The 1999 film Ravenous (starring Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle) is about cannibalism. It's loosely inspired by the stories of the Donner Party and Alferd Packer. But it also includes the idea that eating human flesh can cure any wound or disease.
I was reminded of that film when I came across this real-life case, from 1932, of someone trying the human-flesh cure, apparently successfully. But I wonder why the husband fed his wife only a third of his thigh steak? What did he do with the rest? Does eating too much human flesh turn someone into a vampire?
The Des Moines Register - Dec 25, 1932
In Fukuoka prefecture, Japan, banking on the superstition that to eat of human flesh cures all ills, a Korean whose wife had neuralgia cut a half-pound slice of flesh off his thigh, cut the slice in three parts, cooked one part, fed it to his wife, telling her it was rabbit. His wife improved; he went to the government hospital with an infected thigh.
An unfortunate Chinese woman who failed to answer her estranged husband's 2am phone call got a surprise visit at work the next day. The husband showed up and in a fit of temper bit her nose off and swallowed it. Due to the tissue being unrecoverable it will be at least 3 months before any reconstructive surgery can be done for her.
Invented in 1937 to control cannibalism among chickens. Apparently chickens have a natural instinct to peck each other, but the sight of blood intensifies this instinct. So much so that if one chicken has blood on its feathers, all the others in the flock will peck it to death. This was a real problem for farmers until these rose-colored chicken sunglasses came along, which made it hard for the chickens to see the sight of blood. Nowadays, farmers must have other solutions to the problem of chicken cannibalism, because these glasses are no longer manufactured and are considered collector's items. (National Band and Tag via Feathered Forager)
If you're ever at a dinner party where the host has a set of forks that look like these, you might want to consider leaving, quickly.
These are Fijian "cannibal forks" used for eating human flesh. The iron dance blog offers this description of them:
The cannibal fork, or iculanibokola, was used by attendants during ritual feasts to feed individuals considered too holy to touch food. These forks arose for several reasons. First is a cultural taboo that prohibits chiefs and priests from touching food with their hands. Common Fijians generally did not use utensils until Europeanization. One of the most important ceremonies a chieftain participated in was the devouring of their or the tribes enemy. Combining the significance of the event and the inability to use their hands the chiefs needed a way to participate-hence the development of the cannibal fork. Forks became a way to show power and influence. The fancier more elaborate the fork, the higher status the owner had.
Fijian cannibal forks are still made, to sell to tourists. What the tourists use them for... I guess that's their own business.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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