The taboo topic of cannibalism has had significant cultural significance across many tribal societies. Ritual cannibalism has been part of the grieving process for many groups, particularly in the South Pacific cultures, many of which still continued to practice this into the late 19th century. Although in the modern era most cultures have largely abandoned the practice, there have been reports of ritual practice, or occurrences of cannibalism in times of great desperation and famine, as well as criminal acts committed in times of war and civil unrest.
Some of the most shocking examples of modern-day cannibalism have been revealed in nations such as the United States, where serial killers such as Albert Fish and Jeffrey Dahmer not only committed horrible acts against their victims, but also consumed their flesh. Even still, such cases seem far away, but every once in a while a case will come out revealing horrific practices of cannibalism in the modern day. From two siblings who ate the remains of their brother to avoid arrest, to the woman who ate her 3-month old, read on to discover some of the most horrifying cases of modern cannibalism.
15 The Revolutionary United Front
The Revolutionary United Front was a revolutionary group in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, at a time when the country was in a civil war to overthrow their government. The RUF terrorized Sierra Leone in an effort to control the diamond mines of the nation. They became known for their horrific crimes, including kidnapping and forcing children to become soldiers, cutting unborn babies out of their mothers' wombs, and mutilations and cannibalism of their enemies, which included peacekeeping troops and United Nations personnel. They believed that by consuming their enemies they would gain their strength and gain power. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people were mutilated by this group.
14 Omaima Nelson
Omaima Nelson moved to the United States from Egypt to pursue her modelling career. Soon after relocating, she met William Nelson, a man 33 years her senior. It was an unhappy marriage, with William abusing Omaima repeatedly. In 1991 she finally sought out revenge by murdering, dismembering, cooking, and eating his flesh. During her trial, she revealed she had deep fried his hands, barbecued his ribs, and boiled his head. According to Omaima, these grisly acts were performed in accordance to various Egyptian beliefs regarding meeting her husband in the afterlife.
13 Marc Sappington
25-year-old Marc Sappington was arrested in Kansas City in 2004, following a 4 day crime fueled spree that ended with the murder of three of his acquaintances. Marc Sappington suffered from a history of schizophrenia and had been in a PCP induced trance at the time of the murders, believing that he was hearing voices which told him that if he didn't kill and consume flesh and blood, he would die. He was convicted for the murder of 25-year-old Terry T. Green, 22-year-old Michael Weaver Jr., and 16-year-old Alton Brown Jr. He stabbed and shot the three men, and dismembered Alton Brown, eating a part of his leg and freezing additional sections of his remains for later consumption.
12 Timur and Marat
In 2009 two Russian brothers, 28-year-old Timur and 23-year-old Marat, reported their older brother Rafis as missing. He was gone for 6 months before the police had any real information about his whereabouts, at which point they decided to search the brothers' house. Although they feared the brothers were somehow involved with Rafis' disappearance, what they found was horrifying - Rafis' remains were cut up frozen in food bags. The brothers confessed to having murdered their brother and eating him in order to avoid being arrested. Timur had previously been jailed for 10 years for murdering his next door neighbor, a murder which he claims Rafis had in fact committed, and he wanted to avoid being arrested again.
11 David Viens
On October 18, 2009, David Viens and his wife Dawn, had a terrible argument. Frustrated, he did what no normal man would do and taped her mouth and bound her feet, which he claims was done to prevent her from driving around wasted, whacked out on coke, and drinking. When he checked on her the next day, he found she had suffocated and died. Instead of calling the police, he decided to take her to a cafe he owned in Thyme Cafe in Torrance, California, where he dismembered her and spent the next 4 days trying to cook her body. When it was all done, he disposed of some of the mush down the drain or in the cafe's garbage disposal.
10 Katherine Knight
Katherine Knight had a history of violent relationships, including murdering her ex's puppy in front of him and breaking another ex's dentures. Her latest boyfriend, John Price, had an "Apprehended Violence Order" filed against her for her public outbursts and attacks on the man. In 2000 the couple were at John's house, fighting, when Katherine attacked and stabbed him 37 times with a butcher knife before skinning him and dismembering him. She then proceeded to cook the separate body parts alongside vegetables and gravy, a meal which she intended to serve to the man's children. The police apprehended her before the children arrived home, and Katherine became the first woman in the history of Australia to be sentenced to life without parole.
9 Otty Sanchez
No one suspected that Otty Sanchez, a 32-year-old mother from San Antonio, would be capable of murder and cannibalism. While her 5 and 7-year-old nieces slept in a room nearby, Otty attacked her 3-month-old infant with a steak knife and two swords, murdering and mutilating him. She attempted to eat portions of his flesh, with three of his toes missing at autopsy. Following the murder of her son, she stabbed herself in the heart and stomach in a failed suicide attempt. Upon interrogation, she told the police that the Devil had told her to kill and eat her son, revealing severe hallucinations, which lead to her being held in custody of a state mental institution since 2010.
8 Mao Sugiyama
In one of the strangest cases of cannibalism to date, a Japanese man had his genitals removed and cooked for five paying dinner party guests. The man, Mao Sugiyama, a 22-year-old from Tokyo who identifies as asexual, had undergone elective surgery to have his genitals removed. Following his surgery, he took the removed parts home and cooked them for his guests, where he served these for $250 per person. Over 70 people in total attended the event, with five taking part in the meal, and the rest eating beef and crocodile meat.
