Essence (Horror/SF)

It’s often said that some older societies used to believe that eating a person’s flesh transferred some of their essence. What if that belief turns out to be true?

Questions and ideas for follow-up:

  • Exactly what would be transferred? Skills? Physical characteristics? Knowledge? Memories? Personality? Maybe even a degree of consciousness?
  • Does it work with dead bodies, flesh from living people or both? How much do you need to eat? Is a specific organ required or will any organ work? Does it need to be raw or can it be cooked? How effective is cloned meat?
  • Can anyone do the transfer by just eating? Or does it need to be assisted by technology, drugs, fava beans, etc? Or is it a special ability your character was born with/has learned/has been gifted with?
  • How was this discovered? Maybe we learn the secret from an alien race where this is the standard way of life. Or perhaps ‘they’ have known about this for a long time but the knowledge suppressed. That could explain the laws against cannibalism. Is there an elite who have been using this to their advantage for centuries?
  • Does your character have a particular reason for wanting/believing this to be true?
  • Would people with desirable skills sell parts of their flesh? Would there be some who actually want to be (partially) eaten as a form of immortality?
  • Is your character a diner or dinner?