Longpig – The other kind of pork, the pork that speaks

connoisseurs say the meat tastes like pork and others say veal.  

While many say it is morally wrong and it’s against the law.

Others treat it as a another meal.

clan of cannibals

The eating of one’s own species is very common and acceptable amongst many other organisms in nature.  Humans however, are still hung up on the idea of eating your fellow human as morally wrong and it is considered a cultural taboo in many societies.  Regardless of it being illegal or immoral, people do resort to cannibalism out of survival or for ritual practices. Longpig; by the way, is a Polynesian term from the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, describing what humans would look like when cooked.  The word has become slang for cooked human flesh which is featured on many cannibal-fetish sites on the dark web.

The weak is meat, the strong do eat

Donner Party Memorial

Donner Party Memorial

The Donner party

May 1846, a group of families; the Donners and Reeds, along with employees, set off on a wagon train bound from Independence, Missouri to California.  With many mishaps and a few attacks by the local indigenous tribes, these pioneers thought the worst of their troubles were over, until they became trapped in the Sierra Nevadas due to a series of early winter storms.  Due to the severity of the weather, the first rescue party arrived in February 1847. Of the beginning 87 member party only 48 survived and made it to California. Out of survival instincts, some of the remaining of the party stayed alive by resorting to cannibalism.

JEAN LOUIS THÉODORE GÉRICAULT - La Balsa de la Medusa (Museo del Louvre, 1818-19)

JEAN LOUIS THÉODORE GÉRICAULT – La Balsa de la Medusa (Museo del Louvre, 1818-19)

Raft of the Medusa

A painting by Théodore Géricault depicts an event that occurred early in the summer of 1816.  The frigate Medusa was taking civilians and French officials to claim control of Senegal after the fall of Napoleon.  Due to negligence of the Captain the ship grounded. The lifeboats couldn’t accommodate the 400 passengers on board. A large crude raft was created for the less fortunate people and was towed by the lifeboats.  With no food or water rations onboard the raft, people were getting hungry and dehydrated. Tensions grew between the passengers on the lifeboats and on the raft that lead to the people onboard the lifeboats cutting the tow line of the raft.  The abandoned passengers on the raft had to resort to cannibalism to survive. A rescue party arrived 13 days later on July 17. Only 15 castaways were left on the raft, five died shortly after the rescue.

Survivors of Uruguayan Air Force flight 571

Survivors of Uruguayan flight 571

Uruguayan Flight 571

On October 12th, 1972, chartered flight 571 was en route from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile.  There were 3 crew members and 45 passengers on board. A Uruguayan rugby team, their family members, and supporters were on their way to a match in Chile.  While crossing the Andes, the inexperienced co-pilot made an error and the plane struck the mountain. Of the 45 passenger it was reported that 28 survived the initial crash and all of the crew died.  After the 10th day of the crash, the survivors heard a broadcast over a transistor radio that the search for them was called off. With no results of the search, it was presumed that nobody survived the crash.  Rather than facing starvation the survivors resorted to eating the dead. Three of the survivors, without any gear or experience, decided to climb a glacier blocking their path and hiked for 10 days. They eventually came in contact with a Chilean arriero (muleteer) and after over two months of being stranded; on December 23rd, the 16 remaining survivors on the Andes were rescued.

Ritual Cannibalism

The practice of ritual cannibalism has been apart of human behavior from around the world long before recorded history and is still practiced today.  Anthropologists found human bones that showed signs of de-fleshing by other humans in cave dwellings of Homo antecessor; a archaic human species of the Lower Paleolithic that existed between  1.2 million and 0.8 million years ago in Western Europe. Human remains found in Gough’s Cave in England dating roughly 15,000 B.C. showed evidence of cannibalism. It appeared that many of the skulls were used as drinking vessels, indicating that cannibalism was a sacred practice in this location.

