DARK INDUSTRIAL ZONE

"Industrial Music for Industrial People"
This page is devoted to a description of "industrial" music and a brief outline of its historical evolution. What follows is a somewhat modified version of certain portions of my undergraduate thesis entitled:

In the gap caused by the failure of punk rock's apocalyptic rhetoric, 'industrial' seemed like a good idea. --John Savage, 1983

The uniforms in turn led to the logical step of regalia. So stark badges embroidered patches, dark t-shirts were designed and distributed. A logo that evoked military, political, corporate entities crossed by a flash of electricity to represent the short-circuiting of control. To maintain a non-specific ideological position this hard-paranoia inducing image was paralleled by more and more absurd references to consumerism.
--Genesis P-Orridge, 1988
I don't know if I want to hide as much as keep you guessing . . . . We can be ourselves, we'll let you pigeonhole us. You go ahead. We're gonna get slotted, no matter what, because that is the nature of the press, they have to explain, have to simplify things for people, so they have a concept of what kind of music it is. . . . And so we'll let everyone stereotype us and, meanwhile, what they're having a go at is an illusion . . . . The whole thing is stupid. In the 12th century, if musicians didn't play in front of the king correctly, we would have been beheaded. We were minstrels and fools. Now we're icons and deities and demi-gods.
--Al Jourgenson (of Ministry), 1993

INDUSTRIAL: Defining the Sound:
What is industrial music? Although we are condemned for beginning our writings with interrogatives (mostly by grammatical purists like, oh, Ms. Rogers in Middle School), nothing is more apropos given the subject matter: the term 'industrial,' just like the term 'rock and roll,' is a hotly debated one. Just as many post-modern philosophers of the "absurd" denied the term "existential," many artists and fans of "industrial music" deny the term "industrial" with a considerable degree of contempt. As one fan told me when attempting to gather information:
I believe you are approaching this from a fundamentally flawed position, i.e. that 'industrial' is a definable scene or musical style. 'Industrial' is really nothing more than a catch-all phrase for any music that is created with extreme amounts of electronics and a harsh flavor. It cannot be used to typify any specific sound or lifestyle.
Nevertheless, I suggest there is a specific sound that characterizes "industrial," which I will attempt to flesh-out here as best I can. Our fan has already outlined two elements that figure prominently in industrial: 1) "extreme amounts of electronics," and 2) "harsh flavor." That is, industrial music will have synthesized sounds with a notable "edge" or "harshness," the same type of hard-hitting harshness found in other genres like "punk" or "heavy metal." More specifically, I offer the following definition of "industrial music":
Industrial Music is a type of popular music characterized by heavy percussion, synthesized or electronic melodies, distorted and/or manipulated vocals, and cut-and-paste construction. It is often the product of 'angry white young men,' resonating primarily with themes of alienation, anger, pain, oppression, and control. Often danceable, industrial music has noticeable repetitive rhythms and chant-like choruses, which are often played out in variations of a traditional AABA song structure.
This definition is by no means inclusive of all forms of industrial music, but embraces what I think are most common elements found within it. First, we must note that the "beat" or percussion found in industrial music is the most basic and noticeable element. Many industrial pieces begin and are sustained throughout their duration with a stable, repetitive percussive beat, one which is often synthetically produced (as opposed to being hammered out by a trap set). Although many industrial songs are too fast for dancing, the feel is overwhelmingly "dancey" since the structure of the songs are heavily repetitive in relationship to the "beat." One can often categorize a given song as "industrial" and not "pop" or "R&B" or some other form based on its heavily percussive elements.
Second, industrial music always incorporates electronic elements, which usually form the body of a song. This may be in the form of melodic lines that repeat over and over through the song, or as "sound bites" or "samples" taken from a myriad of sources. For instance, in classic industrial song taken from a myriad of sources. For instance, in classic industrial song called "Kooler Than Jesus" by a band called My Life With The Thrill [Image] Kill Kult (TKK), one hears the following snippet of dialogue throughout the song's many choruses: "I am the electric Messiah, the AC/DC God" (1989, Track 1). This line was taken from dialogue in a movie called "The Ruling Class" starring Peter O'Toole. TKK takes this line and uses it repeatedly throughout the song as a vital part of its structure. Other electronic elements may include "found sounds," often very "metallic" in the sense that metal objects or tools are used. For instance, often times one may hear the sound of an electric drill or the clicks of a moving apparatus in a factory (such as a steam press, or rivet gun machine, and so on).
Third, industrial music has a noticeable "constructive" flavor, giving it a "cut-and-paste" feel. Different song components are woven in such a way as to alert the listener to its many layered components. The song may start with a sample of dialogue from a movie or television show, and then the percussion will begin. Next, a repetitive melodic "riff" will enter the mix, perhaps a synthetic tone or a guitar sound. Songs will usually progress by building on these elements and throwing in samples or found sound noises along the way. Fourth, industrial music is performed and composed primarily by young whites. Often times industrial is compared to "punk" for this reason, since the themes often encountered in "industrial" parallel those (somewhat) of the punk genre--those usually indicative of angry middle-class whites males.
Hopefully the reader now has a sense of the type of music industrial seems to be. Yet, to get a better idea of the underlying "philosophy" of this music, a review of its history is necessary. Although the underlying logic of industrial has constantly changed and evolved over time (and that is the subject of this project), we nevertheless notice a handful of stable features derived from its historical origins. By noting where the term "industrial" came from, as well as understanding where the genre began, we will get a better feel for the music called "industrial" enjoying some commercial success today.

HISTORY OF THE GENRE: Avant Garde and the Formation of Industrial Ethos OR GRISTLES BEGIN THROBBING
There seems to be no "official" history of industrial music, and the impetus for its formation is continually debated among fans and artists. From my research, it seems more likely that the original inspirations for its emergence as a genre began with the experimental audio projects of "beat" figures like William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the late fifties and early sixties, the avant gardism of American and European "jazz" artists (such as Sun Ra), and the uncategorizable experimentations of classically trained musicians like Edgard Varese (in the thirties and forties) and Holger Czukay (in the sixties).
Burroughs and Gysin, for instance, before the advent of electronic samplers and the synthesizer, took recorded material and literally cut and pasted it together to make unusual collages of spoken word and found sounds. It is most probable that, given the Beats¹ preference of "be-bop" jazz and experimental music, Burroughs, Gysin, and others playing with recording techniques were inspired by the experimentalism of avant garde musical artists.
Edgard Varese composed the first known piece of "Western" music entirely devoted to percussion. Influenced by the French and Italian avant garde "machine music" schools in the twenties and thirties, Varese and others began to make "weird" music that rarely invited popular consumption or interest. Other notable composers include John Cage, Phillip Glass (of the "minimalist" school) and later, Brian Eno (pre- and post-Roxy Music).
Nevertheless, European and American experimentalism culminated in influencing a large number of "psychedelic" rock bands of the sixties, who, with the advent of the Moog synthesizer, started to incorporate cut and paste found sound techniques, and previously untapped percussive interludes, into their psychedelic musical "trips" (for example, Pink Floyd¹s early experimental work and Jefferson Airplane's strange album After Bathing At Baxter's [1969] illustrate the incorporation of such experimentalism in traditional song structures).
"Industrial" (the sound, not the term) began to coalesce into an identifiable genre in the late sixties largely with the albums produced by German bands. In 1969 a German band called Can released their first album, Monster Music , and ushered into popular music a unique form that combined electronic experimentation, heavy, percussive beats, and wandering sound collages. Can is often cited as having a heavy influence on later so-called "industrial bands. Other German bands like Faust, Amon Duul, and Kong produced strange percussive music in the vein of Can, ushering into popular music vocabularies the term "Teutonic beat" and "space rock." Many critics, fans and artists began to notice that German experimental groups, unlike others, had a unique, hard-hitting march-like percussion, eventually tagged as simply "Teutonic." [The term Teutonic is from the Latin Teutoni , a word that Latin speaking folks used to refer to Germanic/Celtic people living in the Jutland region--the Teutons; it came to be common era used to describe anything "Germanic" in general]
In 1971, a new German band began to garner a large following in Europe (namely, Germany and Britain). Calling themselves "Kraftwerk" (well, originally half the band started as "Organisation," but no bother . . . ), this group relied solely on electronic devices (many of which they "created") to produce what they called "electronic body music." Using blips, tweeks and drones produced by "machines," Kraftwerk produced unique (sometimes extremely long) "songs" wholly synthetic in nature, often distorting their vocals to sound like "robots." Although by the mid- to late seventies Kraftwerk began making "disco" music, their influence on industrial music (as well as "euro-disco," "techno," and "hip-hop") is unparalleled.
The term "industrial" entered popular music's vocabulary, however, through the work of a handful of art school students called "Coum Transmissions." This group, touted as a performance art ensemble, was part of a larger, intellectual art movement in Europe that experimented with bizarre and often shocking stage performances much in the vein of Avant Garde theater. Combining musical and theatrical elements, the four person Coum Transmissions would often perform spoken-word monologues to electronic and acoustic sounds (sometimes cohesive "songs," other times not), usually to the background of tribal percussion, all the while attempting to shock the audience with obscene and violent antics on stage. In 1976, Coum Transmissions changed their name to Throbbing Gristle, and began generating a huge number of so called "music" albums (some live recordings of their performances, some produced in a studio). Yet, their popularity as a group was largely the result of the "media scandal" that resulted from their last performance" as Coum Transmissions at an "art" show called "Prostitution² in London in 1976. The media covered their performance and touted it as "obscene," paving the way, of course, for notoriety and record sales.
The music released by Throbbing Gristle (TG) is difficult to describe. Combining the elements of the cut and-paste experimentalism of Burroughs and Gysin, the electronic doodlings of Kraftwerk, and the "Teutonic" beats of Can and other German experimental groups, TG's music varied in degrees of intensity and listenability. Some of their work consisted of loud, percussive rhythms and screaming, while other work was much more subdued. The song "Hamburger Lady" (Throbbing Gristle's 1979 Greatest Hits , Track 1), for instance, features a background of sound reminiscent of a motorcycle engine shifting gears, a drowning blip, while the vocalist, Genesis P-Orridge, mumbles in a wavering voice "hamburger lady, hamburger lady." Although humor seems to be a large component of TG's work, the band saw itself as having a philosophical mission. P-Orridge, reflecting on his time with TG, writes:

Their mission? To break the rose-coloured glasses with which society and the individuals therein shielded themselves from the harsher realities of life and, by shocking us as they entertained us (or even shocking us instead of entertaining us), to de-condition people who'd come to accept televised, glamourised [sic] violence and horror (the 'Holocaust as soap opera' syndrome) as the reality, restoring a true perspective, and putting the pain back into suffering.
That is, TG saw themselves not as mere pranksters, but a group who had a definite social agenda to promote.
The unique approach TG took to market their music, if not the music itself, is, however, where TG left their mark. Convinced that "MUZAK" was a corporate means of mind-control, TG began to describe their music as a "de-programming" tool, a means to reverse the manipulative ploys of corporate entities. TG played with "image" as much as they did sound, developing a whole ethos that resonates with the images of the military and the corporate world. In their attempt to develop a slogan to describe their own music, they finally settled on one developed by a fellow musician and friend, Monte Cazazza, who provided them with "Industrial Music for Industrial People." TG created their own music label, and called it "Industrial Records." Ever since, music that seems to appeal to TG philosophy and imagery and employs copious amounts of electronics has been dubbed "industrial."
The aesthetic TG created for "industrial" records is best described as very corporate and militaristic. Using copious logos and nonsense institutional names on their albums (e.g., "The Ministry of Antisocial Insecurity," "L'Ecole Del' Art Infantile," etc.), Industrial Record's productions made a mockery of corporate and military imagery. They boldly printed index numbers on their albums (the first TG album was given the number IR002) and photographed themselves dressed in militaristic uniforms or institutional garb (viz., suits and ties).
In addition to the "images," or aesthetic style of Industrial Records, their roster of bands helped to formulate the industrial "sound." Bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Leather Nun (a.k.a Genesis of TG), and the audio experimentation of William S. Burroughs were promoted. Originally, "industrial" music referred to those bands that appeared on the Industrial Records label, but as other bands began to emerge that "sounded" similar, they were dubbed as "industrial" as well (e.g. SPK, NON, and numerous others) .
The history of industrial music then takes off in many directions, and undergoes significant changes. In America, for instance, bands like Killing Joke and Chrome began to incorporate guitars into a mix of electronic sounds and heavy "Teutonic" beats in the late 1970¹s.
Europe produced a number of significant and somewhat commercially successful bands like Einsturzende Neubaten (of Germany) and Front 242 (of Belgium), both of whom appealed to mechanistic or stoic imagery. For instance, Front 242 consciously avoided having their picture taken for promotional videos or album inlays; when they were seen, they often wore full-body worker suits and sunglasses or goggles to promote a sort of "faceless" and "soul-less" ethos.
Eventually, "industrial" music coalesced into a large god-term category of different sounding bands, and subdivisions were created. By today's standards, the music of TG would not be considered industrial by many, since the term has moved beyond an emphasis on experimentation and into more structured song patterns. TG's music, although perhaps loosely falling under the rubric of "industrial," is now more easily lumped under the term "experimental noise."
Industrial music, having moved beyond indulgent, amorphous confrontation, now resides in the realm of "dance" for many. Terms like "slaughter-house" are used to describe industrial bands that use very fast rhythms and copious amounts of guitar noise, and "electronic body music" (EBM) is used to describe the more danceable bands like Nitzer Ebb and Die Warzau (the latter with less "guitar noise").
By the nineties, significant numbers of "industrial" bands experienced commercial success, selling enough albums to sign with major labels like Capitol, Mute, and RCA. In fact, many may argue that the American industrial mother label, WaxTrax, went bankrupt because previously signed bands left for the more profitable mainstream labels. [Incidentally, Wax Trax was rescued by Interscope/Atlantic records, and their roster has changed dramatically as a result.]
The venues of the consumption of industrial music are largely club-based. I was introduced to the genre when I began to frequent dancing clubs during high school. Because of its heavily repetitive and percussive elements, industrial music is often played at clubs for dancing, providing a more harsh or dark mood to the typically upbeat and cheerful sounds of disco, new wave, and techno. Although fans of industrial music are quick to point out that music played in clubs is what should be called "electronic body music," I tend to refer to all of the music as danceable because of its sound. Some industrial acts are more harsh (or "crunchy," if you will) than others, but on the whole, each subscribes to structural dance elements more consonant with disco or club music. In addition, the cut-and-paste sound of industrial music makes it particularly easy for disk jockeys to "mix" them together into a non-stop, fluid dancing background.
It is often said that industrial music picked up where punk left off. Punk, although primarily a concert (or live performance) oriented scene, was also played in dance clubs. The style of dance often associated with punk is ³slam dancing,² a violent, sometimes dangerous type of dancing where one, literally, pushes and shoves others for an adrenaline rush (and perhaps, for the sheer sadistic glee of hurting another). Some industrial music continues to cater to this style of dance, such as the later work of bands like Ministry and Skinny Puppy (dubbed "slaughterhouse," perhaps for these reasons), and in some nightclubs one can find people slam-dancing to these "industrial" tunes. Other types of industrial are more conducive to the rhythmic, side-to-side dancing of hip-hop and disco, and we will also find clubs that favor this sort of "industrial." In any event, by this point we can see that underlying all types of industrial music are a number of invariant features that remain constant, most of which have their origin in the philosophies of early industrial bands. In addition to the themes of alienation, pain, lust, anger, and so on that are often lyrically incorporated, all industrial music shares the components of heavy percussion, electronic sampling and, to some degree, the cut-and-past construction. As for myself, well, I like it all. I do, however, tend to prefer the more "dancey" stuff as opposed to the abrasive and confrontational (e.g. Project Pitchfork, Haujobb, Acumen, early Ministry, later Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Leatherstrip, Zero Defect, and so on and on and on and on and on). For a listing and scant review of recommended EBM (that is, danceable industrial music), click the image to with the lovely stiletto heel.

