A lawyer’s perspective on sexual preference disorders


A lawyer’s perspective on sexual preference disorders, in which the achievement of sexual fulfilment is coupled with the motive of death.


Marcin Berent


Edmund Kolanowski is certainly the most infamous Polish necrophile and in fact one of the few we know. Kolanowski's criminological image as the perpetrator is unique even against the background of Bogdan Arnold's or Paweł Tuchlin's deviations. Kolanowski's path to necrophilia was quite long and if there was an unquestionable relationship between the early confrontation with the motives of death and the later revelation of necrophilic tendencies, it could be said that Kolanowski was condemned to necrophilia – as from an early age he was a frequent visitor to Poznań cemeteries, and in his early youth he also had the opportunity to witness autopsies. At the same time, he was not of the best intellectual predisposition, and so he quickly came into conflict with the law.  To realize his necrophilic fantasies, he dug up female corpses from graves, which he mutilated by cutting out breasts and genitals from them, then sewn onto a mannequin subjected to sexual practices. Anna Ruszczyk talks to Marcin Berent, lawyer, historian, detective, academic lecturer, law firm lawyer, legal expert and author of a commentary on the Criminal Code and a publication on the legal aspects of necrophilia.


What is meant by tanatophilic paraphilias?


In most interviews, the first questions asked to the interlocutor are usually the easiest and least difficult. If so, then this flagship interview will not be, not only because it concerns an unconventional topic, but also because it begins in an unconventional way. It turns out that the question posed in this way is not easy to answer, because in scientific discourse there is still no general agreement as to what should really be understood by the term thanatophilic paraphilia. Only Wikipedia has simple answers to such questions, but for a real researcher such knowledge is not enough. There is, of course, agreement on the substance in general, but this no agreement when it comes to details.  At the beginning, it may be easier to explain how this concept should be understood, while what is hidden under it should be left to be decided later in our conversation, when we talk about the basic things. Well, the concept of "paraphilia", derived from the Greek language, is given the meaning of sexual preference disorder, which – in its semantic elegance – is devoid of pejorative coloration, in contrast to such phrases as perversion, deviation or perversion, although in essence they boil down to a description of one and the same phenomenon. Thanatophilia, on the other hand, is a sexual aberration in which the stimulator of stimulation is broadly understood to be death, in accordance with its Greek root, although human corpses do not necessarily have to remain this stimulator.  Finally, we would say that Thanatophilic paraphilia is a disorder of sexual preferences, in which the achievement of sexual fulfillment is coupled with the motive of death. Sometimes the term "thanatophilia" is used interchangeably with the term "necrophilia", sometimes it is given other meanings, for example combining it with a variety of masochism, in which the sexual arousal reaction is triggered by suicidal thoughts, i.e. fantasies about one's own death or funeral. This only shows the terminological confusion we have on the issues covered by our conversation, and this confusion weighs fatally on the quality of scientific analysis.


What deviations can we deal with when talking about thanatophilic paraphilias, what are their varieties?


The concept of Thanatophilic paraphilias is a broad concept, and due to the lack of universal agreement on the essence, or at least many aspects of this disorder, it remains in a sense conventional. Contractual, but not arbitrary, because we know a lot about thanatophilia, although what we do not know leaves a lot of scientific insufficiency. Thanatophilic deviations do not form a catalog closed by their enumerative enumeration, but most often they include pygmalionism, i.e. paraphilia, in which the stimulator of sexual arousal is a sculpture, statue, etc., also referred to as statuophilia; zomnophilia, i.e. paraphilia, in which the stimulant of sexual arousal is a person sleeping or intoxicated, or in any case one that does not manifest normal life activity. This paraphilia is also sometimes referred to by the English expression "sleepy sex", which probably better describes the essence of the phenomenon. Among the thanatophilic paraphilias, misophilia (mycophilia) is also mentioned, in which swallowing the excreta of the human body remains a stimulant of sexual excitement. This classification qualification does not convince me at all, nor do other qualifications of a given behavior among Thanatophilic aberrations convince me. For example, statuophilia, although it is a deviation from the norm, must have little in its essence with an excited death, although the existence of sexual attraction to dead objects cannot be ruled out, so the creation of such classifications should probably be explained by this.  The truth is that among what some would like to categorize as a threat-inducing Thanatophilic paraphilia, there are in fact not always dangerous fetishes. However, returning to the mainstream of answers to the question posed, we can also point to noshilia, in which the stimulator of sexual arousal is contact with a person in an agonizing state. The most dangerous manifestation of thanatophilic paraphilia remains necrosadism, the essence of which – at least according to the classification proposed by E. Wulffen – is expressed in necrophilic murder. We also have necromancy, which, however, is more a form of magical practices in which the dead are summoned than a fully thanatophilic aberration. However, necromancy was classified as such a disorder largely due to L. Franzini and J. Grossberg, who also distinguished romantic necrophilia in their psychological considerations. The phenomenon itself, although it does not have criminogenic features in its basic framework, can be the subject of reflection for a lawyer, and criminal chronicles know such cases, as evidenced by the story of L. Wendell, which will be mentioned here.


