Today, the problem of hunger on Earth still exists. Nevertheless, the practice of eating individuals of their species, cannibalism, people is considered extremely immoral. Such actions are shocked and horrified, all civilized society condemns them. But cannibals frighten since childhood. However, it is worthwhile to understand that cannibalism is an integral part of our culture, even if it is far from the brightest.
There is undeniable evidence that even 800 thousand years ago our distant ancestors had a tendency to cannibalism. The reasons for this were – in conditions of lack of food, an adult could give about 30 kilograms of food, including fat, muscle, skin and internal organs.
Today it is believed that we have long since disposed of cannibalism, but this evil practice manifests itself again and again. However, behind such a zealous denial is usually the complete ignorance of the essence of the subject. That is why it is worth telling some interesting facts about such an unusual phenomenon as cannibalism.
The taste of human meat.
Most cannibals say that human meat resembles pork or veal. This is a sweet dish that looks like beef. The best expert in this matter can be considered the famous German cannibal Armin Mayves, who killed and eaten a person who voluntarily agreed to this. In total, then, about 20 kilograms of flesh were eaten. During the interview in the prison cell, Maiwes compared the taste of human meat with the tasting of pork. Only its taste is a bit tougher and a bit bitter, nevertheless, in general, quite good. Issei Sagawa, the famous Japanese cannibal who killed his classmate in Paris, and then ate it, also revealed this topic. According to him, human flesh has no smell. And the Polynesian cannibals directly compare meat of people with pork, having nicknamed this dish “long pig”, or “a long pig”. They believe that the quality of meat affects the age of a person and what part is used, as well as the way of cooking. Cannibals claim that the most tender flesh in children, recalling the texture of the fish. Prepare human meat most often by firing and quenching with hot pepper and other condiments. Some savages generally eat meat of people after its short rotting. But the common culinary practice is to soften this terrible dish and enhance its taste.
Despite all the enthusiastic reviews of cannibals, any person has the opportunity to assess the consequences of this act. Tasting a “long pig” can lead to imprisonment for life. But in the case of kuru, people themselves do not realize what their fatal hobby may lead to. Kuru is an incurable degenerative and ultimately fatal disease, similar to mad cow disease. However, in this case, contact with the carrier is not through contaminated beef, but through eating human meat. For the first time this disease was discovered in the middle of the last century in Papua New Guinea, where it spread, thanks to cannibalistic habits of the Fore tribe. These savages ritually ate the bodies of their deceased, including the brain. It was there that the infected proteins, the so-called prions, were kept. Symptoms of kuru include tremor, hysterical laughter, indistinct speech. All this ends with problems with swallowing and limited movement. The incubation period of this disease is 10 to 13 years, but cases of its manifestation in cannibals and half a century after eating contaminated meat have been noted. After the manifestation of all these symptoms takes about a year to the death of the patients. Interestingly, in 2009, researchers announced the discovery of a variant of a gene that could be responsible for immunity from the kuru. Found it in the villages affected by the disease. In the opinion of scientists, the effect of natural selection is so apparent. Those who are resistant to the chicken transmit useful genes to their children. Those who did not have immunity, just died.
Endo- and exocannibalism.
Most forms of cannibalism can be reduced to these two categories. Endocannibalism means eating the meat of a deceased member of the tribe and family, as part of the rite of worship of the dead. For example, in the Fore tribe, it is customary to eat the brain and the meat of dead tribesmen. Savages believe that this will allow the souls of their ancestors to stay somewhere nearby and guard their descendants. Exocannibalism implies the eating of weaker individuals to take away their strength or intimidate others. By the middle of the last century, endokannibalizim was virtually eradicated by Christian missionaries and governments. But another form of this terrible phenomenon is periodically practiced around the world. Even in modern Syria, according to reports of observers, some revolutionary commanders eat organs of enemy soldiers. Another recent example relates to 2014, when a man named “Mad Dog” in Central Africa was caught eating the raw leg of his victim. Together with the crowd, this black man pulled the Muslim from the bus. After beating the victim, she was killed with a knife and began to cook meat on fire. The fact is that Muslims killed the sister of Mad Dog, her child and his pregnant wife. So he chose himself a victim and an original way of revenge through cannibalism. The belief in the Central African Republic is that the flesh of enemy servants has magical properties and its use gives it invincibility.
