We condemn cannibalism. Our resentment to cannibalism is hard-wired. However, surprisingly enough, we are also hard-wired to cannibalism. Isn’t that a fallacy? No matter how disturbing or untrue it may sound, given the brew of right conditions, our survival instincts will kick in and overtake our resentment, forcing us to step beyond and turn to cannibalism. It is know that our ancient ancestors were very much into the practice of eating human flesh but we are no different today. Even in modern society, cannibalism continues to be practiced! Let us learn 30 interesting cannibalism facts and figure out what we humans are capable of.
Interesting Cannibalism Facts: 1-15
1. So how does human meat tastes like? Ask the cannibals! Issei Sagawa – a cannibal from Japan says, “It is gamey and odorless”. Armin Meiwes – a cannibal from Germany says, “Pretty much like pork but slightly more stronger and bitter.” Cannibals from Polynesia say that human meat tastes much like pork.
2. Because most cannibals report the taste of human flesh like that of pork, we have a nice moniker in place. Human meat is known by the name ‘Long Pig’.
3. Issei Sagawa ate his classmate while he was in Paris. Armin Meiwes ate a person who willing wanted to be eaten. Armin ate about 20 kg flesh from the willing person’s body.
4. The taste of human flesh however depends on a number of factors such:
- Age – the younger the victim, the more tender the meat is.
- The part of the body eaten.
- The method of cooking used. [Watch the famous TV series Hannibal for the cooking methods!]
5. A tribe known as Fore in Papua New Guinea was popular for cannibalism. However in 1950s, some of the tribal people were diagnosed with a disease known as Kuru. This is a disease which is known to be spread exclusively by eating human flesh that is infected.
6. Kuru in human beings is same as infamous Mad Cow disease found in cows. Kuru kills as it is a degenerative and incurable disease with symptoms including slurred speech, hysterical laughter, inability to swallow and move and tremors.
7. Kuru is spread by eating the brain of the dead man. It is the brain where the infected killer protein sits. This protein is known as prion. Unfortunately, the Fore people used to ritualistically eat everything of their dead people – from bones to brains to muscles and even feces.
8. The Fore people practiced this because they believed that it is the only way of keeping the souls of the dead close to the living. Unfortunately, this deadly disease with the usual incubation period of 10-13 years (and rarely 50 years) played its dirty trick and killed the affected people within a year from the symptoms’ onset. Fortunately, only a handful of people turned out to be resistant to the deadly disease Kuru.
9. There are multiple types of cannibalism available. All have different definition but eventually, all those means sampling long pig in one way or other. The most popular forms are endocannibalism and exocannibalism.
10. Endocannibalism simply referred to what people of Fore tribe practiced. By definition, it means eating the dead people with the belief that the souls of the deceased can live closely to their living families.
11. Exocannibalism means eating others in order to get hold of their life forces and powers. For example, soldiers eating the meat and organs of their dead enemies to get their powers. Usually, selective body parts are eaten in this form of cannibalism.
12. Practitioners of exocannibalism usually target the following organs:
- Brain – for getting the knowledge of their enemies.
- Heart – for getting the power and courage of their enemies.
- Legs – for getting the speed of their enemies. However, legs are eaten only of the fallen victim was a fast runner.
13. There is something called involuntary auto-cannibalism. Almost every human being alive today practices this form of cannibalism. Eating dead skill cells, biting fingernails etc. are all considered involuntary auto-cannibalism. This is very benign.
14. There is a more sinister form of auto-cannibalism. This is known as voluntary auto-cannibalism and involves biting off muscles and eating them altogether for body modifications. People may even end up eating their own blood – an act referred to as auto-vampirism.
15. Involuntary auto-cannibalism can be extremely sinister as well. This happens when a person is being forced to eat his or her own muscles or other body parts. An example occurred in 1934 when a black man named Claude Neal of Florida was captured by 2,000 Southerners of white skin. These 2,000 men removed the testicles of Neal and forced him to eat them. Later, then skinned Neal alive and burned him. (Americans are great saviors of world but barely speak of their own sinister acts.)