Published in Aug 2021 / Updated in Sep 2021
Ever wondered what you taste like? Apparently, many people are curious about the taste of human flesh, thanks to famous cannibalistic serial killers and popular shows like Hannibal.
Fortunately, notable cannibals have offered clues as to what fellow humans actually taste like over the years.
Silence of the Lambs made Hannibal Lecter an incredibly popular villain, and it left many people asking themselves what it feels like to chew on human meat.
Anthropological research claims that millions of years ago, Homo antecessor, the link between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, was a cannibal for the sake of nutrition. However, humans outgrew this vile practice after discovering more advanced hunting methods.
However, cannibalism has existed among humans forever, although it has never gained widespread social acceptance.
For instance, in 1492, Columbus met a West Indies tribe that was ritually cannibalistic. The tribe was called Carib, but the name was mispronounced as Canibs, and the name cannibals emerged.
Up to the 18th century, human blood and ground bones, among other body parts, were used to prepare medicine, a practice called medicinal cannibalism. In the 20th century, there were many cases of survival cannibalism in China.
Some years back, a German restaurant claimed that it wanted people to donate body parts that it would turn into gourmet meals. Later, it was revealed that this was just a publicity stunt.
Another company also came forward, claiming to sell a “Healthy Human Flesh Alternative” based on tofu called Hufu. The company explained that “people don’t taste like pork or chicken” but have “the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture.” However, this turned out to be another prank.
What Human Meat Looks And Tastes Like According To Experts
Based on experts, human flesh looks a lot like beef fillets, which is why they think that it would resemble a rump roast in taste. The red appearance is caused to the presence of myoglobin and hemes. However, humans have more myoglobin than pigs, sheep, and cows.
It has been argued that the taste of human meat would depend greatly on where it was sampled from and how it was prepared.
For instance, muscles are believed to have the greatest amount of protein. The brain, on the other hand, would be fatty but still delicious. However, it would be a huge risk as it is likely to contain compounds that would result in deadly diseases.
The eyes can apparently make you sick as they contain an acidic solution, while fingers and toes would have too much indigestible cartilage to offer much nutritional value.
However, the most reliable information on what the human flesh tastes like should come from proper cannibals, not experts in the lab.
To Some Cannibals, Human Flesh Tasted Like Veal
Humans have red meat, and it apparently has the same consistency as beef. However, according to those who have actually had human flesh, it is more subtle in taste.
William Seabrook, who traveled to West Africa in the 1920s, where he tried human meat during an interaction with a cannibalistic tribe, claimed it tasted like “fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef.”
Seabrook said it was “mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste.” A roast made of human flesh, according to Seabrook, is usually “tender” and comparable to veal.
However, Seabrook threw his account of what human meat tastes like into doubt after he later confessed that the distrusting tribesmen did not allow him to participate in their traditions. Apparently, he got samples of human flesh from a hospital and cooked it himself.
Issei Sagawa Explained In Detail What Human Flesh Tastes Like
One of the most popular cannibals today, Issei Sagawa, who is currently free, said that the meat was “wonderful.” He ate a 25-year-old woman for two days. He had killed her while studying in Paris. He is probably the only cannibal with a Ph.D.
He cannibalized a Dutch student in 1981, and the French declared him mad. When he returned to Japan, the authorities could not prosecute him for murder as the French refused to send them the documents necessary to open a case against him.
Apparently, the buttocks melted on his tongue just like raw tuna, but his favorite part was the thigh. The breasts, however, were too greasy, and he didn’t like them much. He also expressed his desire to eat a Japanese woman during an interview.
However, Armin Meiwes, who had a chance to eat nearly 40 pounds of human meat from a man who accepted it to be his dish, admitted that human meat is a lot like “good pork” but “a bit tougher and a bit more bitter.”
Some Cannibals Say Human Flesh Tastes Like Beef Or Pork
More recently, Brazilian Jorge Beltrao and his wife and mistress murdered and ate a homeless woman. After their arrest in 2012, they confessed to killing and eating two other women.
Jorge is currently doing 23 years in jail while his wife and mistress are serving 20 years each. Jorge also claimed that human meat tastes a lot like beef, and so they used cooking recipes used to prepare beef while cooking it.
