Friday, September 30, 2016

Sado-Masochism and Crime in History by Joseph Richardson Parke 1912

Sado-Masochism and Crime in History by Joseph Richardson Parke 1912

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In attempting to define sadism, Havelock Ellis is led to the conclusion, by others I believe overlooked, that it is not a perversion due to excessive masculinity; a conclusion well corroborated not only by the fact that strong men are more apt to be tender than cruel, and the most cruel men to be feminine in character, but the equally remarkable fact that the skull of De Sade, himself, according to the phrenologist who examined it, was so small and well formed that "one would take it at first for a woman's."

Indeed, the sadistic impulse, in my opinion, is quite as common in women as in men. I had a little daughter, since deceased, who possessed a small Chinese poodle, upon which she lavished the entire wealth of a peculiarly affectionate nature; and whipping that poodle, dashing cold water upon it, and treading upon its tail, were pastimes which not only afforded her the very keenest enjoyment, but were indubitably the concomitants of an equally strong affection, and few parents will be found who have not observed similar manifestations of active cruelty in their children.

That women can be gentle as kittens, or cruel as tigers, is a proverb founded on absolute fact; while it is only necessary to read the literature of Goethe, Heine, Platen, Hamerling, Byron and other authors, to recognize, in the affectionate submission of the heroine to the exactions arid cruelty of a tyrannical lover, that masochistic feeling which is a part of almost very woman's nature.

It is impossible to treat sadism, I repeat, apart from masochism, one being complementary to the other. The former represents the active role of absolute domination, and the latter, as Krafft-Ebing remarks, "a peculiar perversion of the psychical vita sexualis in which the individual affected, in sexual feeling and thought, is controlled by the idea of being completely subject to the will of a person of the opposite sex; and of being treated by this person as by a master, and humiliated and abused."

It was from the peculiar character of the Austrian novelist, Sacher-Masoch, who first discovered his perversion by the pleasure he experienced in being kicked in the face by his mistress, that Krafft-Ebing was led to adopt the term masochism, as the counterpart of sadism; but, as I have previously remarked, a careful consideration of the phenomena of both conditions will lead us to discard even an imaginary line of demarcation. De Sade, himself, was not a pure sadist, any more than SacherMasoch was a pure masochist, the sexual algophily of which Fere speaks being equally applicable in both cases; and the term algolagnia—pain with sexual excitement—which Schrenk-Notzing invented to cover both sadism and masochism, seems fairly adequate to describe both the passive and active forms of the perversion.

I am not sure that I am absolutely correct, indeed, in applying the term abnormal to either of these perversions; the instinct to bite, for instance, in sexual excitement being so universal as to fall readily within the lines of normality; and it is only when we go beyond this, and into the more pronounced forms of instinctive cruelty, that the adopted classification appears justified. The impulse of furibund passion, as manifested in the love-bite, may or may not be to shed blood; if it be the latter, and.not the mere emotional outburst of sexual detumescence, common to all animals, it is a perfectly natural manifestation of the law which makes courtship only a modified form of combat, of which blood is the natural concomitant. Thus, the heroes of De Sade's novels plan scenes of debauchery in which the shedding of blood is a necessary element of the fullest sexual enjoyment; and with the Hungarian, Countess Bathory, and Marshall Gilles de Rais, we find lust only satisfied with the death of innumerable victims.

The intimate relation between whipping and sexual passion has already been noticed. Cases were cited in which castigation was the only means of producing tumescence in certain persons, and Carnevin corroborates the same fact in reference to animals, in his case of a Hungarian stallion in which application of the whip had always to be resorted to to produce erection. Notwithstanding Fere's attempt to associate this phenomenon with the tonic effect of pain on the nerves, I am of opinion that we must seek its explanation rather in psychic causes; in the same influence, for instance, which arouses fear and anger, both of which, being fundamental to courtship and rivalry, may very well enter even more largely into the stronger passion.

Indeed, many lines of evidence directly lead to such a conclusion. The whipping of one boy has frequently been known to excite the sexual passions of another; the phenomenon being one of such general observation among school-teachers as to constitute their strongest argument against correctional castigation in educational institutions. Rousseau gives us an account of the development of his own masochistic tendency, from witnessing the punishment of children; and in the sadistic cases recorded by Regis and Krafft-Ebing, similar causative factors are observed.

The latter writer tells of a neurasthenic girl who derived the greatest pleasure from being spanked by her father, and whose subsequent longing was "to be the slave of a man, lying in fancy before him, he putting one foot upon my neck, while I kiss the other."

