Every so often we hear horrifying stories of modern day cannibalism. In 2012, a naked man attacked and ate the face of a homeless man in Miami. That same year, a Brazilian trio killed a woman and sold empanadas made from her flesh.
We generally hear of one-off instances fueled by mental illness or drugs, but there are tribes around the world that reportedly still partake in cannibalism as part of their culture.
Although Fiji is typically thought of as a ‘Cannibal Island,’ the practice ended there in the mid-19th century when Christian missionaries gained influence. Today, tourists can get a taste of what the culture once was like by visting the Naihehe Caves, the home of the last cannibal tribe.
Not too far away in the South Pacific, the Korowai tribe of Indonesian New Guinea allegedly still has a culture of cannibalism. There are thought to be an estimated 4,000 tribesmen living in the rainforest. According to Paul Raffaele, one of the few explorers to make contact with the tribesmen recently, eating men is ‘part of their revenge based justice system.’ Instead of understanding that disease and germs lead to death, tribesmen believe that a ‘khakhua,’ or witch man, mysteriously kills their people and they must consume him in the body of the deceased to get revenge.
The tribe is located 100 miles away from where Michael Rockefeller, a son of then-New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared in 1961. He is thought to be a victim of an another Papuan tribe.
In India, exiled Aghori monks of Varanasi drink from human skulls and eat human flesh as part of their rituals to find spiritual enlightenment. The Daily Mail claims there are 20 members of the cult, but there used to be hundreds in the 19th century.
Cannibalism also exists today in some African militias. Joshua Milton Blahyi, or General Butt Naked as he was once known, was a former warlord in Liberia during the mid ’90s. He has since converted to Christianity and preaches peace, butadmitted to using ‘human sacrifice and cannibalism to gain magical powers.’
Former captives of a militant group in Congo known as ‘Mai Mai Morgan‘ disclosed that the followers engaged in cannibalism.
Although none of these places are tourism hotspots, it is still good to be wary that these practices still exist and you could be at risk, like this couple who narrowly escaped the Korowai tribe.