Friday, June 20, 2008

More on Cannibalism

Even though I don't love this topic, I know at least several of you find it interesting. (Actually, I do find it interesting; it's just creepy, too.) I wanted to share this last anecdote that I found while researching cannibalism for a recent post.

Apparently (and I say apparently because no one can verify his actions) around 1931, a New York Times reporter named William Buehler Seabrook got a hold of a piece of human meat, ate it, and wrote about the description. Here's his description:

"It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef. It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted. It was so nearly like good, fully developed veal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal. It was mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste such as for instance, goat, high game, and pork have. The steak was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough or stringy to be agreeably edible. The roast, from which I cut and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, texture, smell as well as taste, strengthened my certainty that of all the meats we habitually know, veal is the one meat to which this meat is accurately comparable."

I'm finding two different stories about how Seabrook came across the meat.

1. From an intern at Sorbonne Hospital. Reportedly, the intern took the meat from a human who had died in an accident, i.e., no diseases in the flesh, etc.
2. On a trip to West Africa, where he lived with a cannibalistic tribe.

It seems he did this in the interests of research, although no one is 100% sure that it actually happened. We can only verify his written account of the incident. Does it make you hunger Shai Hulud? :)


Shai Hulud said...

Let's get this straight toots...I don't WANT to eat human flesh. i just think its a tremendous wastes of meat to just burn it or throw it out or chemically taint it and bury it.

I'm pretty sure I've heard of this fella somewhere before. I can remember hearing a version of this story as a kid.

I remember hearing several different accounts of supposed explorers in the Congo where native tribesmen described the taste of the meat as being like "bush pig". I've heard it described as being pork like in several different accounts.

If you don't know the story of Tobias Schneebaum already, you should check him out on Wikipedia. He wrote a famous book, called, "Kepp the River On Your Right". The film about him, by the same name is good, as well. He lived with a tribe of sometimes cannibals in Peru, and ate of the forbidden flesh. Its an incredible account.

Jessica Knapp said...

OK, sorry for the miscommunication. Didn't mean to malign you, Foxy. No, I hear what you're saying. It's just icky to me.
I've heard of "Keep the River on Your Right," but never in terms of cannibalism ... always instead in terms of how much documentary filmmakers should allow themselves to get involved with their subjects—it seems he actually became part of the tribe for a while, romance, hunting, eating, etc. I'll have to look into the cannibalistic angles—albeit carefully, I'm a little queasy about such things.

Gothica Gothique Goth Blog said...

My recollection was that he had initially tried to eat with a cannibal tribe, and that was the assignment he'd been sent on, but the tribe he found were not cooperative. So as not to fail in making his report he bribed the guy at the Sarbonne -- but for many years pretended that he'd eaten with the cannibals and kept the true source a secret.