31 March 2014

Macabre Monday: You're About to Bug Out (The Tapeworm Way)

Beware: queasy images and thoughts ahead. 

(And possibly some book spoilers.)

Ready for another Macabre Monday? Finished your lunch? Checked out Kate's Macabre Mondays? 

I've discovered that there might just be an upcoming trend in horror novels. I'm not saying it's going to exceed the zombie fad we all seem to drink in, but something is definitely brewing up.

...And it's full of tapeworms.

Disgusting as the parasites are, they seem to make a constant appearance on television, for instance, titled something like “Let's See What We Found Inside You!” or “Watch Worms Come Out of Other People.” We ogle at these “medical” shows, all while making yuck noises, and we enjoy it to an extent (relieved it's not our bodies on TV).

Because of what we see on TV, we most often worry about tapeworms—those long, 20-some-footers—lounging around in peoples' intestines.

But, like in the book Parasite by Mira Grant, which I reviewed not too long ago, there is the idea that maybe...just maybe...those tapeworms could be in our brains.

I know what you're thinking. That's impossible. Right? Our brains are supposed to be our safe houses, they are the center of everything we know and should be squeaky clean mechanisms! There's just no way worms could be in our brains—that's crazy talk!

Now you're probably realizing from my emphases where I'm heading. 

Outside of Mira Grant's book, there really is such a thing as tapeworms being able to sift into your brain, but they are not adult tapeworms like we think of. These cysts, as they are called in their life-stage, are still capable of detrimental damage, however. In fact, it's estimated that this certain tapeworm is responsible for epilepsy among more than five million people around the globe. Discover Magazine actually has a great article on the topic, and I've included the wondrous picture below of--yes--tapeworm cysts inside a human's brain. 
tapeworm cyst brain

In Mira Grant's futuristic world set not quite so far away, the problem—and the horror—is that what is ailing your mom, your best friend, your co-worker, is not merely a cyst. It seems to be an adult tapeworm. And while the symptoms are similar to that of a zombie, the knowledge we later gain from the book about the outbreak and why it's happening is unnerving to say the least.

I'm telling you, these books are really making me think twice about eating sushi ever again. 
You're probably thinking the same as well. Unless you're one of those deranged people who ingests parasites on purpose to lose weight. (But that's a crazy story for another crazy day, folks.)

But...what if someone was forced to ingest a tapeworm as, you know, an experiment? Say the government was testing a bio-engineered weapon on that person with the weapon being...something buggy...

Would you believe me if I said that was true? Or would you call me a complete nut?

Okay, okay, you got me--so it's basically the synopsis to The Troop by Nick Cutter, but who knows.
dale gribble conspiracy

In The Troop, with my review being available on Goodreads, there is much more fixation on a sense of horror and dread than in Parasite. I mean, it even gave Stephen King the creepy crawlies! Being compared to Lord of the Flies with...parasites...I don't see who wouldn't get just a little freaked out by it.

So far, these are the only two fiction books I've read that are pretty recent (I'm talking 2013/2014) about parasites, but I remember when I was going through new releases earlier this month that I happened across yet another! I just can't find it again, and it makes me so mad! Props to anyone who can.

It would just be so interesting to see if this is just the tip of the iceberg for something grand, or if it's merely me reading two similar books fairly close together and connecting them.

I can't say for sure but I do still believe we have a sick fascination with alien-like creatures in our bodies. Why else would movies like (the obvious) “Alien,” or “The Thing” have been made in the first place, or enjoyed so much?

I'll let you think it over while trying not to lose your appetite for the rest of the day. 

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