Meet Merv C.

Tuesday is generally the day that I do new release videos on Sacred Debris, but I’m feeling kinda stuck on this one. I had planned to write a lot more about today’s video,  featuring a brief chat with Sailor Sid Diller and tattoo/piercing enthusiast Merv Chapman conducted by Jack Yount, but I think I’ll just let the video speak for itself.  Merv had extensively pierced nipples and genitals and was, as this clip shows, very concerned about the ‘bitches’ at airport security harassing him about his piercings; so much so that he painstakingly removes each and every piece of jewelry before flying. A pretty big undertaking considering how much jewelry he wears.

I had first seen Merv in Stefan Richter’s 1986 book TATTOO and later in prints in Jack Yount’s house. He later appeared in HIDDEN EXPOSURES 1 , most likely photographed during the visit he mentions with Stefan in this video. Hidden Exposures is long since out of print, but it’s a true gem for body modification book collectors, featuring Jack Yount, Mr. Sebastian, Merv, Isobel Varley, Genesis P-Orridge and many, many more wonderfully tattooed and pierced personalities.

Jack made these videos to be sent all over the world, connecting the body modification community no matter how remote or isolated; I’m pleased to be able to carry on Jack’s mission to keep these memories alive. In the oral tradition, I’ll share a story that Jack shared with me about Merv undergoing heart surgery. Apparently he was made aware by the surgeon that he’d have to have an incision in his chest, and he demanded that the surgeons perfectly line his tattoo back up during the suturing process or they might as well not cut him. He reckoned that he had gone through the pain of the tattoo and didn’t want to see the artist’s work disfigured!

Thanks to a donation to the Sacred Debris project of a 2tb backup drive, we’ve got quite a bit more room to capture new video and  I can start pulling over tapes now instead of relying on footage already captured. Seeing you folks get behind the project and support it really makes the worth worthwhile!



  1. DE VAAR BV 1994. ISBN 90-75201-01-X

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community outside of academia. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.


    1. Hmm. I’m not really sure how to remedy that, Bato.
      I just checked on three different browsers and it’s running fine for me. Because the NSFW videos can’t be hosted on youtube I have to embed them from my own server. It might be the code I’m using. I’ll see if there’s better embedding options.

  1. Jack was the one who introduced me into the modification world. This is a good and respectful thing to be doing in his memory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *