Devouring Mother

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Aberdeen Daily News, July 17, 1881. It was recently discovered that members of the Donner Party carried with them on the journey documents signed by Abraham Lincoln. This is significant for a couple of reasons: First, Lincoln was just 23 when he signed the document, so it's a very rare and valuable autograph, from a time before Lincoln was Lincoln, so to speak. Second, the people carrying them didn't have the decency and sense to turn it into a peat-moss roll up and eat it before tucking into the nearest frozen blacksmith. That's like, your plane goes down in the Andes and you're all "Hey, pass me some of that freeze-dried soccer player!" before the roasted peanuts supply has even been exhausted.

I'm kidding, of course: None of us knows what we'd have done in a similar situation. It's possible we don't even know what they did. Why, only the other day I was reading a news story acquitting the Donner Party of eating anything iffier than a puppy dog. Turned out to be bullshit, but there you go. The urge to not believe in such thing is pretty powerful.


Anyway, the best treatment of the story of The Donner Party is this amazing documentary by Rick Burns, Ken's younger and far less boring brother. The best cannibal-horror-western-comedy movie is Antonia Bird's Ravenous, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle.

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