Nazino Island was supposed to become a thriving community, but within weeks the island’s inhabitants resorted to horrific acts of cannibalism to survive.
What does human flesh taste like? Who was the most famous cannibal? Explore the bizarre history of cannibalism from the Cannibal Isles of Fiji and tragic tales of survival like the Donner Party, to the minds of modern cannibal killers in the annals of true crime.
Cult of Weird digs up stories of cannibalism throughout history and contemporary news headlines every year for a tradition called Cannibal Week. This unofficial holiday coincides with the anniversaries of two of history’s most notorious cases of cannibalism that happen to (usually) occur during the same calendar week: The day Alexander Pearce was executed in 1824 for eating his companions after they escaped prison together in Tasmania, and the consumption of Rev. Thomas Baker in Fiji in 1867.
“Some of the most famous of the great cannibals have eaten an enormous number of human beings, many of them in their time having consumed hundreds of bodies.”
– Alfred St Johnson, Camping Among Cannibals, 1883
This engraving depicts a cannibal sacrifice at the spirithouse of Bau. A body lies in front of the notorious killing stone, which was used to smash open the heads of those who were going to be eaten. Missionaries finally convinced Cakobau, the chief of Bau, to convert to Christianity in 1854, putting an end to cannibalism on the island and much of Fiji. The temple became a church, and the killing stone was repurposed for baptisms.