Rub a Dub Dub, Thanks for the Grub
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Kristin: "The tragedy is not to die but to be wasted" - Hannibal Lecter
Kimberly: As you awake from a long night of good, sleep you rub your eyes as you head to your kitchen. You stretch your sleepy muscles as you place coffee into your brewer. The smell of freshly brewed coffee slowly begins to fill your kitchen as you place a cooking pan onto your stove. You open your fridge grab out some eggs and meat that is delicately wrapped in some butcher paper. The egg hits the pan and sizzles as it cooks and
you carefully open the paper and take out a chunk of beautifully sliced pink meat and place it into the pan next to the egg. You season it with care and your mouth begins to water as the meat slowly begins to brown. You set your warm coffee and plate of food onto the kitchen table and slowly cut the food grabbing it with a fork and placing it into your mouth.
The meat and the eggs come together and perfect flavor harmony on your tongue as you chew. You smile to yourself for a moment. You are surprised that you were able to cook and prepare another human being.
Kimberly: This is Kimberly.
Kristin: and I'm Kristin and welcome to the Murder and Myths Podcast Episode 2: Rub-a-dub-dub, Thanks for the grub.
Kimberly: The very idea of cutting, cooking and then eating a person seems fake right? Most of us have read or seen Silence of the Lambs in which the main character Hannibal consumes humans.
Depending on which fictional portrayal of the character you are familiar with you come to know that he consumes people out of revenge for being rude or simply possessing disappointing qualities. As much as we know that Hannibal is a work of fiction what about actual accounts of cannibalism?
The Donner Party dealt with a harsh winter as they migrated west through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Running out of food they resorted to consuming their dead to survive.
In 1979 flight 571 out of Uruguay crashed near a glacier and its twenty-eight survivors reluctantly resorted to cannibalism to avoid starvation after 17 days. 16 survivors were rescued.
Eating another person seems so far-fetched but what if I told you it isn't?
A man standing barely five feet walked through the streets with two large suitcases in his hands. He is seen by people on the streets for he isn't hard to miss and seemed out of place. He continued his walk as if he was the only person around and went into the woods in Bois de Boulogne in France to dump the suitcases into a remote lake. He headed back home, and witnesses called the police to report that the suspicious man did not return out of the woods with the two suitcases.
When the police followed up they raided the man's home and in turn he stated “I killed her to eat her flesh.”
Born prematurely in 1949 Issei Sagawa was an infant so small he could fit into the palm of his father's hand. Sagawa described himself as weak from the moment he was born and stood at only five feet tall in adulthood and stated that he had pencil-thin legs.
His first cannibalistic tendencies came when he saw the thigh of a male classmate in first grade and thought to himself how delicious he looked.
As he grew up, he became obsessed with the actress Grace Kelly and he knew that tall healthy-looking western women was his trigger for his cannibalistic fantasies. He felt that being short and ugly ultimately gave him an inferiority complex to seek out people who are opposite of himself.
At age 23 in Tokyo Sagawa followed a tall German woman home and broke into her apartment while she was sleeping with the intent to cannibalize her. She awoke was able to push him to the ground where he was later arrested and charged with attempted rape. He never told the police his true intentions.
When he turned 27, he headed to France to pursue a PhD in literature in the Seb'on in Paris. Almost every night he would bring home a prostitute and as she would be washing herself in the bidet, he would hold a gun to her back but would freeze up and couldn't pull the trigger. He said that his "morals and whatnot" stopped his hand from moving and "in my mind I knew that the world that I lived in would shatter into pieces the moment I pulled that trigger."
Sagawa said all the French girls he met were beautiful but stuck-up and totally out of his league. He befriended a German classmate named Renee Hartevelt and they became friends. She would come over to his room to help him translate his assignments or come over for a meal. As she had her back turned to wash her hands, he would hold the gun to her back just waiting to pull the trigger. He knew that she was going to be a candidate for his ritual. He invited Renee over for dinner the night he planned to carry out his ritual. There she was, washing her hands and Sagawa crept up behind her took a deep breath and pulled the trigger.
The gun misfired.
This made Sagawa even more hysteric and he knew that he simply had to kill her. Two days later he invited Renee over again, put the gun to her back as she washed her hands, Sagawa took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. This time the gun didn't miss, and it struck Renee through the neck and the bullet lodged into her skull. She died instantly.
Sagawa thought to himself "you've been dreaming about this moment for 32 years and now it's actually happening." He realized at the moment that she became a corpse he had lost an important friend and regretted killing her for a moment.
Ultimately, he said that his only regret was that he hadn't eaten her while she was alive and didn't actually mean to kill her.
