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Cult of Weird Fall Reading List

Morbid Must-Reads: 2019 Fall Reading List

Communing with the dead, the women who wrote monsters, eyeball-eating cats, and more weird books top this year’s morbid fall reading list.

The veil is thinning and nature is once again showing us how beautiful it is to die. That means it’s that time of year again when I dig up a new list of book recommendations to feed our insatiable need for the dark, weird, and disturbing this autumn.

This collection of morbid must-reads explores the dark side of life and lighter side of the afterlife, from Caitlin Doughty’s new masterpiece about kid’s death questions to LGBTQ+ tales of Gothic horror.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

Mortician Caitlin Doughty answers death questions from kids like why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? Why do hair and nails appear longer after death? And if you’re wondering about the book’s title, the answer is yes, yes it will.

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Séance

Seance by Shannon Taggart

Photographer Shannon Taggart explores the mysteries of spiritualism through her lens in this book full of truly haunting photographs. Séance includes a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters and fourth-generation spiritualist.

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Twelve Nights at Rotter House

Twelve Nights at Rotter House by JW Ocker

Writer Felix Allsey makes a living publishing travelogues of the country’s most haunted places. But while staying in the infamous Rotterdam Mansion for his next bestseller, Allsey’s nonfiction turns into all out horror.

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Abandoned Palaces

Abandoned Palaces: Great Houses, Mansions, Estates and Hotels Suspended in Time

From imperial residences and aristocratic estates to hotels and urban mansions, Abandoned Palaces tells the stories behind dilapidated structures all around the world.

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Exquisite Aberrations

Exquisite Abberations gothic horror anthology from Fundead Publications

The abandoned houses and shadowy cemeteries in this anthology of Gothic horror tales might seem familiar, but these stories are about the people who have been shunned and forgotten – trans, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ characters, people suffering from PTSD and other mental health conditions, and persons of color.

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Weird Wild West

Weird Wild West by Keven McQueen

Explore the stranger, darker side of the Old West, the ghost stories, unexplained deaths, bizarre murders, and peculiar burials that made the West weird.

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Monster, She Wrote

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction

From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction.

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Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Mostly Dead Things had me at “aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals.” I mean, what else do you need to know?

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Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Strange theme parks, swamp lore, ghosts and more comprise this mysterious and disturbing coming of age story about a family running a gator-wrestling attraction the Everglades.

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The Ghastling: Book Nine

The Ghastling Book Nine Strange Creatures issue

The ninth installment of The Ghastling features chilling new tales of horror by contemporary authors. Don’t miss the “Strange Creatures” issue.

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Want more? Here are the fall reading lists from previous years:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Or you can find them all and more here: Cult of Weird Recommended Reading

Caitlin Doughty answers the timeless question: Will my cat eat my eyeballs?

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

The new book from Ask a Mortician creator Caitlin Doughty tackles our biggest, and strangest, questions about death.

Mortician Caitlin Doughty of the Youtube series Ask a Mortician, and the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity, has unveiled her next delightfully morbid book. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death will tackle some of those pressing questions we all have about about the inevitable.

From the book description:

Best-selling author and licensed mortician Caitlin Doughty answers real questions from kids about death, dead bodies, and decomposition.

Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral?

In the tradition of Randall Munroe’s What If?, Doughty’s new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, blends her scientific understanding of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five urgent questions posed by her youngest fans. Readers will learn what happens if you die on an airplane, the best soil for mummifying your dog, and whether or not you can preserve your friend’s skull as a keepsake.

Featuring illustrations from Dianné Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? will delight anyone interested in the fascinating truth about what will happen (to our bodies) after we die.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs hits the shelves on September 10.
Pre-order your copy right here.

For more morbid must-reads see the Cult of Weird recommended reading and the archive of fall reading lists.

What Happened to Titanic’s Dead?

Of the 1,500 people who lost their lives when the Titanic sank, only 333 bodies were ever recovered. What happened to the rest?
Victims of the Titanic recovered by the Mackay-Bennett
Titanic victims recovered by the Mackay-Bennett

It’s been 105 years since the tragedy of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. More than 1,500 people lost their lives when the “unsinkable” new ocean liner was split open by an iceberg during its maiden voyage and sank into the freezing depths of the Atlantic. It plunged over two miles beneath the surface, where it came to rest on the ocean floor undisturbed until a 1985 expedition lead by Robert Ballard finally located it.

Since then, many have visited the site using submersibles and small, remotely operated craft to explore the interior of the massive wreck. With the exception of a photo showing a jacket and boot where some researchers believe human remains came to rest, there have been no bodies found in the wreck or surrounding debris field. Even Titanic director James Cameron, who has been down to the wreck more than anyone else, has never discovered any remains.

Of course, some stayed afloat on the surface where they succumbed to hypothermia in the 28 degree water, but there was surely a great number of passengers who went down with the Titanic. So where did those bodies go? Caitlin Doughty set out to answer that question last year in an episode of Ask a Mortician with some grim and little known history.

Four ships departed from Nova Scotia with undertakers, embalming supplies, and clergy to gather the dead. The first ship to arrive at the site, a week later, was the Mackay-Bennett. The crew began pulling bodies out of the water and quickly exhausted their embalming materials. Bodies considered too disfigured for identification were wrapped in canvas, weighed down, and dumped back into the water. In total, 333 victims were eventually recovered. The funeral home in Nova Scotia responsible for handling all the bodies used a local curling rink as a morgue when the Mackay-Bennett returned.

Watch the video below for more.

From Here to Eternity: How Other Cultures Care for Their Dead

Upcoming book from mortician Caitlin Doughty explores how other cultures care for their dead.
From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty – Pre-order now

Death positive mortician Caitlin Doughty, best known for her Ask a Mortician series on Youtube and her best-selling book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, just revealed her latest offering. In stores October 3rd, her new book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death explores the intimate death rituals of cultures around the world that often seem so macabre and grotesque to Western society.

“This is three years in the making,” Caitlin wrote in the announcement on her Facebook page. “I’ve traveled all over the world to research this book, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of it. I hope you learn so much about death around the world, other cultures, and how we can improve funerals in the West.”


Here’s the description:

Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette- smoking, wish- granting human skulls), and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved- ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning? including a glowing- Buddha columbarium in Japan and America’s only open-air pyre? and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals.

From Here to Eternity - new book by mortician Caitlin Doughty

Pre-order From Here to Eternity now

Santa the Turkish Necromancer

The latest episode of Ask a Mortician sets out to ruin Santa with a macabre look at the history of our modern Christmas icon.

Everyone’s favorite mortician Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes) teams up with Elizabeth Harper from All the Saints You Should Know to ruin our modern idea of Santa Claus just in time for Christmas. Saint Nicholas, a Turkish bishop born around 270 AD, was known for giving money to poor families so their daughters didn’t have to be prostitutes. At one point, according to legend, he also raised three butchered boys from the dead.

And now the bones of St. Nick, the historical inspiration for our beloved jolly fat man, can be visited in various locations all over the world. So yeah, he’s dead, and probably not coming down your chimney any time soon. Happy holidays!