Cannibalism has always been a major taboo amongst humans with those who practice this act considered monsters. But throughout history, there have been cases where humans have been pushed to extremes where eating another human were the only way for survival.
1. The Greely Expedition
Humans have always pushed the frontier and explored the great unknowns with great success. But such expeditions don’t always end up well for the explorers. In 1881, US Lieutenant Adolphus Greely led an Arctic expedition with only six surviving to return as heroes by 1884. The authorities at the time tried to cover up the cannibalism that occurred but the reporters found out that one of the men was shot and killed to be eaten by the remaining member. Autopsies of the deceased confirmed this later shocking all.
2. Jack Want Yacht Trip
Jack Want, a wealthy Australian lawyer in 1884 purchased a yacht and recruited an experienced seaman with three crewmen to sail back to Australia. Unfortunately, the yacht got caught in a storm and sunk. The four members managed to get on the dinghy but starved for three weeks. They tried to stave off hunger by drinking their own urine, catching a turtle to drink its blood and eat its flesh. But eventually, they found that they were the only food source leading to the decision to kill and eat the youngest crewman, 17-year-old Richard Parker.
3. Frozen Strips Of Prisoner Meat
Siberia is a harsh environment, with Siberian prisons being even more brutal of places. From the island prison of Saghalien, in 1903, four men escaped with two of the men recaptured. As for the other two, they were eaten as there weren’t sufficient rations in the cold. They drank their blood and cut and froze strips of their meat with some of the frozen strips of meat found on the recaptured prisoners.
4. Siege Of Leningrad
The siege of Leningrad started in summer of 1941 when the Germans surrounded Leningrad which blocked off the city’s food supply. When starvation struck, people ate the zoo animals, then the pets and after started to boil leather to make edible jelly. Finally, the city faced the choice of starving to death or committing a major taboo with many choosing to turn to cannibalism for survival.
5. Mass Cannibalism In Prison Camp
The Bergen-Belsen camp, during World War II was initially a camp for prisons, which was used as housing for civilians after which eventually turned into a concentration camp. By 1945, food rations were short which led the starving families to partake in cannibalism with evidence of dead bodies with no flesh on the bodies. This situation was discovered when the Western Allies arrived with Brigadier Glyn Hughes.
6. Sister For Food
In the February of 1948, a disturbing incident took place in region of Chemnitz in Russia. Maria Oehme was reported missing by relatives for a month when it was reported to the police. The investigation led to Bernard Oehme, Maria’s brother. Police found what was remaining of the 26 year old woman around Bernard Oehme’s house. The human flesh was found in pots, dishes and buckets with her head, hands and feet found in the cellar. After the interrogation of Bernard, he admitted to killing, cooking and eating her without any reason for this brutal act of cannibalism.