He said quote "the first thing I did was cut into her buttock. No matter how deep I cut all I saw was the fat beneath the skin. It looked like corn and it took a while to actually reach the red meat. The moment I saw the meat I tore a chunk off with my fingers and threw it into my mouth. It was a truly historical moment for me" end quote.
He ate off her body and had sex with her corpse for the next two days. After the police arrived at his house and he was arrested Sagawa's wealthy father provided a lawyer for his defense. He was in prison for two years only to be found legally insane and unfit to stand trial.
The judge ordered Sagawa to be held indefinitely in a mental institution. A Japanese writer visited Sagawa and ended up publishing the account of his kill called quote "In the Fog" which ends up making Sagawa a macabre celebrity.
His celebrity status contributed to the French authorities’ decision to deport him back to Japan to be institutionalized.
After returning to Japan he was examined by Japanese psychologists where they declared Sagawa sane and found that sexual perversion was his reasoning for the murder. After returning to his homeland France dropped the charges so that he could be tried in Japan. The French Court declined to send sealed documents to Japan which ultimately made it so Sagawa could not be institutionalized further.
On August 12th, 1986 he checked himself out of the hospital and has been free since. An interview conducted in 1989 asked if Sagawa still had these urges. He replied, "the desire to eat people becomes so intense around June when women start wearing less and showing more skin." He said "just today I saw a girl with a really nice derriere on my way to the train station. When I see things like that, I think about wanting to eat someone again before I die. What I'm saying is I can't bear the thought of leaving this life without ever tasting that derriere that I saw this morning or her thighs."
He continued, "I want to eat them again while I'm alive so that I can at least be satisfied when I die." And how does Sagawa plan he will do this? He said, "I think either sukiyaki or shabu shabu, lightly broiled thin slices of meat is the best way to go in order to savor the natural flavor of the meat."
Sagawa said "I would like to invite any woman who wants to kill me to step forward. Beautiful women only. That would be the ideal way for me to die. Maybe they can shoot me up with morphine so that I don't feel any pain, although I guess pain is part of the pleasure. Dying instantly is boring so I want to savor the process of being killed. An alternative would be to drown in female saliva. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be covered in woman's spit? If I could die drowning in it that would be my ultimate dream come true. I'm a cowardly man who killed another person, yet I can't face killing myself. So I guess dying in the hands of a woman would be the only way to redemption."
Kristin: Cannibalism where to begin? Interestingly there is a cannibal link to our first episode. If you recall Sigurd's wife Gudrun, well after Sigurd died, she was forced to marry another King against her will. He ends up bringing about the death of her two brothers Gunnar and Hogni and in revenge for that act she kills both of her sons and serves the king their cooked hearts.
Instead of telling that story in depth today I thought we would travel outside of the realm of the Norse and into the Pacific Northwest to a story that is part of the coyote cycle of the Nimiipuu or Nez Perce.
This tale involves five brothers who were out hunting for meat for their village. The eldest brother managed to shoot a deer, but the arrow did not immediately kill it. He did not want his quarry to escape so he chased the deer, separating him from his brothers. When finally, the deer, exhausted from the chase, succumbed to its wounds at the bottom of a canyon, the brother began his work of butchering the animal.
In his haste he cut himself when working on the carcass and his blood dripped onto the meat. Being hungry from the hunt, he ate some of the meat that had been tainted with his own blood and a strange hunger came over him. The fresh meat from his kill no longer seemed appealing to him, rather realizing that it was his own blood that he craved,he cut off a piece of his own body and feasted upon it. The more he ate the more insatiable his hunger became until he had consumed every bit of his own flesh leaving only his bones. The four remaining brothers arrived home from their day of hunting and at some point, they realized their oldest brother had not returned.
The next day when he had still not appeared the people of the village including the brothers set out a search, each looking in a different section of the hunting grounds. The second brother called out to the eldest, "Older brother, Older brother" and when he heard a familiar voice yell in response "Here I am brother" he rushed towards it thinking that brother may be injured as that would explain why he had not returned.
When the second brother arrived at the spot where he heard his older brothers voice he saw a skeleton of bloody bones coming towards him. He turned to run but the living skeleton of his eldest brother used a lasso made of his own intestines to catch his younger brother and tie him up. He then went about the task of trying to quell his ever-growing hunger by consuming every bit of his brother's flesh leaving only his bones.
By this time the villagers had returned from their day of searching to find that now the second brother was missing as well. The third brother announced that the next morning he would go out looking for his two missing brothers and when the Sun rose over the eastern sky, he did just that.
