Did you hear about what one cannibal said to the other? "I don't like my Mother-in-law," Cannibal one said. "Well, then just eat your green beans," the second one replied. An old joke told over the centuries in an attempt to bring some levity to one of the more established taboos. We don't eat each other! In fact, very few species will eat others of their kind. A few exceptions (I would not want to be Mr. Black Widow!) exist, but for the most part, this is a taboo of nature versus one created by man.
Still, the practice exists over the years. In the last twenty years, there have been cases of serial killers killing people and then eating them. Single individuals making a meal out of their neighbors. In most cases, these individuals end up being crazy as a loon and get help. However, what happens when a whole community, or culture engages in the habit of eating other humans. What causes people to engage in it?
We have done some research to discover that there are two main reasons, groups of people will eat other people: culture and necessity. Interesting enough, these two reasons don't exist isolated from one another. Most cultures having engaged in cannibalism have done it out necessity at first (lack of a stable food source) which then becomes a part of their culture. We have a compiled a list of communities/cultures that have practiced cannibalism. Although, we do have a few in our list that do it as a means of establishing power and fear in their enemies, most in the list do it for cultural reasons or out of necessity.
As a warning, we don't get into details about the act itself, but if you are easily grossed out, you might want to grab someone so you can close your eyes while they read it to you.
10 Asmat People of New Guinea
9 Revolutionary United Front
8 Maori People
7 Siege of Maarat, or Ma'arra
6 Siege of Leningrad
5 North Korea Famine
4 Donner Party
3 Stella Rugby Team
2 Sir Jonathan Franklin
1 Carib West Indian Tribes
It is only fitting that the group ranked number one is the group that word cannibal was derived. Like with the other indigenous people described in this list, the Carib tribe was said to practice cannibalism as a victory of war. Columbus was said to have seen such acts taking place and not fully understanding what he was seeing. Some historians say all the cannibal claims are false, a dramatization created by the early explorers. Pirates of the Caribbean has been criticized for portraying the Carib tribe as savage cannibals.
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