Copyright 1996, Reality Denial Enterprises, J.Gunn. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.



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The Unacceptable Face of Freedom

No, not an article on Test Dept., for those of you who expected such a thing! Instead, inspired by Thee Grey Wolves, I'd like to take a look at fascist imagery in "industrial" and experimental music.
As most of you will be aware, this kind of music is riddled with such imagery, both overt and covert. Experimental musicians, most notably Throbbing Gristle, have used the symbology of fascism, claiming that they desired to challenge preconceptions and to create a more open-minded audience. The punks made extensive use of the swastika. As part of their nihilistic rejection of society's established values, they felt the need to espouse the unacceptable, in order to adequately express their disgust with the world in which they lived. Victims of what they saw as authoritarian aggression, they responded instinctively by reflecting back that social violence in the form of an anti-social shock.
Yugoslavian avant-garde rock band Laibach adopt the appearance of totalitarianism to explore both our authoritarian society and the authoritarian nature of "rock" music. Often accused of being fascists, their extensive use of ironic humour acts as a reminder that they are not what they seem. They use the symbols both of Nazism and religion, and are clearly of the opinion that to be able to subvert and destroy the state you must first enter and understand it.
Others use not the superficial imagery of fascism but the real ethos of dictatorship in their attempts to provoke a response and expose control mechanisms. One example includes Non, who in the early eighties played concerts consisting of unbearably loud and physical rhythmic music. Audiences either fled from this authoritarian onslaught or accepted and explored the pleasure of submission.
Many of the hardbeat groups look distinctly jackbooted in their espousal of extreme physical discipline, and their replication of fascist chic throughout their presentation. Given that most of them profess to be opposed to the existing social order, they spend a lot of time replicating its style and symbols. Bands like Manufacture, Front 242 and others use hard, militaristic rhythms, coupled with samples of rightwingers and religious nutcases, presenting the raw data of their info-environment without comment. We are "expected" to understand that although these bands look like fascists, they are in fact opposed to fascism. Inevitably, they attract neo-Nazis to their music whether they like it or not. Even socialists like Test Dept have been described as "thugs of the new left" due to their masculine, angry, violent presentation. [see Letters]
Others are even more dubious. Death in June pepper their albums with skulls, runic images and paramilitary style, and have appeared on stage in brownshirts in the past. Their love of seemingly fascist gestures extends to what they lovingly describe as "the European dream", a pan-continental supernation. Depending on your point of view this may seem a noble goal, a right-wing insanity, or just a particularly naive piece of romanticism. Staying in a similar musical clique, Whitehouse and their label Come Org have used sufficiently extreme rhetoric not only in public but also in private for even the most forgiving liberal conscience to shy away from giving them the benefit of the doubt. The blatant racism of Whitehouse's William Bennett appears to have few pretensions to being a sophisticated cultural critique, despite many fans' illusions. Whitehouse's live events frequently involved lavish helpings of racial abuse, alienating many of those who were sufficiently liberal to give them a chance in the first place.
And there are others: cassette artists working in this area include the likes of the AWB group, extreme right-wing racists who have chosen to work in the experimental electronics world, and Con-Dom, a solo project from the British Isles, which attempts to explore themes of control and domination through the use of a primitivist wall of noise. The cassette underground contains numerous examples of artists exploring this sort of territory, and whilst it's certainly a valid expression, it all begins to seem a little samey and unimaginative after a while.
As T.G. made clear, surface Nazism is very stylish. Black and red and silver make a very attractive colour scheme, and fascist insignia are extremely powerful symbols. The imagery can be traced back to the Italian Futurist movement, with its love of striking, dynamic art. Most users of motifs like the swastika, like Jim Thirlwell, of Foetus, explain their use simply in terms of a desire to use visuals that they like, that they find psychically resonant. Even four decades after what the Allies ridiculously claimed to be the death of fascism, the imagery retains its powerful fascination. Extremism of any sort reverberates deep within our psyche: it touches parts of the unconscious that more moderate philosophies are unable to reach.
And of course, the punks reminded us of just how provocative the swastika remained after many years. Throwing the establishment's own excrement back into its throat is sure to result in a nauseous reaction. For groups intent on outraging society, fascism was a powerful weapon. Time at last to stamp in turn on the boot that had stamped on you, even if the only methods you had for doing so were those that the authorities had themselves taught you.
It's debatable whether such tactics were ever productive, however. Certainly, they didn't change the system, only reinforcing its repressive desires. The desire to shock seemed frequently to be born more out of a rejection of society than out of any embrace of a positive alternative. Mummy won't let us play so we scream and shout - this is all that provocation often amounted to. It was based on the same emotions as those of the screaming child. Our environment is unpleasant and destructive, but we do not feel we have the power to do anything about it. In such a situation, nihilism is the only viable option, but it rests upon a false assumption. We are not powerless, and to accept that we are, and do nothing but complain, can only further set back our chances of realising our true desires. Nihilism is counter-revolutionary, disempowering, and to this extent the widespread adoption of fascist imagery as a shock strategy was doomed to miserable failure. Additionally, in adopting the violent tactics of the oppressor, punk and the other protestors were admitting that they had no alternatives to offer, thus validating the initial oppression. The authoritarian state thrives on violent rebellion, using it as its own justification.
However, many scions of industrial culture would claim that their attempts to shock were more than just screams of outrage. They would claim, as for example S.P.K. did when exhibiting violent sexual imagery in their work, that the intent of the shock was to jolt people out of their everyday slumber, to awaken in them the idea that perhaps all this extreme material could be treated objectively, not just the subject of a knee-jerk reaction as was usually the case. Personally, I find this pretty doubtful, as the repetition of any image tends only to reimprint the associations that it already had. In other words, people who found the imagery disgusting in the first place are unlikely to change their minds just because they see the imagery again. I'm going to leave a consideration of the adoption of an aggressive, possibly fascist, style by groups like Laibach, Test Dept and the various hardbeat bands for another time. Instead, we have in front of us an example of the use of extreme imagery taken towards one logical conclusion: Thee Grey Wolves. By now, a century after literature and art experienced various outbursts of taboo-breaking extremism, all this may seem to be a case of retreading paths that have been walked too many times already. It may seem fair to criticise those who are still exploring the dark side of humanity of substituting the use of originality with a formula known to be good at attracting attention. Is this a fair comment on Thee Grey Wolves? Named, if I'm not mistaken after a right-wing Turkish terrorist group (much as fellow extreme electronics outfit Terre Blanche adopt the moniker of South African fascist and head of the terrorist A.W.B. commandoes, Eugene Terre-Blanche; or as S.P.K. claimed the name of the Sozialistisches Patienten Kollektiv), Thee Grey Wolves began life in 1985. Its two members have also worked on solo projects as Tactical Aid Group and Nails ov Christ, and run their own cassette labels Artaman Tapes and Strength Through Awareness.
Claiming to be manifestations of the "Cultural Terrorism Network", Thee Grey Wolves try to adopt a uniformly extreme attitude to what they release. Their crude mail-order catalogues are peppered with crypto-fascist symbols, pictures of terrorists, Nazis and the like. Their cassette releases include "Red Terror Black Terror", "Atrocity Exhibition" and "Legion of Hell". Amongst the current projects of David Padbury (alias Crystal Knight) is "120 Days of Sodom" a planned exhibition of extreme (and probably illegal) mail-art. The intent of this last seems to be to test the limits as much as possible - to break taboos and air issues by the use of shock treatment - but whether or not this bears much relation to the Marquis de Sade's infamous novel of the same name is debatable. There was far more to "Sodom" than the desire to shock and test boundaries. The music? Oh yes, the music! Like many other groups producing "extreme electronics", their sound is that of the inside of the experimental animal's head, the scream of the gas chamber and the agony of civilisation collapsing. At least, that's one interpretation. Alternatively, I could succinctly describe it as "unlistenable noise". In reality, the music falls somewhere between the two. Harsh, painful, chaotic noisescapes, not sufficiently disjointed or extreme as to be really unlistenable: amidst the sonic sludge there is a latent structure lurking somewhere. Out of the chaos you feel almost able to pick out subliminal themes and elements - but it's possible that this is aural hallucination.
Although primarily designed, it seems, to repel the listener, the music is listenable enough that it can seem almost beautiful once you've reeducated your ears. As atmospheric music it's fine, if a little crude, if the kind of atmosphere you like is that found inside an abattoir. As a soundtrack to apocalypse it's a failure, coming nowhere near to reflecting the horror that hides in real life. To a certain extent, it could be argued that if you've heard one wall of noise, you've heard them all, but this isn't fair. Noise music contains a far greater array of possibilities than might seem immediately evident. It can be mindless, violent, serene, obnoxious, beautiful. As far as noise = music is concerned, other artists have explored that idea far more than Thee Grey Wolves have done, a personal favourite being the American musician PBK, who has succeeded in his attempt to develop an attractive noise aesthetic. And, as I said above, as far as noise = statement is concerned, I believe music of any kind is never capable of presenting anything other than a debased form of real extremity. It's easy to react to the group's imagery on a simple, instinctive, and immediate level. The imagery is repellent (to any reasonably socially aware conscience) and so why should anyone bother to look further into it? If you are opposed to fascism and are unable to decide on the basis of what the group is saying whether or not they are fascists, shouldn't you err on the side of caution? Even if you believe they are not, why should you be interested in all this unpleasant imagery anyway? If, as they claim, Thee Grey Wolves see it as their role to present us with information which we would rather ignore, to remind us of the true face of fascism, doesn't it seem sensible to say: "Ok, that's the true face of fascism - I know what it is, and I don't want anything to do with it"? And if I want to see what fascism's about, I don't need Thee Grey Wolves to tell me: there are plenty of real examples to choose from without needing their secondhand representations. Taboo-breaking is usually acknowledged to be a worthwhile activity. Groups like Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth promote it as a means of ridding ourselves of social indoctrination and rediscovering our "true intuitive will". As far as most taboos are concerned, this is fine, since most taboo actions are not in fact anti-social. Taboos against violence are another matter, since they crystallise what even many taboo-breakers would consider to be useful principles. How far do you go in your search for your inner self? Can you justify behaving in a "bad" way because you feel it is necessary to explore both the dark and light sides of your personality? Are the results of such self-exploration so important as to outweigh the effects on others of that exploration?
Many of the earlier "industrial" artists explored these areas: Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza are amongst the best examples. It's arguable that their exploration of the extreme went further than Thee Grey Wolves would ever go since as well as just flirting with the imagery, they privately experienced and publicly performed any number of sadistic and taboo activities, of which, Cosey Fanni Tutti's exposure in pornographic magazines is probably the best remembered. And they're far from the only ones.
Outwith the musical ghettoes, artists like Rudolf Schwartzkogler have explored extreme areas in depth. Schwartzkogler, an Austrian, died in 1969 after a series of performances involving self-mutilation. His compatriot Hermann Nitsch is particularly well known for his 1970s projects, in which the public participated in cathartic rituals involving real animal sacrifice, attempting to communicate with instincts generally anaesthetised by Western social alienation. [see Letters]
Time after time those members of the experimental music underground with an interest in Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Hitler and the other popular icons of extreme evil, seem to justify their interest in such things with the simplistic and idiotic "it's what I like, so it must be all right", appealing to the anarchistic belief that everyone should be allowed to follow their innermost desires. When those desires lead them to express fascination with mass-murderers, I begin to wonder exactly where we can draw the line. Knowing your enemy is all very well, but the interests shown by people like Boyd Rice (Non) frequently seem to cross the border that separates morbid from obsessive and dangerous. But it's not just a question of how you or I or the groups themselves react to fascist and violent allusions. How do others react upon coming into contact with these bands? Some people are attracted by the simple clarity of fascism expressed within the style of bands like Front 242, Last Few Days and many others. Fascist rhetoric attracts fascists - a simple equation. If you don't want to attract such people, then you shouldn't use their rallying imagery in your publicity. This implies that anyone who uses such imagery is happy to associate with fascists, and willing to be labelled as such. Clearly, they don't find this insulting, or presumably they would do something about it.
Others are repelled. If you have suffered the effects of racism at first hand, then you may find it hard to find any liberal sympathy for those supposed sophisticates who plaster their album sleeves in swastikas. You may say this is just the result of their inability to challenge and overcome their conditioned preconceptions. I agree. I also suspect that anyone saying this would be showing a complete inability to understand exactly what it is that has produced this conditioning in the first place. If I had learned to associate the carving of NF on my door with the pushing of burning rags through my letterbox, I don' think I'd have much time for anyone asking me to challenge my preconceptions when presented with a pseudo-Nazi record cover.
It is perhaps reasonable to claim that it is desirable for the audience to reach their own conclusions about the information a band presents, rather than having the band's "right on" opinions shoved down their throats. Nobody likes to be preached at after all, and the mutual back-slapping that is the essence of a socialist band playing to a socialist audience is never going to provoke any thought in either party, only reinforce their prejudices. But should bands be so afraid of expressing their own opinions that they have to shelter behind the expression of supposedly "objective" information instead? I'm happy to accept a bit of subjectivity from the group's I listen to. If I want pure facts I'll go to a library. This particular problem is acute for Thee Grey Wolves, who do try to present their material as simple documentation. Their own opinions are rarely expressed, as they feel it is better to let the information speak for itself without any distorting subjective coloration.
Nonetheless, even Thee Wolves have been forced to declare themselves opponents of fascism, as it has become clear to them that if they do not make their position clear then their audience will err on the side of caution, and stay away. This means that, like Laibach with their irony, they have had to temper their deliberately confusionist stance with a certain disclaimer, and as a result what they present can never again be so challenging. If we know that they are not really fascists, then the ambiguity of their presentation is removed - we know that they disapprove of what they are releasing, and we know how we are "expected" to react. The necessities of real life prevent them from adopting the absolute statement that they seem to desire to make. Confusion as a revolutionary tool has a long history. Within the present century it has been well documented, from the dada art movement (and others) onwards to fluxus and beyond. In Zurich and Berlin, the Dada movement hurled abuse at its audience, shat on the art of the past, and gleefully espoused every paradox it could find. While Kennedy and Kruschev faced off in 1962, flux-artist Robin Page turned what seemed like a rock gig into a potent experience when he kicked his guitar out of the building and down the street, the bewildered audience following close behind. Never let the audience know what is going on, since that way lies certainty, safety, and the end of anything challenging. This motto has served large numbers of artists well in the past, and, applied particularly to controversial and ambiguous politics, it creates a vigorous and interesting result. If people are sure of what you are saying, then it can be argued that they will accept it at face value without thinking very deeply about it. If your statement is not clear cut, then they have to decide what they think it means, and this immediately forces them to give it deeper consideration. In other words, confusionism is a tool for provoking thought. In this arena, Thee Grey Wolves succeed, despite the seeming lack of originality of their subject matter. Unlike the various industrial bands who have dabbled in extreme areas, (with the possible exception of Whitehouse), Thee Wolves make it the sole focus of their art, and in doing so focus on all the questions which surround the area. It is also fair to say that extreme situations demand extreme responses. And surely anyone who still believes that we do not live in an extreme situation has had their eyes and ears tightly shut for most of their life. Increasingly complex formal social organisation has created an environment where the stresses and strains of everyday life that would be easily dissipated by a more flexible and responsive political system are routed into artificial outlets. These stresses accumulate in the gaps between the hierarchical lines of communication, unable to be dealt with by a fixed system that cannot adapt quickly enough to new problems. As a result, the cracks begin to show more and more often, as our entire social structure suffers a nasty form of stress fatigue. The problems are there, as everyone knows, and as everyone knows the problems are not being dealt with, but wallpapered over in the hope that some future generation will have the ability to deal with them.
But extreme responses do not necessarily mean an extremely violent or nihilistic response. There are other forms of extremity. If our only desire is to draw people's attention away from the television set back to reality, to expose the civilised world as a sham, then nihilism is a good way of going about things. In the dark form favoured by many industrial artists, it represents an expression of discontent that cannot be easily repackaged and resold by the establishment, as punk was, for example. However, it's debatable whether it achieves anything else. Negative criticism is never enough on its own. Many of the groups frequently lumped in under the "industrial" banner appear to have recognised this to some extent. Test Dept, whose original performances and records were brutal expressions of anger, have softened their work as they have progressed, attempting to put out a more mature statement of their position. On their album, Terra Firma, they adopted a "green" awareness, but in general they have remained most comfortable as critics of oppression rather than attempting to offer solutions to it. To a great extent, this is a fear of becoming didactic, of telling the audience how they are expected to respond instead of leaving them to make up their own minds. Equally, it's because the group have no real political programme to offer, only a rather simplistic form of socialist consciousness.
Similarly, Nocturnal Emissions have moved away from the tactics of information overload, and from their aggressively presented reaction to their world, adopting in the last few years a more atmospheric musical style. Having decided that their is no future in just shouting against injustice, NE have tried to explore a more personal field, using instinct and the unconscious as their route to a more positive philosophy and a less reactive source of strength.
So clearly, there are problems with trying to create a more positive response to post-industrial society, with everyone who has rejected the extreme approach shying clear of preaching their personal solution. Maybe they just don't have the courage of their own convictions, and so are afraid to lay them on the table, open to criticism. Or maybe they appreciate that there is little point moving into a situation where both performer and audience explicitly share the same opinions, becoming trapped within their mutually reinforcing ideology.
But can replicating fascist ideology ever lead to its destruction? Are the supposed liberals only doing the Nazis' dirty work by creating a climate where the expression of fascist desires is deemed somehow made acceptable? Doesn't violence only breed violence?
Many, including the Grey Wolves argue that violence is the only solution we have left to face up against the Godzilla state. Anyone who believes that a rebellion in this country wouldn't be met by the armed response familiar from Tianamen Square, Jerusalem, Kurdestan and elsewhere is living in a fantasy. Riots in Philadelphia, USA, led to the military being called in to "restore order", with tanks on the streets to keep the populace submissive. The only difference between that and China is a linguistic one: we call it "rioting" if it happens here, and "rebellion" if it happens anywhere else; "terrorism" if it happens here, and "guerilla warfare" elsewhere. Investigations into the P2 masonic conspiracy in Italy uncovered links with the Italian extreme right-wing Gladio organisation, in turn linked to paramilitary forces in Britain which train regularly to ensure readiness for any "communist" takeover. The world we live in is a far more violent and oppressive place than the dailies would have us believe, and the argument that such a state can only be fought by using its own tactics is a powerful one.
Violence is inevitably authoritarian and repressive: it is the forceable destruction of another person's freedom, even if only their freedom not to suffer pain. The question is not whether use of violent imagery is "good". It is not. It is a question of whether or not the ends desired justify the use of such means. And still there is the unspoken assumption that there is no alternative: we can only destroy the state by taking on its mantle. Is this the only choice we are left with or are there other alternatives? Comment on any of the above is very welcome. I think it's only fair to finish with a response from Crystal Knight to a letter I sent:
"In your letter you seemed to suggest that the Grey Wolves hold a basically nihilistic outlook on life - this is not the case at all. Whilst basically our approach is anarchic we deal in the ambiguity that you spoke of for several reasons: if anything we do makes just one person think "What the fuck is the point in them doing that?" it has all been worthwhile, because it has made people question. If people are questioning then they are alive and thinking. Confusion is the key issue. It was recently pointed out to me in an indirect way that the majority of our work deals with the subject of control.
"If I could use the example of control and how we use ambiguity in a positive way, it may make things a little clearer. There is a poster we did showing some bloke being arrested by plain clothes cops - his arms behind his back, face shoved to the ground, cops with pistols drawn - the caption over this picture reads "Say No to Democracy". Anyway, the point is that some people thought we were advocating a totalitarian state whilst other people thought we were being ironic in as much as we were trying to say "Look, this is what democracy is really about!" Either perspective we are quite happy to live with, as the objective of the poster was to make people think about democracy, even if it was only for a few seconds ...
"I would disagree with you though when you say that violence perpetuates the structures of oppression. I believe the exact opposite to be true (i.e. violence is a legitimate weapon of change). I would quote the Strangeways uprising here in Salford last April, and the recent prison reforms as an example of where violence has resulted in change for the better (also the poll tax riot, and on a larger scale the Gulf War)."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Very Selective Bibliography:
Fräctüred #2: "Panorama", excellent article on Laibach by Norman Jope.
Vital #14: Interview with Con-Dom.
Tape Delay: very wonderful book published by SAF and edited by Charles Neal. Interviews with bands like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Test Dept, Laibach, Non.
Re/Search: Various books including the Industrial Culture Handbook, with material on Monte Cazazza, SPK, Throbbing Gristle and others; Burroughs / Gysin / Gristle, featuring an interesting bio of T.G. by Simon Dwyer; and Pranks, which amongst other things documents a number of very extreme performance artists. Performance Art: by RoseLee Goldberg, published by Thames and Hudson. Some material on Fluxus, Dada and Viennese 'actionism'. Lipstick Traces: by Greil Marcus, published by Secker and Warburg. Shock tactics as used by the Lettrist International and by punk.
Thee Grey Wolves can be contacted at: Artaman Tapes, 62 Saxby Street, Salford, Manchester M6 7RG, England. The Cultural Terrorist Manifesto
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- (C) Brian Duguid 1995





