Top 8 Creepy Stories of Cannibalism in the Middle Ages

What could be better than starting the year on a healthy, joyful and gentle basis, by talking about the fact of very gloomy and relatively uncomfortable medieval cannibalism? You see, 2022 was a rotten year2023, according to our predictionsit will be worse, but when we compare to these historical events, finally… Boarf, we’re not so bad, right?

The customs of Lamuri

In “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville” (which are not the adventures of Mandeville, since he cheerfully plagiarized the stories of the Franciscan friar, Odoric of Pordenon) recounts the passage of Odoric to Lamuri, a northern Indonesian kingdom, at the beginning of the 14th century. He recounts what he saw there, and discusses a sordid “little detail”: the children were sold. If they were plump enough, they ended up as a main course. Locals told Odoric that baby meat was the “sweetest meat in the world.” Atmosphere.

The Massacre of Ma’arra

1098, 900 years before the first victory of the Blues in the World Cup, the Crusaders besiege the city of Ma’arra (in present-day Syria). A rather peaceful city, with an economy based on the cultivation of olives, figs and grapes. Cute. When the crusaders arrive, they destroy everything in their path, and kill, with all their might. Once the people had been decimated, the Crusaders boiled the “pagan” adults in pots, the children were roasted on a spit, grilled, then eaten. Horrible. According to the observer Fulcher of Chartres, the Crusaders even went so far as to cut off the buttocks of corpses, to cook and eat them. No, really… The ass stew is the detail too. The sheaf.

Human flesh as medicine

Head to China in the 700s. The country is under the Tang dynasty, and the doctor Ch’en Tsang-ch’I quietly prescribes human flesh to cure various health problems. But beware, not just any flesh! The giver had to be a willing donor, the giver and receiver had to be closely related, and the flesh had to be disguised as ordinary food. A nice trompe-l’oeil, creepy and relatively questionable in terms of ethics.


The cannibalism of the Great Famine of the 14th century

In 1315, it was (really) not good to live in Europe. Between the cold, the frosts and the floods that led to a great famine, it was not madness. As if the picture wasn’t bleak enough, this lack of food has led to civil wars, rebellions, and logically: mass deaths. Little icing on the tombstone: countless stories of cannibalism have been reported. This practice was so common at the time, that it gave birth to the tale of “Hansel and Gretel”. Nice.


Cannibalism among the Tupinambá

The Tupinambá are warrior tribes from the Amazon, speaking the Tupinan language, and were once known for… Facts of cannibalism. Manuel de Nobrega, a Jesuit priest, notably reported that the Tupinambá often gave themselves up to wars against their enemies. When the latter were taken prisoner, the Tupinambá took their daughters as wives, and killed the men in order to eat them. Same fate for children.

The Aztecs, “worst cannibals in the world”

According to Le Point, the “Aztecs were the worst cannibals in the world”. The sacrifices would have been inspired by the idea that the human body contained energy, allowing to maintain the movement of the sun in the sky, thus ensuring the perenniality of the harvests. To get into the dark details: hearts were offered to the sun, blood was smeared on temple walls, and the rest was eaten. This time, we made no distinction between men, women or children. Their victims are counted in the tens of thousands. Nice.

The Korowai, and revenge cannibalism

In this tribe of Papua, in the far west of Indonesia, which flourished in the Middle Ages, we firmly believe in witchcraft. When a person died mysteriously (illness, for example), they considered that he was the victim of a “khakhua”, that is to say of a sorcerer who had come from Hell, and therefore decided to eat him. . They didn’t stop there, as the alleged wizard was slaughtered, cooked, and eaten as well. Until not so long ago, they also ate people accused of murder.


The sad fate of Andronicus I Comnenus, Byzantine Emperor

Andronicus I Comnenus was not a nice guy, since he was a libidinous tyrant, accused of many crimes, including repeated rapes. William of Tire tells, in his work Continuation of History, tells how he was put to death in 1185 (and it’s not super fun): first, they strip him naked. Then, one eye is gouged out, so that he can still see the humiliations inflicted on him, with the other. Following, women cut it into pieces, then devour it raw. Once again, cannibalism here is a tool of revenge and humiliation, and honestly: it’s blood-curdling. Well… That’s what, so to speak.


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Top 8 Creepy Stories of Cannibalism in the Middle Ages

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