And although we have already mentioned the two main forms of this phenomenon a little bit above, there is an additional – self-cannibalism. It is understood that people eat their own flesh without even noticing it. We involuntarily use the dead cells of our tongue and cheeks, we get blood from the nose or ulcers. Voluntary self-cannibalism can range from biting nails and eating up your own muscles and skin. For some people, this extreme method allows for the modification of the body, and for others, the drinking of one’s blood is an act of self-vampirism. A more ominous form of self-cannibalism – coercion of other people is part of their own body. The United Nations accused the Congolese rebels of forcing the Pygmies in 2003 to have their own flesh. And the most famous case of self-cannibalism occurred in 1934, when a group of two thousand white southerners seized a black Claude Neal in Florida and forced him to eat his own testicles. After that, the unhappy man was scalped and burned.
Japanese cannibals almost did not eat George Bush Sr..
The Japanese have a reputation for individuals who did not shun the consumption of prisoners of war or civilians in a fit of despair or hunger. This was the manifestation of the act of exocannibalism. In 1944, the 22-year-old George Bush, the future President of the United States, barely managed to save his life. Together with the other eight pilots he was shot down over a tiny island 240 km north of Iwo Jima. Bush could avoid the sad fate only because he managed to take his falling plane as far from the shore as his comrades failed. James Bradley, the author of the report on the outrage on Guam of the Japanese, wrote how they mocked prisoners of war. The captured pilots were tortured, beaten, and then executed. Some were decapitated with swords, bayonets or sharpened bamboo stakes. This information surfaced after Bradley received top secret transcripts of ships over war criminals. Japanese veterans who witnessed those crimes told that four of the captured pilots – Marv Mershon, Floyd Hall, Jimmy Day and Warren Worl Vaughan were victims of cannibalism. After Mershon’s head was cut off, his liver and a 2.5 kilogram piece of thigh were removed from the body and handed over to Major Suoo Matoba. This flesh the Japanese officers ate, washing down the terrible dish sake. The liver of the American Matoba was eaten by himself, he prepared this organ, piercing it with bamboo sticks, with soy sauce and vegetables.Jimmy Dai had worked for several weeks as an interpreter from Captain Shizuo Yoshii, and then his liver was eaten at a dinner party. And the entire body of the prisoner was quickly disassembled for food. Next was Vaughn. The rest of the pilots were simply executed, beaten to death. The American government initially kept in secret all the details of this terrible accident, so as not to injure the families of the deceased military. And all Japanese servicemen accused of cannibalism were executed for their crimes.
Cannibalism as an adaptation property.
From the evolutionary theory of Lewis Petrinovich, it follows that people resort to cannibalism when they are starving. Such an adaptive trait is peculiar to us in order to keep the species alive. Petrinovich believes that this kind of eating relatives should be called “survival cannibalism”. This is regularly manifested during periods of extreme hunger. After all, the basic instinct of survival overcomes even the usual with respect to human disgust. The most famous case of eating people just for survival was in 1972. Then the plane with the Uruguayan rugby team crashed over the Andes. The survivors had to eat the bodies of other passengers. This allowed them more than two months to survive among the snows, in conditions when there was no other food. Anthropologists say that cannibalism is generally bad for long-term survival. In the long run, mankind simply will not be able to maintain the population if everyone tries to eat each other. But for a starving individual cannibalism can be an excellent rescue for a short time. Consequently, in times of acute food shortage, relapses of this phenomenon are possible, which is proved by our entire history.
Cannibalism in the animal kingdom.