To what extent are these disorders recognized by the scientific community, how much space is devoted to these issues in the literature? 


You wanted to invite me as a lawyer to your conversation, perhaps it would be better to ask someone from the world of medicine, or at least from the field of psychology, because it is these sciences that are primarily responsible for the task of "deciphering" Thanatophilic paraphilia, and a lawyer can probably draw more from these achievements than actually create them. However, because in the course of my scientific development I had the opportunity to confront strictly psychological knowledge, maybe on this basis I will try to refer to the raised issue more broadly. But I must also say that I never feel comfortable answering these types of questions, because I would not like to claim to assess the state of knowledge in terms of problems that still require serious exploration from meHowever, the extent to which I managed to explore these problems in the course of the undertaken research seems to justify the belief that the disorders we are talking about here have not been recognized to the full extent by the scientific community.  However, the final diagnosis in this regard should be relativized to the branch of science, field or discipline of knowledge.  Doctors and psychologists know much more about this than lawyers, but it is probably understandable, after all, the law is less interested in the etiology of the disorder, remaining more calculated on the consequences of behaviour that possibly implement these disorders.  This assumption is confirmed in the literature, which pays relatively little attention to Thanatophilic paraphilias when it comes to legal literature.  It looks slightly better in the case of medical or psychological literature, in which quite a lot has been written about this subject, although without falling into excessive euphoria in this regard. Any deviations of this type arouse human emotions and fears, although in reality there are not many deviant cases.  One could even risk the claim that thanatophilic paraphilias have a scientific interest in the field of medical sciences and related sciences disproportionate to the importance of aberration in practice. However, this scientific interest does not translate into any breakthroughs, and the World Health Organization, despite the passage of time, in its ICD-10 classification still describes necrophilia – next to frotterism – as "another disorder of sexual preference", similarly to the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-IV classification. 


What is the difference between thanatophilia and necrophilia?


In scientific circulation, these concepts are often treated as the same, as a consequence of which they are used interchangeably, but the blurring of the differences between thanatophilia and necrophilia does not deserve recognition, because the conceptual ranges of the two terms do not have to overlap.  Thanatophilia is a broader concept, encompassing all sexual aberrations in which the stimulator is death, while necrophilia is only one of the possible manifestations of thanatophilic deviations, in which the state of arousal and sexual satisfaction is achieved specifically in relation to human corpses. Such a case of necrophilia is referred to as proper necrophilia. The essence of necrophilia is probably well reflected in the translation of the concept itself, which – in its linguistic layer – also derives from the Greek language, and was created from the combination of two words, "love" and "dead", which means as much, in a free translation, as love for death. This term was introduced into modern science by Guslein, and it coexists alongside a less widespread concept – necrolangia. However, please consider what we talked about initially in our conversation – there is a significant heterogeneity in terms of terminology, so for many there will be no difference between thanatophilia and necrophilia, for others, thanatophilia will mean something different than I just presented it, but what I indicated in the introduction to this conversation.


Is it possible for a man to consider himself a wolf and consequently feel the need to approach a human corpse?


