Around the world, penises are being stolen — snatched right from between men’s thighs.
And by “true,” we mean “not entirely true.”
The true part is that men around the world honestly believe their peckers have been purloined. Penis snatching is a real problem, although it’s more of a mental disorder than a genital one.
Penis Snatching. Shrinking Penis. Genital Retraction Syndrome.
These are all variations of an all-too-real psychological disorder most commonly known as Koro. The word Koro itself comes from an Indonesian term meaning “to shrink,” and it has been used for centuries to describe this emasculating disorder.
Apparently, Koro might be on the rise, much unlike the penises it affects. Penis-snatching paranoia has gripped a Central African village in recent weeks.
The trademark symptom of Koro: a delusional belief that your junk has shrunk, possibly due to an evil hex or feelings of guilt over sexual misbehavior. Some victims of Koro believe that brushing against a person with magical powers is enough to spark the “startled turtle” effect.
Although most common in Africa, cases of Koro have been reported in Asia, Europe and North America (though why anyone would actually report a shrinking member is rather hard to fathom).
In some cases, the delusion is so all-consuming that victims have endangered their lives by using metal clamps, twine or other tools to prevent further shrinkage.
Koro can be serious business for the afflicted. Thankfully, it’s exceedingly rare.
Even so, this handy checklist should help you determine if you’re at risk of penis snatching.
1. Are you Taoist?
In Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine, frequent ejaculation is considered unhealthy, since semen contains your life force. So, frequent masturbation might be your problem. Also, the traditional Chinese medicine book Zhong Zang Jing says that a shortage of yang (you know, the counterbalance of yin) will cause shrinkage of the genitals. Handy mnemonic device: plenty of yang = plenty of wang.
2. Have you been cursed by a witch lately?
The Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century European manual for witchcraft investigations, contains stories of men whose genitals had evidently disappeared, being “hidden by the devil … so that they can be neither seen nor felt.” Witches allegedly kept stolen wieners in birds’ nests or in boxes, where the penises “move themselves like living members and eat oats and corn.”
3. Did you visit Ghana, Nigeria or Cameroon in the late 1990s?
If so, you might have become swept up in the penis-snatching epidemic of 1997. Victims in the African outbreaks tended to accuse someone of “stealing” the penis and its spiritual essence, causing impotence. The perceived motive was occult in nature, although it’s safe to say some men just blamed witchcraft and juju for as a scapegoat for an embarrassingly small member.
4. Did you eat Vietnamese food in 1976 or 1982?
At least 350 cases of Koro were reported in Thailand in 1976, followed by a smaller outbreak six years later. The Thai people blamed poisoning from Vietnamese food and tobacco — a deliberate attack on Thai men (and their penises) by the Vietnamese people. Something to think about over your next steaming bowl of pho.
5. Were you recently swimming in a cold pool or lake?
If so, there’s your problem. Just look at these pictures of Katy Perry, and everything should sort itself out.