Today, the problem of hunger on Earth still exists. Nevertheless, the practice of eating individuals of their own species, cannibalism, is considered extremely immoral by people. Such actions are shocking and terrifying, they are condemned by the entire civilized society. They have been frightened by cannibals since childhood. However, it should be understood that cannibalism is still an integral part of our culture, albeit far from the brightest.
There is indisputable evidence that as early as 800 thousand years ago, our distant ancestors had a penchant for cannibalism. There were reasons for this - in conditions of a lack of food, an adult could provide about 30 kilograms of food, including fat, muscles, skin and internal organs.
Today it is believed that we got rid of cannibalism a long time ago, but this vicious practice manifests itself again and again. That is why it is worth telling a few interesting facts about such an unusual phenomenon as cannibalism.
The taste of human meat. Most cannibals say that human meat tastes like 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 Meiwes, who killed and ate a person who voluntarily agreed to this. In total, then about 20 kilograms of flesh was eaten. During an interview in a prison cell, Meiwes compared the taste of human meat to tasting pork. Only its taste is slightly harsher and slightly bitter, nevertheless, on the whole, it is not bad. Issei Sagawa, the famous Japanese cannibal who killed his classmate in Paris and then ate her, also revealed this topic. According to him, human flesh is odorless. And Polynesian cannibals directly compare human meat with pork, calling this dish "long pig", or "long pig". They believe that the quality of meat is influenced by a person's age and what part is used, as well as the method of preparation. Cannibals claim that children have the most delicate flesh, resembling fish in texture. Human meat is most often cooked by roasting and stewing with hot peppers and other spices. Some savages generally eat human meat after it has rotted for a short time. But it is common culinary practice to soften this awful dish and enhance its flavor.
Kuru. Despite all the rave reviews of the cannibals, anyone has the opportunity to appreciate the consequences of this act. Tasting the Long Pig can lead to a lifetime of jail time. But in the case of kuru, people themselves do not realize what their destructive hobby can 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. This disease was first discovered in the middle of the last century in Papua New Guinea, where it spread thanks to the cannibalistic habits of the Fore tribe. These savages ritually ate the bodies of their dead, including the brain. It was there that the infected proteins, the so-called prions, were kept. Symptoms of kuru include tremors, hysterical laughter, slurred speech. It all ends with problems with swallowing and limited movement. The incubation period of this disease is from 10 to 13 years, but cases of its manifestation in cannibals and half a century after eating infected meat have been noted. After the manifestation of all these symptoms, it takes about a year until the death of the patients. Interestingly, in 2009, researchers announced they had found a gene variant that might be responsible for kuru immunity. Found him in villages affected by the disease. According to scientists, this is how natural selection manifests itself. Those who are resistant to kuru pass on beneficial genes to their children. Those who did not have immunity simply died.
Endo- and exocannibalism. Most forms of cannibalism can be classified into these two categories. Endocannibalism refers to the eating of the meat of a deceased member of the tribe and family as part of the worship of the dead. For example, in the Fore tribe, it is customary to eat the brain and meat of deceased tribesmen. Savages believe that this will allow the souls of ancestors to stay somewhere nearby and protect their descendants. Exocannibalism involves eating weaker individuals to take away their strength or intimidate others. By the middle of the last century, endocannibalizim had been 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 observer reports, some revolutionary commanders are eating the organs of enemy soldiers. Another recent example comes from 2014, when a man named "Mad Dog" in Central Africa was caught eating his victim's raw leg. Together with the crowd, this black man pulled the Muslim away from the bus. After beating the victim, she was killed with a knife and the meat was cooked on the fire. The fact is that the Muslims killed Mad Dog's sister, her child and his pregnant wife. So he chose a victim and an original way of revenge through cannibalism. In the Central African Republic, it is widely believed that the flesh of enemy servants has magical properties and that its use will grant invincibility.
Self-cannibalism. And although a little above we have already mentioned two main forms of this phenomenon, there is also an additional one - self-cannibalism. It is understood that people eat their own flesh without even noticing it. We involuntarily consume the dead cells of our tongue and cheeks, we get blood from the nose or ulcers. Voluntary self-cannibalism can range from biting off nails to eating your own muscles and skin. For some people, this extreme method allows for body modification, while for others, drinking their own blood is an act of self-vampirism. And a more sinister form of self-cannibalism is forcing other people to eat parts of their own body. The United Nations has accused Congolese rebels of forcing the pygmies to eat their own flesh in 2003. And the most famous case of self-cannibalism occurred in 1934, when a group of 2,000 white southerners captured a black Claude Neal in Florida and forced him to eat his own testicles. After this, the unfortunate man was scalped and burned.
