Cannibalism on the Web

Armin Meiwes, a computer technician in central Germany, liked to meet other men online. But instead of using Match.com or Friendster, he posted his personal ads on sites like “Cannibal Cafe,” “Guy Cannibals” and “Torturenet.” And instead of dinner and a movie, he preferred to slaughter and eat his dates.

Unlike other cannibals, Meiwes used the Internet to meet his (very willing) victims. So I went looking for his original message board postings, but the three sites he mentioned in his testimony have shut down in the year since his arrest. He also posted messages to a Usenet group called alt.sex.snuff.cannibalism, where several of his posts are archived by Google Groups.

The newsgroup, like many others, is so overwhelmed with spam that the active users started prefixing their posts with “ASSC” to separate out the noise. If you look around, you’ll find an active community of cannibal fetishists, with their own forms of fan fiction, creative writing, poetry, and the occasional “stab” at humor. Compared to this kind of creative output, Armin Meiwes’ posts are downright dull.

December 18, 2003: PETA is trying to convert him to vegetarianism.

34 thoughts on “Cannibalism on the Web

  1. This usenet post is far from downright dull: i butchering you and eat your horny flesh.

    This might be the most disturbing thing I have read this year. Something about those posts combined with the quotes and Yahoo photos (note his teeth) really give me chills. But the question that’s got me wondering: is it ethical to eat someone if they give permission?

  2. I really can’t imagine any circumstance where eating someone is ethical, I guess the real question right now is if it is criminal.

  3. Why is eating another human being unethical by default? Clearly, killing a fellow is both unethical and criminal, but the attitudes toward cannibalism seem to vary. I recommend taking a look at Rachel Bell’s article on cannibalism, which explores the history, psychology, and sexualization of this effed up phenomenon. It touches upon ethics only within the context of survival – the Donner party, Alive, etc. And it seems that cannibalism may be Mom’s fault:

    This theory is further supported by a study on cross-cultural cannibalism conducted by Eli Sagan. According to Sanday’s book Divine Hunger, Sagan argues that cannibalism is a “psychological response to anger and frustration” expressed through oral aggression and an urge to literally absorb a person through consumption. Sagan states that this urge can be directed at an enemy who may threaten the strength of the individual.

    Sagan believes that children who are excessively dependent on their mothers, due to maternal over nurturing, are more likely to experience oral aggression and frustration due to separation. Moreover, he contends that the adult who subconsciously carries this oral aggression is likely to express it in an overtly dominant fashion against women by turning to cannibalism.

  4. I really can’t imagine any circumstance where eating someone is ethical

    It’s not that hard to imagine. The Donner party and the rugby players in the Andes come to mind. Unimaginable unless you’re actually in that type of situation, but not unilaterally unethical. Some human societies routinely ate human flesh because it was the only significant source of protein to be found in their environment (no cows or pigs in New Guinea). Killing people, raising humans for livestock, or selling human meat…that’s where the ethics would come into play.

    And I’ll stop there because as Ryan said, this gives me the willies.

  5. You want to talk chilling: I keep getting Erma Bombeck sponsored links on the page with the filk about eating people. That’s a dimension to her work I’d never noticed before.

  6. obvioulsy, canibalism for him is totally different than eating normal animal meat. “It was like taking communion.”

    in that sense, i guess it could default as being unethical in this case.

  7. wow, I think I need a shower after reading that fan fiction. I can’t believe I made it all the way through it #1 because I have a natural aversion to fan fiction of any sort and #2 that was the creepiest thing I’ve ever read.

  8. I’m too freaked out to read the fan fiction. But I think it’s generally agreed that cannibalism is unethical except in extreme conditions, like the soccer players in the Andes and the Donner party. And I thought they only ate their dead comrades. Am I right? I don’t think they killed each other expressly for food.

  9. I can’t believe this guy actually found someone that had always wanted to be brutally slaughtered and eaten. I don’t know who’s more sick really. I’m sitting here eating a salad and i just paused for a second and shuddered. yuck.

  10. Dear Marijuana Blog,

    You’re an idiot. Were you high when you wrote that? Cannibalism is ok if its out of neccessity, fine. But this is fetish crap. Look, if I found it exciting to cut your balls off and feed them to my dog I think you’d be a little pissed. I also think that there might be something illegal about that, no? He wasn’t eating for survival. He’s just sick

  11. ok i know its not cool to eat someone else for pleasure but its what he wanted to do and the other guy was giving him permission to do it!

    Obviosly its not funny and it is disgusting but what would you prefer him going out and randomly killing someone?

  12. you all have missed the boat. human flesh is great.,when prepared properly. most of the body is woprthless.ie, the breasts, pubic area. brains. by the way idaho is the only state where cannibalism is against the law. so get someone to do themselves in for you to eat them!!!

  13. i think that eating another human being is wrong, yet we can eat animals and watch animals killing each other wihout any problems.

  14. chomping happily r u a freakin weirdo? do u eat humans? i think that u r seriously weird and need some help mentally ASAP!!!!

  15. Obviously thise comment depnds on your definition of ethical but I for one cannot find a single thing morally wrong with Armin Meiwes other is not behaviour. Who exactly is affected by this act? Evidently the majority of us find it an extraordinary fetish that repulses us but we are talking about consenting humans. Both of the protagonists just got more pleasure out of it than they have experienced in their lives. I understand that people casually eating each other is not to be encouraged in a civilised society but I personally cannot find anything inherently evil in his actions. I would treat him with considerably more respect than a rapist. I think those who are quick to condemn other peoples abnormalities should behave a little more objectively.

  16. What about Russia? in the Volga region, people killed their daughters to feed their sons at the start of the Bolshevik reign, and Lenin went mad because a bolshevik friend of his Chicherin had no chocolate! Where does the greater evil lie here? to be honest, the guy killed someone who consented, we’re talking one guy died, you’re all so disgusted, but where do you stand on drink-driving?!

  17. I CAN SEE WHERE YOUR COMING FROM SPARK BUT CANNIBALSIM IS WRONG AND IN MY OPINION IMMORAL. DONT DRINK AND DRIVE SMOKE AND FLY.

  18. “chomping happily r u a freakin weirdo? do u eat humans? i think that u r seriously weird and need some help mentally ASAP!!!!

    posted by shakira on February 3, ”

    Haha, lets not abbreviate three letter words, darling. I think eating humans is perfectly acceptable, as long as we’re doing it in a civilized way. That is, with a knife and fork and a little salt. Actually, I’m a vegitarian (damn those peas) and don’t regularly indulge in cannibalism. However, even though I don’t practice it myself, I say “don’t knock it till you try it.” The way I see it, one man wanted to start carving, and the other volunteered to be the turkey. Don’t blame the eater for the eaten’s death. It’s like saying the cant shouldn’t eat the canary even though its sitting on the plate and spreading butter on itself.

  19. Probably not, you probably dont taste very good on account of how close minded and angry you are. Makes pleople all bitter tasting. My mother? no, i dont think so, but then she doesnt want to be eaten. if you had actually read what I wrote, maybe you would have caught that it was okay to eat someone who wanted to be eaten. it happens all the time babe. go take a walk outside, animals eat their young all the time. Polar bears, cats, fox, even those cute little mice in your pantry eat each other. Its a fact of life, and humans aren’t above it either it seems. get off your high horse and grab your fork sweety, its supper time.

  20. once again, don’t abbreviate three letter words, it makes you look a wee bit stupid, and even harder to listen to your inane comments.

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