Much like his brother before him when he heard his older brother cry out to him "Here we are brother," he ran towards the sound only to be greeted by the sight of a bloody skeleton walking towards him grasping bloody intestines in bony hands.
Completely shocked by the sight he was frozen for a moment before he turned to run away, and that moment was all the eldest brother needed to catch him with the rope made of intestine.
He tied his third brother up and used his hunting knife to slice pieces off of his brother's flesh consuming every bit until he too was just a pile of bones to be thrown on top of second brothers.
When the third brother did not return home, it occurred to the people that something strange was going on but not wanting to succumb to fear just yet they thought that it was just as likely that the brothers had been in an accident and were attending to each other which was preventing them from returning to their home. Hence the fourth brother said he would set out in the morning to see if he could find the rest of his siblings and bring them back to the village.
He set off in the morning crying out to his brothers he heard his older brother yell out "Younger brother we are all here, come to us!"
He was so happy to hear that he had found his brothers he ran down into the canyon towards the voice and liked his two brothers before him he found his oldest brother was now a bloody skeleton. He too was caught with the intestine rope and was made into a fine dinner by his eldest brother, his bones added to the growing pile. That night the villagers noticed that the fourth brother had not returned and wondered what misfortune had befallen them. They decided that the youngest brother would need to set out at first light to try and find the missing men.
The youngest brother set out at dawn and headed to the area where they had all been hunting days before. There he happened upon a Meadowlark and captured it. He said to the bird "Aunt Meadowlark all my brothers are missing do you know what has happened to them?"
Meadowlark had witnessed the events of the previous days and told the story of how the eldest brother had tasted his own blood and that it filled him with a hunger so great that he had eaten himself and the three brothers who had gone in search of him.
Youngest brother was scared that he would be the next victim of his eldest brother, but Meadowlark told him how to ensure he would not be captured. She told him of a cache of sharp flint nearby and instructed him to tie the pieces of flint upon his legs so if the intestine rope was placed around him it would cut right through. Youngest brother did not want to be captured and eaten by his oldest brother so he followed Meadowlarks instructions exactly.
Like his brothers before him he heard eldest brother call out and he cautiously made his way to the voice when he saw the bloody skeleton. He turned to run away but he too was caught in the intestine rope. He forced himself to keep running and the pieces of flint cut right through the intestines just as Meadowlark had said. He ran all the way back to the village and told the people what he saw knowing that without a meal oldest brother would soon make his way to the village and eat them all.
Coyote decided that to be safe from this evil the village would pack up and move east the next morning and so everyone prepared to leave, all except for older brother’s wife who refused as she was determined to wait with their child for older brother to return. Everyone knew this was a bad idea, but no amount of pleading would change the wife's mind and so, the people left her and the child there.
One day older brother showed up to the village and demanded that his wife give him their child. Seeing now that youngest brother had been right, she pleaded with her husband to allow her to go to the river and clean up the child first. He agreed and, on her way out of their home she grabbed a wooden spoon.
When she arrived at the river, she asked the Willow Trees to answer for her when her husband called so they may cover her escape. The Willow Trees agreed to this. Then she bade the spoon turn into a canoe and her and the child rode it down the stream to join their people. The Willows keeping to their promise answered when the older brother called out but after a while he grew suspicious and realized it was not his wife's voice he had been hearing.
Frustrated at being tricked out of his meal he went searching for his people. When the wife and child found the new village, she told her neighbors what had occurred, and they all came up with a plan to defeat older brother. When he arrived at the top of the cliff that approached the new village Crane was buried in the dirt there.
When older brother came along Crane stuck out his long legs and kicked the brother hard. His bones were pushed over the edge of the cliff and landed in a broken pile at the bottom. Crane then went to the people and let them know that the cannibal was dead, and they no longer needed to fear. But let us all remember the evil that comes from eating one's own flesh.
Kristin: Thanks for listening to Murder and Myths, a bi-weekly podcast. This was episode 2 - Rub-a-dub-dub, Thanks for the grub.
Kimberly: Please review us on Apple podcasts, the reviews and ratings help the podcast tremendously and don't forget to subscribe to us on your favorite listening platform. If you have any story ideas or questions you can find us on murderandmyths.com or on twitter @murderandmyths where we do myth Mondays and true crime Thursdays or check out our Instagram @murderandmyths.
Kristin: we recently launched a patreon page where our supporters have access to exclusive digital content, extra episodes, and some physical merchandise depending on the support tier. Check it out if you want to delve further into the stories with us. There is a link on our website murderandmyths.com. Join us in two weeks for episode 3 - The Music Lived On.
Kimberly: and as always come for the murder
Kristin: and stay for the myths