The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

A Fetish for Human Flesh

Posted by willd2 on October 26, 2008

Throughout the trial of Anthony Morley, former Mr Gay UK, who murdered, then cooked and eat flesh from his lover’s body, comparisons were always going to be made with Armin Meiwes.

In 2006, Meiwes, 46 from Rotenburg, Germany, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of murdering Bernd Juergen Brandes, a 43 year old computer engineer.

Meiwes met Mr Brandes in March 2001 after advertising on the Internet for a ‘well-built male prepared to be slaughtered and then consumed.’

The victim is said to have visited Meiwe’s flat where the two men had sex before Brandes agreed to have his penis cut off and cooked, which the two attempted to eat.

Meiwes then repeatedly stabbed the victim in the neck and dissected the corpse.  Some of the body’s flesh was stored in a freezer and consumed at a later date.

Fantasies of devouring flesh

As reported by the BBC, it was revealed that Meiwes admitted to ‘having fantasies about devouring the flesh of attractive young people’. 

The incident was filmed and a copy of the video was played in court. Prosecutors argued that the video ‘proved that Meiwes killed his victim for his own sexual pleasure’.

During proceedings, Meiwes said, ‘I had the fantasy, and in the end I fulfilled it’.  The fantasy was said to have resulted from Meiwes’ poor relationship with his father and that he wanted another human he could ‘bind to himself forever by consuming’.

Meiwes received a life sentence after a re-trial.  During the initial court proceedings, he was only found guilty of manslaughter as it was argued that Brandes was a willing victim.

A tradition which has spanned both cultures and centuries’

The issue of cannibalism is an uncomfortable one to broach.  It is the ultimate taboo, considered by many to inhabit the darkest corner of the human psyche.

As Clare Murphy of the BBC reports, ‘cannibalism has frequently been used as a means to demonise others’.

The term is said to derive from the West Indian Carib tribe, who according to Christopher Columbus, ate human flesh.

Indeed, cannibalism has featured throughout history, all over the world from The Aztecs, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, in more recent years.

Whilst there is an element of understanding in cases involving cannibalism as a means of survival, it is still regarded as an abomination of human nature.

Sexual satisfaction

In the cases of both Morley and Meiwes, the act of cannibalism was closely linked to sexual frustration or fantasy.

In her essay ‘Cannibalism: The Ancient Taboo in Modern Times’, Rachel Bell describes cannibalism as ‘the ultimate expression of dominance over another person.’

What is shocking is the reality of these cases.  Both Morley and Meiwes realised their sexual desires with gruesome consequences.

Horror films

During a psychological exam, Meiwes, ‘claimed that watching horror films is what initiated the fantasies that he had as a child about eating people.’

Indeed, cannibalism has been immortalised on the silver screen by films such as ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.

In another recent story, the Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards claimed to have snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine.   

Although not as shocking as the cannibalism cases, this story serves as a reminder that cannibalism remains a part of our society and interestingly it is still not illegal in many countries.

 

W. Drysdale – willdrysdale@hotmail.co.uk

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