Saturday, August 13, 2011
Book Review: Cannibal Killers: Monsters With An Appetite For Murder And A Taste For Human Flesh by Chloe Castleden
Cannibal Killers: Monsters With An Appetite For Murder And A Taste For Human Flesh is definitely not a book for the squeamish. Author Chloe Castleden has scoured the globe for the most incredible stories of modern day cannibalism, and presents 20 of them here. While some of these cases may be more famous than others, all are equally gruesome. There are a number of sick minds out there, and Cannibal Killers takes us right into them.
In the twisted world of cannibals, some are more well-known than others. These include Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein, Edmund Kemper, and Alfred Packer. But Castleden has unearthed monsters from all over the planet, with stops in Russia, Germany, Japan, and even Merrie Olde England.
Obviously this is a cast of characters so demented and psychotic they are all beyond the pale. Still, a few stand out as even more twisted than others. Take the German mother and son cannibal team for instance. Lyudmila Spesivtsev and her boy Alexander had their own set of family values.
Their ritual began with Mom going out shopping at the local market. Walking home, she would spill her bags, and persuade friendly neighborhood kids to help her out. When they arrived at the apartment, the youngsters would be turned over to Alexander. He would then rape, torture, kill, and eat them.
For the gay cannibal couple of Ottis Elwood Toole and Henry Lee Lucas, sharing really was caring. They spent the Bicentennial summer of 1976 together, engaging in arson, murder, necrophilia, and, of course, cannibalism before being apprehended.
Amazingly, there is the story of a civic-minded cannibal. Daniel Rakowitz got tired of seeing homeless people in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, and decided to permanently remove some of them. His job in a soup kitchen enabled him to feed his victim’s remains to other transients.
One of the strangest cases in the book is also the most recent. I think everyone has heard of the potential perils of meeting strangers online by now. Back in 2001, Armin Meiwes began advertising for a “dinner date” on a website called “The Cannibal Cafe.” Incredibly, he had quite of number of takers. Some even showed up at his home/slaughterhouse, although they finally backed out when they realized that this was the real deal. One guy even wound up seeing the film Ocean’s Eleven with Meiwes instead of being eaten.
Bernd Jurgen Brandes actually went through with it, and as Meiwes’ surveillance tape shows, he did so quite willingly. This posed a bit of a problem for the German police at first. After all, the whole thing was consensual, and they had no laws against cannibalism at the time. Eventually Meiwes was convicted of murder, however, and sentenced to life in prison. The final bizarre twist occurred in prison, where Meiwes became a vegetarian.
Cannibal Killers is filled with stories like these, proving again and again that truth really is stranger than fiction.
Article first published as Book Review: Cannibal Killers: Monsters With An Appetite For Murder And A Taste For Human Flesh by Chloe Castleden on Blogcritics.