Industrial Subculture

This was posted on rec.music.industrial by Peter Werner (formerly Beast of Eden) (boe666@u.washington.edu), an article I found quite informative. It deals with the "industrial subculture". There was a short discussion on the subject following the article, but I have not included that, simply because I thought it would be too much baggage to carry around.
I'm belatedly posting this general response to the Industrial/Gothic thread on alt.gothic and cross-posting it to rmi. I'm also posting this as a response to the "Real Industrial" thread on rmi. This response has ended up the size of a short essay.
There seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes a subculture. In the broadest sense, a subculture is any group within a larger complex culture who have interests that vary from those of the mainstream culture. But in a more specific sense, and the way I see it being used here, a subculture is a group with a distinct style and identity. The important question is one of identity; one identifies as a hippie, punk, skinhead, goth, etc., but until quite recently no one identified as "industrial". There have been fans of industrial music for a long time now and I suppose this could be said to be a subculture in the loosest sense, however, industrial as a subculture in the strict sense (where one might even dress the part) is a phenomena of the last 5 years or so. (1)

1 [I get a lot of flack on this point, but I'll defy anybody who's been into industrial for more than a few years to give me a first hand observation of a true industrial subculture existing before the late '80s. I doubt it dates back before the early '90s.]

I've been using the term "rivethead" to describe this subculture; I heard this term used in California when I was living there (in Salinas, which makes me doublely surprised that Heretic 18 is unfamiliar with the term) and the appearance of a compilation called "Rivethead Culture" led me to believe the term was more widespread. Perhaps "cyberpunk" might be a synonym, though its the name of a literary genre as well.
My take on the similarities between the "rivethead", "cyberpunk", "industrial" or whatever you call it subculture and goth is that much of this "industrial" style is borrowed from goth. The increasing popularity of EBM with a younger audience brought about a need for a distinct subculture to identify with. The subculture that grew out of this drew very heavily on previous subcultures - goth (the "dark" look), skinhead (Doc Martins, etc.), punk (political outlook, in so far as there is one) - with a some ideas taken from cyberpunk literature thrown in for good measure.
Somebody mentioned that the similarities between goth, industrial and punk subcultures arise from their coming up around the same time. This is half accurate; these kinds of music arose at about the same time, but as subcultures, punk dates back the furthest. This can be a bit confusing, because the punk explosion of the late '70s involved more than bands that could be labeled "punk" in the strict sense of the word. Bands like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Warsaw and Bauhaus were loosely considered part of the punk scene, even though their music may or may not have been close to punk. What further complicates this picture is that many of these "punk" artists (members of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, for example) didn't identify themselves as punks. (2)

2 [On the other hand, there were a few early "synth-punk" bands, like The Screamers and Nervous Gender, who did identify/dress as punks and who's music was essentially punk done on synthesizers. The closest contemporary equivalent would be Babyland. I've been told that SPK's earliest work was synth-punk. Synth-punk was a sort of forerunner of today's "aggro"-industrial bands, though I doubt that there was any direct influence, except perhaps in the case of Babyland, who, like The Screamers and Nervous Gender, come from LA.]

