My Essay, Entitled 'Hannibal Barca'

Name ten Carthaginian men whose names do not start with Ha-, I dare you, just ten. Sure, Queen Dido's name doesn't, but first of all, she wasn't a Carthaginian man, and second--considering that it's not a crime to lie on the internet, not yet--her actual historical name, according to Herodotus, was "Hadido" or something.

The best-known Carthaginian man was Hannibal "The Elephant Man" Barca, who also invented a particularly comfortable and luxurious elephant-saddle during his campaign against the Roman Republic, a saddle known today as the Barcalounger.

But seriously, folks, Hannibal's brother was name Hasdrubal, his father, Hamilcar. Centuries earlier lived the great navigator Hanno, who, as Peter Freuchen in his Book of the Seven Seas reports, "...left Carthage about the year 570 B.C." on a voyage around Africa's west coast, nearly to the equator.

After following the coast and undergoing sundry perils for miles and miles, "[a]t last they came to a place where it seemed safe to land. It is supposed that they were only about ten degrees, or perhaps less, north of the equator, into what is now French Guinea or Sierra Leone. They were amazed to see on shore a strange, savage little people 'the greater part of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy and whom our interpreter called Gorillae...' The 'men' fled over precipices, clinging to holds which no man dared attempt, and when the Carthaginians got close to them, they threw stones. They were unable to catch any of these 'men' but they did take three of the 'women.' The strange creatures seemed not to know they were captives, and continued to fight and bite and scratch until at last the Carthaginians killed them, flayed them and brought the skins on board ship to take back to Carthage."

To get back to this brief paper's leading point, I'll stop the ample quotation there, for verily, what are Gorillae, and all sorts of apes, but little hairy people? Certainly they have a greater claim to personhood than, say, the ghoul, pathetic and curst, haunting the Rub' al Khali amidst the howling of the djinn.

For, unlike Das Wampyr and le Zombi, al-ghul feeds not on, nor seeks out, the living, but only the dead. The vampire must, via guile, lure its victims to harm, and the zombie must overpower. In contrast, ideally--for the ghoul, that is--no living man or woman would ever peer into the "life" of this vermin, who would remain alone, feeding in the world's endless tombs, mausolea, graves, crypts, and sepulchers, so long as its flesh held out.

No human being could be this vile--for every pound of meat chewed from the dead in the ghoul's talons, that dead's soul undergoes an extra one thousand years of purging, due to a crossed-wires style bug in the moral fabric--in terms of which individual deserves what--a bug that sources confirm will be smoothed out ASAP.

Introduction: Are You In A Ghoul's Vicinity?

Though they are shy by nature, and have no stomach for living viands, there are ghouls who venture among us. It has been written that, just as we mild-mannered, workaday, law-abiding Joe Nobodies, after several hours and mugs at our after-work bar, shall whisper to each other of the grave-robbers we may have spotted--or merely heard had been spotted--skulking and digging in the catacombs of our city, so whisper those grave-robbers, in their catacombic after-work bars, of the ghouls whose shadows they have seen, or have heard sub-whispers about.

If only I had not tried my readers' patience, then they would have read on for long enough to discover, shortly, the numerous warning signs and caution marks no ghoul can help but emit. The stranger-to-loved one continuum in our lives may feature up to a thousand ghouls, who keep their feeding habits under wraps:

The following is a photograph taken by a man who followed his wife to a desert graveyard, to find not only that she was in the arms of another man, nor only that that homewrecker was a ghoul, but that she too shared his appetite for remains:

I can think of no more cautionary tale than the above image, which alone accounts for the one thousand word quota I have yoked around my neck for this particular entry.

Everything has been covered and you are now prepared.