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July 10, 2011

Book Review: Sex, Shrouds & Caskets by Ed Wood

Be good to yourself, and each other.
Jerry Springer

Gentle readers, we are in for a very special treat. Sex Shrouds and Caskets is Ed Wood’s treatise on sex and religion. Yes, you read that correctly. Set up like a series of essays on, “The shocking, revealing truth of what takes place sexually in our so-called civilized culture,” and how these truths relate to standardized religion, Shrouds is a tour-de-force of depravity.

Beginning with Southern snake charmers, Wood introduces us to a young, unnamed swamp girl. She sees the local preacher, Theadore Jackson, and is instantly smitten with lust. Jackson preaches to the masses using snakes (well, Baptist snakes). Of course, the snakes eventually kill Jackson but that cannot lessen the startling point that Wood makes. He states that, “…one must also realize the symbol of the snake is always directed to the WOMAN – by the MAN!” Because the snake is a phallic symbol and men have phalluses and women, during normal, non-Wood sex, are receptive to phalluses… I think. Believe it or not, Wood’s doctrine becomes even more muddled from there. Wood attests that a majority of the religious groups in the country are based on homosexuality. He poses the following question to any moral, upstanding citizen (who paid $1.75 for this book of weird sex):

“Many of the pseudo religious groups are based on homosexuality – believe it or not! Where does religion start and the pseudo thoughts end? And in the same vein, where does pseudo start and religion end?” Where indeed?

And when did “pseudo” become a noun?

Throughout the rest of the book, Wood recounts tale after tale of horny preachers (and not just Baptists either) who have such a control over their flock that women throw themselves at them. Old women, young women, possessed women… it goes on and on. Some times, though, the women get the upper hand. After destroying some of Reverend Caspar Maynard’s items, his current slut, Clara, amazes even him when she, “…looked to the tortured objects and stood, spread legged over them and began her urination. The preacher couldn’t hold back a gasp and the woman only grinned.”

After this insightful display, Wood takes us on a journey that only he is uniquely qualified for… the occult and sex (see A Study of Sexual Practices in Witchcraft and Black Magic). Wood regales us with tales of sex and demonic possession, sex and séances, sex and hitchhikers, sex and corpses and sex and more sex. Because sex is the thing that sells. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. That’s a lot of sex.

Wood’s epilog to this tale of prayer and lust warrants quoting in length and serves as a sufficient summation of his thoughts (or the thoughts of the editors at Viceroy Books). Take it away, Ed:

Throughout the past chapters it has never been the intent to hurt the honest religious groups, whether they have the best of temples, the smallest of missions, or simply come around door-to-door. But when one carries around his own hole in the ground he is the most gullible creature GOD ever made. In trying to find his GOD or his salvation he may travel down many roads, and many of the roads may be studded with ruts which make traveling extremely dangerous. It is always best when approached by some group which is unknown, or little known, that they be investigated fully before joining them. Time will tell us all what we want to know. Those who want to hasten that knowledge may be hastening it more than they full realize. What will happen at some given date will be known only at that date. IN THE MEANTIME each must search out his path through life in his or her own way. Let it not be a short road. Life can be beautiful and fulfilling to each of us. But when we get tangled with the wrong crowd; sometimes of a completely irreparable nature. GOD did not put us on this earth so that we might be hurt. And GOD did not put the crazy people in the cloth designed for the real carrier of HIS word. Through their own greed they have designed their life using GOD’S name in place of the devil they really represent.

When people so involved with these persons really come to their senses; the GOD-given sense they possess; they can only find that they are being taught nothing of the beyond, only of the monetary present. They will learn that only the preacher’s bank account is progressing and nothing of the inner soul of the man. They will, however, be taught all about SEX, SHROUDS and CASKETS…

Well. I suppose that this makes sense somewhere, just not here. I used to watch Jerry Springer’s “Final Thought” at the end of his broadcasts in lieu of standardized religion. Luckily, thanks to the musings of Ed Wood, I don’t need to anymore. I have been enlightened! Finding Sex, Shrouds and Caskets is an exceedingly difficult task. Expect to pay in the $100 range for even an abused copy. Don’t ask too many people about it, though, they might think that you’re weird.

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