No, it's absurd, there is no such dependence.  The disorder you are asking about is lycanotropy, which is expressed in the patient's belief that he or she becomes a wolf – this is the so-called werewolfness, which may be accompanied by pathological external changes in the case of the so-called werewolf gene. Due to the possible drastic course of the disease, the parallel appearance of thanatophilic tendencies cannot be ruled out, but they are not a normal consequence of lycanotropy.  Similarly, there is no relationship between necrophilia and porphyria, which belongs to genetic diseases of the blood, the basis of which are enzyme disorders in the heme synthesis pathway. All attempts to combine these ailments constitute an intellectual abuse or a fictional realization of the film or literary ideas of the creators of works in the genre of cinema or horror literature, who would like to see the sick as sexual deviants.


How do criminology, forensics present the issue of thanatophilic paraphilia?


Basically – none, at least when it comes to the achievements of Polish criminology and forensics in this field. In the academic literature, virtually no attention is paid to this issue, there is also no monographic study in this regard among Polish literature. If the thanatophilic paraphilias are mentioned in the sciences as a kind of auxiliary law, it is completely incidental, on the occasion of the analysis of some other problem.  The existing studies are also of a more contributory nature than a holistic approach to the essence of the phenomenon. You can read more about Thanatophilic paraphilias in forensic journals or in some magazines with often reduced intellectual ambitions, in which the goal is to gain a wider audience than to deepen substantive reflection and promote reliable knowledge.


Is necrophilia subject to criminal law and to what extent? 


For the practice of Polish criminal law, or – more broadly – the Polish justice system, necrophilia is a completely marginal problem, basically non-existent. Of course, this is a desirable state of affairs, after all, the uniqueness of criminal law is also expressed in the fact that its norms should be applied as rarely as possible. On the other hand, when it comes to theory, the science of criminal law, necrophilia in principle also does not constitute a deeper research area.


So who are necrophiles and how do they work, is there a personality, behavioral profile of a necrophile?


We do not know exactly this and it is probably hardly surprising – since there is no full agreement as to what necrophilia itself is, apart from, of course, generalities, it would be difficult to agree as to who the necrophile himself is and what his modus operanadi is. Moreover, the few necrophilic cases that we know indicate that there is rather no single pattern of behavior in this regard, which does not mean that certain methods of behavior are not common to many perpetrators of this type of acts. However, there is no abstract personality model of a necrophile, although of course we can make some general attempts in this regard. Therefore, if we make such an attempt, it must be said that basically anyone can be a necrophile, no one has it written on their face. Most often, however, this tendency is manifested by socially alienated people who are tormented by memories of traumatic events such as rape, sexual harassment or previous rejection by their partner.  These are often people burdened with complexes that are the result of a lack of capacity for proper social accommodation, embarrassment and sexual insecurity or some physical defects. Such a degenerate model of necrophilic personality is, of course, consistent with the patterns of an ideal society, which explains any deviations from the norm with some anomalies or defects, but the truth is that necrophilic deviations are not excluded even among completely normal people (whatever that means), with an established social position. One of the most serious attempts to answer the question of who a necrophilic is was made by J. Rosman and P. Resnick, who managed to examine 122 necrophilic cases, although not all of them were suitable for inclusion in summary results.  Z From extremely interesting research, a picture of necrophilia emerges, for which the average age is 37 years. A little more than half of them were diagnosed with mental disorders. The vast majority prefer the classic vaginal intercourse, if, of course, the state of decomposition of the corpse allows it, and usually corpses not yet transfused by post-mortem processes are selected. Many of them also have access to human corpses due to their profession, although it would be difficult to accept the claim that it is the contact with death during their work that triggers necrophilic deviations. In fact, a person who has previously exhibited this type of inclination is looking for employment in a place that can facilitate the realization of aberrative tastes. Necrophilia is also the domain of men, the causative role of women in this area is completely negligible. In terms of the behavioural profile of the necrophiliac, the reasons for undertaking necrophilic behaviours remain common, as it turns out that nearly 70% of them committed this type of behaviour in order to realize their sexual fantasies together with a partner who does not resist, contact with whom would not threaten rejection.  More than 20% sought sexual intimacy with an idealized partner, 15% simply wanted to satisfy their sexual desire, and 12% wanted to increase their level of self-esteem through a sense of unlimited dominance. Only 15% of the perpetrators felt an actual sexual attraction to the object of their raptures, in which they saw the exclusivity of their satisfaction in this respect.


