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Miller, M.L. (1943). Necrophilia: A. A. Brill. J. of Criminal Psychopathology, II, No. 4, 1941.. Psychoanal Q., 12:155-156.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Necrophilia: A. A. Brill. J. of Criminal Psychopathology, II, No. 4, 1941.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:155-156

Necrophilia: A. A. Brill. J. of Criminal Psychopathology, II, No. 4, 1941.

Milton L. Miller

The specific origin of the unusual aberration of necrophilia is still unknown. Brill describes in detail two cases, the first an effeminate, passive homosexual man. He was intimidated by an aggressive father, had a very 'nervous' mother, identified himself with his numerous sisters, was seduced by a boy cousin when he was four, and continued to seek homosexual experiences thereafter. Originally fearful of dead bodies, he developed a strong attraction for corpses which caused him to become an undertaker's assistant. This patient's necrophilia was determined by equating dead bodies with his mother and grandmother on whom he was fixated, plus the fact that, since the dead bodies were helpless, he could express his homosexuality regarding them without fear of physical harm.

The second case is that of a young man who, almost blind from birth, had both eyes surgically enucleated at the age of four. He was eighth among thirteen children, five of whom died in early life. He had a strong urge to drink blood, and confessed to frank fantasies of attacking the breast of a dead mother to obtain milk. The patient's 'copro- and necrophagism developed in association with his enhanced sense of smell'. There was a functional overdevelopment of the patient's other senses as the result of the loss of his sight. He was fixed almost solely at a pregenital level, chiefly craving epidermal contact.

[Little is said about this patient's possibly intense repressed hostility to his father, mother and siblings—all of which must have been fraught with severe conflict. Although some of the fantasies (wallowing in a dead woman's body as described by the author) indicate a desire to return to the mother's womb, it seems likely also that the anal character of the fantasies suggests some fundamental, primitive hostility toward the mother's child-bearing function.]

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Article Citation

Miller, M.L. (1943). Necrophilia. Psychoanal. Q., 12:155-156

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