|—||Ottis Toole. (via ramirezbundydahmer)|
Cannibalism during the Russian Famine 1921
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union
In the years 1920-21, the Soviet Union was hit hard by famine. Civil war had wiped out grain stores, and drought affected harvests. Struggling peasants and Gulag prisoners alike fell victim to starvation. Hungry individuals ate what they could find – the last of their livestock, cats and dogs, and then finally, fellow human beings. Cannibalism in Soviet Russia and elsewhere in the Soviet Union manifested itself in prisons camps, in urban settings, and in the countryside. The practice of cannibalism was seen as a survival measure rather than a true crime by those who had nothing else to eat.
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union – Crime or Compassion?
It goes without saying that cannibalism in the Soviet Union was outlawed. Those who were caught cannibalizing their fellow citizens were sent to prisons, even though cannibalism was practiced in the Gulag, as well. Parents of starving children might cook and serve the bodies of strangers, neighbors, or relatives who had died in order to give their offspring a chance at survival. While some acts of cannibalism certainly occurred because of psychotic hunger, other acts of cannibalism were undertaken as practicalities due to lack of available food.
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union – Cannibalistic Murder
While some individuals ate the bodies of the already dead, others murdered for the purpose of providing themselves with food. Gangs of children would kill adults, while adults would find children to murder and eat. Escaped prisoners might take along fellow inmates to serve as future meals – unbeknownst to the escapees’ companions themselves .
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union – Cannibalism for Revenge
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union was sometimes a result of an individual or individuals seeking revenge. Those who worked and lived together might suspect one of their company of withholding goods, of lying to authorities, or of other actions that were detrimental to one or more starving persons. The offending person might then be killed and cooked.
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union – The Secret Ingredient
When food supply was low, meat pies might be filled with the innards of the dead. While sales were stopped if officials caught wind of such actions, undoubtedly many hungry individuals became cannibals unawares.
Cannibalism in the Soviet Union – Bodies as a Resource
Cemeteries had to be guarded against cannibals during this period in Soviet history - hungry peasants would steal bodies for food. Guards at prisons would feed live prisoners with the bodies of those who had died. Students would sell corpses to the hungry to raise funds. Livers, lungs, and other body parts were stolen from dissection rooms to be cooked and served for meals.
The practice of cannibalism in the Soviet Union is certainly one indication of how dire circumstances were on a most basic level. However, the Soviet government pretended both the famine and the practice of cannibalism were fiction, so few real measures were taken taken to ease the suffering of the people.
Jeffrey Dahmer once posted a sign on the prison bulletin board for a “Cannibals Anonymous” meeting. It’s good to know he had a decent sense of humor following his capture.
The Known Victims of Jeffrey Dahmer:
- Stephen Hicks-19-Killed with a barbell and dismembered
- Steven Tourmi-25-Murdered in the Ambassador Hotel and transported in a suitcase back to Dahmer’s grandmother’s house for dismemberment.
- James ‘Jamie’ Doxtator-14-Drugged with sleeping pills and strangled; remains stuffed in the trash.
- Richard Guerrero-25-Dahmer has sex with Guerrero’s corpse before disposing of it.
- Anthony Sears-24-Offered money by Dahmer to take explicit photos; after his murder Dahmer boils Sears’ head and keeps the skull.
- Eddie Smith-36-Drugged and murdered in Dahmer’s apartment.
- Ricky Beeks-27-Dahmer keeps Beeks’ skull after the murder.
- Ernest Miller-23-Dahmer keeps Miller’s entire skeleton and later eats his bicepts.
- David Thomas-22-Photographed while the murder is taking place.
- Curtis Straughter-19-Skull retained following the murder.
- Errol Lindsey-19-Again Dahmer retains the head.
- Tony Hughes-31-A deaf-mute victim; Dahmer retains the head.
- Konerak Sinthasomphone-14-Dahmer’s youngest known victim.
- Matt Turner-20-His head is placed in Dahmer’s freezer.
