The Curious Case of the Human Shiitake

Also known as, “the dick in a jar.”

In my last article, I wrote about a few of the little treasures recently found while cleaning my closet. One such prize was an old photo album, one that I haven’t peeked into for probably nine years or so. It’s photos from that album that sparked the topic of today’s discussion …

When other teenagers were worrying about acne or the terror of asking a girl out to prom, my older brother Robert and I were visiting the house of Master Piercer Jack Yount. It’s hard to describe the entirety of the relationship, now 18 years in the past, but meeting Jack at that time and place (rural South in the early 1990s) is probably the single most personality defining experience of my life.

It wasn’t uncommon to find penises at Jack’s house. Far from it. The average visit had at least one naked man lounging about, sometimes one getting pierced or modified in some way, and scores of other male members that you’d give up on trying to count, tucked all over the house in paintings, photographs and sculptures. But the thing in the jelly jar …

That’s another story altogether.

I first saw it when I was looking for a hand towel in the washroom. There, under the sink in a creepy gingham topped jar, floated a shriveled, brownish … thing. It looked like a large shiitake mushroom. With pubic hair.

It’s exactly what you think it is.

Seeing things in jars at Jack’s place was to be expected. One of the first times we visited, we were treated to the comedy gold-mine of his preserved testicles. I never remember which was which: Was it the right testicle in the jar with the green lid, or was that the left? I’m not sure that Jack even knew, but I’ll tell you what — Monty Python would have killed for such an obvious sight gag. “Excuse me, are my testicles in your way? Let me move them.” Like a bad vaudeville routine, with disembodied balls instead of borscht.

So what was so strange about this thing? This fleshy fungi incubating in cut-rate embalming fluid? It was a penis. And it was split. Totally.

Coming out of the washroom, I decided then and there to get to the bottom of this mystery. I didn’t want to be too forward — a delicate operation was likely needed to secure the truth about this curious curio. However, I wasn’t the master of subtlety I’ve since become, so I went for broke.

“Hey Jack,” I asked, “what’s up with that cock under your sink?”

Jack got up and found a photo album and, beckoning me to sit down, started telling me the story of the dick in a jar.

I had seen it before — the penis while still attached — in the album that Jack had brought down. It was an impressive piece of solo surgery: Total bifurcation of the penis and scrotum, all self done. But the photos he flipped to weren’t the same as I had seen before. These were recent, from the last trip Jack had taken to Mexico.

He began by showing me photos of an older fella — bald, wearing a grin that went from ear to ear, naked and surrounded by a group of similarly modified men. This friend from Australia, R.S., had slowly and patiently done a full bisection on himself, turning his genitals into a complete “butterfly.” I ventured a guess: “Is that the guy from Modern Primitives? Carl Carroll?” But I struck out.

“Same continent,” Jack said, “different cock.”


This friend had worked for years on his surgery project, corresponding with Jack throughout. Though they had never met, they shared photos back and forth and arranged a meeting in Mexico, where he had made an appointment with famed modification doctor Ronald Brown for something that left most folks totally vexed: Vaginoplasty. After years of painstakingly splitting his penis and scrotum, R.S. wanted his genitals reconfigured to make labia. Dr. Brown, an innovator in the field, was able to develop a surgery using the erectile tissue of the penis to make labia that, when aroused, would become engorged.

The leftover tissue, including both halves of the glans and the skinned shaft, remained intact and was removed in one piece along with the scrotum. The remains, shriveled and necrotic, were smuggled back over the border in Jack’s jockstrap.

Even now I can’t begin to imagine the journey that the extra appendage took. Wrapped in gauze, perhaps, and shoved inside Jack’s ample banana hammock? Having crossed borders in the past with items on my person that would have been rather hard to explain, I can only hazard a guess that Jack was sweating bullets, hoping against hope that he didn’t get picked for a strip search.

(For the sake of history, I’ll add that Jack was also carrying his own fingertip over the border, freshly amputated and discretely concealed in a bandage wrapped around its former host.)

Once back in the United States, Jack placed the phallic remains in the first container that he could find: a Smuckers apricot jelly jar. There it sat for the rest of its journey back to his home in Zephyrhills, Florida, eventually settling in that jar, though fancier specimen containers were available.


After Jack’s passing, the jar started an extraordinary journey that has found it traveling across the country, appearing in a book (ModCon: The Secret World of Extreme Body Modification) and becoming something of an urban legend. Its current whereabouts are unknown, though I’ve heard that when the moon is full and the sky clear, its ghostly rem– … sorry. I sort of got carried away.

I was eventually able to track down the former (well, original) owner of the unit and check on his health. He was quite pleased that his former project had survived after his return to Australia, and sent a note wishing its current owner the best of luck with its care and feeding.

I’d like to say that there’s a moral to the story, but for the life of me I can’t really come up with one, so I’ll go with a quote:

“If you should be lucky enough to find a dick in a jar, make sure to ask how it got there.”

- Shawn Porter

It’s not the most famous quote in the world, but … time will tell if it can achieve greatness.

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13 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Human Shiitake

  1. awesome article. its fun to finally be able to place a story with the “face” in the jar. :)

  2. Shawn, I love you! that story was amazingly well written…I’m really curious to know, where is the penis in the jar now.

    Oh won’t the individual with the penis in the jar please stand up…please stand up….please stand up!

    and I’m surprised your master of subtly came with age and experience…I would have thought you had that from birth my friend, the way it just flings from the tip of your tongue so well haha

  3. ..that’s pretty fuckin funny. I kind of wish I knew more people with body-parts in jars, there seems to be so much stigma attached to that sort of thing. Well written too, kudos.

  4. That’s funny and I’m surprised your master of subtly came with age and experience…I would have thought you had that from birth my friend, the way it just flings from the tip of your tongue so well haha.

  5. Shawn,i was apprenticed by jack at the same time you were around there,we should share some stories!
    like how i had to clean out sailor sid diller’s trailer-eeks,and worked at silver anchor”jacks jewelry company with ed” making jacks inch thick nipple jewelry! ha ha!

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