By the late '70s other subcultures began to emerge from punk. The earliest distinction to be made was between punk and "new wave" (a vague term that later mutated into "alternative"). The skinhead subculture, which had been dying out, underwent a revival in the late '70s with an influx of ex-punks. Goth grew out of punk at about this time as well, when bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Bauhaus moved off in their own direction taking their fans with them. By the early '80s, they developed their own style and identity distinct from punk. Another outgrowth of punk was the New Romantic subculture, which died out pretty quickly, but seems to have had some influence on goth.
OK, but what about Industrial? The term "Industrial" goes back to about 1976 and came from Industrial Records, the label Throbbing Gristle started, which was in turn taken from a slogan thought up by Monte Cazazza (a San Francisco Industrial artist), "Industrial Music for Industrial People". The term became applied to TG and other bands on the Industrial label and, by extension, other artists with a similar aesthetic. This aesthetic went beyond just music; artists working in other mediums, like Survival Research Laboratories, were considered part of "Industrial Culture". (TG's basis in shock performance art should also be noted; TG grew out of COUM Transmissions, a performance art group working in similar areas as Hermann Nitsch.)
The term "Industrial Culture" (coined, I believe, by Jon Savage) is a cause of some confusion; its misinterpreted as meaning a subculture in the strict sense; what it really refers to is an art movement. (3) In terms of subculture, industrial bands were at first considered part of punk in the broadest sense. When punk started to differentiate into different subcultures, Industrial didn't take on its own subcultural identity. (4) However, Industrial did continue to thrive as an art movement, especially the music.

3 [Hippies, Mods, Teds, Punks, Skins, Goths, Ravers, etc. are examples of subcultures; Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Situationism, etc. would be examples art movements. Art movements are, of course, subcultures in the broadest sense.]

4 [There could have been any number of reasons for this, but probably the main one is that Industrial had a somewhat older audience who didn't feel as strong of need to identify with a particular subculture as younger people do.]

The closest historical analogy that I can think of here is the difference between Beat and Beatniks. Beat was an art movement (literary rather than visual) which had its heyday in the late '40s and early '50s. Somewhere in the late '50s, some younger people latched on to it and started a Beatnik subculture with a distinct look. This lasted into the mid-60s, when it mutated into hippie. (There was a musical shift here too, the Beat music of choice was modern Jazz, but somewhere in the early '60s Beatniks got into Folk.)

I wrote that I think that everything after 1981 is really post- Industrial, which led to the following comment by Lord Purge (scottyt@beat.ugcs.caltech.edu):

: Ack! this "industrial" (based off *the* Industrial label) thing kills : me. If I had started a label named "sterile records" and it had a : certain sound that people could recognize, would others in later years : not be able to use this term "sterile"?
There are good reasons for making the distinction between Industrial and post-Industrial. As I've said, "Industrial" has largely become a meaningless catch-all used to describe a number of very different kinds of music that have some sort of descent from the Industrial bands of 1976-1981. While Industrial in the original sense could be said to have enough in common to be able to use with some meaning, this can't be said of "Industrial" music today. This is why I prefer a term that's intentionally vague, "post-Industrial" doesn't refer to anything except a common basis in Industrial.
The folding of Industrial Records in 1981 (or was it '82?) is a convenient point to divide the Industrial and post-Industrial periods. For one, this was the entity that lent its name to Industrial music, even though not all of the original Industrial bands were on Industrial Records. It was also at about this point that Industrial music began to diversify a great deal, building on ideas that had been explored by Throbbing Gristle and others. PTV and, soon, Coil pioneered what became know as Ambient Industrial, while Chris & Cosey (building on TG's pop side) and Cabaret Voltaire started Industrial dance music (what was later termed EBM). (5) In 1983, CV released "Just Fascination" and Skinny Puppy formed the same year. So I consider 1982-83 to be a period of definitive changes and a good time to date post-Industrial music from.

5 [Placing noise music in this scheme is a bit problematic; noise is still a vital scene, but comes closer to Industrial music than other post-Industrial music does. This is why noise is considered "real Industrial" by many.]

What I dislike about the term "Industrial" applied to contemporary bands (and I'll admit that I use the term too when I'm not being so specific) is that is doesn't acknowledge this change has taken place. Its not that I'm pining for some sort of Industrial Golden Age (though there's a lot to be said for early Industrial); music changes over time, diversifies and hybridizes, it mutates into new kinds of music. This is what happened to Industrial music and is a sign of its vitality. However, this change needs to be acknowledged, as does the range of very different kinds of music that descended from it. Saying its all "Industrial" doesn't do that.
Anyway, I'm running at the keyboard here, but I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and invented histories that needed to be pointed out.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunil Mishra (smishra@cc.gatech.edu) Last modified: Sat Jul 20 16:10:41 1996





Hello, folks. This is the semi-famous alt.suicide.holiday Methods File. It contains information on many different ways to take your own life. Some of them are serious, some of them are not. Hopefully, you can see which is which by yourself, but I'll try to mark them anyway.

This file will be posted on the third and seventeenth of every month. It may take a while before it gets out to your site.

The early versions of this file were created and maintained by Michael Marsden, who unfortunately no longer has access to the Net. After he left, the File sort of hung in a Limbo for a long time, in custody of a variety of people I can't remember (if you at some time or other were a maintainer of the File, I'd like to hear from you). I think, but am far from sure, that Angela Watson (a.k.a. Psycho Kitten) was the last "official" maintainer, but I got the impression that she no longer is.

Anyway, I have dictatorially taken over the custodianship of the File. If you want to complain, my email address is calle@lysator.liu.se. Replying to this posting should work.

Comments on the content of the file are welcome, generally speaking. If your comments are of the kind "You shouldn't help people kill themselves, you should help them towards a better life instead", you're wasting your time. I've grown very tired of that debate, and will most probably no longer reply to mail with that general content. The most basic difference in opinion between me and those who have mailed me telling me I'm a monster, seems to be that they think that death is an inherently Bad Thing, while I don't.

What follows is a not-so-slightly edited version of the last File posted by Mike Marsden. The text's "I" is Mike, my comments will be marked.

==PART1== preamble

==NOTES
This list is compiled from a large number of sources, the main one being this newsgroup (ASH). I have not named anyone in any of the entries to ensure their privacy.

Calle: I, on the other hand, will name sources if (and only if) the sources give me permission.

There may be inaccuracies in many of the entries... double check if you can. Go to the library and read up on your favorite method - check dosages in the manufacturer's data sheets. If you do notice any inaccuracies, please write to the net ASAP.

==LEGAL This file is provided for the purposes of amusement, and the actual use of any of these methods is not recommended without first considering other possibilities, such as dying of old age. Please do not pass it onto people whom you know to be actively suicidal.. you may find yourself in jail for considerable periods. I have a small amount of info on British law regarding assisting suicides; feel free to ask me for a copy. Basically, distribution to a number of unknown people is fine, but giving it to someone whom you know is actively considering suicide can get you into jail for up to 14 years.

I should also point out that this file is distributed world-wide, and there will be significant differences in the legal aspects in other countries.

Calle: For example, in Sweden the distribution of this file is completely legal, according to a lawyer I know. As long as you don't physically help someone to commit suicide, you're safe. According to the lawyer mentioned above, Dr. Kevorkian's suicide machine would probably be legal in Sweden.

==BIBLIOGRAPHY/SOURCES
[1]"Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying" Derek Humphry (publisher: Hemlock)
[2]alt.suicide.holiday newsgroup on "usenet"
[3]alt.med newsgroup on "usenet"
[4]"Poisonous Plants and Fungi: an Illustrated Guide" (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods) M R Cooper, A W Johnson
[5]"Encyclopedia of Human Biology"
"Let Me Die Before I Wake" Derek Humphry
"Suicide, Mode d'Emploi" Claude Guillon, Yves Le Bonniec
"Zorg jij dak ik niet meer wakker word?" Klazien Sybrandy, Rob Bakker
"How To Die With Dignity" George B Mair, EXIT (Scottish)
"A Guide To Self-Deliverance" EXIT (Britain)
"Autodeliverance" Michel L Landa
"Justifiable Euthanasia" Pieter V Admiraal
"First You Cry" Betty Rollin
"Last Wish" Betty Rollin
"Death of a Man" Lael Wertenberger
"Jean's Way" Derek Humphry
"The Savage God: A Study of Suicide" A Alvarez
"Double Exit" Ann Wickett
"Voluntary Euthanasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography" G Johnson (Hemlock)
"The Woman Said Yes" Jessamyn West
"The Bell Jar" Sylvia Plath
"Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products" Williams & Wilkins Company
"Suicide: The Gamble with Death" Gene & David Lester
"Crisis Intervention in the Community" Richard K McGee
"Wanting to Die" Anne Sexton
"Bitter Fame" (bio about) Sylvia Plath (author is) Anne Stevenson
"Letters Home" (bio about) Sylvia Plath (author is) Aurelia S Plath
"Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones & his People" Dutton
"Essays in Self-Destruction" (ed) Edwin S Shneidman
"Suicide: A Study in Sociology" Emile Durkheim
"Suicide and Attempted Suicide" Erwin Stengel
"Endangered Hope: Experiences in Psychiatric Aftercare Facilities" David K Reynolds, Norman L Farberow
"Death Wishes? The Understanding & Managment of Deliberate Self Harm" H G Morgan
"The Final Months: a Study of the Lives of 134 Persons who Committed Suicide" Eli Robins
"Suicide: Inside and Out" David K Reynolds, Normal L Farberow
"Attempted Suicide: A Practical Guide to its Nature and Management" Keith Hawton, Jose Catalan
"The Negative Scream: A Story of Young People Who Took an Overdose" Sally O'Brien
"Caring for the Suicidal" John Eldrid
"The Samaritans: to help those tempted to suicide or despair" Chad Varah
"Mishima: A Biography" John Nathan
"Self-Mutilation: Theory, Research, and Treatment" Barent W Walsh, Paul M Rosen
"Defeating Depression: a Guide for Depressed People and Their Familes" C A H Watts
"Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison" Dorothy Rowe
"The Oxford Book of Death" D J Enright
This booklist is an extended list from [1]. I strongly recommend [1], try getting it mail order from the address below.
Calle: Not used in the creation of this file, but recommended on the newsgroup was:
"The Enigma Of Suicide" by George Howe Colt

==GROUPS The National Hemlock Society [American, pro-euthanasia, many books, PO Box 11830 D Humphry is founder] Eugene, OR 97440-3900 USA (503) 342-5748
Samaritans [British, suicide hotlines and prevention, Chad Varah is founder. non-interventionist approach]
Befrienders International [International, suicide prevention, umbrella organisation]
The Voluntary Euthanasia Society [British, pro-euthanasia] (Formerly British EXIT)
Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignite [French, pro-euthanasia]
Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Humanes Sterben [German, pro-euthanasia]
Club of Life [American, anti-euthanasia]

==INDEX to get index, type 'grep == methods >methods_index' in unix.

==PART2== Methods: poisons

==1. POISON [1] makes most of these points: *Most drugs cause vomiting. To help stop this, take one or two anti- histamine tablets (travel sickness, allergy, hayfever tablets etc) about an hour before, on a fairly empty stomach. *If the drugs are in tablet form, take the first 20% as they are, and the rest crushed and dissolved / mixed in with strong alcohol / food. This helps the drugs to hit at the same time. *Alcohol helps dissolve the drugs. Don't drink any beforehand, but wash the tablets down with vodka or similar, and then drink afterwards while you're still conscious. *Use a large airtight plastic bag over your head, + something around your neck to hold it on. This transforms a 90% certainty method into a 99%... *Friday night is a good time if you life alone - nobody will miss you until Monday if you work. Bolt all the doors you can. Say you'll be out over the weekend visiting someone, so people don't expect a reply to telephone. *Some painkillers etc have less effect if you use them normally (tolerance). *In general, you need to stay away from medical help until you actually die, but there are exceptions to this (that have been pointed out in the text).

Common drugs:

==Cyanide (HCN, KCN) Dosage: 50 mg Hydrogen Cyanide gas, 200-300 mg Cyanide salts Time: seconds for HC, minutes Cs (empty stomach) hours (full s) Available: very difficult to get hold of Certainty: very certain Notes: It helps to have an empty stomach (since the salts react with the stomach acids to form H.C.). A full stomach can delay death for up to four hours with the salts. Antidotes to cyanide poisoning exist, but they have serious side effects. What you can do, is instead of taking the salts directly, drop 500mg or so into a strong acid, and inhale the fumes. This will be pure Hydrogen Cyanide, and you should die in 10 to 20 seconds. [3]: "Hydrocyanic acid is one of the most poisonous substances known; the inhalation of its fumes in high concentration will cause almost immediate death. Hydrogen cyanide acts by preventing the normal process of tissue oxidation and paralyzing the respiratory center in the brain. Most of the accidental cases are due to inhaling the fumes during a fumigating process. In the pure state it kills with great rapidity. Crystalline cyanides, such as potassium or sodium cyanide are equally poisonous, since they interact with the hydrochloric acid in the stomach to liberate hydrocyanic acid. This poison has been used for both homicide and suicide; in recent history, a number of European political figures carried vials of cyanide salt for emergency self-destruction and some used them. Death resulted from amounts of only a fraction of a gram. A concentration of 1 part in 500 of hydrogen cyanide gas is fatal. Allowable working concentration in most of the United States is 20 ppm. Two and one-half grains of liquid acid has killed. The acid acts fatally in about 15 minutes. The cyanide salts kill in several hours. The average dose of solution is 0.1 cc. [1, DGHS talking about KCN]: on an empty stomach, take a small glass of cold tap water. (Not mineral water nor any sort of juice or soda water because of it's acidity). Stir 1 -> 1.5 grammes of KCN into the water. More than that causes irritation to the throat. Wait 5 minutes to dissolve. It should be drunk within several hours. Consciousness will be lost in about a minute. Death will follow 15 -> 45 minutes later.

==Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) Dosage: 20-30+ grammes (too many cause vomitting) Time: hours to days, variable Available: easy to get hold of (get soluble ones, & dissolve them) Certainty: unreliable Notes: Not recommended, fatal dose varies wildly, could cause liver & kidney damage instead of death. OD causes strange noises in your ears (like a video arcade) & projectile vomiting after about 10 hours. Medical help generally effective, so stay out of hospital for a couple of days. May cause bleeding in your stomach/upper intestines. Take with sodium bicarbinate (eg, bicarb. of soda), which speeds up the absorption (sp?) significantly. Take 1 or 2 antihistamine tablets.

==Paracetamol (aka acetaminopren / tylenol) Dosage: 15+ grammes, 20+ is better Time: 10 hours fatal damage, but 2 weeks to actually die Available: easy to get hold of Certainty: fairly reliable Notes: Once 10-12 hours is up, you've had it, but you still live for a week or two after that. Probably better to wait 15 hours just to make sure. Horrible side effects during this time (some of which are: acute toxic hepatitis, renal failure, cerebral oedema, intra-abdominal bleeding, aspiration pneumonia, haemophilia). Too small dose causes severe liver damage. Accidental deaths are very common. There are few if any side effects before the damage becomes fatal; occasionally vomitting and nausea.

==Sleeping tablets (see specific notes for each kind) * See later entries for amobarbital, butabarbital, diazepam, flurazepam, glutethimide, chloral hydrate, hydromorphone, meprobamate, methyprylon, meperidine (pethidine), methadone, morphine, orphenadrine, phenobarbital [also check trade names in same entries].

==Alcohol (spirits preferably, your choice) Dosage: 1/2 litre vodka?, similar. Varies from person to person. Time: about 8 hours Available: good Certainty: unreliable Notes: will cause liver and kidney damage if 'rescued' before death. Drink it all at the same time, quickly as possible. Dosage is questionable, I don't have any figures. Taking the spirits as an enema is supposed to be a very quick way of absorbing alcohol, but a less unpleasant way is to inject it. The dosage it takes to kill you depends on whether you drink normally, the state of your liver, whether you pass out on your back or not. [3]: "The fatal dose of pure alcohol in an average adult is 300-400 mL (750-1000 mL of 40% alcohol) if consumed in less than one hour. Apart from the effects of overdosage, death after alcohol consumption can occur as a result of choking on vomit while unconscious. ..... Consequences such as liver damage occur after chronic consumption." Alcohol helps other drugs to dissolve. Don't drink it in advance, wash down tablets with it, & follow by drinking another few glasses of spirits.

==Water Dosage: 14 litres mentioned Time: 12 hours or so? Available: always available Certainty: unknown Notes: works by washing out the salts in your body, until the cells fail (osmotic balance buggered up). You need to keep drinking continually until you collapse. Unusual method. Someone suggested it would also cause cramps. The following is something from [2]: "About a year ago a local newspaper carried a story about a woman who had drunk herself to death. Apparently she had ingested something mildly poisonous, and when she called her doctor asking him what to do, he told her to drink lots of water and see him in the morning. She got to it and managed to drink no less than 14 litres of water before the osmotic balance in her body was so upset it could no longer function and she died (don't know how quickly)".
Calle: The above anecdote originally came from me, and the death described occured in Växjö, Sweden. Unfortunately I no longer remember which newspaper I saw it in.
Recently, I was told about a similar case in San Antonio. It supposedly happened a couple of years ago and was reported in the local San Antonio Express/News.

==Bleach and other corrosives (lye, drain cleaning fluids) Dosage: A bottle (litre or half litre) Time: Hours/days Available: Easily available Certainty: Uncertain Notes: Bloody painful - depends on your stomach getting corroded, the stomach acids escaping, and doing their dirty work in your vital organs. [1] says: "I have heard of people throwing themselves through plate glass windows in their death agonies after drinking lye."

==Insulin (injected) Dosage: No idea Time: death in hours to days Available: Difficult to get hold of unless you're a diabetic or a vet Certainty: reasonable Notes: Supposed to be quite pleasant (eg insulin shock treatments used for some psychiatric condition).

==Petrol (in lungs/injected) Dosage: "A Thimble-full" -20 ml? Time: Seconds/minutes Available: Common Certainty: I'm not sure of the dosage, but fairly certain if correct Notes: Can also use LPG (propane/butane) on skin surface (since these are light enough to go through the skin). Stick your hand in a bucket of propane and see how many seconds you last...

==Oil of Wintergreen/Methyl Salicylate (in lungs/injected) Dosage: Probably similar to petrol (20 ml) Time: Don't know Available: Not available in concentration Certainty: Don't know Notes: Don't have enough information on this one to be able to say anything about it. If it is just taken normally, it is the same as aspirin.

==Malathion (insecticide) (entry revised by Calle) Dosage: A few bottles, at least Time: 2 to 3 hours Available: From a large garden centre or DIY shop Certainty: not so good Notes: A correspondent mentions that the LD50 of this stuff is 1 g/kg in rats, and adds that there is not nearly that much in a bottle. He also mentions that it is treatable. Instead of this, he recommends parathion, if you really want to use an insecticide.

==Phosphine gas from aluminium phosphide pesticide (ALP) Dosage: Single 3 gramme tablet (".. is enough to kill 10 people") Time: About 2 hours Available: Difficult. Used in India, sold on black market. Certainty: Without medical help, and using fresh pill, very good Notes: This is a common way of committing suicide in Indian villages. There is no specific antidote to this. The pills are 3 grammes of ALP, which produces lethal phosphine gas when it comes in contact with hydrochloric acid or water in the stomach. After severe vomiting, the victim loses consciousness, the blood vessels rupture, and body cavities fill with blood. While the pill is exceedingly lethal, some escape death because the rate of the gas' release declines with the pill's age and use, and exposure to moisture. Trouble with this one is the availability, and it also looks like a rather unpleasant.

==Rat poison (Warfarin) Dosage: not known Time: Hours to terminal damage, days to actual death Available: Available Certainty: Certain given suffient dosage. Most probably treatable. Notes: This is one of the truly unpleasant poisons, along with Paracetamol/Acetylminopren. I think it causes cerebral haemorage (rat poison works by giving the unfortunate rat haemophillia). Doctors can't do anything about it, they just leave you to die in agony on an intensive care ward.
Calle: Since human haemophiliacs usually live quite ordinary lives, the above sounds rather improbable.

==Caffeine Dosage: 20 grammes (someone said 8 -> 10 grammes) Time: not known Available: Caffeine tablets available in Chemist shops Certainty: don't know Notes: I don't know very much about this. There isn't all that much caffeine in coffee, maybe 200 mg.

==Potassium Chloride (injected in solution) / KCl Dosage: not known (try 20cc injection of strong solution) Time: Seconds to minutes Available: Widely available Certainty: Certain given correct dosage Notes: Causes heart attack (which is painful). May be difficult for coroner to realise it was suicide rather than a natural heart attack. An excess of K+ in the blood interferes with nerve signals, and stops muscles and nerves from working. So when it reaches your heart, the heart stops.

==Nitrogen gas (or other inert gas) Dosage: Several litres uncompressed is minimum Time: Minutes Available: Try plumber, or welding supplies company Certainty: Certain Notes: This is really a form of asphyxiation, (see later), but is particularly good since you don't experience the lack of oxygen (what people really experience is the EXCESS of carbon dioxide).

==Nitrous oxide (N20? NO2?) Dosage: Unknown Time: Minutes Available: Dentists supply would be good Certainty: reasonable Notes: Asphyxiate yourself with laughing gas. Nice.

==Carbon Monoxide (CO) Dosage: 5% concentration or so? Time: Minutes to hours depending on concentration Available: You get it out of a car exhaust, you used to be able to use "town gas" (eg, stick your head in the cooker) but this is no longer available Certainty: Fairly certain, as long as you aren't "rescued" Notes: Causes brain damage.
Calle: A correspondent from Denmark, where you still can use "town gas" to kill yourself, says that even though it's possible it's not a good idea. He tells of an incident where a family committed suicide by turning on the gas and waiting. Apparently, the heavier-than-air carbon monoxide leaked through the floor and reached the people in the apartment below. Not nice. The actual cause of death is asphyxiation, since the carbon monoxide binds tighter to haemoglobine than oxygen does (the oxygen gets crowded out, so to speak).

==Chlorine gas Dosage: not known Time: not known Available: tricky Certainty: Good Notes: This was used in the first world war in the trenches. Probably very unpleasant, does something to the lungs.

==Hydrazine Dosage: As produced by reaction Time: Not known, fortnight? Available: Bottle of bleach & bottle of ammonia Certainty: not known Notes: [2]: "This is no joke, D----. Several years ago at my high school, one of the janitors innocently mixed together half a bottle of bleach with half a bottle of of ammonia in a small closet where the cleaning fluids were kept. He passed out due to the hydrazine (not chlorine) gas released in the reaction between the two chemicals. This man was in agony for two weeks in an intensive care unit in a local hospital with the majority of the inside surface of his lungs damaged and untreatable before he got lucky and died."

==Chloroform Dosage: not known, just put a splash onto a rag Time: several minutes probably Available: not known Certainty: good Notes: If you tape the rag over your mouth so that you get knocked out, you should die as you continue getting the stuff into your lungs.

==Digitalis (Foxglove, Digitalis Purpurea) Dosage: not known Time: not known Available: extract from foxgloves Certainty: bad due to vomiting Notes: [4]: Gives you a heart-attack. Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache, and slow irregular pulse. Also sometimes trembling, convulsions, delirium, and hallucinations. Its difficult to take a fatal amount because vomiting usually gets rid of it.

==Yew (Taxus Baccata, the "English Yew") Dosage: not known Time: Can be very rapid (minutes), occasionally 3 or 4 days. Available: Grows wild in the UK, don't know about elsewhere. Certainty: not sure, but it sounds good if you eat enough Notes: [4]: All parts of the plant, _except_ for the fleshy red bit of the fruit, contain poisons. The seeds are poisonous, so if you eat the berries, chew them. Symptoms: nausea, abdominal pain, coma, death. The mode of death is a heart attack which occurs rapidly after eating sufficient. If no heart attack occurs, you'll probably survive. Sometimes the sudden collapse leading to death is preceded by lethargy, trembling, staggering, coldness, dilation of the pupils, rapid pulse that becomes weak, and convulsions. Other species in this genus are said to be equally poisonous. See "plants in general".

==Mezerein, Daphnetoxin (Mezereon, AKA Daphne Mezereum, AKA D. Laureola) Dosage: "a few". Probably 10 or more. Time: not known Available: Garden plant. Seeds are particularly poisonous. Certainty: not known, dosage is questionable. Notes: [4]: The berries taste horrid, but you only need to eat a few to cause death. Symptoms: burning sensation in mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea, weakness, disorientation, convulsions, followed by death. The seeds can be dried and stored without affecting the poisons. Don't confuse this with laurels in the Prunus genus, Rosacea family. See "plants in general".

==Atropine (Atropa Belladonna AKA Deadly Nightshade. Also potato fruits) Dosage: 5 berries in young children.. maybe 30 in adults? Time: 6 to 24 hours Available: from fruits of some plants in the potato family. Certainty: unknown, particularly dosage is questionable Notes: [4]: AB also contains hyoscyamine and hyoscine (scopolamine). Symptoms: dry mouth, flushed face, dilation of pupils, rapid pulse. Possibly also breathing difficulties, constipation, convulsions, hallucinations, and coma. AB is often confused with other Nightshade species, which aren't as poisonous. The berries are black in AB, and red in Woody Nightshade. In addition, the flowers are larger (1.2 in) in the true Deadly Nightshade. Present in unripe deadly nightshake fruits, fruits of potato, and fruits of other members of this family (not tomato though!), but stick with AB. See the "plants in general" entry.
Calle: A correspondent mentions that Jimsonweed will also do, and that a specific antidote exists.

==Oleander (Nerium Oleander. Poison similar to digitalis) Dosage: not known, but fairly small amounts. Time: unknown. Available: leaves, wood of the plant. From garden centres. Certainty: unknown. Notes: [4]: Deaths have been caused by using wood from this plant in fires, and making tea from the leaves. In a few hours there is abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, rapid pulse, and visual effects. Later, a slow, weak, irregular pulse and fall in blood pressure, followed by failure of heart. See the "plants in general" entry.

==Death-Cap / Destroying-Angel toadstool (Amanita Phalloides) Dosage: Fraction of one can kill, but eat 1 or 2 just in case. Time: Week or so Available: Have to know what it looks like.. similar edible ones Certainty: Definite without med. treatment; unknown with. Notes: [5, Volume 7, pp591-592]: "Poisoning by toxic Amanita species is characterised by a delay in onset of 4 to 12 hours. At this point, nausea vomiting, colic-like pain, and diarrhea occur. There then follows a period of respite, which can last for two to four days. This phase does NOT signify recovery: damage to the liver and kidneys continues to develop and the respite gives way to hepatic and renal failure. Death usually occurs a week or so after poisoning.". See "plants in general".

