Tribal people are known for practicing human cannibalism in many parts of the world. The Korowai are one of the few tribes believed to practice ritual cannibalism up to the present day. The act of human cannibalism has also been practiced by people suffering from famine or starvation.
However, this article will cover only cases of people who have committed criminal cannibalism. These are people who were charged with a crime relating to murder or desecration of a body. Here are ten people from around the world who were caught in the act of eating or having just consumed human meat.
10- LEONARDA CIANCIULLI, ITALY
Leonarda Cianciulli an Italian woman was born in 1893, in Montella, Italy. As a young child, she attempted suicide on two separate occasions and was greatly disturbed. She had seventeen pregnancies during her marriage, but lost three of the children to miscarriage, and ten more died in their youth.
During World War II in 1939, Cianciulli’s eldest son, Giuseppe, was to join the Italian army in preparation for the war. Leonarda came to the conclusion that his son’s safety required human sacrifices. She then planned the murder of three women, killing them with an ax and cut their bodies into nine parts. She also gathered the blood into a basin.
In her confession, Cianciulli described what she did with the bodies “I threw the pieces into a pot, added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I had bought to make soap, and stirred the whole mixture until the pieces dissolved in a thick, dark mush that I poured into several buckets and emptied in a nearby septic tank.
As for the blood in the basin, I waited until it had coagulated, dried it in the oven, ground it, and mixed it with flour, sugar, chocolate, milk, and eggs, as well as a bit of margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. I made lots of crunchy tea cakes and served them to the ladies who came to visit, though Giuseppe and I also ate them.”
Cianciulli who was also known as “Soap-Maker of Correggio,” made bars of soap out of her third victim, as she confessed to the murder, detailing “She ended up in the pot, like the other two…her flesh was fat and white, when it had melted I added a bottle of cologne, and after a long time on the boil, I was able to make some most acceptable creamy soap.
I gave bars to neighbors and acquaintances. The cakes, too, were better, that woman was really sweet.” Cianciulli was arrested after neighbors got suspicious and went to the police. She was tried and found guilty. Cianciulli was sentenced to thirty years in prison and three years in a criminal asylum. In October 1970, she died of cerebral apoplexy.
9- MATEJ CURKO, SLOVAKIA
Matej Curko is an ordinary family guy that lived with his wife and two children in Sokol Slovakia. Until in 2011 when he was arrested for killing people he met on the internet and cannibalizing on them. Curko’s internet posts and online conversations with an undercover agent detailed very relevant information, enough for his arrest.
Curso was quoted as saying “I am not a rapist, not gay, I am just a pervert who wants to feel death.” In 2011, a Swiss man tipped off the police said that Curko was attempting to coerce him into suicide and cannibalism on the Internet. The police responded by putting together an online operation where Curko was tricked into meeting an agent.
On the scene, Curko fought the police and managed to shoot a member of the SWAT team, but Curko was shot and killed by a sniper. The police searched the house and found a large collection of human body parts stocked in his freezer for later consumption. He also managed to hide other decaying victims’ body parts covered in foil in a shallow grave in the woods near his village. Police found the remains of two Slovakian women who disappeared in 2010.
The victims are thought to have volunteered themselves for murder and cannibalization. Matej Curko was also linked to the disappearance of thirty Italian women between 2009 and 2011. His family members have not issued statements to the press, that might have accounted for Curko’s highly unusual behavior. Curko’s wife and kids have reportedly left the village.
8-JARNO ELG, FINLAND
Elg was born in Hyvinkää, Finland in 1975. Growing up, he had a long history of violence towards animals. In one occasion, Elg killed a dog by duct taping it up and hitting it on a metal pipe. In November 1998, Elg with three accomplices entered the house of an unnamed man and strangled him to death.
The group took various body parts from the man and used them in a satanic ritual while listening to The Cainian Chronicle album by Norwegian black metal band Ancient. The group was tracked by the police and Elg was sentenced to life in prison for murder and cannibalism of a 23-year-old man.
His accomplices, Terhi Johanna Tervashonka, 17, was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison and Mika Kristian Riska, 21, to two years and eight months. It was said that the three people “were strongly influenced by Satanism.” The court declared most of the details of the case sealed for 40 years and provided only a limited amount of information.
7- JOSE LUIS CALVA, MEXICO
Jose Luis Calva was born in Mexico City in 1969. Calva grew up in a traumatic and abusive environment. In 2007, Calva was questioned by the police, for his girlfriend’s disappearance. As the police entered the house, they found Calva allegedly eating a dish of human meat. The police also found the decapitated body of his girlfriend in the closet, and in the refrigerator. There are also chunks of cooked meat in a frying pan and muscle tissue in a box of cereal.
Calva tried to escape by jumping through a window but was injured and arrested. Jose Luis Calva was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 84 years in prison for murder. He was also linked to the murder of eight others. In December 2007, Calva hanged himself to death in his prison cell.