You mentioned romantic necrophilia. What exactly is it?


Romantic necrophilia is classified among thanatophilic aberrations, although such a qualification may raise doubts, especially when sexual fantasies are limited to the imagination, without becoming an externalized act. This category was distinguished in 1995 by L. Franzini and J. Grossberg and it is supposed to consist in the fact that a romantic necrophile makes a deceased person the object of his feelings. King Herod, who slept with his wife Marianne seven years after her death, is given as an example.
Marcin Berent


What is the difference between necrophagia and cannibalism?


Again, these concepts are often used interchangeably, and the ranges of such behaviors partly overlap, especially when we observe them in the natural world. However, we are interested in them in relation to necrophilia, and if so, it should be remembered that the first, truly scientific research to recognize the essence of necrophilia was conducted by E. Wulffen at the beginning of the 20th century. We owe him the classification of necrophilic behaviours developed in 1910, which included necrosadism, consisting of contacts with a deceased or moribund person, where the victim was previously brought to such a state by a necrophile; necrostuprum, i.e. theft of human corpses for sexual use, and necrophagy, in which the perpetrator prefers to devour the human body. Such an approach does not always convince to the end, necrophagia, or – in the sense discussed here – anthropophagy does not have to be associated with any sexual paraphilia. Cannibalism among people is often a ritual phenomenon or dictated by an instinctive struggle to survive in an extreme state of danger, which in such a system has nothing to do with sex. Cases of necrosadism, i.e. necrophilic killings, occur extremely rarely, which is confirmed by a number of scientific publications. In this context, it reminds me of one of the trials for anthropophagy waged against the leader of the Central African Empire – J. Bokkas, who, however, was acquitted of cannibalism. Also, for instance the movie adaptation of the Uruguayan Flight 571, that while full of cannibalistic drama, was still nonetheless distant from an actual necrophiliac sexual orgy.


How often, to your knowledge, do cases of necrophiles occur in Poland, abroad?


Necrophilia is a completely marginal phenomenon, both in Poland and abroad, although it happens relatively more often there. In our native „criminal backyard”, statistically we have other problems, the most serious being drunk drivers, so admirers of dead bodies are unlikely to make themselves apparent [laughs]. If we were to point to any hero from under the ghastly sign of necrophilia, it would be primarily Edmund Kolanowski, whose sexual preferences eventually led to his execution. Though foreign criminal records are richer in this respect. Characters such as Karen Greenlee, who went down in the history of criminology as a necrophile woman after she disappeared with a kidnapped funeral caravan, or Leilah Wendell, whose necromantic tendencies became known thanks to her book publications. Both ladies, however, were relatively harmless and perverse in their deviations, at least when compared to people such as Edward Gein, Dennis Nielsen or Jeff Dahmer. Gein, the first of the aforementioned people, is an extremely distasteful figure – is the killer Bernice Worden, in house of whose an armchair covered in human skin, bowls prepared from human skulls, masks made of skin from the human face, or a belt made of nipples were found. In his cruelty, Gein became the archetype of characters appearing in such films as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "The Silence of the Lambs". The history of criminology remembered him as the "Butcher of Plainfield". The latter, Nielsen, is a particularly dangerous killer who, after killing his victims, subjected them to various sexual practices, while also indulging in other – at least from his perspective – pleasures, e.g. taking baths in corpse water. He dropped the dismembered fragments of the bodies of his victims into the sewage system, and when it eventually clogged – he was discovered by the police. There is also Dahmer, a serial killer, rapist and necrophiliac, known as the "Milwaukee Cannibal", with at least 17 victims. And, of course, the most notorious and recent case of the "Rottenburg cannibal" from recent years.


Who was the "Rottenburg Cannibal"?