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Pyramid of Unas

Ritual texts were found while excavating tombs in Egypt.  Amongst these Egyptian texts, the Cannibal Hymn was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Unas.

The Pharaoh is he

Who lives on the being of every god,

Who eats their entrails…

Pharaoh is he who eats men

And lives on gods

During the first century, the Greek writer Diodorus Siculus recorded an ancient story in which Osiris forbade Egyptian people to eat one another.

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An Aghori, c. 1875

The Aghori

A sect of Hindu ascetics in India, believe that all things in the universe are equally sacred including human remains.  The Aghori believe that holding, caressing, and eating the human dead will help them transcend all dichotomies and attain nirvana by becoming one with ultimate reality.  This practice is considered a taboo amongst followers of mainstream Hinduism.

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A Korowai man

The Korowai

The people of the Korowai tribe, mainly in the western area of Papua New Guinea, practice the act of cannibalism out of revenge.  It is believed that when a family member is falling ill and or dies it was from the hands of a Khakhua (witch). When someone is accused of being a witch, the tribe would kill them and eat their remains to avenge their loved ones.

dried human placenta

Dried human placenta as medicine

Placentophagy

To prevent postpartum depression (PPD) and other perceived health benefits, some women consume the placenta after giving birth.  The first documented accounts of placentophagy were in North America in the 1970’s. Due to health advocates and the media, the ritual has seen a huge rise in popularity.  Despite the claims of the health benefits that still haven’t been confirmed, there are health risks of partaking in this ritual. The one function of the placenta is to protect the fetus from harmful substances.  Elements of selenium, cadmium, mercury, lead, as well as bacteria have been identified in the post-term placental tissue.

What are the Pros and Cons of Cannibalism?

If there is no food and it is out of survival, that would be a pro.  Chowing down on your former travel companion or neighbor will give you plenty of calories that will buy you a few more days.  Consuming cooked human flesh is no more hazardous to your health than eating the cooked flesh of other animals.

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Zombies from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead

Despite what the zombies say, don’t eat the brain!  Eating the brain will more than likely cause Prion disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease and you will die from that.  Cooking your meat is very important. Not only will you get parasites and e coli, you will also get blood borne pathogens from your meal as well.  If for whatever reason you have to resort to cannibalism make sure you eat your vegetables. Like eating any other meat, if you don’t eat your side salad, digesting your fellow human will be very complicated and will lead to constipation.

After developing your reputation for being a cannibal you might be arrested, exceptions might be made if it was for survival reasons and the person was already dead.  Seek legal counsel on that one. Whether it is legal or not, you will be looked at, in a very judgemental way, probably for the rest of your life.

Final Thoughts…

From the words of a philosopher, writer, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau : “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich”.  To build off of that, if the filthy rich are going to act like greedy pigs then logically they must taste like pork.  Hmmm… bacon, I like bacon. How about you?

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Just plain uncooked bacon, or is it?

For related articles

The Legend of Sawney Beane

Vampires

For Further Reading

Sleeping with Cannibals

The Chilling Case of “Fat Longpig,” the Cannibal With a Child Dungeon

References

Long pig definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/long-pig

Nuwer, R. (2014, February 03). Human Flesh Looks Like Beef, But the Taste Is More Elusive. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/human-flesh-looks-beef-taste-more-elusive-180949562/

Akpan, N. (2017, April 06). If you had to eat a human, which body part should you pick first? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/served-archaeologist-considers-nutritional-value-humans

Flint, K. (2017, December 15). Being a Cannibal – Is it Really Bad to Eat People? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://particle.scitech.org.au/food/is-it-really-bad-to-eat-people/

Newman, T. (2018, January 19). Cannibalism: A health warning. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311277.php

Robbins, M. (2010, September 08). What does human meat taste like? | Martin Robbins. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/the-lay-scientist/2010/sep/05/human-meat-taste-cannibal

Editors, H. (2010, March 05). Donner Party. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/donner-party