==Ricin (Castor oil plant, Ricinus Communis) Dosage: death has occured from eating 1 bean, but take more than 10 Time: within 3 to 5 days Available: From eating the castor beans Certainty: depends on ricin content of the beans. Pure ricin is deadly Notes: [2] and [4]: Symptoms begin within a few hours with abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea for several days. Decreased production of urine and a fall in blood pressure. Note that people have survived eating more than 10 beans, *with treatment*. Presumably the fatal dose without medical intervention is less. Surviving more than 3 to 5 days usually means recovery. Ricin is described as "..one of the most potent toxins known". In 1978 a Bulgarian journalist (Georgi Markov) was assassinated in London by being prodded with an umbrella. The umbrella had a tiny ball coated with ricin on its tip, which lodged into the dissident. He died a few days later in hospital. See "plants in general".

==Colchicine (Acetyltrimethylcolchicinic acid, Autumn Crocus, Royal Lily) Dosage: 7 mg to 60 mg (why so wide variation?) Time: symptoms in about 4 hours, death in about 4 days Available: Easily available (from large garden centre) Certainty: certain Notes: [New Scientist article:] From the Autumn crocus (Colchicum Autumnale) / royal lily (Gloriosa Superba). One flower of CA is about 12 mg, so take at least five of them. 20g tuber of GS provides 60mg, single seed of CA provides 3.5mg (so take 18). Damages blood vessels and nerves, and stops cell division. Don't know whether its painful or not, but that bit about damaging nerves is worrying. I just _love_ the name of the acid! See See the "plants in general" entry.

==Aconitine (AKA Wolfsbane, Monkshood, aconitum napellus, a. anglicum) Dosage: "a few grams" Time: 10 mins to few hours Available: Garden plant, so get from garden centre Certainty: unknown (can be treated in hospital) Notes: [2] and [4]: The poison is concentrated in the unripe seed pods and roots. During winter, the roots are particularly poisonous. Symptoms develop in less than an hour. Burning sensation, feelings of coldness, sweating. Later, numbness, vomiting and diarrhoea with abdominal pain. Finally, slow pulse, convulsions and coma. Death may occur within 2 hours. The poison kills by causing a cardiac failure, and it is painful. See the "plants in general" comment.

==Cicutoxin (Cowbane, Cicuta Virosa) Dosage: ".. a few bites .. can cause serious poisoning or death". Time: a few hours or more. Available: rare in most parts of UK, don't know about elsewhere. Certainty: good, but resembles wild carrot & wild parsnip. Notes: [4]: The poison is strongest in the yellow juice of the underground parts. Symptoms after half an hour: burning of mouth, excessive saliva, flushing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dilation of pupils, and later a bluish tinge to the skin. Muscular contractions and convulsions, with difficulties in breathing are followed by unconsciousness and death, often within a few hours of eating the plant. See "plants in general".

==Coniine, Gamma-Coniceine, others (Hemlock, Conium Maculatum) Dosage: unknown Time: unknown Available: Grows throughout UK, except north. Don't know about elsewhere. Certainty: unknown Notes: [4]: NOTE: There are many plants called "hemlock", some of which aren't poisonous at all. It can also be mistaken for wild parsley and carrot, and is in the same family as Cowbane. Symptoms appear in 15 mins to 2 hours. Initially burning and dryness of the mouth, muscular weakness leading to paralysis that affects the breathing. Sometimes also dilation of pupils, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. If this is survived, birth defects may be caused in pregnant women. This is said to be the plant that Socrates took in 399 BC.

==Oenanthetoxin (Hemlock Water Dropwort, Oenanthe Eroeata) Dosage: "..dangerously poisonous, even in small quantities". Time: Two to twelve hours. Available: Grows in chalky wet areas, particularly S and W Britain. Certainty: Fairly good, if you get the right species. Notes: [4]: The tubers contain more poison than the rest of the plant, particularly in winter and early spring, and may be cooked or dried. Symptoms within an hour or two, nausea, salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, weakness of legs, dilation of pupils. Later loss of consciousness with convulsions before death. See "plants in general" entry. Same family as Hemlock.

==plants in general (hemlock, foxglove, oleander) Dosage: N/A Time: N/A Available: garden centre Certainty: questionable Notes: [1] says: "Everything I have ever read about death from plant poisoning indicates that it is risky and painful. Symptoms range from nausea and vomiting to cramping and bloody diarrhea. .... .. Altogether, I consider poisonous plants as a means of exit far too unreliable and painful. No matter how desperate you are, don't even think about it!"

==Nicotine (Rewritten by Calle) Dosage: extract from 100g tabacco? 40-60 mg pure. Time: Several hours, coma may set in much earlier. Much quicker if taken in large doses. Available: Easily available Certainty: Fairly certain, given a large enough dose. Notes: This is what Mike wrote:
"Soak 100 grammes of tabacco for a few days. You get a brown mess. Strain off the tabacco, then simmer slowly until most of the liquid has gone, leaving about 2 teaspoons of brown treacle-like stuff. Add it to your night-time drink, and never wake up. Someone said the other day that 150mg of pure nicotine would be fatal in seconds. See the "plants in general" entry."
It is correct, as far as I have found out. It can be added that the effects include violent convulsions and that the direct cause of death is respiratory failure. Smokers should use larger doses than non-smokers.

==Iron (diet suppliments) Dosage: unknown Time: unknown Available: diet, health food shops Certainty: good Notes: [2]: "Well it seems that iron pills achieve death. They oxydize in the stomach and eat a hole in it. The only reason I know this is that someone at my school just recently OD'd and died from this. It was ruled suicide since no person could accidently take that many iron pills. They didn't say how many she took or how many it takes to kill yourself though." [sounds unpleasant]

==Cocaine Dosage: 1 ounce (don't know what that is in real weights..) Time: 2 to 3 hours? Available: Difficult Certainty: not known Notes: Read something in a newspaper... a coke dealer died after eating an ounce of it, when the police raided his house. Cause of death was a cardiac arrest 2 1/2 hours after the overdose. However, a cocaine OD is painful, and causes paranoia / breathing problems. One form of cocaine smuggling is to swallow condoms filled with the stuff. From time to time, a "mule" has a condom burst inside him, and dies in pain reasonably quickly.

==LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) nonfatal Dosage: infinite! Time: never Available: who cares? Certainty: will not kill you Notes: LSD can't kill you by overdose.. you might go psychotic if you take tens/hundreds of thousands of times the normal dose, but thats hardly surprising, since you'd have to be insane to take that much in the first place. General warning - even for normal use, if you are depressed, it'll just amplify the depression, not lift it, and the chances of a bad trip are probably higher. Probably, the only way to kill yourself with this stuff is to drop two tonnes of it on yourself.
Calle: I don't quite believe in what Mike is saying about psychosis here. As far as I have been able to find out, LSD works by catalyzing certain substances in the brain, and thus vast overdoses have no more effect than merely large ones. Once all the stuff in your brain is used up, there will be no more effect. A correspondent points out a case reported by The Journal of Clinical Toxicology where eight people snorted pure LSD Tartrate, beliving that it was cocaine. The amounts ingested was estimated to be from 1000 to 10000 times an ordinary dose. Half of them lapsed into comas, but all of them came out of it without any treatment. Some were given Valium for anxiety efterwards. On the whole, it seems that LSD is about as safe as a drug can be, despite much propaganda saying otherwise.

==Heroin (morphine) Dosage: 120 to 500 mg in non-users. Time: unknown Available: From your friendly neighbourhood drug dealer. Certainty: unknown Notes: Combine it with alcohol, since a combination of alc & H is much more dangerous than alc or H alone.

==Rotenone Dosage: very low, similar to cyanide Time: depends on dosage Available: extremely difficult Certainty: probable Notes: Rotenone is used by microbiologists to kill potentially dangerous bacteria cultures. It is extremely poisonous.
Calle: A correspondent believes this entry to be erroneous, since in the litterature he consulted rotenone was mentioned as being used as an insecticide and not being all that toxic.

==Mercury (salts, soluble) Dosage: 1 gramme of salts Time: unknown Available: unknown (what are the _soluble_ salts? how to make?) Certainty: good Notes: Note that contrary to popular opinion, pure mercury metal isn't all that poisonous. The soluble salts are, however. The "mad hatter" story refers to brain damage that hat makers used to get from using mercury salts.

==Amobarbital (amytal, amal, eunoctal, etamyl, stadadorm) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 4.5 grammes, typically 90 50mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable Notes: use an airtight plastic bag, and a rubber band to get a very effective method. Alcohol speeds it up and makes it more reliable. Take an antihistamine about 10 minutes earlier. Empty stomach. Dissolve most of them in drink / food, and eat the remaining ones first so that it all peaks at the same time.

==Butabarbital (secbutobarbitone, butisol, ethnor) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 3 grammes, typically 100 30mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach.

==Codeine (combo. with Aspirin: Empirin compound no. I -> IV) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 2.4 grammes, typically 80 30mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. People can become tolerant to this drug, and it will no longer be effective.

==Diazepam (valium, apozepam, aliseum, ducene) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 500 milligrammes, typically 100 5mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else (alcohol?) Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. Valium is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes it more certain.

==Flurazepam (dalmane, dalmadorm, niotal) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 3 grammes, typically 100 30mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Gluthethimide (doriden, doridene, glimid) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 24 grammes, typically 48 500mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Chloral Hydrate (noctec, chloratex, somnox) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: >10+ grammes, typically 20+ 500mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Hydromorphone (dilaudid, pentagone) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 100 -> 200 milligrammes, typically 50 -> 100 2mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. People can become tolerant to this drug, and it will no longer be effective.

==Meprobamate (miltown, equanil) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 45 grammes, typically 112 400mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Methyprylon (noludar) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 15 grammes, typically 50 300mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Meperidine (pethidine, demerol, dolantin) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 3.6 grammes, typically 72 50mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. People can become tolerant to this drug, and it will no longer be effective.

==Methadone (dolophine, adanon) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 300 milligrammes, typically 60 5mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. People can become tolerant to this drug, and it will no longer be effective.

==Morphine (in Brompton's mixtures) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 200 milligrammes, typically 14 15mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. People can become tolerant to this drug, and it will no longer be effective.

==Phenobarbital (luminal, gardenal, fenical) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 4.5 grammes, typically 150 30mg tablets Time: N/A Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: unreliable, use in combination with something else Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. This is not effective by itself, but by mixing it with other drugs or alcohol it makes the other drug more certain.

==Secobarbital (quinalbarbitone, seconal, immenox, dormona, secogen, ..... == ..... seral, vesperax (combo with brallobarbital)) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 4.5 grammes, typically 45 100mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. [Vesperax is Humphry's favorite]

==Propoxyphene (darvon, dolotard, abalgin, antalvic, depronal) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 2 grammes, typically 30 65mg tablets Time: death in an hour or so. Does not make you unconscious Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: suggest combine with something to make you sleep, then use bag Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach. Since this one doesn't make you unconscious for a long time, try combining with one that does, so you can use the good old bag method.

==Pentobarbital (nembutal, carbrital only if in combo with pentobarbital) [this entry from [1]] Dosage: 3 grammes, typically 30 100mg tablets Time: unconscious in 5 -> 15 minutes, death in 20 -> 50 minutes Available: needs to be prescribed Certainty: very reliable with plastic bag and rubber band Notes: use bag & band. Alcohol as well as antihistamine on an empty stomach.

==PART3== Methods: other than poisoning

==2. HANGING ==1. asphyxiation (dangle on end of rope for 10 minutes) Time: 5 to 10 minutes Available: Rope, solid support 10 foot above ground Certainty: Fairly certain (discovery, rope/support snapping) Notes: Brain damage likely if rescued. Very painful depending on rope. Most common effective form of suicide in UK. See "Asphyxiation".

==2. breaking neck Time: Should be instant if it does break. See previous if not Available: Rope, solid support, 10 foot space below, several above Certainty: Very certain if the rope/support doesn't break Notes: Minimal danger of discovery (depends on location). Painless if you drop far enough (8 foot is optimum). Make sure that the rope is tied securely to something STRONG!! It has to support your weight MULTIPLIED by the deccelleration. Use a hangman's knot (with the knot at the back of your neck). It doesn't always work this well though, you might get a bust jaw / lacerations etc and then asphyxiate.
Calle: I got this table of appropriate falling heights from a.s.h. long-time regular MegaZone (megazone@wpi.wpi.edu), who got it from a friend of his named Mark.
Hanging Drop Heights...
Culprits Weight Drop 14 stone (196 lbs) 8ft 0in 13.5 stone (189 lbs) 8ft 2in 13 stone (182 lbs) 8ft 4in 12.5 stone (175 lbs) 8ft 6in 12 stone (168 lbs) 8ft 8in 11.5 stone (161 lbs) 8ft 10in 11 stone (154 lbs) 9ft 0in 10.5 stone (147 lbs) 9ft 2in 10 stone (140 lbs) 9ft 4in 9.5 stone (133 lbs) 9ft 6in 9 stone (126 lbs) 9ft 8in 8.5 stone (119 lbs) 9ft 10in 8 stone (112 lbs) 10ft 0in
Source: Charles Duff, Handbook of Hanging (Boston: Hale, Cushman & Flint 1929)
Notes: This is for person of average build with no unusual physical problems. The Author (James "Hangman" Barry) noted that when executing "persons who had attempted suicide by cutting their throats...to prevent reoping the wounds I have reduced the drop by nearly half."

