One of the darker chapters in the annals of U.S. literary history is the story of William Seabrook. Perhaps his greatest contribution to current popular culture was his 1929 book The Magic Island, which details his visit to Haiti and introduced the zombie to American letters. He was a member of the Lost Generation, was gassed at Verdun, hung around with Aleister Crowley, was a raging alcoholic (who chronicled his detox in the harrowing Asylum), was heavily into S&M, and claimed to have eaten human flesh in Paris after an interview with a West African chief was insufficiently informative. He committed suicide in 1945, at the age of 61. Along the way, he wrote for Reader’s Digest, Vanity Fair, and (wait for it…) Cosmo.
I knew a little about Seabrook as the result of my interest in pulp culture, but it wasn’t until this evening that I learned that his father was a Lutheran minister and that he was educated at a couple of Lutheran colleges, in Roanoke, VA and…
Yep. Newberry College.
I now realize that no matter what I write, I will never be the darkest writer in Mondoville.