ABSTRACTCannibalism is an act that is thought to be heinous and inconceivable in the minds of men.
But, contrary to what many people think, cannibalism is very much alive and still being practiced within the continental United States of America; the thing isthe government just hasn’t found out about it yet. This report will take you through the history of cannibalism, the different types of cannibalism, and the different cases of cannibalism. Cannibalism is one of the strangest and most horrific American taboos. When the common person thinks of cannibalism, a ballistic, deranged, serial killer who cuts his victims into pieces and boils them in bloody water quickly comes to mind.
Cannibalism is precisely defined as the eating of one’s own species; cannibals are people-eating people. Cannibals have a long, broad, and sometimes noble history (in The New Cannibalism p.1). Some of the earliest evidence of cannibalism comes from southern France, where there are Stone Age settlements littered with bones having knife-and burn-marks indicating that the one time owners of these bodies were eaten. “Human remains found at a twelfth-century A.D. site near Cowboy Wash in southwestern Colorado provide further evidence of cannibalism among the Anasazi. The remains of 12 people were discovered at the site, designated 5mt10010, but only five were from burials.
The other seven appear to have been systematically dismembered, defleshed, their bones battered, and in some cases burned or stewed, leaving them in the same condition as bones of animals used for food. Cut marks, fractures, and other stone-tool scars were present on the bones, and the light color of some suggests stewing. Patterns of burning indicate that many were exposed to flame while still covered with flesh, which is what would be expected after cooking over a fire. Human remains from other sites in the area were similarly treated, and three explanations have been proposed: hunger-induced cannibalism, ritual cannibalism adopted from Mesoamerica, or something else altogether. Patricia Lambert of Utah State University and Brian Billman and Banks Leonard of Soil Systems, the contract archeology firm that excavated 5MT10010, propose that cannibalism was associated with violent between Anasazi communities in the mid-1100s, contemporary with a period of drought and the collapse of the Chaco system. They note a sharp increase in evidence of cannibalism between 1130 and 1150, followed in a case by the abandonment of the site, then a decrease in the early 1200s as the climate improved” (qtd.
in Anasazi Cannibalism? p. 1).All cannibalism is not the same. One way to classify cannibalism is by who is eaten. There are three ways: autocannibalism–eating parts of oneself (not including common traits such as nail biting); exocannibalism– the eating of outsiders or foreigners (such as invaders or enemies); and endocanniballism–the eating of ones own social group. There are also functional types of cannibalism, based on why someone is eaten: survival cannibalism, religious or ritual cannibalism, and dietary or gastronomic cannibalism.
Survival cannibalism is one type of cannibalism that clearly without a doubt has occurred and is well documented. “Simply put, survival cannibalism occurs when people are trapped without food in some way — in a boat adrift on the ocean, on a mountain by snowfall — and resort to eating other members of the group” (qtd. in The myths and perturbing realities of cannibalism p.1). The most notable case of survival cannibalism is the case of the Donner party of 1846.
A group of 90 immigrants led by George Donner was caught in a blinding snowstorm high in the Sierra Nevada range of California in October 1846. Survivors, who made their way out early in 1847, had been forced to resort to eating the flesh of their comrades in order to survive. The survivors openly admitted to the media and in court to resorting to cannibalism to survive. Religious or ritual cannibalism is very rare in the United States. There haven’t been any cases of religious or ritual cannibalism in the United States.
This type of cannibalism occurs when a person is eaten for sacrificial religious beliefs. This also occurs when a person is eaten when they are dead because of ritual or religious beliefs. Some tribes believe that when a loved one has passed on, if you eat different parts of that person they will be with them forever.
Another common example, is of the bloodthirsty Aztec priests; which involves the drinking of blood by all of their victims as a religious sacrifice. Dietary or gastronomic cannibalism is seen to be the most horrific and heinous of all of the types of cannibalism. These types of cannibalism tell stories of gutless serial killers who had no remorse for what they do. One of the more not spoken of cannibals is Alferd Packer. In 1874 Packer allegedly took campers on a trail in Colorado and literally ate them.
Law officials later found the remains of his victims in the woods with knife scars all over their bodies. The knife scars were unusual; in which the victims’ bodies appeared to have been cut open and the meat inside appeared to have been spooned out. Packer spent some time in the Colorado Territorial Prison. After he was released — on a technicality — he became a vegetarian, made a modest living selling autographed photos of himself, and died.
One of the more modern day cannibals is Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmers’ case has been proclaimed as the worst cannibal case in history. Jeffrey Dahmer acted as a serial killer and a cannibal. Jeffrey Dahmer was a sick twisted man who lived a simple quiet life but no one knew the heinous acts he committed.
Dahmer abducted 11 victims consisting of small children, teen-agers, and homosexual males. After abducting his victims Dahmer would brutally kill his victims in his apartment and freeze their body parts. After freezing and refrigerating the body parts Dahmer then proceeded to eat the frozen and refrigerated body parts. There hasn’t been any other cannibal cases in the U.S. since the Jeffrey Dahmer case in1991.CONCLUSIONCannibalism, whether looked at as being good or bad, is alive and being practiced within the U.
S. We as Americans can either find a solution to this problem or learn to cope with the reality that is cannibalism.BIBLIOGRAPHYLidz, Theodore; Riley, Thomas J.; Schryer, David R.”Existence of cannibalism”Science 29 Aug. 1986: 233Shipman, Pat.
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