==3. JUMPING OFF BUILDINGS Time: Instantanious if you are lucky, minutes/hours otherwise Available: You need ten stories or higher, and access to the top floor windows/roof. Bring a bolt cutter to get onto the roof Certainty: 90% for 6 stories, increasing after that Notes: Difficult to overcome fear of heights, many people can't do it. Totally painless if high enough, but very frightening. Easily discovered if seen on/near roof/windows. Access fairly easy in a city, otherwise difficult. Risk of spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Ever tried killing yourself if you are paralysed from the neck down? Email conversations suggest 10+ stories works ALMOST all of the time. Try to land on concrete. Quote - "9 out of 10 people who fall 6 stories will die". Note that it may take a while for many of those 90% to die.

==4. SLITTING WRISTS OR OTHER (often not effective) Time: Minutes if major artery cut, eternity otherwise. Available: You really need a razor sharp knife. Razors are pretty tricky to hold when they are covered with blood. Certainty: possible if you cut an artery, improbable otherwise Notes: Painful at first. Danger of discovery. This is a very common suicide 'gesture' and hardly ever results in anything other than a scar. A lot of will power required to cut deeply into groin or carotid arteries, which are the only ones likely to kill you. Don't bother with this method. Cutting your throat is difficult due to the fact that the carotid arteries are protected by your windpipe (feel where your arteries are with your fingertips, & slice from the side). I've seen photos of people who have used this method - the depth of the cut required is amazing. If you want to cut your wrists, cut along the blue line (vein) on the underside of your wrist, but cut deeply so that the artery underneath is exposed. Cut this lengthways with a razor or similar. The traditional hot bath does help, since it keeps the blood flowing quickly, slows down clotting, and is nice to lie back and relax in. Position yourself so that your wrists don't fall inwards against your body, blocking off blood flow.
Calle: A posting to A.S.H. suggests using the kind of equipment they use when you give blood to a blood bank, i.e., a needle in a blood vessel and a piece of tubing. It sounds like it would remove several of the disadvantages of the ordinary slitting-wrists method.

==5. BULLET Time: Microseconds unless you are unlucky (mins/hours) Available: Difficult in UK, easier in USA (get a shotgun) Certainty: Certain Notes: Painless if worked, otherwise painful & brain damage. Danger of discovery of weapon or ammunition. Not at all common in UK, more common in USA where guns available. Brain damage & other effects if you survive. Death either instantaneous, or prolonged. Lots of will power needed to fire gun ('hesitation marks' are bullets/pellets embedded in the wall, when you jerk the gun as you fire). Bullet can miss vital parts in skull, deflect off skull. If you have a choice, use a shotgun rather than a rifle of a pistol, since it is so much more effective. ("shotgun" entry later). Ammunition to use is: .458 Winchester Magnum, or soft-point slugs with .44 Magnum. Also you could use a sabot round, which is a plastic wedge with a smaller thing in it. These rounds are rather overkill, the phrase "elephant gun" has been used about the .458 Winchester, but if you're going to go, do it with a bang. Note, people usually survive single .22 shots to the temples. The other problem with guns is that is is bloody messy. Your next of kin will really _enjoy_ cleaning up after you, washing the coagulated blood & brains out of corners etc...

==6. ASPHYXIATION Time: 5 mins to unconciousness, 10+ mins to brain death Available: Anywhere there's a rope and something solid to tie it to Certainty: Certain, if you don't get "rescued" Notes: Panic reaction is very likely (unless inert gasses used). One of the most effective and most used methods of suicide. Probable brain damage if you are "rescued". NOTE, this can only really be done in two ways: firstly, when you are unconsious (eg, sleeping pills), or secondly, by hanging. Combining with pure inert gasses is a very good suggestion. See "Nitrogen" in the poisons section

==7. AIR IN VEINS (basically just a myth) Time: Couple of minutes claimed Available: Plenty of air about... Need a hypodermic & syringe Certainty: only 1 known case.. patient may already have been dead Notes: The only case I know about, it killed with 40cc of air. Smaller amounts are harmless. The case was the death of Abbie Borroto, who died in 1950 from a 40cc injection in New Hampshire. She died in minutes. This was the 1949 Dr H Sander case. He was found not guilty to murder on the grounds that the patient may already have been dead when he gave the injection. (A doctor and a nurse could find no pulse earlier the same day). The following 2 quotes are from [1]: Prof. Y Kenis says: "... not a suitable method, nor a gentle death... extremely difficult to utilize as a method of suicide. .. possibly with very serious consequences, such as paralysis or permanent brain damage. .. this is only an impression, and I have no real scientific information on the subject." Dr Pieter V Admiraal .. describes the theoretical air bubble method of suicide as impossible, disagreeable and cruel. "To kill somebody with air you would have to inject at least 100 -> 200 millilitres as quickly as possible in a vein as big as possible close to the heart. You would have to fill the whole heart with air at once. The heart would probably beat on for several minutes, perhaps 5 -> 15 minutes, and during the first minutes the person may be conscious."

==8. DECAPITATION Time: Couple of seconds before conciousness fades Available: Happen to have a train line nearby? Or a guillotine perhaps? Certainty: Very certain, unless you pull away just before Notes: See "jumping in front of trains". May be difficult to stop pulling your head out of the way - OD on sleeping tablets first
Calle: A news notice from California posted to alt.suicide.holiday tells the story of a man who comitted suicide nearly cut his own head off with a chainsaw. Sounds like a grisly way to do it.

==9. DISEMBOWELMENT (aka seppuku/hara kiri) Time: Minutes Available: Got a nice razor-sharp sword? Certainty: Fairly certain, assuming that you managed to gut yourself properly before passing out with the agony Notes: Painful, even the macho Samurai used a 'second' to decapitate them at the appropriate point, so don't expect to do much more than give yourself peritonitis. Trendy for insane martial arts fanatics and gay Japanese poets called Mishima.

==10. DROWNING Time: Minutes (5 mins to die of drowning, 20 to die of hypothermia) Available: Anywhere there's deep, (cold) water in a remote spot Certainty: Good, just make sure you sink & can't swim Notes: Put stones in your pockets, tie your legs & hands together, and hop into the lake.. bit of a shock to the fisherman who finds your rotting corpse stuck in his brand new net. Also see entry for "hypothermia/freezing". However, remember that you can be revived from cold water drowning after several hours, because the cold slows down terminal brain damage. Warmer water doesn't have the advantage of hypothermia, but is more effective in making sure you *stay* dead.

==11. ELECTROCUTION Time: Seconds / minutes Available: Anywhere with high-tension, high-current lines & a good earth Certainty: Somewhat dependant on luck & how much power goes through you Notes: Don't bother with 110 or 240 volt mains, its just not enough. Some people do get killed with household electricity, but only after several minutes. Use high tension lines, stand in bare feet on waterlogged ground (better still, put a piece of THICK copper cable into the nearest river). Works best if current path travels through your head, or through the heart. Just burns you badly otherwise. NOTE: people have survived massive high-voltage, high-current shocks with nothing but 3rd degree burns to show for it. Sometimes paralysis, limbs amputated etc.

==12. EXPLOSIVES Time: 10 milliseconds, or similar (!) Available: Difficult to get hold of detonator & good explosives Certainty: Certain if detonator works properly Notes: DON'T USE GUNPOWDER or other 'slow' explosives (eg, homemade explosives). Use dynamite or 'Plastique', strap it to your forehead with the detonator, and BOOM! The main problem is with getting hold of high explosives (I know the recipe for Nitro-Glycerine, but home manufacture is extremely risky, and the product is unstable). If you can get a grenade, use it, it's probably the best way of doing this one.
Calle: Recipies for creating explosives can be found, together with the appropriate warnings, in the rec.pyrotechnics FAQ.

==13. FREEZING TO DEATH (hypothermia) Time: several hours (15 minutes in very cold water) Available: Got a large chest freezer? Is the outside temp < -10 degrees? Certainty: good if you don't get found Notes: Soak your cloths in water, get into freezer / outside somewhere where you won't be found. Helps to get pissed first - drink yourself silly. If you are near a very cold supply of water (eg, the North Sea, or similar) which is close to zero degrees, this is particularly good, since the average lifespan of someone in the water is 15 minutes. [1] says: ".. have quietly ascended their favorite mountain late in the day .. above the freezing line.. wearing light clothing, they sat down in a secluded spot to await the end. Some have said that they intended to take a tranquilizer to hasten the sleep of death. From what we know of hypothermia, they would pass out as the cold reached a certain level and they would die within a few hours. Of course in a very cold climate there is no need to climb a mountain." [eg, UK in midwinter :-). There was a death in the middle of the city park here just this last winter ('90) where a lady stripped after the park closed for the night.] A problem with this method is that because it slows the metabolism, and prevents damage to the brain, people can be revived several hours after 'death' occasionally.

==14. JUMPING IN FRONT OF TRAINS Time: Seconds (or hours if unlucky) Available: Anywhere near a HIGH-SPEED railway line Certainty: Depends on your timing & speed of train. Go for decapitation Notes: Probably better to put your neck on the line, since a glancing blow would probably break your spine (& cripple you). High speed trains need a kilometer to stop, so find a blind corner.

==15. SELF-IMMOLATION Time: Seconds to days Available: Anywhere you can get petrol & a match Certainty: good as long as you are far away from medical help Notes: bloody painful - one of the most agonising ways to die. If you do survive, you will be disfigured for the rest of your life. Try mixing the petrol with an explosive like TNT or NG, this will make it burn MUCH quicker, even if the explosive is very dilute.

==16. STARVING TO DEATH Time: 40 days give or take. Depends on health. Available: Anywhere where you can't be force-fed Certainty: Good as long as no medical help & will power holds up Notes: Supposed to be easier after the first couple of days, since your appetite goes. In a UK prison, you can't be force-fed unless you give permission first, or are diagnosed insane, but I don't know whether this is the same in other countries. Beware - relatives might give permission on your behalf if you are unconsious. (living will / durable power of attorney helps). It may help if you use an appetite suppressant. Amphetamines, and some drugs (MDMA, AKA XTC, AKA ecstasy, AKA metheylenedimethoxymethamphetamine is one such). The problem with these is that they are frequently illegal. I've also heard of something called Aminorex (4-methylaminorex) which was briefly prescribed as an appetite suppressant, but taken off the market since it had fatal side effects... which is hardly a problem!! [1] says: ".. after approximately 20 % of body weight loss, illness will begin to set in, notably severe indigestion, muscle weakness, and _worst of all_ mental incapacity. ... about 40 days before life is seriously theatened. ...." "In some cases self-starvation can be very painful. ... morphene had to be administered to kill the pain of fatal dehydration. .."

==17. DRIVING INTO BRIDGE SUPPORT AT 100 MPH Time: Hopefully instantanious Available: Fast car, motorway, unprotected bridge.... Certainty: So-so, put a couple of cans of petrol on the passenger seat to make it certain, & USE YOUR SEATBELT Notes: Bridges are usually protected in the UK, don't know about USA. Avoid being thrown out of the car by using the seatbelt, and put petrol (in cans or just splashed about) near to the driver's seat just to make certain. Can be made to look accidental.

==18. SHOTGUN Time: Instantanious if you are lucky Available: Difficult in UK, easier in USA (due to gun laws) Certainty: Fairly certain Notes: 12-gauge shotgun with 3 inch Magnum shells with #2 to #000 buckshot. See "Bullet" for other points. This is the recommended way to die by firearm. Apparently the shells suggested here are "extreme overkill", but thats the point really... problem here is that its amazingly messy - who is going to pick the festering lumps of gore out of the carpet? Another problem is that it is possible to miss your brain entirely, and just blow off your face instead.

==19. ENLIST (silly) Time: Jan 15 '91 or other conflict Available: Just pop down to the local army office & sign on as a squaddie Certainty: Be a "hero". Life expectancy in a battle is 20 minutes Notes: I don't think this is an entirely serious suggestion, particularly since only 10% ever see the front line, and only a few of those ever see combat.
Calle: You could always get employed as a mercenary. That way you'll at least see combat, improving your chances to die vastly. Still, a silly method.

==20. PENCILS UP YOUR NOSE, BANG DOWN ONTO TABLE (urban legend?) Time: Seconds or never Available: All you need is a couple of sharp pencils and a table Certainty: Very uncertain Notes: This is a myth, I think, since the pencils would go into your frontal lobes, which are basically optional. This is the legendary "exam suicide". Fine if you want a DIY frontal- lobotomy rather than death!
Calle: This is an urban legend, see the alt.folklore.urban FAQ for more details.

==21. GETTING SOMEONE TO MURDER YOU Time: Depends on method used Available: Know any murderous psychopaths? No, not the tax people... Certainty: Depends on method used, & dedication of murderer Notes: Forget it. Unless you contract someone to do it, the chances are that you are going to wake up in hospital without your wallet. If you do contract someone, how are you going to pay them? Can't take them to court for running off with your money and not doing the job.

==22. MAKE YOURSELF INTO AN H-BOMB (another silly one) Time: Speed of light over 1/2 metre (couple of nanoseconds) Available: Nuke (fission OR fusion), 10 litres of heavy water Certainty: 100% Notes: Drink the heavy water for several days, strap yourself to the nuke, and press the button. If you retained a couple of litres of the heavy water, the additional yield should be 6 megajoules (give or take a few orders of magnitude). Note that heavy water is a poison, so you might not survive that long anyway.
Calle: If I remember my physics correctly, there will be no reaction in your body no matter how much heavy water you have ingested. Not that it matters if you're sitting on an exploding hydrogen bomb!

