3.14.2011

Murderer and Cannibal... Could it be Worse?




Javier Campos Gonzalez

... "I ate his liver with a big plate of beans and a nice Chianti" ...
This is one of the most famous phrases in the history of serial murder cult cinema. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in "Silence of the Lambs", was boasting of his heinous acts of cannibalism in addition to his ruthless cruelty in the murders. But fiction has only reflected tiny pieces in the history of cannibalism, so perhaps we should call for its etymology.

The practice of this habit is ancestral and it is believed that it was practiced as far as 800,000 years ago. The most famous case is that of Atapuerca. Between myth and legend, different cultures have fed on their own species as a religious ritual. In some cases, eating parts of their enemies was seen as acquiring strength and thus showing its superiority as a winner to those who were still on the opposite side of the war. But not only did they turn to cannibalism as a means of taking power, but in many cases, there were conditions of famine and survival was at stake, and in extreme situations, it became the only possibility of survival.
We all remember the tragedy that became the plane crash in the Andes in 1972, in which some of the survivors had to feed on their fallen companions to survive. In the First and Second World War were revealed cases of cannibalism originating from several different countries. This practice has now fallen in popularity and in current civilization is socially and legally sanctioned and rejected. Extension and social acceptance in the past is a contested issue in anthropology and is part of cultural relativism. Individual cases in our societies today are related to extreme hunger, criminals or people with deep psychological problems. The latter, the murderers and the mentally disturbed are the subject of this work.
In 1981, Issei Sagawa, the Japanese university student at the University of Paris, shot and killed a Dutch student, had necrophiliac intercourse with her, and later, begin to eat her piece by piece. He was declared exempt from criminal responsibility for reason of "insanity" and spent 15 months in a psychiatric hospital, later to be released. He claimed that "she was beautiful, beautiful and bursting with health" contrary to most others, who were considered "weak, ugly and insignificant", so he ate her in order to "absorb her energy." Today, Sagawa lectures on cannibalism worldwide.
In 1999, Armin Meiwes, known as the Cannibal of Rothenburg, came by Bernd Brandes via the Internet. Bernd was a willing victim of cannibalism. They agreed to meet, whereupon they cut off his penis, cooked and ate it together. Subsequently, Armin murdered and dismembered Brandes, and gradually ate his flesh. A year later, he was arrested and after a long litigation, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Brandes. Even forensic psychiatrists ruled that he was not insane at the time of the murder, though he could not think rationally.
Murderous grandfather, Albert Fish, was arrested in 1935 at age 65 by sending a letter to the mother of one of his victims in which he recounted in detail ..."On Sunday June the 3 --1928 I called on you at 406 W 15 St. Brought you pot cheese -- strawberries. We had lunch. Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her. On the pretense of taking her to a party. You said Yes she could go. 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 a 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 mamma. First I stripped her naked. How she did kick -- bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her in 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 9 days to eat her entire body. I did not fuck her tho I could of had I wished. She died a virgin."
In 1936 he was convicted and executed in the electric chair in Sing Sing prison. The long trial, filled with horror for those who followed the case, could award only 15 cases of death to children, but he said that his victims were over a hundred. In one of the interrogations, Fish said: "I'm not insane, I'm just eccentric. There are times that even I understand myself. " In these examples, we could see almost all of the variables of criminal cannibalism, which differs depending on country and culture. The different types are:
-sexual cannibalism, in which the criminal suit their desires and fantasies of eating their victims. Example: Albert Fish and Ed Gein.
- Cannibalism of aggression, in which the criminal is in the midst of a very violent outbreak and as the supreme act of power, eats their victim. Example: Edmund Kemper and Anna Zimmerman (of the few women cannibals in the history of crime.)
- The cannibalism of ritual, spiritual or religious, in which the criminal has eaten their victims to take their energy or as a sacrifice to a deity. Example: Issei Sagawa and Nicolas Claux.
- The nutritional cannibalism, in which the criminal eats their victim only for taste or nutrition. Example: we can repeat Issei Sagawa or appoint Gumaro of God.

But among all these variables we can find a common denominator. Almost all types of cannibalism are associated with schizophrenia or other types of antisocial personality disorder.

In the analysis of the criminal mind and criminal behavior there have been many studies, including statistical studies, which try to pin down the factors that cause cannibalism. But really, nobody knows yet what leads one human to eat another. Chemical dysfunction, a genetic variable or perhaps, said Dr. Clancy Mckenzie (psychologist at the University of Washington), "cannibalism is the result of trauma, especially that experienced in childhood." He claims that after weaning from the breast, the child experiences anxiety and fantasizes about devouring his mother.

One way or another, cannibalism unites two of the basic human needs: sex and food. It is perhaps the most terrible of the criminal practices. Some cannibals have even shared their despicable feast with others and have caused them to unknowingly eat human flesh. So be careful what you eat.
Campo Javier Gonzalez
Criminology Expert Profiles

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2 comments:

  1. I view things of this nature as a matter of obsession and compulsion. All unhealthy obsession-compulsion cycles share the same makeup: The anxiety caused by the unwanted/intrusive thought (obsession) is lessened by performing an (often) unrelated action. Since the act lessens the anxiety, the subject is more and more likely to perform it (compulsion).

    This is evidenced on a very low level in many 'normal' people, for instance: My baseball team will win the game if I can land this wad of paper in the waste-basket on the first try.

    The problem is the positive effect of the compulsion slowly becomes less, requiring more and more drastic actions to achieve the same calming effect. A cannibal, in my opinion, is a person who has followed this cycle to a horrifying point. A 'normal' person would not allow the cycle to continue to escalate. But for whatever reason (schizophrenia, brain injury, turbulent upbringing, etc), the cannibal does not possess the mechanism to halt or redirect the cycle.

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