a small cottage and, so this is kinda like a Native story of Hansel and Gretel. So they knocked and the lady welcomed them in and got them food and stuff. And then that night when they went to bed and the lady thought they were asleep she started singing a song about eating them. And then they secretly got out of their beds and slowly looked and when the lady, when they were sure the lady got into bed they saw their little sister in a cage. So they had to quickly get her out of it. And they escaped, but the witch was coming after them, because they heard her. But the end of this story can change either way, like they got home safely, or the witch ate them. But the good way is that they got out to a place where the witch couldn’t go and the witch was blocked off by this force field, or something like that. And then they went safely looking for their family and their tribe. And the bad way, is that she got them and ate them.


The informant is a ten-year-old Native American girl from the Choctaw, Blackfoot, and Lakota Nations. She was born and raised in Tennessee and frequently travels out west to visit family and friends. She is in fourth grade.


During the Covid-19 Pandemic I flew back home to Tennessee to stay with my family. The informant is my younger sister. My sisters and I were sharing stories one night when I asked if she recalled any old stories she heard.


I have heard many variations of this story growing up. I’m curious to know how much it has evolved over the years, especially after European contact. It was interesting to hear my sister’s take on it. It shares many similarities with the Hansel and Gretel story; children lost in the woods who stumble across the home of an old woman. She takes them in and is later revealed conspiring to eat them. The villainous hag is a common trope in stories worldwide. In folklore, a crone is an old woman who may be disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in nature. She often has magical or supernatural abilities which can make her either helpful or obstructing. It is also a reversal of the nurturing and protective role a women traditionally plays in a child’s life, though historically, the most power person in a child’s life is the mother, so perhaps it is just a pendulum dynamic.

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.


“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.