In the mid/late 1990s, IN THE FLESH magazine (issue number needed; I can’t find them in my archives) ran a story on a voluntary amputee calling himself Stonehenge.They chose not to run photographs of his modification; instead they published tracings of his feet.
I was contacted by Stonehenge throughout he SPCOnline email account asking if I’d like to run the pictures that In the Flesh had been too cautious to print. I’m unsure of the date- it was approximately 1996/7.
I corresponded with Stonehenge- who was then calling himself ToeCutter (and eventually Subtracting) quite a bit before eventually meeting him in 1999 at ModCon1 in Toronto. I found him to be an eccentric fellow; someone who’s personality was so larger than life that his amputations (which have since moved on to his hands) weren’t the most dynamic thing about him.
Subtracting consented to a filmed interview with BME’s Shannon Larratt during which he amputated a fingertip.
His Apotemnophilia (Amputation fetish) presented as part of a bigger artistic statement- he cut fingers and toes off at different joints to create an asymmetrical aesthetic making it about much more than just becoming an amputee.
The last working email address I have for him bounces back, so if anyone has current contact information, please get in touch.
His first contribution to the SPCOnline site included a ‘self interview’ which is reposted below.
“I get asked questions by a lot of people who are really interest in why I got involved with foot sculpture and how I did it and what are the consequences, so here goes:”
Why did you cut off and change the lengths of most of your toes?
First, I was intrigued with the question, “does it hurt?” My answer would be no except when you amputate right up against the body of the foot; not when you do the actual amputation, but only as it heals. Second, I wanted to change the length of the various toes, with the idea of showing off one more body modification. A bit extreme, I will admit, but the look is quite jarring for a stranger.
When you amputate even the first toe, does this affect your balance?
I would say, that after maybe two toes, I could sometimes feel that when my toes get a message from my inner ears to correct balance, I might lurch or have to do a further correction.
What about the flow of blood? Did you end up in the ER?
When I am going to amputate a toe, I must have all my equipment ready and as sterile as possible. That includes pre-cut gauze bandages so that I can apply direct-pressure for 30 minutes to one hour. The big toes and thumbs have larger blood vessels than the other toes and fingers. These are smaller arteries, and one does not staunch the flow of blood with just gauze bandages. The further back to the foot you go, the more the blood you get. When I did amputate a big toe, I used small rubber tourniquettes and I found that the blood flow was controlled with the combination of tourniquettes and direct pressure. If one goes too far back, one could be unable to staunch the flow and end up in the ER. I did not though. There was more pain and this continued off and on for four weeks, especially at night.
You have now done nine toes or portions of them, can you go further with your feet?
I like the look of my feet now, but I may amputate the nail portion of my last remaining big toe.
Are you thinking about amputating your fingers or portions of them?
This would be a major decision, due to my work and family. My daughter does not know I have amputated my toes. She might want to take a look at my feet if I amputated a thumb nail. This is a major decision.
You have amputated just fingers and toes – – have you thought about amputating an arm or leg.
This is major and I do not like the idea of having to get up to put an artificial limb on in the morning.
Have you met or contacted other people who are involved with do-it-yourself amputation, or wannabes who are searching for a doctor to the amputation for them.
There are people I have been in contact with on the internet. There is a want-2-be news group, and aside from people who want to lose an arm or leg, there are also people in these groups who have already had legs amputated. There are two men who have had the operations. I have heard of several women, who had legs amputated, but they are not Americans. There are also women who are looking for male amputees, they are called “devotees.”
What other body modifications have you run into?
There are people who want to modify their genitals in such ways as castration, multiple piercing, nullification (amputating the penis), splitting the head of the penis. There are people who want to become paraplegics, and of course, all kinds of amputations.
Are there any other body modifications you wish to mention?
In Indonesia, apparently, the teen-agers are stretching their ear lobes and putting plastic bottle caps in their ears. I’ve been doing that here in the USA before I ever heard that they were doing it.