"Cannibal from Rottenburg", "Monster from Rottenburg" or "Master Butcher" is Armin Meiwes, an IT specialist from Essen, who – in response to an online advertisement – was approached by Bernd Brandes, then a 43-year-old engineer from Berlin, ready for a bloody feast in which the main dish was supposed to be ...he himself! The necrosadistic ritual filmed by Meiwes, involved cutting off Brandes' penis, then its consumption, and finally then cutting the victim's throat and slowly bleeding him out in the bathtub. And all of this took place with the consent of the Berliner, although, of course, it is not known to what extent she was aware of it, and to what extent she was dazed by the consumed alcohol and drugs. Brandes was also close to "catching" a fairly lenient sentence, but eventually he was judged with life imprisonment.


Is Edmund Kolanowski the most famous Polish necrophile? How did he act?


Yes, Edmund Kolanowski is certainly the most famous Polish necrophile and in fact one of the few we know. Kolanowski's criminological image as the perpetrator is unique even when compared to Bogdan Arnold's or Paweł Tuchlin's deviations. Kolanowski's path to necrophilia was quite long and if there was an unquestionable relationship between the early confrontation with the motives of death and the later revelation of necrophilic tendencies, it could be said that Kolanowski was condemned to necrophilia – from an early age he was a frequent visitor to Poznań cemeteries, and in his early youth he also had the opportunity to witness autopsies. Kolanowski was not of the best intellectual predisposition, and he quickly came into conflict with the law. To realize his necrophilic fantasies, he dug up female corpses from graves, which he mutilated by cutting out breasts and genitals, then sewn them onto a mannequin which then he subjected to sexual practices. For his deviations, Kolanowski ended up in the hands of an executioner, whom he did not avoid despite his application for the revision of his sentence Interestingly, the loop that tightened around his neck was not so much due to the desecration of the corpse he profaned, but because of his necrosadism, since the main reason behind investigation into his practices were three murders. Kolanowski was also one of the last people sentenced to death in Poland, who was executed and the last – if one may say so – beneficiary of this type of justice in Poznań. He was buried in Miłostów in Poznań. I do not know if his grave is still there, because some time ago there was an announcement about its liquidation due to the lack of fees.


Can rape pills be a tool for a zomnofile for whom the stimulant of sexual arousal is a person who is asleep or intoxicated?


If a zomnofile is aroused by a person who is not normally active, for example, sleeping or intoxicated, and the so-called rape pill leads to such an effect, then, of course, it can be such a tool. However, I honestly admit that I know of several cases, both as a researcher and an office lawyer, in which the perpetrator drugged his victim via such means, and in none of these cases did the necrophilic thread come into play. Moreover, it should be remembered that not every feeling of sexual attraction to a person who, at the time of showing their feelings, is asleep or does not manifest normal interaction with the outside world, because they have consumed, for example, an excessive amount of alcohol, should be identified as zomnophilia. Therefore, a boy who lovingly kisses his beloved on the forehead in the morning, although she has not yet woken up, is not a zombiephile, just as a girl who feels satisfaction and emotional excitement when she prepares cold lemonade in the kitchen for her beloved, who at the time still suffers from yesterday's alcoholic feast [laughs]. 


In your opinion, is it possible to take preventive measures against the perpetrators of necrophilic behaviour?