Anthropology tells us that there was a time when women were only won by blows, force and robbery; and it is quite possible that the relation between love and pain is, to some extent at least, as asserted by Schafer, atavistic. The pleasure, indeed necessity, of battle, murder and rape, in the animal world, makes it extremely probablethat sadistic outbreaks such as the terrible Whitechapel outrages, Lombroso's case of the man, Philippe, who, arrested for strangling prostitutes, after intercourse with them, said, "I am fond of women, but it's sport to choke them afterwards, and many others, of similar character, are only lingering remnants of a primitive law. However that be, there is scarcely a doubt that many, if not all, of the modern lust-murders of children are of sadic origin.

The Menesclou case is fairly typical of these. "Menesclou was arrested on a charge of abducting a four-year-old girl from her parents' residence; and, when taken into custody, the forearm of the child was found in his pocket. The head and entrails, in a half-burned condition, were discovered in the stove, but the genitals of the girl could not be found, being probably secreted and used by him for sexual purposes." "These circumstances, as well as the finding of a lewd poem in his pocket, left no doubt that he had violated the child, and then murdered her."

Another, that of the clerk Alton, is distinctly sadistic. He was a professed violator and murderer of little girls, luring them into thickets, and vacant buildings; and, on his arrest, entries like the following were found in his note-book: "Killed a young girl today; it was fine and hot.'" "Jack the Ripper," of Whitechapel fame; Holmes, who was executed in Philadelphia in 1896, convicted of the murder of nearly twenty women, and Johann Hoch, the Chicago Bluebeard, hanged in Feb., 1906, for more than an equal number of female murders, furnish remarkable instances of the same sexual perversion.

The confession of the pellagrous vampire, Verzeni, is interesting as affording an example of sadistic anthropopagy. "I had an unspeakable delight in strangling women," he remarks, "experiencing during the act erections, and intense sexual pleasure. It was a pleasure even to smell female clothing. The feeling of pleasure while strangling them was much greater than that which I felt when masturbating. I took great delight in drinking their blood, and in pulling the pins out of the hair of my victims. My mother first came to suspect me from noticing the spots of semen on my shirt, after each murder. I never touched the genitals of the women. It satisfied me sexually to fust seize them by the neck and suck their blood. During the strangling, I pressed myself against the entire body, but did not think of one part more than another."

He further states that he came to his perverse condition entirely independently of outside influences, his first experience of sexual pleasure coming from the wringing of chickens' necks.

That active sexuality is not at the bottom of all outrages, however, is well shown by the case of the Spaniard, Gruyo, who, while physically impotent, still continued his horrible deeds, strangling no fewer than six women in ten years. He covered his tracks with such care that, for the above period, he remained undetected, choking his victims, who were usually prostitutes, and tearing out their kidneys and intestines through the vagina.

Tarnowsky tells of a physician who, while ordinarily capable of normal intercourse, found that, when excited with wine, he was compelled to prick the woman's buttocks, and see blood, before he could have ejaculation, or obtain satiety of his lust; and Demme records the case of a man who was led from masturbation by, and sodomy upon, little girls, to lust-murder by the haunting thought of how pleasant it would be to stab a young and pretty girl in the region of the genitals, while having intercourse with her, and see the blood running from the knife. [This recalls the mythological legend of the vampires, originating, possibly, among the Greeks, in the myth of the laminae and marmolykes, blood-sucking women and men, a full account of which may be found in Tylor's "Prim. Cult.," 1893, Ch. xv. Goethe also makes use of it in his "Bride of Corinth," and there is little doubt, in my mind at least, that the origin of such outre fictional characters as Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the Slavonic and Albanian beliefs so gravely set forth in Ranft's "De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis," and Calmet's "Dissertation on the Vampires of Hungary," is to be found in the nocturnal depredations of sexual sadists, whose abnormality escaped detection through the fact that it was not then recognized or known.]

That sadism is not infrequent in women is also shown by Case 42, of Krafft-Ebing. "A married man presented himself with numerous cuts and scars on the arms. He told their origin as follows: When
he wished to have intercourse with his wife, who was young and nervous, he first had to make a cut in his arm. Then she would suck the wound, and during the act become violently excited sexually."

History is full of further instances of sadistic instinct in the sex, of which possibly Valeria Messalina and Catherine di Medici are the most noted; the latter, along with being the secret instigator of the awful St. Bartholomew Massacre, finding great pleasure, we are told, in having the ladies of her court whipped before her.

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