Donner Party. (2019, May 14). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

Britannica, T. E. (2019, February 01). Théodore Géricault. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodore-Gericault

Peregrine, A. (2016, July 12). Raft of the Medusa: A grisly tale of incompetence and cannibalism. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/articles/raft-of-the-medusa-louvre-explained/

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. (2019, April 11). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571

Santiago, A. P. (2012, October 14). Andes plane crash survivors mark 40th anniversary with rugby game. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/14/andes-plane-crash-survivors-rugby

Coffey, J. R. (2017, November 22). Ritual Cannibalism: Past and Present. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://spirituality.knoji.com/ritual-cannibalism-past-and-present/

Thomas, B. (2017, April 25). Eating People Is Wrong-But It’s Also Widespread and Sacred. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.sapiens.org/body/cannibalism-ritualized-sacred/

Should I Eat My Placenta? Placentophagy and Placenta Pills. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/should-i-eat-my-placenta#1

Coyle, C. W., Hulse, K. E., Wisner, K. L., Driscoll, K. E., & Clark, C. T. (2015, October). Placentophagy: Therapeutic miracle or myth? Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580132/

(n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/cannibal.htm

 

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What is so Weird & Odd about January?

 

The month of January is recognized globally as the beginning of the new year.  On December 31st people will congregate in large to small groups from within the biggest cities to small villages worldwide to celebrate the beginning of what is to come.  Traditions such as singing “Auld Lang Syne”, shooting off fireworks, shooting guns in the air, coming up with a new year’s resolution, and kissing after the stroke of midnight are all common to this day.  What are the meanings and origins of these customs? What other traditions do people partake in to welcome in the new year?

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Janus

The month of January was named after the Roman god Janus in 46 B.C. by emperor Julius Caesar.  Janus was the protector of gates and doorways. He was portrayed as having two faces, one face looking into the past and the other looking into the future.  Janus was the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He presided over the beginning and end of conflicts, such as war and peace.  The gates of a building in Rome that were named after Janus were opened in times of war and closed to signify the arrival of peace. It is safe to assume that these gates were open for business often because the Romans were constantly at war.

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John Masey Wright and John Rogers illustration of the poem, c. 1841

Auld Lang Syne

A Scottish poet by the name of Robert Burns wrote 6 volumes totaling 160 Scottish folk songs in “The Scots Musical Museum” that was published between the years of 1787-1803.  “Auld Lang Syne” appears in volume 5. Robert Burns noted that he didn’t write the song itself, he stated that it was an ancient Scottish folk song, but he was the first to put it down on paper.  For those who are not familiar with this tune I have provided a link below.

Auld Lang Syne

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Ring out the Old and Ring in the New

Making a lot of noise seems to be a very common tradition throughout the world when it comes to celebrating the new year.  In ancient Thailand firing guns in the air was believed to frighten off demons. In China shooting off fireworks was also done for similar purposes.  In North America today the sounds of sirens and party horns would ring through the air to bid the old year farewell. The Japanese will ring large temple bells at the stroke of midnight.

Speaking of shooting guns in the air, GRAVITY WORKS!  When someone shoots their gun in the air the bullet will come down and could possibly kill someone.  At least use blanks if you’re going to participate in this particular activity. That is what a responsible gun owner would do.

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New Year’s Resolutions

The tradition of coming up with a New Year’s Resolution can be traced back to the Babylonians.  They would reportedly make promises to the gods in hopes of gaining favor in the coming year. It is still to this day a common practice at New Year’s Eve parties to come up with a New Year’s resolution, but unfortunately it is also common that they are rarely ever kept.  According to a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago; Joe Ferrari, to improve the chances of a resolution to be kept one should share their resolution with others to help hold them accountable.

romeo_and_juliet_(detail)_by_frank_dicksee

Pass the Binaca spray

Kissing someone is a very old tradition to celebrate the new year.  During the celebration of Saturnalia, a Roman festival that occurred during the winter solstice, orgies would take place that also involved a lot of kissing.  For more information on Saturnalia.  Saturnalia is also part of why we today kiss under the mistletoe.

