I will now first tackle cannibalism in culture. Many ancient tribes would use cannibalism as ritual. If you read my previous blog about human sacrifice, the Aztecs along with other I did no address would eat the body as a part of a method of sacrifice. Now, the Aztec culture existed 493 years ago, but since they were wiped out and integrated into the Spanish culture and way of life, many other “primitive” cultures continued cannibalism. One such one still, to this day, practices cannibalism. These people are a part of a tribe called the Kukukukus, who live in the jungles of New Guinea (there was another tribe named the Korowai but they no longer practice cannibalism). Even though they do practice cannibalism, they are relatively peaceful people. However, when an old or new enemy presents itself their disposition quickly changes. From when they are small children they are hardened so as not to retreat or go easy on an enemy. One way they do this is when they take a prisoner they, the children, use a prisoner as a target before said prisoner is stoned to death. Once dead, the body is cut apart and cooked with local vegetables in a ground oven. Once cooked the festivities begin and if the prisoner was a warrior the young men have the honour of eating the muscular parts of the body. But even though this tribe does practice cannibalism they usually do it out of need; when they do not have traditional meats or human, they eat small mammals, like rodents.
Speaking of survival, there are a few instances in modern history where cannibalism was the only hope for survival. One that happened during the early 1870's concerned a gold prospector from the United States who went on an expedition with five other people to the Colorado mountains. But after two months when he came back down, he came alone. When questioned he told them that he had to kill them in self defense and reluctantly confessed to eating their bodies to survive. He was then sentenced to 40 years. He was not seen as a murderer, but as a cannibal. The next modern case happened in the early 1970's. But the people who practiced cannibalism in this instance was no penalized because of it. Reason being is they were part of a plane that crashed into a mountain and lived on the dead of the crash for 2 months to stay alive. Out of 45 passengers, 16 were lucky enough to be a live. But I am sure they did no feel very lucky to have to eat the dead.
Some cannibals have a disorder in that they need to eat human. Modern society has dubbed this select few as following...serial killers. The most famous cannibal serial killer is Jefferey Dahmer. His selected form of prey were young men. He would lure them to his apartment. After doing so he would commence to murdering and dismembering them. Although he did not exclusively eat them; he would would both conduct experiments and eat them. Eating a body is a way to dispose of it, but serial killers like Dahmer enjoyed the eating part. Example, another serial killer, John Haigh, would pout acid on his victims bodies so no evidence of them would remain. For Dahmer the eating of human flesh was one of the heights of the kill.
There are many people out there that just the thought of eating another human is not just unthinkable but also disgusting and stomach turning. But there is a small percentage who would like to try it and a small percentage who would give them the chance. A few examples are a man in Japan who cut off his testicles, cooked them, and was selling them for $250 to a man who ate his own finger after he lost it in an accident. There are many ways of life, some that are now illegal and unthinkable were the norm early on. Even though we think ourselves are more cultured now, as I said, there is a small percentage who would break this taboo to try human flesh. Even thinking about consuming human flesh is a taboo. Have you? Or better yet...would you?
Please feel free to leave me a comment either about this blog or on an anthropological subject you would like me to cover.