7 Rapper Big Lurch Who Killed And Ate His Roommate
Rapper Big Lurch (whose real name is Antron Singleton) was accustomed to smoking PCP to help him manage the pain he was suffering from due to being hit by a drunk driver. On April 9, 2002, he was spending time with a friend, smoking PCP like any typical night, when things took a bad turn. The last he remembers is the Devil telling him he has to kill before the world comes to an end. When the police finally found him, he was standing in the street, naked and covered in blood, screaming at the sky. Tracing back his steps it was discovered the rapper had killed and ate parts of his roommate, Tynisha Ysais, whose face and lungs had been ripped out.
6 Tanzanian Witchcraft
Worldwide, albinism occurs in 1 out of every 20,000 people, but in the African nation of Tanzania, these numbers appear to be much higher. There are 4000 registered albinos in the country, but the Albino Association of Tanzania believes the numbers could be as high as 173,000.
Highly regarded in tribal rituals, albinos in the country have suffered from a number of attacks against them in the recent years, with over 25 albinos being murdered in 2008 alone. The victims included people of all ages, including a 7-month-old baby, whose death had been ordered by witch doctors. Albinos are often targeted for their body parts, which are used in various potions. The violence has become so severe, with people being attacked and mutilated in their homes, that the government has had a tough time trying to control the population. Over 173 people have been arrested and held in custody in connection with the gruesome attacks and cannibalism of albino Tanzanias, and officials are hoping to draw awareness to their suffering and mistreatment.
5 Yoo Young-chul
Yoo Young-chul, a young man from South Korea, followed a strange philosophy: "women shouldn't be sluts, and the rich should know what they've done." Yoo had a history of violence, particularly against prostitutes, following his rejection by a prostitute he had been in love with. Between 2003 and 2004, he murdered and mutilated 21 people, burning their bodies as a means of disposal – but not before he had removed and consumed their livers. He was finally caught in 2004, putting and en to his spree.
4 The Nigerian Restaurant That Served Human Meat As A Delicacy
In February 2014, authorities closed down a restaurant in the Nigerian state of Anambra, following the discovery of human remains in the freezers and fridges. Following a tip-off from a previous customer who had been told he had consumed human flesh, authorities discovered that the restaurant had been serving human meat as a delicacy, with two human heads being found in the freezer, as well as other remains and illegal weapons being found at the location. Over 11 people from the restaurant were arrested, including the owners and 10 employees.
3 Matej Curko
Matej Curko seemed like a typical family man. He was a computer programmer from the village of Kysak, Slovakia, who had a wife and kids and lived a fairly quiet and normal life – except for his part-time hobby which involved luring unsuspecting victims on the internet and killing them. He would find his victims on message boards where he would offer them his 'services' – a quiet and painless death, by giving them pain meds before stabbing them to death. For a long time, his rants were seen as a strange joke – until mutilated bodies began appearing in the woods around Kysak. The police were finally tipped off by a Swiss man who had been communicating with Curko about his services. In the emails, Curko described in detail how he was planning to drug the man, stab him in the heart, and how he would cut apart his body and eat his flesh. Posing as the Swiss man, an undercover agent met Curko at the planned location in the woods, where Curko attacked the man, injuring him. A sniper from a special police team hiding nearby shot Curko several times, killing him. When the police searched his house, they discovered a horrific sight – alongside the photographs of the bodies, there were human remains cut up and frozen in his fridge, many of which were linked back to many missing persons across Europe. He was later linked to the disappearance of 30 Italian and Slovakian women. His wife maintains his innocence to this day.
2 Moninder Sigh Pandher and Surinder Koli
On December 26, 2006, a local businessman from the village of Nithari, India, a man named Moninder Sigh Pandher and his servant Surinder Koli, were arrested in connection to the disappearance of a call girl. Upon their confession, the police began digging in an industrial area outside the village, and discovered a mass grave for the remains of a number of missing children from the area. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the duo were behind the killings, with a total of 17 remains being found on and around Pandher's property. The police found 15 human skulls belonging to missing children, a number of cellphones belonging to the victims, bloodied weapons, and torsos held in plastic bags in the fridge of the home. Koli confessed to the murders, claiming to have strangled the victims, r*ping them, dismembering them, and often removing their internal organs for consumption. All of the victims except for Payal, were underage, with 11 of the remains belonging to girls, and 11 other partial remains still being investigated. The case is still being investigated, with Koli being sentenced to life imprisonment and Pandher facing trial.
1 The Mauerovas
On May 10, 2007, a man in Brno, Czech Republic, installed a baby monitor in his house to make sure his child was kept safe while sleeping, but what it picked up was more horrific than anyone could ever imagine. This showed a child chained to a chair who was being repeatedly hit - a signal which was traced by the authorities to a similar device in the house next door. What they uncovered was one of the most shocking stories of modern cannibalism, where a family who belonged to a religious cult (one linked to a prevalent cult across central Europe called the Grail Movement) abused, tortured and mutilated 2 boys belonging to one of the members of the group, a 31 year-old woman named Klara Mauerova. She had locked both her boys, 8 year-old Ondrej and 10-year old Jakub in her home's cellar, where her and her relatives beat them, starved them, and eventually skinned Ondrej alive and fed on flesh. Klara and her accomplices have been jailed, with Klara serving a sentence of only 9 years for one of the most atrocious acts committed in recent history.