There is depravity in Africa, an acceptance of violence that is either disturbingly unnatural or utter proof of the animals we are. “Acceptance” is too strong a word. Most try and shut it out, somehow able to enjoy Hollywood horrors yet remain emotionally distant from the dangers at home.
One goal of this article is to remove the boundary between overseas fiction and local crime. To varying degrees, our reality is threatened everywhere. I share these extreme examples.
“Remember how I liked to pour some blood out of them?”
5 inches long and with a bone handle, Annie was sharper than his mother’s smile. George held her lovingly before slipping her in. For a short while, twisted murmurs interrupted that joint morning song of the swallows outside and the Slipknot soothing from the stereo in the next room. George glanced at the jerking eyes of his neighbours’ 10-year old Wendy and congratulated himself on the gag he’d stuffed into her mouth. He’d learned since his first time. He freed his prize, sniffed it … licked it … and then let it rest on his tongue for slow seconds before shifting it between his molars. God, Wendy was so delicious. Before he’d swallowed, Annie was already begging to be wet with more.
We live in denial as horror movies shock us yet we barely give our reality a thought. It may be our defence against the uncomfortable capabilities of our fellow humans. Nobody wants to think of their neighbour indulging in “dirty” immoralities but just as every society possesses its nose-pickers, shit eaters, panty-wearing businessmen and drug addicted housewives, so it delivers bringers of unthinkable deaths. Hell, the practice seems to have always existed; from cannibalistic Celts dating back 2000 years to our generation possessing the Association for Heterosexual Cannibalism.
Our silence is an unconscious sanction of daily horrors but in direct conflict is our very-much-on-the-surface, freaky curiosity and obsession with death. How could a man like JEFFREY DAHMER, in whose home a menagerie of body parts was discovered (from bald skulls, a torso in the kitchen sink, severed penis’ to a 100 gallons of rotting flesh and bucket of hands) become a cultural fascination and celebrity? How many “normal” women are pen-pals with imprisoned serial killers? Think of the underground success that the Cannibal Holocaust movies have achieved.
The Vampire of Paris, NICOLAS CLAUX, was arrested in France in 1994 for random shootings. His flat presented skeletal remains, blood bags, and funeral jars of human ashes. He confessed to eating flesh from the muscles of corpses that he’d tended to as an assistant mortician and grave robber. He was sentenced to 12 years and was eligible for parole in 2000. He was released in 2002 and now has his own popular website celebrating his art (represented by the paintings in this article). He described his killings as “touching the face of God. It makes you feel like you don’t belong to the human race anymore.”
NICO CLAUX: “Wow! Now I’m a cannibal. Cool!”
There is a distinction between the cannibal who eats fresh flesh (or the recently dead) and the necrophagists that chooses decaying body parts. For convenience, I’m going to ignore this and leave exact definitions for those that study or practice. Afterall, to us laymen, the word “cannibal” simply means an “eater of our flesh”.
ANDREI CHIKATILO, the Rostov Ripper, admitted to viciously killing 52 people (with bodily mutilations) over a 12-year period (and it’s believed that he committed more than that). An early influence may have been his mother’s story of his brother being eaten by starving peasants.
chew their genitals
Bestially, he would often stab his victims in the face, chew their genitals, rip at them with his bare hands, bite off their tongues and gouge out their eyes. This would fuel his erection and with that rape. Often, he would depart with souvenir organs.
He was a grandfather by the time they executed him in 1994.
EDMUND KEMPER III began with cat killing but at the age of fifteen shot his grandparents to satisfy his desire to know what it felt like. Six years later, he was excused from a psychiatric facility and placed in his abusive mother’s care. His frustrations increased and within three years he was selecting female hitchhikers as his victims.
One of two consolations was that he killed them quickly with either knife or gun. To satisfy his urges and purge his social inadequacies, he needed them dead. Whilst his mother succumbed to ignorant sleep, he would dismember his victims and fuck the corpses (sometimes all he needed was the head and his erection). He passed a psychiatric examination with flying colours whilst a fifteen-year girl’s head lay in his car.
a hammer bashed his mother into death
Finally, in 1973, his rage culminated in him attacking the real source of his frustration. A hammer bashed his mother into death. Soon she was headless and her larynx dismissed to the garbage disposal. Before he invited a friend of his mother’s over to dinner (and her death) he used his mother’s head as a dartboard.
