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The Motives of a Cannibal


No one really knows why cannibals do what they do. Those who have never experienced a desire to be a cannibal probably never will understand. Although the average person may not understand the why of cannibalism, the fact that cannibals exist is evident.

Cannibalism was practiced in many ancient cultures as a ritual. The Aztecs and Mayans would sacrifice humans for the gods. They believed that these sacrifices made the gods happy and were for the greater good of the society.

In some countries where famine is widespread, people throughout history have turned to cannibalism as a way of survival. In the case of Andrei Chikatilo, a cannibal who was convicted of the murders of 52 people, such a famine may have caused his desire for human flesh. When Chikatilo was 5 years old, his mother told him she suspected that their neighbors had eaten his older brother. The image of his brother being eaten, implanted by his own mother, may have triggered cannibalistic tendencies inside of Chikatilo.

Most serial killers and cannibals claim that their actions were triggered by something that happened to them during their childhood. Albert Fish, a cannibal who killed 15 children and mutilated about 100 others, said that his actions were a result of being abused in an orphanage as a child. This abuse led him to develop masochistic tendencies. He also thought that God had instructed him to castrate and torment little boys.

Another common link that murderers have is sexual inadequacy. They find that the thrill of violence leads to sexual arousal. Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man who murdered and ate a fellow student, fantasized about eating Nordic women. He was small and unattractive and found these women large and beautiful. He felt that he could show his love for a woman by eating her. He was declared insane and later released back into society.

Perhaps more research into the lives of cannibals will produce solid evidence of something that triggers their desire for human flesh. Until such evidence is found, most people will just deem them insane and seek justice for their actions.


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