Cannibalism is a deeply unsettling practice in the minds of many. Killing people is one thing. Eating them is another. It serves as the ultimate betrayal of what makes us human.
Interestingly enough, the practice has its roots deep in history. Although it is rare, some cultures welcome it. Other cannibals eat people for the fun of it, out of hunger, due to curiosity, and an array of reasons.
Ever wondered how many cannibals are out there in the world today?
Well, we have a guide that answers the question.
Number of Cannibals in the World
As mentioned before, cannibalism is frowned upon by the average person. It is essentially a taboo in most cultures of the world. Although the practice exists, it is pretty rare.
As such, getting the exact number of cannibals is pretty tricky.
Over the years, there have been reports of men eating the flesh of other men but these are selected incidents.
Besides being rare, cannibalism is also stigmatized. This makes it hard to know the exact number of cannibals out there.
Therefore, it is next to impossible to know how many people out there are cannibals.
With that said, a mention of some of the most chilling reports of cannibalism can help paint a picture of the extent of the practice. Here’s a list.
In 2012, three people were arrested in Brazil as they had been suspected of making empanadas out of human flesh. What’s shocking is that they went ahead to sell the delicacies that contained human flesh inside of them.
Traditionally, empanadas are made out of beef, chicken, or other common proteins. Using human flesh is a violation of every human right and food protection law.
Brazil is especially notorious for such stories. The Lancet Journal, in 1994, reported of a community in Olinda Slum where cannibalism was pretty common.
The community, which consisted of 250 people often indulged in human remains without a care in the world.
They ate human parts dumped in the garbage dump mostly because of poverty as well as a lack of compliance with the laws.
The Donner Party
The Donner Party is yet another well-known event in history where cannibalism was well executed. The party consisted of a group of US pioneers migrating from California to the Midwest via a wagon train.
No one imagined that they would resort to eating each other to survive when things fell apart.
The journey which was supposed to go smoothly took a detour when the party got trapped in heavy snowfall near Donner Lake.
Their supplies went low and after four months, some of the guys died. The survivors, at some point, had no choice but to eat the flesh and organs of their departed friends to survive.
To date, the ordeal has been widely spoken about and goes to show the extent humans can go to hold on to dear life.
Japanese officer convicted for being a cannibal during World War II
The Second World War in 1945 is certainly one of the worst horrors to happen to the modern world. It is estimated that over 60 million people lost their lives (with many more injured) across the planet.
While most of the victims died from gunshots, explosives, and the like, others met their deaths in a bizarre manner. One of the highest-ranking Japanese officers at the time, Lt. General Yoshio Tachibana was discovered to have practiced cannibalism of Allies POWs.
A few years before that, cannibalism was also practiced during the Ukrainian Holodomor famine which occurred between 1932 and 1933.
There were several reports of cannibalism from Ukraine itself as well as South Siberia, Russia’s Volga, and Kuban regions.
It is reported that those who refused to eat corpses died first just like the people who had shared their food.
About 2,505 people were convicted for cannibalism during the famine but the actual number could be higher.
Throughout history, various communities and individuals have practiced cannibalism for cultural, religious, medical, or survival reasons.
Despite being widely considered taboo and prohibited in most countries today, reports persist of groups or tribes dismembering individuals or extracting organs for consumption.
Check out this post for insights into African tribes that have historically and presently engaged in cannibalistic practices: 9 Cannibal Tribes in Africa
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