The second consolation was that he (surprisingly) turned himself in.
ED GEIN: Both Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs were inspired by Ed. Slightly retarded, he grew up on a secluded American farm with a mother her possessed an unnatural disgust for sex. She was verbally abusive yet he would act like a child and cuddle with her in bed. Her death at his age of thirty-nine, was devastating. He remained on the farm and took to reading magazines with horror topics. At one stage he even debated on undergoing a sex change operation so that he could become his mother.
made himself an outfit from her skin
He began stealing corpses, and sometimes only parts of them, from the local cemetery and thus became his true self; the necrophiliac. Advanced states of decomposition didn’t worry him. He shrank heads for decorating his bed, salted genitalia, re-covered the lampshades and chairs with skin, and made bowls with bones. He ate them and was sometimes sexually intimate. Eventually, he recovered his mother’s corpse and made himself an outfit from her skin. But her skin was soon cracking and so he killed to get a replacement.
His next victim, Bernice Worden, was his undoing. When the police caught up to Ed, they found her hanging in the barn; gutted with legs wide open. Amongst other horrors, they found a human heart in a pan on the stove. He was committed, believing that he’d done nothing wrong, and died within a shrink house at the age of 78.
ALBERT FISH: “We had lunch. Grace sat on my lap and kissed me. I took her to an empty house in Westchester I had already picked out. When we got there, I told her to remain outside. She picked wildflowers. I went upstairs and stripped all my clothes off. I knew if I did not, I would get her blood on them. When all was ready I went to the window and called her. Then I hid in the closet until she was in the room. When she saw me all naked she began to cry and tried to run down the stairs. I grabbed her, and she said she would tell her mama. First I stripped her naked. How she did kick, bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her into small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms, cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me nine days to eat her entire body. I did not fuck her, though I could have, had I wished. She died a virgin.”
“How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven.”
“I always had a desire to inflict pain on others and to have others inflict pain on me. I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurts. The desire to inflict pain, that is all that is uppermost… What a thrill that will be if I have to die in the electric chair. It will be the supreme thrill. The only one I haven’t tried…. I am Christ! I am Christ!”
The Ripper Crew killed at least eighteen women. They’d cut off a breast and fuck the wound. Then the breast would be masturbated on and cooked for dinner. Karl Denke lived entirely on human flesh for three years. Stanley Dean Baker confessed to the police: “I have a problem, I’m a cannibal” and then showed them the fingers that he’d been snacking on. Issei Sagawa killed and ate his girlfriend yet was released after 15 months hospitalisation to become immortalized in the ROLLING STONES song ‘Too Much Blood’.
Issei Sagawa: “Finally I was eating a beautiful white woman,
and thought nothing was so delicious!”
But cannibalism isn’t all history nor sadistic killing borne out of social inadequacy and perversion. In 1997, ABC News reported that starving North Koreans were resorting to cannibalism to stay alive. It’s still being reported as farmers are ordered to replace food crops with opium fields as a financing machine for the military. Four thousand people were killed in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan on Borneo island. Many had their hearts torn out. In my own, beloved South Africa, sangomas buy and sell body parts for the purposes of black majick.
“… just because we like to eat human flesh, does that mean we’re bad people?”
In 2003, strong reports of cannibalism in the Congo came to the fore. Rebel troops from the Congolese Liberation Movement and its allied Congolese Rally for Democracy-National were eating Pygmies in Ituri. In Russia’s 1996 alone, 10 people were charged with murder followed by cannibalism.
This article isn’t meant to be an understanding of the flesh eater but a demand that you acknowledge that real evil isn’t goose bumps after a horror movie, nor a celebration of Halloween, but a terrible possibility lurking next door to us all. There exists a sickness in Mankind. Consequently, my summation is simply “Look out!”
PETER KURTEN: “After my head has been chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from my neck? That would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.”