was influential

The Beginning Was the End

The Beginning Was the End is a 1971 pseudo-scientific book written by Oscar Kiss Maerth. It claims that mankind evolved from cannibalistic apes.


It was first published in Germany as Der Anfang war das Ende - Der Mensch entstand durch Kannibalismus (Econ Verlag GmbH, Düsseldorf und Wien, 1971), then translated by Judith Hayward and published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph, Ltd, 1973 and re-issued by Sphere Books, Ltd, London in 1974, ISBN 0 7221 5712 6. It has been translated into eight languages.


Maerth asserted that the eating of brain produces an aphrodisiac effect (presumably due to the vast amount of hormones in it), and that this initially caused apes to become addicted to them, organizing brain hunts wherein the males of another tribe were eaten and the females raped in a frenzy of brain-induced sex and violence. However, this diet also inadvertently increased brain size and intelligence while triggering the loss both of body hair and of our innate psychic abilities. Thus man gradually came into being, remaining cannibalistic until 50,000 years ago. Modern humans, alienated from their surroundings now that they've no telepathic contact with nature and each other as animals do, suffering from a distorted sexuality resulting from hormonal imbalances, and driven insane from the constant pressure of their unnaturally large brains pressing on the inside of their skulls, are inevitably destroying themselves with pollution, overpopulation, racial integration and ultimately, nuclear war. He foresees a return to cannibalism in the near future, and suggests that the reader should drop out of society, embrace a vegetarian diet, steep himself in the wisdom of the East and perhaps employ various wooden frames and wire devices to alter the shape of his skull as some ancient cultures did, thus relieving the pressure on the brain and partially restoring psychic powers.


The book contains no references whatsoever, based alternately on alleged conversations with present-day cannibals, the eating of ape brain by the author and religious prophecy. Many parts are outright racist, particularly the photographic plates comparing various ethnic faces (primarily Arab and African) to apes. He says that blacks have smaller brains than whites and that contemporary cannibal tribes are seeking to remedy this discrepancy by consuming brains in a frantic attempt to catch up, though he estimates that it would take them roughly 100,000 years to do so.


The book was influential on new wave band Devo, bassist/synth player/vocalist Gerald V. Casale claiming, "It's a better story than the Bible as far as DEVO's concerned.". The cover of the 1989 album Now It Can Be Told is based on the cover of the US paperback edition.

In the early 2000s, Devo attempted to have the book reprinted with an introduction by them. This met with no success. The book is now quite collectable.



  • Maerth, Oscar Kiss The Beginning was the End, translated by Judith Hayward (Sphere Books Ltd., London, 1974) ISBN 0 7221 5712 6.

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