Cannibalism is perhaps the ultimate cultural taboo. There are many reasons why humans partake in this practice; for cultural purposes, for survival or even for pleasure. Be clear: I do not condone or in any way; endorse what is contained in the following accounts. Read at your own risk.
Packer was an American gold prospector and convicted cannibal. On February 9th 1874, he left with 5 others for an expedition in the Colorado mountains. Two months later Packer returned from the expedition alone. When questioned of the whereabouts of the men that had been with him, Packer said that he killed them in self defense and was forced to eat their remains in order to survive the elements. His story was not believed and he soon after signed two separate confessions. Packer was given a 40 year sentence, at that time the longest communal sentence in United States history. Amazingly he was granted parole because sufficient doubt remained about his innocence.
Albert Fish was a true life monster in every sense of the word. He was sadistic, delusional and worst of all he received gratification from his repulsive acts. Besides being an admitted serial killer and cannibal, he was also a rampant pedophile and a deviant. Fish kidnapped, murdered, and consumed a 10 year old girl from Manhattan. Six years later Fish taunted the innocent girl’s family by sending a letter to them graphically detailing his crime and the pleasure he received committing it. The letter was traced back to him and he was arrested and convicted. Justice would be served on January 16, 1936 as Fish was executed at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
RUF was a revolutionary group based in Sierra Leone in Western Africa. By the late 1990’s they had been mired in a long bloody campaign to topple the central government. These insurgents terrorized rural Sierra Leone in an effort to control the nations diamond mines. Aided by factions of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, these groups committed horrific atrocities which included forcing children to become soldiers, amputations of limbs and cannibalism of enemies, including peacekeepers and United Nations personnel. Their motives for eating their enemies were to receive “strength” from eating human flesh and as a tool for intimidation. The exact number of victims is unknown.
Sagawa was a Japanese student completing an English Literature degree in Paris. He met and then shot a co-ed on June 11, 1981. After her death, he proceeded to cannibalize her over the next two days. Sagawa was eventually arrested by French authorities but deemed unfit for trial due to insanity and was deported. In one of the worst examples of injustice in legal history; a paperwork error allowed Sagawa to simply check himself out of a mental institution after a little more than a year of confinement. He is now a free man living in Japan.
Chikatilo was a Ukrainian born serial killer and rapist. While in custody, Chikatilo confessed to over 50 murders and mutilations. He befriended, killed, and ate his victims. He admitted that his motives were solely for sexual gratification. The details of Chikatilo’s life and crimes are the stuff that nightmares are made of. This madman only halted his killing spree when he was finally arrested and identified after one of the largest operations in Russian police history. Chikatilo was executed in Rostov on February 14, 1994.
The Mauerova’s are a family of cult members and cannibals from the Czech Republic. Over an 8 month period, relatives and fellow cult members participated in despicable acts against two brothers. The actual details of what a mother allowed to be done to her young children are extremely disturbing. By a remarkable chain of events, the truth about the Maurova family was discovered on May 10, 2007 when horrific images on a baby monitor (which they had installed in their house to view the crimes) where picked up by a neighbor who had the exact same monitor. A total of six people were eventually convicted.
By most accounts Meiwes was a depraved and pathetic individual from Roteburg, Germany. In 2001 he posted an advertisement on an internet site which read in part “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Unbelievably Meiwes received a serious response from a willing participant. The two men met on Christmas Day and proceeded to commit and videotape some of the most unimaginable acts on earth. Meiwes was arrested after revealing details of his crime. He is currently serving a life sentence in a German prison.
Dahmer was an American serial killer, necrophiliac, and cannibal from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dahmer, an extremely disturbed individual, would lure young men to his apartment where he would murder and dismember them after sedating them with alcohol or drugs. After disposing of his victims he would consume or experiment with their remains. By the time of his trial he was charged and convicted of 15 murders and given numerous life sentences. On November 28, 1994 Dahmer was beaten to death at the Colombia Correctional Institution in Milwaukee.
The first known modern accounts of cannibalism were reported following Columbus’ expedition to the West Indies. At this point cannibalism was considered atrocious and sacrilegious in the developed world. Imagine, if you will, the indescribable horror that the first Europeans felt when they witnessed Carib natives during a post war ritual chewing and/or eating human flesh. This misunderstanding of Caribbean culture lead to the people of the America’s being considered “savages”. These sentiments lead to policies which encouraged countless incidents of slavery, mass murder, exploitation and destruction of the native culture of the America’s that continued for centuries.
On October 13, 1972 the team was on its way from Montevideo, Uruguay to play a match in Santiago Chile. Fierce wind and snow hounded the flight as the plane trekked through the Andes mountains. Due to poor weather and pilot error the plane crashed atop of an unnamed mountain on the border of Chile and Argentina. Search parties from three countries searched for 11 days in vain to find the downed flight of 45 people but were unsuccessful and all passengers were presumed dead. What followed next is one of the greatest examples of human survival ever recorded. Despite no food or heat 16 members of the team stayed on top of the mountain for over two months through the brutal winter while being forced to eat the remains of their fallen teammates before finally being rescued.
The Maori were the first settlers of New Zealand – arriving many centuries before Europeans. Their culture dates back to the early modern era. They had been known to practice cannibalism during warfare. In October 1809 a European convict ship was attacked by a large group of Maori warriors in revenge for the mistreatment of a chief’s son. The Maori killed most of the 66 people on board and carried dead and alive victims off the boat and back to shore to be eaten. A few lucky survivors who were able to find a hiding spot inside the mast of the boat were horrified as they watched the Maori devour their shipmates through the night until the next morning.
Contributor: Rolo Tomasi