In the animal kingdom many creatures eat their relatives. For example, the most famous case is a female spider, a black widow who allegedly eats a male immediately after mating. However, this is just a myth. Postcoital eating of a partner is common to many spiders. A spider-spider, an Australian red-spine spider and a floral spider eat their congeners, which helps them increase the chances of successful fertilization and helps to produce healthy offspring. According to one study, 68% of rattlesnakes eat their stillborn offspring. On average, mothers of this species eat 11% of their calves’ bodies to help restore their strength after childbirth. Young sharks also often eat their brothers and sisters, almost in the womb. This helps to save resources, and increase your chances of survival. It is known that male lions eat off their competitor’s offspring to make room for their children as soon as they join the pride.
Cannibalism among chimpanzees.
We are talking about cannibalism in humans, but is it not among the animals that are related to us? It turns out that chimpanzees, whose DNA is 98% identical with ours, also have inclinations to eat their own kind. It is believed that males are aggressive. But in 1976, a primitive specialist, Jane Goodall, witnessed how two females, mother and daughter, ate three chimpanzee babies. The bloodthirsty duo wanted to eat the fourth baby, but Goodall intervened. He started screaming, throwing stones and sticks, which scared off the chimpanzee. Another time, the researchers saw six females, five of them with clinging children, chasing a wounded mother. The chimpanzees bitten her in the head, wanting to pick up and eat her baby. This kind of hostility can manifest itself more and more often because of the encroachment of people on the natural habitats of monkeys. So they have to aggressively defend their rapidly shrinking resources.
Medicinal cannibalism in Europe.
Europeans almost immediately condemned tribal cannibalism as a barbaric measure. But in the Middle Ages the inhabitants of the Old World did not object to the small eating of human flesh. But in this case cannibalism was used for purely medical reasons.Europeans regularly fought various diseases, ranging from headaches and ending with gout, ingredients derived from the human body. It was believed that the fat of people helps to heal the wounds and pacify arthritis with rheumatism. Blood also facilitates epilepsy and other spasmodic diseases. As a result, epileptics regularly paid executioners to provide them with blood recently executed as a “bowl of blood.” And one of the first sources of such products were the Egyptian mummies, which massively began to bring to Europe. There was a rumor that mummified flesh can treat illnesses. True, the stock of these dried antiquities was still limited. Then the Europeans switched to the flesh of recently deceased people, drying it and treating it with smoke with salt and herbs, as if it were pieces of ham. People used the bodies of young soldiers who died in the battle, but much more valuable specimens were considered young hanged men and virgin women. Blood, including menstrual, virgins has long been a known drug. But the organs of the hanged man were valued because such an execution usually caused an erection. She stepped on, because nerves were being torn on her neck, controlling the constriction of the vessels. Because of this, the blood rushed to the penis and increased it in size. In many cultures, the erect penis is considered a sign of strength. So the flesh of men who died with erection, was considered particularly valuable. For such bodies were given the highest price.
Cannibalism and mental illness.
If cannibalism is not a ritual or a way to survive, it is often just a form of mental illness. This is a common diagnosis for many modern cannibals, including Andrew Chikatilo, Issei Sagawa, Albert Fish, Ed Gein, Richard Chase and Vince Lee. At the heart of the disease is schizophrenia, which can cause hallucinations and delusions. Other psychiatrists consider cannibalism a mental state, that is, the unfortunate ones realize what they are doing, but they lack sympathy and understanding to explain the fallacy of such actions. It is also worrying that cannibalism can firmly take root in the person’s head, he, without noticing it, will get used to this way of thinking. Primary fantasies will constantly be scrolled in the head of a psychopath. When a man realizes his obsession and will eat human flesh, then in his brain the level of the hormone dopamine increases. He is in charge of a good mood, and the cannibal feels as if he has taken a dose of the drug. As a result, the psychopath will try to reproduce that state, continuing to try human flesh and not being able to stop. And there is no therapy that could stop an ogre addict, as it is impossible to artificially instill sympathy in him.