- Jeremiah Weinberger-23-Head kept in the freezer.
- Oliver Lacy-24-Both his head and his heart are kept in the refrigerator (these are two of the first things officers later find in Dahmer’s apartment).
- Joseph Bradehoft-25-His head is kept in the freezer, while his other body parts are dissolved in acid.
Facts about Cannibalism
- Sexual cannibalism has hit the news in the last decade or so. Several predators have used the internet to find victims. Armin Meiwes advertised that he was looking for someone to eat – and actually got a reply. He promptly slaughtered and ate Jürgen Brandes, and was convicted of manslaughter. Jeffrey Dahmer killed and presumably ate portions of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He was killed by another prisoner in 1994.
- Sexual cannibalism is one of the most rare and extreme sexual fetishes. People who have fantasies of slaughtering and eating someone seldom do something about it. They appear to be happy with keeping it in the realm of fantasy.
- Many fairytales contain references to cannibalism. Hansel and Gretel is the most obvious example.
- The Aztecs are believed to have cannibalised thousands of people each year in order to appease their gods.
- There are two types of cannibalism: exocannibalism and endocannibalism. The first type is defined as eating members of another group (conquered enemies, for instance) and the second one, the eating of members of your own group, usually associated with ritual burial ceremonies. A widespread belief was that by eating the flesh of a person, you gained their knowledge and skills.
- In Papua New Guinea, many tribes practised cannibalism for ritualistic purposes until the 1960s. It was found that many of them suffered from a disease called “kuru”, which they had contracted from eating human tissue. It was thought to be a form of human “mad cow disease”.
- Famine often leads to survival cannibalism. Well-documented cases include the famines in Egypt (1073 – 1064) when the Nile failed to flood for eight years, the Great Famine in Europe in 1315 – 1317 and the famine in China from 1958 - 1961 (when Mao Zedong’s agricultural policies went horribly wrong).
- Cannibalism is often seen to be the height of savage behaviour. People who have eaten human flesh, for whatever reason, tend to be viewed with scorn and disgust.
- In 1972, an Uruguayan rugby team flew across the Andes and crashed. Fifteen people died in the crash and several in an avalanche or from starvation. The remaining passengers ended up eating the flesh of the victims in order to survive. They were only rescued 72 days later.
- Early Christians were often wrongly persecuted by the Romans, because it was thought that they indulged in cannibalism during their communion rites. Many people died because of this error.
In modern times, the murder of a person or the use of a corpse for the purpose of consumption by another human in any situation, outside that of conditions of starvation, is considered to be a form of criminal cannibalism or anthropophagy. However, the definition of and laws governing criminal cannibalism vary considerably from culture to culture.
In many parts of the world cannibalism is not considered a crime in and of itself and it is often only recognized in concurrence with another crime. For example, in Britain and the United States of America, cannibalism is not considered to be a felony, but is socially unacceptable. Those who have been found to participate in the gruesome act are usually charged with another crime that is directly related to the act of cannibalism, such as murder, grave robbery or necrophilia.
In other cultures, what some deem to be an act of criminal cannibalism may be an acceptable element of another culture. For example, Japanese enemies were allegedly consumed during the height of World War II by tribes in Papua New Guinea, which was acceptable in the culture during that period.
There are many who refuse to believe that cannibalism is practiced in this modern, “civilized” age. However, there is much evidence suggesting that it does occur and with some frequency. There have been many documented cases of cannibalism, especially within the last 100 years.
There are four primary forms of criminal cannibalism:
- sexual cannibalism
- aggression cannibalism
- spiritual and ritual cannibalism
- epicurean/nutritional cannibalism.
These various forms substantially overlap with one another. For example, one may consume human flesh for several purposes, such as to achieve a sense of power and control (aggression cannibalism), yet one may also find the taste to be agreeable (epicurean/nutritional cannibalism). Another may indulge in cannibalism in order to reach a higher spiritual affinity with the person they have devoured, simultaneously achieving intense sexual and gratification.