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The Morbid the Merrier? Alas, No More.

The rest of the stories in the final issue are pretty sedate. The horrors described are mostly medical problems. One guy recounts his wife's emergency Caesarian section. Another guy writes about how bacteria in his brain caused him to hallucinate. Another guy describes his knee surgery, but the most horrifying detail in the story is that the doctors played an Abba album in the operating room and the author woke up humming, " Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight."

Which is, come to think of it, a particularly heinous form of medical malpractice.

The funniest of these medical horror stories is "I Hate My Guts," Keith Lowell Jensen's hilarious account of his colon disease. Like any good colon disease tale, it gets a little . . . um, gamey. But if you stick with it, you're rewarded with the story of Jensen's colonoscopy photos.

"The photos were shown around," he writes. "They were even published online, resulting in a fan site dedicated to my colon and an original piece of art being made from the photos and submitted to be displayed at the California State Fair. The State Fair rejected my colon."

Needless to say, Morbid Curiosity didn't reject Jensen's colon, and his colonoscopy photos illustrate this demented masterpiece.

Rhoads loved editing Morbid Curiosity, she says, because you never knew what you'd find when you opened the mailbox. But all good things must end.

"It was fun while it lasted," she said in a phone interview. "But I have other projects."

Among those other projects is a best-of Morbid Curiosity anthology. And she's also putting together a book of her essays on memorable graveyards she has visited.

Meanwhile, Rhoads recently celebrated the life and death of her magazine by staging a wake for Morbid Curiosity in a funky San Francisco bookstore. The morbidly curious community turned out to hear local lawyer Seth Flagsberg do a dramatic reading of the best piece in the MC's final issue -- "Brain Salad Surgery," his account of defending an insane electrical engineer who killed a sleeping man with a ball-peen hammer.

Alas, the curious crowd did not get to hear Jensen read his morbid colon story.

"He was going to read it live at the wake," Rhoads laments, "but he couldn't make it because he was having colon problems. I was really disappointed."


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