The cannibalistic trio also sold meat pies made using human flesh, claiming that they were made of beef.
Karl Denke, a serial killer, sold human flesh as pickled pork. He had killed more than 40 people.
Similarly, serial killers Fritz Haarmann and Karl Grossmann sold human flesh as pork in the black market.
According to Alferd, Packer, who killed five people and ate them when he was running low on provisions, claimed that human meat is very sweet, with the breast muscle being the sweetest meat he ever had.
This opinion was shared by Omaima Nelson, who said her husband’s ribs were very sweet. She murdered and ate her abusive husband in 1991. However, some think the barbecue sauce she used might explain the delicious flavor.
A cannibal who killed more than 10 people, Arthur Shawcross, claimed that human flesh tastes like a nice pork roast. He confessed to having eaten a 10-year-old’s heart and the genitals of four prostitutes.
The Taste Of Human Placenta is Similar To Liver
One of the most popular cases of placentophagy involves January Jones, who claimed to have eaten her own placenta after she had her son.
Unlike other forms of cannibalism, some people consider eating the placenta an acceptable thing, a practice called “placentophagy.” Apparently, the placenta tastes like a liver. Obviously, this is not the best way to gauge how human flesh tastes in general.
In nature, this form of cannibalism is quite common, with many mammals eating their placentas for nutrition. However, humans don’t need to do this as they can get all the nutrients they need through regular food.
Those who strongly advocate for placentophagy claim that the practice helps lower postpartum depression, improve breastfeeding, and shrink the uterus.
Some People Practiced Cannibalism Out Of Necessity
Obviously, eating human flesh is generally considered a massive taboo. Nonetheless, there were cases where cannibalism was brought about by extenuating circumstances.
So, as detestable as cannibalism is, it has actually helped save lives in some cases. For instance, the lives of 16 survivors were saved through cannibalism after the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 disaster of 1972.
The accident happened at such a remote location that it took 72 days for the rescuers to get to the survivors, and in that time, the 29 dead helped keep the survivors alive.
That, however, was not easy as some of the dead people were friends and teammates of those left behind. Unfortunately, decades later, those who cannibalized their dead colleagues were still haunted by the experience.
Similarly, sailors who had run out of provisions could cast lots to see who would be killed and eaten first.
In some cases, the sailors would eat people already dead, which would be an advantage since they would not have to kill anyone. This form of cannibalism was called “the custom of the sea,” but the practice came to a stop towards the 1900s.
Before then, sailors would never know if they would ever find land again after getting lost at sea, and cannibalism helped them survive.
Is Cannibalism Illegal?
It might surprise you to learn that eating human flesh is not illegal in the US and many European countries. Most of the people who are famous as cannibals were actually caught for committing other crimes such as murder, necrophilia, and desecration of corpses.
In some cases, the victims actually consented to cannibalism. A good example is Miewes’ victim, who responded to his ad for a person to be “slaughtered and then consumed.” He ended up in jail for murder.
Strangely, cannibalism is not listed as a psychiatric problem either, although psychologists suspect that it might be connected to childhood trauma.
In truth, there have been cases where psychotic episodes have made people cannibalistic. For instance, the man who was shot while eating another man’s face was under the influence of bath salts.
Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish also cannibalized their victims for sexual pleasure. Still, this behavior has not been labeled a mental disorder.
Why Eating Human Flesh Is A Very Bad Idea
Despite what the Hannibal Lecter character might imply, eating human flesh comes with many health risks. So, cannibalism is not a very healthy fetish.
For instance, tribes in New Guinea that practiced ritual cannibalism began dying in huge numbers from a disease known as Kuru, which is a lot like Mad Cow disease. So, cannibalism is not something worth trying.
Other dangers abound. For instance, an autopsy on a famous French cannibal, Tarrare, unveiled that his body was full of pus, ulcers, and an enlarged stomach, gallbladder, and liver.
Otherwise, if you ever needed to know what you or another person would taste like if re-purposed as meat, then you clearly understand that the taste is quite palatable.
What is shocking is that there are a lot more people interested in cannibalism than we might expect. For instance, was in touch with more than 400 men on the web who had an interest in cannibalism.