6- TSUTOMU MIYAZAKI, JAPAN
Tsutomu Miyazaki was born in Ōme, Tokyo, Japan in 1962. Tsutomu Miyazaki became known as the Otaku Murderer, The Little Girl Murderer, and Dracula. He mutilated and killed four girls, aged between four and seven, and sexually molested their corpses. He allegedly drank the blood of one victim and ate her limbs. In one case, Miyazaki chopped off his victim’s hand and feet and kept them in his closet until his arrest.
He also burned the bones of his victims, ground them into powder, and sent them to the families in a box. In 1989, Miyazaki was caught at the scene of the crime after sexually abusing a girl. He was arrested and tried. Tsutomu Miyazaki was sentenced to death on April 14, 1997, and hanged on June 17, 2008. The details surrounding his cannibalism have not been fully released.
5- ÖZGÜR DENGIZ, TURKEY
Özgür Dengiz was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1980. Dengiz, started his killing spree when he was 17, he killed a friend and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He only served three years and was released on parole. In June 2007, Dengiz killed a computer engineer named Sedat Erzurumlu, who angered him by saying that he could not afford to buy the laptop he was looking at.
Three months later, he shot and killed a garbage collector at the Mamak Dump, and a few hours later, he murdered a 55-year-old municipal worker. Dengiz skinned the corpse with a cleaver, ate some of the flesh raw, and put the rest in a bag and stored it in his freezer.
He was eventually caught after the police traced him to a series of calls made with one of the victim’s mobile phones. Dang’s apartment was searched and the police found a collection of fresh human meat in the refrigerator. Dengiz was arrested, and he confessed to his killings, said he was irresistibly drawn to eating human flesh, “I love to eat human flesh. It makes me ecstatic. We are fools to have been eating beef for so long.”
After making his statement, Dengiz was arrested by the court. He was later found guilty of 2 murders and sentenced to 2 life sentences. However, the Court of Cassation of Turkey ruled that Dengiz was insane, and not fit to stand accused. His conviction and sentence were overthrown, and Dengiz was admitted to the psychiatric wing of a mental hospital.
4- JOHN BUNTING AND ROBERT WAGNER, AUSTRALIA
“Australia’s worst serial killer”, John Bunting is the leader of an organized group of killers in Australia. Under his instructions, the group preyed and targeted people they thought were pedophiles and homosexuals. In 2005, the accomplice James Vlassakis, confessed that John Bunting and Robert Wagner killed and cannibalized the remains of a man named David Johnson. James Vlassakis said:
“They hacked at David Johnson’s body to make sure it would fit in the barrel and then hacked a little bit more, taking a sliver of flesh from the right thigh. There was no remorse. No second thoughts. They heated a frying pan, cooked the flesh, and ate it.” The murder spree led to one of the longest and most expensive investigations in Australia’s history. John Bunting and Robert Wagner are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.
3- YOO YOUNG-CHUL, SOUTH KOREA
South Korean serial killer and self-confessed cannibal Yoo Young-Chul. As a young child, Yoo Young-Chul was convicted of mutilating and killing of dogs. Yoo Young-Chul murdered 21 people, between 2003 and 2004. His victims were mostly prostitutes and wealthy old men. He would assault the victims and murder them with a hammer. Yoo Young-Chul’s acts have been deemed the worst serial killings in the history of Korea.
Young-Chul decapitated his victims, and dump their head at a construction site. He murdered at least 11 of his victims and ate their flesh and raw livers. Yoo confessed on TV, “Women shouldn’t be sluts, and the rich should know what they’ve done.” The South Korean Supreme Court sentenced him to death in June 2005, and he remains on death row.
2- DENNIS NILSEN, ENGLAND
Dennis Nilsen was born in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1945. Nilsen killed and performed sexual acts to the corpses of his victims. He murdered at least fifteen men and boys under gruesome circumstances, between 1978 to 1983. Most of his victims were students or homeless men.
Nilsen picked up the victims at bars or on the streets, and invite them to his house. In the middle of the night, he would strangle and drown the victims. Nilsen disposed of the bodies by keeping them in a plastic bag and hid them inside his wardrobe. He also chopped some of his victim’s entrails into smaller pieces and flush them down the toilet, eventually blocking the flat’s drain system.
A plumber was sent for some plumbing job and found the drain was packed with a flesh-like substance and called the police. He was arrested and confessed to killing since 1978, he murdered 15 or 16 people and cooked some of their meat.
1- OTTIS TOOLE, UNITED STATES
Ottis Toole is an American serial killer, arsonist, and cannibal, was also an accomplice of the convicted serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. Toole confessed that they were responsible for hundreds of unsolved murders over the span of several decades. Unlike his partner, Toole confessed to cannibalism and went into extreme detail about the act.
Toole goes into detail about cooking and eating humans with his homemade barbeque sauce. He was also linked to the murder of Adam Walsh. In September 1996, Ottis Toole died in his prison cell from liver failure, he was 49.