The Japanese cannibals almost ate George W. Bush. The Japanese had a reputation for eating prisoners of war or civilians in a fit of despair or hunger. This is how the act of exocannibalism manifested itself. In 1944, 22-year-old George W. Bush, the future President of the United States, barely managed to save his life. Together with eight other pilots, he was shot down over a tiny island 240 kilometers north of Iwo Jima. Bush was able to avoid a sad fate only because he was able to divert his falling plane as far from the coast as possible, which his comrades did not succeed in. James Bradley, the author of a report on the atrocities in Guam, the Japanese, wrote how they mocked the prisoners of war. The captured pilots were tortured, beaten, and then executed. Some were beheaded with swords, bayonets or sharpened bamboo stakes. This information surfaced after Bradley received top secret transcripts of war criminals trials. Japanese veterans who witnessed those crimes said that four of the captured pilots - Marv Mershon, Floyd Hall, Jimmy Dye and Warren Worl Vaughn - were victims of cannibalism. After Mershon's head was cut off, his liver and a 2.5-kilogram piece of his thigh were removed from his body and given to Major Sueo Matoba. This flesh the Japanese officers ate, washed down with a terrible dish of sake. Matoba ate the liver of an American himself; he prepared this organ by piercing it with bamboo sticks, with soy sauce and vegetables. Jimmy Dai managed to work as a translator for Captain Shizuo Yoshii for several weeks, and then his liver was eaten at a dinner party. And the whole body of the prisoner was quickly dismantled for food. Vaughn was next. The rest of the pilots were simply executed, beaten with truncheons to death. The American government initially kept secret all the details of this terrible incident, so as not to injure the families of the dead military. And all the Japanese military personnel accused of cannibalism were executed for their crimes.
Cannibalism as properties of adaptation. From the evolutionary theory of Lewis Petrinovich it follows that people resort to cannibalism when they are hungry. This adaptive trait is inherent in us to keep the species alive. Petrinovich believes that this kind of eating congeners should be called "survival cannibalism." This occurs regularly during periods of extreme hunger. After all, the basic survival instinct overcomes even the usual disgust towards human flesh. The most famous case of eating people just for the sake of survival occurred 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 to exist for more than two months in the snow, in conditions when there was no other food. Anthropologists argue that cannibalism is generally bad for the long-term survival of a species. Ultimately, humanity simply won't be able to maintain its population if everyone tries to eat each other. But for a starving individual, cannibalism can be a great escape for a short time. Consequently, in times of acute food shortages, relapses of this phenomenon are possible, as our entire history proves.
Cannibalism in the animal kingdom. In the animal kingdom, many creatures eat their own kind. For example, the most famous case is the female black widow spider, which allegedly eats the male immediately after mating. However, this is just a myth. Postcoital eating of a partner is common in many spiders. The orb weaving spider, the Australian redback spider and the flower spider eat their congeners, which helps them increase their 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 the bodies of their young to help recuperate after giving birth. Young sharks also often eat their brothers and sisters, almost in the womb. This helps to conserve resources and increase your chances of survival. Male lions have been known to eat their rival's offspring to make way for their children immediately after joining the pride.
Cannibalism among chimpanzees. We are talking about cases of cannibalism in humans, but isn't it in our kindred animals. It turns out that chimpanzees, whose DNA is 98% identical to ours, also have a tendency to eat their own kind. It is believed that males are aggressive. But in 1976, primate specialist Jane Goodall witnessed two females, a mother and a daughter, eat three chimpanzee cubs. The bloodthirsty duo was about to eat the fourth baby, but Goodall intervened. He started screaming, throwing stones and sticks, which scared the chimpanzee away. On another occasion, the researchers saw six females, five of them with clinging children, chase an injured mother. Chimpanzees bit her on the head, wanting to take and eat her baby. This kind of hostility can be manifested more and more often due to human encroachment on the natural habitats of monkeys. So they have to aggressively defend their rapidly dwindling 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 mind a little eating of human flesh. But in this case, cannibalism was used for purely medical reasons. Europeans regularly battled ailments ranging from headaches to gout, ingredients derived from the human body. People's fat was believed to help heal wounds and pacify arthritis and rheumatism. Blood also relieves epilepsy and other spasmodic conditions. As a result, epileptics regularly paid executioners to provide them with the blood of recently executed in the form of a "bowl of blood." And one of the first sources of such products were Egyptian mummies, which began to be brought to Europe in large quantities. Rumor has it that mummified flesh can heal disease. True, the supply 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 they were talking about pieces of ham. People used the bodies of young soldiers who died in battle, but young hanged men and virgin women were considered much more valuable specimens. Blood, including menstrual blood, of virgins has long been a well-known drug. But the organs of the hanged man were valued because such execution usually caused an erection. She came, as the nerves on the neck were torn, controlling the vasoconstriction. Because of this, the blood rushed to the penis and increased in size. In many cultures, an erect penis is considered a sign of strength. So the flesh of men who died with an erection was considered especially valuable. The highest price was given for such bodies.
Cannibalism and mental illness. If cannibalism is not a ritual or a way to survive, then it is often just a form of mental illness. This is a common diagnosis for many modern cannibals, including Andrei 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 to be a mental state, that is, the unfortunate are aware of what they are doing, but they lack empathy and understanding to explain the fallacy of such actions. It is also alarming that cannibalism can take root in a person's head, he, without noticing it, will get used to this way of thinking. Primary fantasies will constantly scroll through the psychopath's head. When a person fulfills his obsessive desire and will eat human flesh, then the level of the hormone dopamine increases in his brain. He is responsible for a good mood, and the cannibal himself feels as if he took a dose of the drug. As a result, the psychopath will try to reproduce that state, continuing to taste human flesh and not being able to stop. And there is no therapy that could stop the cannibal addict, since there is no way to artificially instill sympathy in him.