==23. MICROMACHINES/NANOCOMPUTERS (science fiction) Time: years or a fraction of a second - depends how you look at it Available: in 50 -> 1000 years time? Certainty: Good assuming that the technology is developed Notes: Basically, this involves a 'replicator' panel. You program it to replicate yourself, simplifying very slightly, with the exception of the urge to use this technique. After a while, you turn into a mindless zombie, trudging around from the exit of the machine to the entrance, for eternity. Strange philosophical implications.
Calle: If you postulate nanomachines, why not use the deconstructor kind? Take your body apart into its component molecules in less than a minute... A silly method, if you hadn't guessed.

==24. SCUBA-DIVING (various fatal 'accidents') Time: see notes -most are minutes/hours Available: scuba diving gear, nobody around Certainty: see notes Notes: The first method is to rise 30 metres or so without releasing your breath. Assuming that you can do it, it should cause your lungs to burst. The second is the bends - stay under long enough for the nitrogen to dissolve (30 metres for 30 minutes). go up rapidly without decompression time. This is unreliable, and may cause brain / joint damage. The third way is Carbon Monoxide poisoning - fill your tank with it, and stay away from other divers. You will fall asleep fairly quickly. See CO in poisons section. The final way is oxygen poisoning - however, this means that you have to go very deep with an oxygen-rich mix, and there are problems associated with that. The advantage of these methods is that insurance companies / relatives will assume that it was an accident ('misadventure'), with the possible exception of the CO poisoning. The source of this follows: (from the net) "Rising 30m without exhaling will usually result in an over pressured lung, possible subcuteaneous emphazema, collapsed lung, death usually from drowning in your own blood. Rather painful and usually curable if you are rescued, but fair chance of dying if you aren't. Building up a high residual nitrogen time (say 30m for 30 min) then coming up without decompressing will get you bent fairly nicely. You don't feel much, but your joints tend to start stiffening up after half an hour. Death is very uncertain, coming from a stroke. Brain damage, joint damage etc are most likely. Pobably can be recued but some damage certain. Oxygen poisoning, going down 50+m until the partial pressure of the oxygen reaches a toxic level. Difficult to accomplish, very painful to get down that deep, cold pressure etc, possibility of nitrogen narcosis and forgetting what you are doing. Probably get bent, good chance of rescue. CO poisoning, mix a healthy batch of carbon monoxide in your tank as you dive, you tend to go to sleep under water, when combined with the above methods you have a pretty good winner, don't forget to forget your BCD."
==25. SUCKING YOUR BRAINS OUT (silly) Time: Minutes Available: You'd need a Puma (TM) robot, & some other bits Certainty: certain, given proper programming Notes: You would need an industrial robot to do this properly. Give it a saw attachment, a sucking tube attachment, and program it. Make a head restraint. When you are fixed securely into the restraint, start the robot's program. It will drill a hole in your head, and stick the tube into the hole. Program it to wiggle the tube back and forth so that it doesn't miss anything. This might work better if you put a stream of water into the hole as well, so that the sucking attachment doesn't just suck air all the time. Debugging the program could be amusing.

==26. MICROWAVES Time: ? Available: Source of strong microwave emissions Certainty: ? Notes: Cooking yourself. Point is to raise your core body temperature to fatal levels.

Calle: Does anyone have any information on this? All that I know is that standing in front of a Swedish coast surveillance radar (which happens to use exactly the same wavelength as your average microwave oven) is a Bad Thing.

==27. DEHYDRATION Time: a week or so? Available: you need to be able to stop medical help. Certainty: certain if your will-power stands up to it. Notes: Don't eat or drink. Remember that food contains a high proportion of water. Avoiding medical help can be difficult. See 'starving to death'.

==28. SKYDIVING 'ACCIDENT' Time: pretty damn quick. Available: need to join a skydiving club. Takes much time and money. Certainty: Fairly certain. People have fallen from extreme heights and survived. The resulting injuries are not fun. Notes: Join a skydiving club, continue to practise it for a while to clear off all suspicions and then once pack your parachute in a real mess (preferably knotted up, but not too clearly) and then jump. The para will not open and you will reach a terminal velocity of 220 km/h (160 mph/120 kn). Death is instant in the impact with the Planet Earth. This has the advantages of being 'accidental', and your family/ friends do not have the additional pain and guilt associated with suicides.

Calle: In addition to the above, you need to remove or disable your reserve parachute (which is not easy, I'm told). There are better "accidental" methods than this. A correspondent who is a skydiver dislikes this entry, since if people use it it will give skydiving an undeservedly bad reputation.

==29. DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS; MODERN VERSION (silly) Time: variable Available: a heck of a lot of razor-wire.. maybe a high-voltage supply Certainty: not very good Notes: This is a modern variant of the Arabic 'Death of a thousand cuts'. Basically, jump onto a stack of unravelled razor wire, and roll around till you die.. it may help to connect a high- voltage, low current power supply to the wire, so that you have spasms, which should keep you getting cut even when you are unconscious. Also, you should make sure that you can't roll off the wire.

==30. CRUSHING Time: seconds to minutes, depends on car press Available: a car press.. any good junkyard Certainty: certain as long as you can't escape Notes: This is an elegantly simple one.. get into a car, in a car press, and shortly afterwards be squashed to death as your body is converted into a red pulp. It may be tricky getting the press to trigger, but if you hide in the car someone may come along and activate it. There are other ways of getting crushed, this just happens to be the most effective I can think up on the spur of the moment. Getting yourself run over by a fully loaded articulated lorry is quite good. You should remember that people quite often survive the actual crushing; they die when the weight is taken OFF them.

==31. WORLD WAR THREE Time: moments if you are near a militarilly significant site Available: happen to be one of the 'key-holders'? president maybe? Certainty: pretty certain Notes: All you have to do is trigger world war three. Fire an ICBM or three at the Chinese and the Russians... This method has the advantage that you take everyone else with you! Trouble is, the number of people with the requisite access is minimal, and I sort of doubt that any readers of ASH can do this.
Calle: Lots harder since the collapse of the Soviet Union... Silly.

==32. HEATSTROKE Time: 4 hours or more Available: Very hot day; no disturbance from neighbours etc Certainty: depends on the weather Notes: Basically, the point is to give yourself extreme heatstroke. You should pass out after a few hours. Use some aluminium foil to direct the sun's heat onto you, to speed up the process a bit. Try to reduce the chance of being interuppted, take off the phone etc. Obviously, start in the morning! Helps if the outside temperature is >100F.

==33. ACID BATH Time: depends on acid Available: a lot of a very strong acid Certainty: fairly good Notes: [from alt.suicide.holiday] "summer heat got you down? Try the new and improved neighbourhood acid bath. Most metal working plants and some auto-repair shops will have a nice soothing acid bath. This, of course, is for those of you who enjoy extreme pain and don't want to make a mess for others to clean up. If you don't leave a note chances are they will never know what happened, aside from the shop / plant being broken into."

==34. FAKE CAR BOMB Time: milliseconds Available: explosive Certainty: fairly good if enough explosive Notes: This is a modification of the basic use-explosives method. What you do, is make a homemade car bomb, and drive off happily after chatting with your neighbour about how well your life is going, apart from a few minor death-threats from an Iraqi death-squad.. To confuse the authorities even more, have a note in your pocket listing the telephone numbers of all the eastern foreign embassies in your pocket, together with a little line of random "code numbers" next to each.., and a random but large amount of cash listed against each code number. :-) Oh yes, and a heavily annotated copy of Jane's Defence Weekly - Xhosa edition.

==35. JUMPING OFF BRIDGES (slice and dice with piano wire) Time: 9.87 ms-2; 4 to 10 meters; calculate it yourself! Available: Rope, pianowire and a high bridge. Certainty: Fairly certain Notes: Never been tried. Can also be used with a fairly high building, but then the art-motive will disappear. Cut the rope and wire in various lengths. Each length must not be longer than the height of the bridge. Tie one end of the ropes and wires to the bridge Tie the other part of the ropes to different bodyparts like thigh, calves, torso etc. Then tie the pianowires around your joints. (Don't forget your genitals..) When you jump various parts of you body are whipped away by the pianowire nooses, and your bits are held up by the ropes swaying in the breeze. If you to this right you should end up with just your torso hanging by it's neck above the sea, highway, ground. Do it with friends, and call it art.

==36. BEING EATEN ALIVE Time: depends, but probably a couple of minutes Available: zoo, or live in Africa/wherever Certainty: not brilliant.. what if they're not hungry and don't finish? Notes: basically, find one or more hungry carnivores... tigers are nice. Also, sharks, lions, any of the big cats..

==37. BEING BURNED UP IN UNPROTECTED RE-ENTRY (silly) Time: probably a few minutes Available: if you happen to be able to get into orbit Certainty: about as certain as you can get! Notes: Just go for a spacewalk in a low earth orbit, and decelerate enough to enter the atmosphere. You'll get a great view...

==38. ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) Time: Incubation period 1 to 10 years, death within 2 years of diagnosis of AIDS, Can have HIV for years/decades Dosage: Just one intimate contact with an Infected person of any gender Available: Available to all for free Certainty: 99.9% certainty AFTER infected Notes: [2]: This is not painfree. This method may cost you alot of money if you allow others to get you medical attention. It may a little difficult to get infected as people who know they have it may not comply with your request. Could be great fun attempting to get infected depending upon your attitude (remember -any gender - you don't have to limit yourself - you're going to die, you might as well try it ;). Should be quite devasting to your family & close friends. You also get the satisfaction of leaving behind a virtual unrecognizable-as-you body ! This also gives you the prime opportunity to point your finger at your dentist and say he did it for all the times you have suffered in their chair. Happy dying !
Calle: May not be so certain any more. Ten years may well be long enough for someone to develop a cure. Silly, IMHO.

==39. AUTO-DECAPITATION BY CAR (added by Calle) Time: Real quick Available: You need access to a car and a rope Certainty: I wouldn't trust it Notes: Comes from alt.suicide.holiday. Basic idea is to tie one end of the rope around your neck, tie the other end to a real solid object, get into the car and accelerate away as fast as the car can manage. When you reach the end of the rope, your head gets torn off. Be sure to use enough rope and fasten your seat belt.
A posting to a.s.h. in July 1993 says that someone in Washinton State, USA actually used this method to commit suicide, so it can't be that bad. The posting said that 25 feet of rope were used (about 7.5 meters), which does sound a bit short. Perhaps he had a real awesome car.

==40. DEATH BY PAINTING YOUR BODY (very silly, and wrong) Dosage : Less than 1 can of paint depending on your body type Time : ? Probably less than 8 hours Availability : Very available ! You have a choice of greasepaint or House paint. You need a type of paint that will not allow your pores to breath in order to be successful at this. You also have a smashing selection of colors you can choose to die in ! Nile Green ? Blood Red ? Basic Black ? Or any combo you desire.. If you couldn't decide before what to wear to die in, this method will cause you considerable angst. Certainty : This is a sure method, provided you have a paint that will block your pores from breathing. Don't forget the bottom of your feet. You must paint every last bit of available skin. If your pores can breathe, you won't die. Notes : I read this in some theater journal 5 or so years ago, saying when you you do full body makeup, you must insure that parts of the body are left naked to breathe or the actor will die. Usually for full body makeup, they leave the bottoms of feet, and some patterns on the body, like lines so the actor doesn't suffocate.
Calle: This is an *extremely* silly one. It was in the "not yet edited" portion of Mike's file, and I think it is quite straight from an a.s.h. posting. This method does not work. As you can check in most any book on human anatomy, the skin does not breathe. The only places in your body which absorbs oxygen are the lungs and the corneas, and the corneas only feed themselves. You might get ill or even die if you use poisonous paint, though.

==PART4== Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The only thing I can remember that has been asked for multiple times, besides the File itself, are the lyrics for "Suicide Is Painless" (the theme from M*A*S*H). Here it is:
"Suicide is Painless" Words by Mike Altman Music by Johnny Mandel
Through early morning fog I see Visions of the things to be The pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see that
Chorus: Suicide is painless It brings on many changes And I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make All our little joys relate Without that ever-present hate But now I know that it's too late, and
(chorus)
The game of life is hard to play I'm going to lose it anyway The losing card I'll someday lay And this is all I have to say, that
(chorus)
The only way to win is cheat And lay it down before I'm beat And to another give a seat For that's the only painless feat, cause
(chorus)
The sword of time will pierce our skins It doesn't hurt when it begins But as it works its way on in The pain grows stronger - watch it grin
(chorus)
A brave man once requested me To answer questions that are key Is it to be or not to be? And I replied, "Oh why ask me?", cause
(chorus)
And you can do the same thing if you please.

==PART5== Notes by Calle
At the end of Mike's file there were an entry for Nitrous Oxide. I have removed it, as there already is one. There were also a mail were someone recommended military nerve toxins. They might not be as certain as the originator thought, as current military thinking is that one griveously wounded man is worth many dead ones in decreasing the enemy's fighting capacity. That means that modern nerve gasses well might leave you paralyzed for life, but still living. Anyway, if you can get military stuff, why not use a rifle or a few kilos of explosive?
Mike's sig were also at the bottom of the File. It follows here, for historic reasons:
Mil: 176 Hampstead Rd EMail: Michael.Marsden@newcastle.ac.uk Benwell Direct SMTP Mail, Talk, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 8TP and Finger: n03vk@turing.ncl.ac.uk
Unfortunately, the mail address doesn't work any more.
Well, that's all. Comments are very welcome.
-- Calle Dybedahl,Torpareg. 94, S-583 31 Linkoeping,SWEDEN | calle@lysator.liu.se Maintainer of the Blake's 7 mailing list. Mail for info.