The History and Evolution of Cannibalism

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Cannibalism generally connotes savagery, devouring a fellow human is, since the enlightened period, looked down upon. In fact, the Enlightenment period was obsessed with the “self-abhorring… figure of the cannibal” (Cottom 2001). However, the modern cannibal is drastically different from the cannibals from the past. Cannibalism has evolved from a cultural norm in prehistoric history, to medicinal use in the middle ages to finally sexual cannibalism in the present. One of the most famous cases of cannibalism is Jeffery Dahmer. From a young age, Dahmer was obsessed with death. His father, Lionel Dahmer, recollected on the time when young Jeffery first showed a peculiar interest in death; as Lionel was picking up animal bones from the lawn, he noticed Jeffery, “oddly thrilled by the sound they made. His small hands dug deep into the pile of bones. [Lionel could] no longer view it simply as a childish episode, a passing fascination. This same sense of something dark and shadowy, of a malicious force growing in [his] son, now colors almost every memory.” (Bradsley n.d.) By the time Dahmer was convicted, he murdered seventeen boys and men, many of his murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of their bodies. Dahmer was so infamous in America that he inspired movies and a comic book, which once wrought protests in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Williams 1992). During his trial, Dahmer explained his lust for human destruction, “…it took more deviant behavior to

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