It is always possible to take preventive measures against any undesirable behaviour from the point of view of their social assessment, therefore also in relation to necrophilia. Their proper profiling and effectiveness are another matter. However, in the case of such a rare phenomenon as necrophilia, there are two questions must be asked first. First, is prevention necessary in this regard? Secondly, can preventive actions be profiled in any way? It seems that both questions should be answered negatively, although - of course, a lot of it depends on the point of reality to which we formulate this question. Things are slightly different in Poland, and the same goes the west of Europe, for example in Germany, although of course while avoiding excessive hysteria about German reality in this field. But going back to both questions, and to the first one in specific, I know nothing about the existence of a formalized political and criminal line of action that would be calculated to counteract necrophilia and its perpetrators. It does not exist, because it does not have to exist – Poland is not at risk of rashes of necrophilic deviants, against whom the state would have to intensively defend itself. If citizens are to be afraid of anything in this context, it would rather be hooligan antics in cemeteries than manifestations of real necrophilia. And the second question: whether it is possible to take any specific countermeasures against necrophilic behaviour at all. In the sense that someone will think: "oh, it's necrophilia, so for this reason, so we will act this, or another way", and that is not the case. If necessary, actions can be taken aimed at the general protection of the legal order, and as such these actions will not cause any poetic effect, only because the reason for their adoption were acts of necrophilia. I do not know if i made myself clear now, but the point is that in the prevention of necrophilia, there are no other specific measures that would otherwise not protect other related goods and laws, because it is about the general handling of legal goods and prudential rules protecting them. So, if something bad is happening on the cemeteries, it may be necessary to increase the number of patrols that will scare off or – better – detain a potential violator of the legal order. And it does not matter whether the violator is actually a necrophiliac or a young hooligan looking for nocturnal sensations at the burial place of our dead. Of course, the level of this protection can be multiplied. It is known, for example, that the French have been struggling for years with various acts of vandalism in Père-Lachaise, including cases of statuophilia. Therefore, if pedestrian patrols are not enough, prevention may also consist of better lighting of the alleys on the cemetery, or installation of surveillance. All this counteracts many undesirable acts, not only of necrophilic origin. The same is true for other cases. If we go to a nightclub to have a little fun after a hard week of work, it is better not to take drinks from strangers. Not because we are specifically afraid of necrophiles, but because the rule of conduct states that we do not accept any drink or food from a stranger in order not to fall victim to theft or rape. Prevention resulting from this rule is therefore of a general nature, protects us against many threats and does not acquire any distinctive character in relation to counteracting necrophilia.


Does victimology examine the victims of perpetrators of necrophilic behaviour and if so, to what extent? 


You are obviously joking with that question, aren't you [laughs]? Victimology is the study of the phenomenon of harm and victims of such harm, and especially the role played by the victim in the genesis of the harm itself. You see, the case with necrophilia is that the common trait of the victims of this type of deviant behaviour is that they are dead, and their only fault in that is them no longer being alive. So, if we wanted to examine the victims of necrophilia using victimological approach, especially their role in the process of harm, the examination would be extremely short, and the diagnosis would be as follows: a corpse became a victim because it was dead. Well, unless we understand necrophilia more broadly, based on the classifications presented by the researchers already mentioned in our conversation, and we include deviations beyond physical contact with the body of the deceased, then this question makes sense But again, it seems that victimology has no major role to play in the study of the harm phenomenon because the necrophiliac's behaviour is the source of this harm. These decisions will be generalized again. If, for example, we do not want to fall victim to a zomnophile, then – let's bring back the motive from a few moments ago – we do not drink drinks bought by a stranger but again, this is not a special rule of conduct, but rather a result of common sense. Whether the perpetrator of our subsequent possible harm was a zomnophile, a thief or an ordinary rapist, it does not matter – we took a drink with a rape pill and the result of the victimological examination will always indicate the acceptance of this drink as our contribution to the tragedy. If we do not want to fall victim to necrosadism, we minimize the danger in this regard by using the achievements of victimology in relation to the general issues of wronging with the crime of murder, although, of course, the possible motives for this murder may be important to us.


In your opinion, is there a black number of necrophilic crimes that have not been detected or information about such cases has not as of yet reached the investigators? 


Every crime and every pathology occurring in the criminal sphere has its black, grey or – simply – dark number, because for some reason the investigators do not possess full information on the matter. Why should this be different in the case of necrophilia? There is no reason for that. Of course, one could wonder about the number of such crimes, especially whether it is large or minimal. This, in turn, depends, among other things, on the nature of the phenomenon, the circumstances of the act, the personality profile of the perpetrator, or the actual possibilities of determining the actual circumstances of the case. Considering all this, it seems that this number should not be alarming, especially in Poland.


Why are cases of necrophilic acts rarely found by specialist doctors, police officers? Is the percentage of necrophilic killings known?


