One Year Later


Sailor Sid blogging before it was cool.

The Sacred Debris blog turns a year old today. It’s been a fun ride so far- maintaining this blog has encouraged me to be more proactive about preserving some of the rapidly aging media in my collection and it’s been a pleasure to be able to share them with people who have a genuine passion for Body Modification.

To date, our numbers have been very strong; much stronger than I expected for a first year blog. It’s been encouraging to see the traffic that the site has been getting, but regrettably it’s been mostly that: Traffic. Folks coming to the site, checking it out and not much more. My hopes for the project was to create a space for community interaction that encouraged other Body Modification fans to have a place to share their voice. History is my particular passion, but SD was never intended to be just a history blog. When I first announced it I had a few dozen people interested in writing for us and at a year we’ve only managed a few guest posts.

That means it’s almost exclusively me updating, and with the lack of viewer interaction (comments, emails) it’s left me feeling like I’m talking to myself. That’s very discouraging and this post is sort of a concession that I don’t know what I’m going to be doing with Sacred Debris in 2015. fernandoTUMBLR

I’ve put a lot of time into the preservation of the media I’ve posted here; each video takes hours of work to get online regardless of it’s runtime. A five minute video, start to finish, represents an average of five hours of work for me. Selection, screening, capturing, editing, uploading, fact checking if there’s an accompanying article and ultimately, regardless of the amount of views they may get, there’s not much feedback. Very few thanks or followup questions. The tip jar remains empty and then I find myself editing another that will share a similar fate. The ‘Incredible Til’ video has been viewed over 10,000 times. If every viewer who watched it donated $1, we’d have a surplus to purchase 8mm and DVC cameras to add even more one of a kind content. Instead, there’s an expectation that these videos will just keep showing up. The videos are the most dynamic content I post due to their rarity, but I think regardless of what I plan to do in 2015, they’ll be the biggest issue. Either I’ll cease to add videos or I’ll put them behind a mandatory tip wall- if folks don’t want to kick out a buck or two for a video it’ll show me that there’s no interest in them and I’ll be able to focus my attention elsewhere.

In related news, I’ll be adding a ‘content poll’ in the next day or two to see what your favorite/least favorite material is. Please take the few minutes to fill it out.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who’s offered me feedback, asked questions, reblogged our tumblr posts, dropped some coin into the donation box, and otherwise supported the project. You folks are the vocal minority who’s interactions have helped keep the site available for everyone else, and regardless of what happens next- I want you to know how much it’s meant to me.

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. I do appreciate your taking the time to do all this. I don’t get to see or read much of it, or even view the videos. But I know all too well how much time something like this takes and while everyone wants it, so few contribute to it just expecting you (or me) or whoever to just do it just because. Mostly, for me, it is a window into a mutual past that we shared, although from different areas of the USA.

    1. Todd-
      I always welcome your comments and memories my friend. I hope you have an amazing 2015, and that our paths cross again. We’ve known each other 20 years- having only met once seems strange!

      1. just part of living so far apart. I only got to meet Shannon in person ONCE! I’m just grateful of this thing called the internet, or we’d probably have never had contact. I remember the old days of the adds in the back of the PFIQ’s…. we have come a long way baby!

  2. My internet access has been superlimited for tge past several years, it is better now but not by much. I think webtv worked faster than my cellular connection now in Hana, HI 😉 Actions speak louder than words I know but now I know of this project, perhaps I can add so

  3. Something in 2015, esp if my income amd internet connection improve. Aloha and always mahalo for all you have done and continue to do, Shawn.

  4. Maybe if you updated more often you would get more fans. I hate coming here and seeing things that have been there for weeks. What you post is fine but you need to post a little more often to keep peoples attention like Modblog used to.

    1. Hey CB;
      Thanks for taking the time to offer feedback. That’s more than most folks do and I appreciate it.

      I post entries when I find something fun laying around that I want to share with you folks. Most of what I uploaded in the first year- to be brutally honest- was content that was already scanned for previous projects.

      This isn’t a job for me. It’s a labor of love, sure, but there comes a point where I have to ask myself how much time I want to devote to things. If I’m flipping through an old hard drive and find a photo I want to share- I share it. If it inspires dialogue I tend to get super amped and start digging through albums of hard copy photos to follow things up. The frenum picture I posted today- that’s from a series. I have a few more from that day that feature the finished product… but the motivation to dig through literally tens of thousands of photos to find just one or two isn’t there if the posts just sits there quietly.

      As for the Modblog comments… that’s a can of worms, friend. I’m going to be polite, but here’s the deal:

      Modblog authors had access to the stream of content submitted to the BME family of sites. Think of it as a giant pool of constantly updated images from people who want them to appear online. The Modblog author then sorts through them, finds one that interests them, and posts it. TO SUPPORT BME. TO GET PEOPLE TO COME TO BME AND HOPEFULLY SUBMIT MORE CONTENT OR BUY A MEMBERSHIP.

      Sorry for yelling.

      The content was constantly updated and there is little if any work to be done unless the writer wants to add more.

      Aside from the obvious argument that Sacred Debris simply isn’t (nor does it want to be) Modblog… there’s a huge difference in having your food set out on a plate for you and having to hunt, kill, grow and cook it.

      And to reiterate- I’m 100% happy with the amount of viewers the blog has. It was an incredibly busy first year, traffic wise. I’m not happy with the community interaction, the lack of other voices and the lack of support.

      I’d rather have less folks come if the ones who do come are really passionate about Body Mod.

      And again- honestly- thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback.

  5. Hi Shawn,
    I found out about your blog about a half hour ago, and I’ve been reading through your posts wide eyed and ecstatic this whole time. I really want to thank you for sharing your collection and knowledge with us. This material is priceless to me.

    I also wanted to say that what you’re doing, I feel, is needed for the body modification community. For people like me, the generation that is working their way into the body piercing/modification industry, the information you’re providing is essential to our understanding of our roots. Also for historians and enthusiasts alike. There is so much existing documentation of tattoos and the history of the art of tattooing, but not near enough on body piercing. I hope you know that what you’re doing is important.

    I understand you’re providing a service, one that I would hate to see cease, and for that I will gladly donate to you and keep an eye on your storeenvy. After reading this post, I just felt compelled to reach out to you.
    Thanks again,

    1. Amy, thank you for taking the time to reach out. Few of the old school guys seem to bother reading this, but I am one of those and I appreciate that there are some “youngsters” who have an active interest in really understanding what happened.

  6. Happy Birthday, then!

    glad to see you’re not giving this up despite the perceived lack of interaction. I guess that’s the fate shared by the vast majority of web ‘publishers’ today – consume, consume,consume….

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