In Ancient Greece, to celebrate the festival, people would also kiss underneath the mistletoe because the plant represented fertility.  During the Renaissance era in Europe, people would remove the masks at the masquerade balls and kiss to purify each other from evil. It was also a way of starting off the new year with a clean slate.  In English and German folklore it was believed that a kiss at midnight would strengthen a romance, and those who avoid a kiss would be doomed to be loveless throughout the rest of the year.

For those who are single and can’t find a date for the New Year’s Eve parties, no need to feel left out.  With a little bit of money you can travel to Scotland. The Scottish celebrate Hogmanay, the Scottish new year celebration.  At the stroke of midnight everyone in the room receives a kiss. The tradition connects friends and strangers. It is also to make the single people feel included.  God bless the Scottish!

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Other traditions from around the world

  • In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one each at the stroke of the clock at midnight.  Each grape represents good luck for each month of the new year.
  • In Columbia, in hopes of a good travel-filled year, people will carry empty suitcases around the block.
  • The people of Denmark will throw plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits.  They also like to stand on chairs and jump off at midnight to leap into January for good luck.
  • In Finland, people will try to predict the  coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water, then interpret the shape the metal takes form of after hardening.  A heart or ring is a sign of a wedding, a ship predicts a journey, and a pig signifies that there will be plenty of food.
  • To ward off evil spirits, burning of effigies (muñecos) of well known people, fictional characters, or political figures in Panama.
  • Round shapes are very commonly seen in the  Philippines during the new year. The shape represents coins to symbolize prosperity.  Many people will wear clothes with polka dots for luck.
  • In Brazil as well as other Central and South American countries it is believed that if you wear a certain color of underwear on New Year’s Eve good luck will follow.  Red underwear is thought to bring love and yellow is believed to bring money.
  • An onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes on New Year’s Eve in Greece as a symbol of rebirth.  On New Year’s day, parents will wake up their children by tapping them on the head with the onion.

What to do after the party ends…

After the hangover wears off there are still plenty of things to do in this month.  January has been recognized as the National clean up your computer month. For those who were thinking about  breaking out the water and bleach solution, DO NOT! For more information on how to clean your computer check out How to clean your computer.

The National Tea Council of the USA has also claimed January as National Hot Tea Month.  On January 12th it is National Hot Tea Day. The Tea council of the United States was founded in 1950 as a nonprofit organization that facilitates a partnership among tea importers, tea packers and other related industries in the United States along with other tea producers from other countries.

From The Weird and The Odd,

Have a happy new year!

References

New Year. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2064.html

Dove, L. L. (2012, December 17). Why do people make New Year’s resolutions? Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/why-make-new-years-resolutions1.htm

Dodgson, L. (2017, December 31). This is why we kiss each other at midnight on New Year’s Eve – and it dates back thousands of years. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-kiss-each-other-on-new-years-eve-2017-12

Robert Burns Country: The official Robert Burns site. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from http://www.robertburns.org/

The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne | Scotland is Now. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.scotland.org/features/the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang-syne

9 New Year’s Traditions From Cultures Around The World. (2017, October 09). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://worldstrides.com/blog/2016/12/9-new-years-traditions-cultures-around-world/

Old Farmer’s Almanac. (n.d.). New Year’s Traditions From Around the World. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.almanac.com/content/new-years-traditions-around-world

Old Farmer’s Almanac. (n.d.). Daily Calendar for December 31st, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://www.almanac.com/calendar/date/2017-12-31

National Hot Tea Month Highlights the Love of Tea. (2018, September 25). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from https://worldteanews.com/tea-industry-news-and-features/national-hot-tea-month-highlights-love-tea