Nostalgia and Inspiration

earhand01Directly or indirectly, I’m not sure the Sacred Debris project would have happened without these two gentlemen. Last year was a rough one, losing Shannon Larratt and Josh Burdette within a few months of each other. The memorial that we put together in Philadelphia for Shannon brought out lots of old friends; some of us are getting to the age where nostalgia is starting to take a more important role in our lives, and sitting back with Josh Burdette, telling stories about the old days and how soon enough our exploits back in the ‘middle school’ of body modification would likely be forgotten or never known.

Several months later I’d get the call that Josh had exited the world on his own terms.

His passing took a lot out of me and I booked myself a bus ticket to Toronto, heading up to the Toronto International Film Festival to see a movie about my favorite director- who Shannon and I once contacted about shooting a ModCon documentary- and before I knew it I found myself standing in front of Shannon’s old house. The one he lived in when I first met him. The one that hosted the original BME/BBQs that drew friends from all over the world who often got together in the freezing cold of winter or blistering heat of summer to have fun, do modification work and just relax being surrounded by people who understood.

2000jbleftSaying goodbye to Shannon and Josh- being comforted by nostalgia and fearful that our memories- and the memories of the generation(s) that came before us- was a big motivator in starting this blog. That just gives us all another reason to thank these two really amazing souls.

Shannon Larratt in Detroit 1998: The first time I met him in person, the girl I was traveling with wanted to put her hands through his lobes. We did this in a Detroit hotel- a few hours later we had created what would become the MODCON events.

Josh Burdette in Philadelphia 1999: Erik ‘the Lizardman’ Sprague invited us to see him perform- as AMAGO- with the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow at the Electric Factory. Afterwards, Josh and I, along with a few friends, decided to keep the fun going at the South Street Diner where we played the always popular “what can fit in my lobes” game to the delight/horror of the rest of the restaurant.

I’ve been lucky in my life to have spent time with some truly inspiring friends.

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 in existence. 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. I have a variety of (real old-fashioned print!) photos of Josh with various things in his ears. Found a few last month in my attic and did the crying-smiling thing that happens when I think nostalgic thoughts about people I adore who aren’t here anymore. Fake hair scrunchie is still terrifying. Brazilian BBQ meat stick is still funny.

    I’ve been unsuccessful so far in getting anything from my old BMEworld site… I wish I could see Josh’s again.

  2. I only met Shannon in person once.. but what a gracious, smart man…I was with Marcel, the nullo and we had a great dinner together in Toronto

  3. And they were lucky to have you in their lives man. Too bad a shitload of things are bloody unfair, but let’s keep the good memories close to our heart.

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