They are rarely found because the phenomenon itself is rare, and thus it would be difficult to  find something so rare. Of course, this is a good diagnosis, after all, we would like to have as few cases of this type of deviation as possible. Well, the fact is that if we suspect the possibility of such a case, it is not easy to link it to necrophilic activity. The reasons for this state of affairs is the difference between the medical field and the investigative practice. In addition to the classic difficulties that plague doctors and lawyers in all criminal cases, it is not easy for a doctor – because we are talking about them now - to diagnose necrophilia, since one of the most serious researches within this professional sphere did not manage to develop a clear definition of it, satisfied with the statement that necrophilia as "other disorders of sexual preference". And what does "other" mean? Others are those that cannot be matched with those that are known and diagnosed. So please realize that the „others” are unknown, because we simply do not know what exactly they are.Others” as the unknown becomes known only in relation to the already known, but still, it wouldn’t be enough. Therefore, the doctor makes a diagnosis by stating that a given case simply does not fit the patterns known to him and thus determines necrophilia. And since there is no agreement on the principles, there can be no clear diagnoses in this regard. When it comes to the so-called proper necrophilia, the matter is still relatively simple and easy to diagnose but becomes more difficult in the case when the disorder is not so extreme. My presentation is, of course, a far-reaching simplification, because the form of my statement forces synthesis, and I would not like to create the belief that we know nothing about necrophilia, because it is not true. Ultimately, necrophilia is also not classified as a deviation of BNO (unspecified – editor's note), but there are comments on F65.8, because – if I remember correctly – necrophilia was recorded in the ICD-10 classification, indicating that it is not very well known what to do with necrophilia. We only agree on the general, often differing on details. And what about the police? Well, if there is no clear evidence, such as post-mortem vaginal penetration, or any other evidence that allows for a transparent reconstruction of the facts, then there are only verbal statements of the suspect in the scope of possible motives or beliefs that guided him. However, when it comes to your question about the percentage share of necrosadism in the structure of homicides, because that is what this question comes down to, I do not know such statistics. Of course, it is possible to calculate, all that is need is to know how many homicides were committed each year and for what reason. Both of these values can be determined, especially easily by the number of homicides that are published on the Police websites, but I do not know of any study in which someone tried to make such a percentage statement. However, given the nature of the phenomenon we are constantly discussing here, it is safe to assume that such percentage participation would be completely marginal, if not none, at least if we mean Poland.


What is the penalisation of necrophilia in other countries?


The answer to this question would be very interesting if you were to ask what the criminalisation of necrophilia looks like in general, because from the logical point of view, such a question would also concern the criminalisation of necrophilia in Poland. We have not talked about it so far, and in my opinion necrophilia in Poland is not punishable. Moreover, I devoted one of my scientific publications to this problematic issue under the eloquent title "On dubious grounds of punishment of the so-called proper necrophilia in Poland. Outline of which is based on art. 262 of the Polish Penal Code", indicating that the criminalization field stated by the provisions of the Criminal Code does not include the criminality of necrophilia, at least the proper one, understood as sexual contact with human corpses. I focused my dogmatic considerations on the problem of fulfilling the elements of art. 262 of the Polish Criminal Code of 1997, regarding the “undermining” and doubts related to subject of the executive action; the problem of reconstructing the intention of the perpetrator of the necrophilic act; the problem of the social context of this type of behaviour; finally, the problem of the essence of lawlessness, which is covered by the hypothesis of the aforementioned code article, as well as the problem of placing a possibly relevant provision in such a chapter of the Code. However, since this is not the question at hand, let us leave it alone, we will not treat a potential reader of our discourse to difficult-to-digest content in the field of dogma of criminal law, because it would have to be reduced to that. So when it comes to penalising necrophilia in other countries, I will probably be able to satisfy you with my answer only in part, because I have limited my scientific research in this area only to the common law legislation, but also interesting and informative conclusions come from this, showing the diversity in the approach to the legal regulation of the issue of necrophilia. For example, the British Sexual Offences Act of 2003, which in section 70, chapter 42, describes a type of crime involving the sexual penetration of a corpse, with a sentence of up to two years' imprisonment. The perpetrator of such a necrophilic crime is the one who intentionally commits sexual penetration using any part of his body, or even anything else, if the perpetrator performs his act on the body of a dead person, and this act has a sexual context. What is particularly important, the introduction of such a type of criminalization - in principle the need for its introduction, was justified by the previous inability to recognize necrophilia as a sexual offense. However, there is no crime in which the perpetrator is unaware that he is in fact, sexually in contact with a dead person, that is, he imagined that such a person is alive, as well as when the sexual partner of such a perpetrator dies during intercourse. In turn, in the US state of Wisconsin, there is a rule according to which the person who committed an act of sexual violence to the deceased, then the perpetrator is then also responsible for rape. A rather casuistic approach to necrophilia can be found in the legislation of the state of Georgia, where necrophilia is any act of sexual nature, which the perpetrator commits in relation to human corpses, involving the genitals and mouth of one of the parties, the anus, penis or vagina of the other parties, undertaking of which is subject to a sanction in the form of imprisonment for up to two years. A similar casuistry to determine the criminal law relevance of necrophilia was adopted in the Nevada state legislation, where this term is understood as sexual penetration of a deceased person in the form of oral intercourse, whereby it is forbidden even to slightly place any part of the body or object in the genitals or anus, and all sexual activity practiced between the living but performed on a corpse is prohibited. Rhode Island General Laws defines necrophilia as first-degree sexual assault of a human corpse. In Arizona, necrophilia is a crime against the deceased, which may involve sexual contact with the deceased in the form of vaginal and anal penetration, as well as self-abuse involving the genitals of the deceased. Here, the punishment of necrophilia is, moreover, very broad, because it is forbidden to perform any activities other than those customarily adopted in funeral practices for storage, embalming or disinfection of the body, and therefore various indirect and direct forms of touch, caresses, oral contacts, sexual games in relation to the genitals of the breasts performed using both body parts and any object are involved. In Utah, necrophilia is classified as desecration, while in Australia, necrophilia is defined as indecent interference with a corpse, with punishment of imprisonment for up to two years. This is the punishment of necrophilia in the world, at least in a panoramic shortcut and a subjective selection of knowledge that I have already accumulated some time ago, so I hope that nothing has changed in this matter, because – as you know – no law once given remains forever unchanged.


You talk about necrophilia with great passion. Why are you so interested in this issue?


No, I'm not a necrophile, if that's what you're asking [laughs]. I always talk about my work, especially my scientific work, with passion and interest. I became interested in necrophilia basically as a dogmatist of criminal law. In rarely discussed Article 262 of the Polish Criminal Code, which provides for liability for insulting corpses, human ashes or resting places, it was repeated many times in my presence that this article is also the basis for repressing the perpetrator of necrophilic behaviour in the light of the law. However, this prompted my objection, or at least did not fully convince me, because an in-depth dogmatic analysis of this provision did not have to lead to such categorical conclusions Finally, the last straw to break the camel’s back was one of my cathedral colleagues at the university where I work, when he stated that he has no doubt that necrophilia is punished in Poland. Then I decided to take the problem seriously. However, it quickly turned out that for a mature answer in the legal area as to whether necrophilia is punishable in. And so I have explored it, and have already shared my observations during scientific conferences, I have also written something about it, and now I am talking about it all with you. All in all, I think it was worth addressing this topic. Anyway, it is a habit of mine to be interested in issues that rarely arouse the intellectual passions of my colleagues. These issues also provoke some thoughts about why Berent was so interested in this problem [laughs]. Well, because it is suspicious when someone excessively exploits – if you can say so – dead deviations. I wonder what he is hiding there, you might think. But not everyone who is interested in necrophilia is a necrophile, at least I hope that there is no such relationship [laughs]. I devoted my master's thesis at the Institute of History and Archives to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, partly also to visions of what the world could look like in the event of the Axis in the war. In my detective work, I am interested in economic intelligence and practical aspects of money laundering. But does this mean that I am a supporter of Hitlerism, with a nostalgic vision of Germany's victory in the war, to launder money in the brown reality? Of course not, it is just science [laughs]. 


And with this cheerful accent, we end our conversation about how gruesome things are. Thank you for this conversation.


Thank you, I am glad if I could contribute to the intellectual exploration of the problem.







from Latin "Experienced and effective in the profession"