They say you are what you eat, and in some cases, that is true in the most gruesomely literal way.
Cannibalism is still very much alive and well in today’s society in certain places around the world. Although considered disgusting in most locations, some uphold the practice as being deeply rooted in cultural tradition. The reasoning behind a person’s sudden desire to indulge in human flesh can range anywhere from serving as part of a religious ceremony or, sadly, extreme necessity.
Cannibals, eat your hearts out (or ours), because we have a list of nine places where cannibalism is still a thing, legally or otherwise.
1. The Naihehe Caves – Sigatoka, Fiji
Fiji was once referred to as “Cannibal Island,” however, much of the active practice of cannibalism was ended during the 19th century. The Naihehe Caves are home to the last known cannibalistic group left on the island.
2. Papua New Guinea
The Korowai, a tribe that lives along the Ndeiram Kabur River in Western New Guinea, uses cannibalism as a way to seek revenge. The nearly 4,000 tribesmen believe that a khakhua, or witch man, mysteriously kills off members of their tribe and it is their responsibility to consume the deceased’s body to exact revenge.
3. The Ganges River, India
Along a portion of the Ganges River in India, the Aghori, a sect of monks, perform acts of cannibalism to experience spiritual enlightenment. Once in the hundreds, the tribe is believed to consist of just 20 members today.
As part of their spiritual practices, the monks drink from bowls created from human skulls and cover their bodies in the charred remains of humans. The Aghori do not kill humans for their consumption, however. The bodies they consume are already dead.
4. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
In a 2003 meeting with members of the United Nations after the Second Congo War, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of the Mbuti Pygmies, claimed that his people were being eaten alive by Congolese rebels from the Ituri province.
Members of Doctors Without Borders discovered evidence of cannibalistic practices not long after the First Liberian Civil War. They took it upon themselves to send the evidence to Amnesty International in hopes of an investigation.
Instead, the evidence was covered up and the current Secretary General, Pierre Sane, went on to say that “what they do with the bodies after human rights violations are committed is not part of our mandate or concern.”
Cambodian troops, like the ones pictured above, were accused of cutting out the livers and hearts of Khmer Rouge soldiers who were killed in battle during the Khmer Rouge Rebellion of the 1970s. They then ate those parts either on the field or back at home for dinner.
7. Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia
When Stefan Ramin visited the beautiful island of Nuku Hiva with his girlfriend, he got more than he bargained for. While on a goat hunt, a cultural tradition in the area, the tourist went missing. His remains were later found near a campfire believed to belong to a tribe suspected of being cannibals.
Accompanying Ramin on the hunt was a tour guide, who later returned to Ramin’s girlfriend, informing her that there had been an accident. The tour guide then tried to tie the woman to a tree. Luckily, she was able to escape, but little is known as to whether the tour guide was a member of the cannibalistic tribe.
8. Rotenburg, Germany
Armin Meiwes had dreamed of killing and eating someone since he was a little boy. He finally became successful after joining several chatrooms and posting a wanted ad of sorts looking for a willing volunteer. The lucky volunteer was 43-year-old Bernd Brandes.
The pair shared a grotesque dinner of Brandes’ genitals before Meiwes stabbed Brandes with a 12-inch knife. Meiwes made sure to record the entire affair on video.
He was finally caught after a former contact tipped off the police. Meiwes would not be charged with cannibalism, as it it not a crime in Germany. He was charged with murder.
9. Miami, Florida
Ronald Poppo suffered devastating injuries after an attempt to have his face eaten off by a naked man on a popular Florida freeway. The cannibal was identified as Rudy Eugene. Eugene was later shot and killed by a police officer after refusing to refrain from eating Poppo’s flesh. Lovely.