HISTORY AND SOCIETY << CRIME & PUNISHMENT << PROLIFIC CANNIBAL
Most Prolific Cannibal
During the 19th century, the world's most prolific cannibal, Ratu Udre Udre (pronounced Ondray Ondray), reportedly ate between 872 and 999 people. The Fijian chief kept a stone to record each body eaten, and these were placed along his tomb in Rakiraki, northern Viti Levu (pictured). According to Udre Udre's son, the vicious leader would eat every part of his victims, preserving what he couldn't eat in one sitting for consumption later.

Cannibalism – the eating of human flesh by other humans – has fascinated society for years. "We fear the cannibal but equally we admire the symbolism of strength," says Laurence Goldman, associate professor at Australia's University of Queensland, and author of the book The Anthropology of Cannibalism.

There are many different types of cannibalism, but history suggests the bloodthirsty feat originally occurred in ancient societies primarily as a ritual practice, and less commonly because of starvation and war. In western society, however, "Cannibalism usually falls within the larger charge of murder," says Goldman.

The only person in US history ever to be convicted of cannibalism was a man called Alferd Packer. In 1874 he ate the flesh of five mining friends. Packer was sentenced to death in 1883, but after lengthy legal appeals he was released on parole in 1901.
 
 Ratu Udre Udre
 19th century
 Rakiraki, Fiji
 872–999 bodies eaten

 
 
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