Author: Saumyarup Pal
Anthropophagy has been ‘in vogue’ from the prehistoric era. In Paleolithic times the starving communities shifted to cannibalism as an example of intraspecific struggle in the Neanderthals and Cheddar man.
In the Middle Ages too the crusaders practiced that during Siege of Mierra.At the same time the Egyptian mummies were ground up and sold as medicine. This flourished until the end of 16th century,when they were revealed to be actually recently slaughtered slaves!
The seas saw cannibalism in the highest degrees.
When Columbus led his American expedition, the navy was horrified by the cannibalistic ritual of the West Indians. The Europeans considered them savages, and encouraged slavery, mass murder and attempted heavily for destroying their native culture.
Meduse got shipwrecked with 137 strong crew and before they were rescued, they shrunk to 15, being driven to suicide, mass killing and cannibalism. Four years later, in 1820, a ship called Essex, captained by Mr. Pollard was shattered by a sperm whale. Two of the survivors ate up the 90 crew-members who died (maybe they killed some others). During the rescue they were busy sucking the marrow of a human long-bone.
In 1972, the Stella Maris College rugby team recorded one of the greatest survivals after an air crash. 16 of them survived for 11 days without any food but human flesh.
Such instances are controversial about their relationship to serial killing, as they were survival strategies. But, the story of Albert Fish, broadcasted in the 1930s was very different. He was believed to have murdered as many as fifteen children who he was confided with, and confessed to have sexually assaulted more than four hundred of them. He even murdered a little girl, cooked with veggies and bacon and ate her up, for sexual pleasure. The forensic psychiatrist described him as “a meek and innocuous little old man, gentle, and benevolent, friendly and polite. If you wanted someone to entrust your child to, he would be the one you would choose.”
The Milwaukee cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was not an inch behind. He was a sex offender and in addition, also had the practice of dismemberment and possessed a necrophilic predilection- overall a talented person. The school declared him to be “reserved and neglected” whilst his friend found him timid and uncommunicative. The alone child developed interest in animals. He would dismember them, preserve their parts, and was curious how they “fitted together”. He was oddly thrilled by the sound of those bones, which led him to explore the animal bodies and discover the location of those bones. The first victim was an 18years old, whom he intoxicated, hit on the head with a dumbbell to death, before a peaceful masturbation. He dissected and buried the body, later unearthed them, dissolved the flesh in acid and flushed them in the toilet. He was arrested later for masturbating in front of two young men. The second victim was a homosexual he met at a gay bar. His transportation of body in suitcase is iconic. The killing spree lasted for 13 years. On July 22nd 1991, when a man called Edwards was noticed by the police. While in Dahmer’s house, he noticed photographs of dismemberment scattered on the floor. On subsequent searches, the police found heads in the fridge, catalog of other horrors, jars containing genitalia, and albums of macabre pictures. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms, (957 years) in prison.
Chikatilo, also used to kill, mutilate and eat for sexual gratification, he actually inspired movies, like SAW Series, and a lot of Psycho thrillers. He was executed on 14th Feb, 1994 .
Issei Sagawa, a Japanese student, killed a fellow classmate and consumed her for the next two days. He was mentally ill, and hence was unfit for trial. He is free now, and is freely moving in Japan.
A man called Armin Mewes of German origin put up an Ad “well-built 18- 30-year old to be slaughtered and then consumed”; a participant surprisingly applied for it, and the incidence was taped. It really made an effortless horror thriller.
But why do they prey on humans? Well, survival cannibalism has a reason, everyone knows, but why without any apparent valid reason people suddenly turn to cannibalism?
Some are psychotic, like Richard Chase, who believed Aliens were converting his blood to powder, and he needed to replenish from the victims. It is well associated with loneliness. Others know what they are doing. Most offenders do not eat flesh, thus cannibals stand out. They are often artistic in their procedure. They prey on unsuspecting people, or to be more precise, ‘hunt’ them. These procedures excite the pleasure centers of the brain. It often fills a void.
Cannibalism of an individual is not associated with revenge most of the time. It serves his own purpose like Ivan L., a cook used to post recipes and videos of human pork preparations. But in war zones, cannibalism had close associations with victory and revenge. It’s just patriotism.
The cannibals are proud, to themselves their actions are reasonable. They are ‘artists.’ Someone said, “I didn’t want to insult him by cooking him the wrong way!” A tasty meal, isn’t so?