Through the centuries, people believed in medicating themselves. Sometimes the medicine worked, such as the anti-malaria tree bark extract Quinine. Sometimes the medication did harm, such as the swallowing of quicksilver (liquid mercury). But most of the time the medications were “neutral,” being neither good nor bad in the medical sense. They were placebos which most people at one time thought were lifesavers.
Much of this “neutral” medication, commonly used over much of the past 1000 years, was made from human flesh and blood. This became known as “corpse medicine,” but ended up being little more than a fast and easy way to convert to cannibalism. Unbelievably, many people still believe in such medicine today, especially if it makes them rich.
10. Mummy Medicine
John Donne, the 17th century poet, wrote:
“Hope not for mind in women; at their best.
Sweetness and wit, they’re but Mummy, possessed”
This reference to women and mummies might not make sense until one realizes that powdered mummy was a common ingredient in medicines of that era, making the average European a cannibal – for medical reasons anyway.
During the middle ages, Bitumen was considered a valuable medicinal resource. It could be swallowed or smeared on the outside of the body. However, a human corpse might be substituted, especially mummified corpses which were often covered with bitumen or pitch. Selling ancient mummies eventually became a thriving export market for Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed their bodies would be preserved for the afterlife, but their real destiny was to be eaten by European cannibals who believed it was good for their health.
Much like modern humans and cows, Europeans almost never met the cadavers they ate. Human body parts were usually denatured, typically powderized, then sold at a profit and ingested by willing clients. But by the 1500’s, the supply of ancient mummies ran critically short. Therefore, cadavers of newly killed soldiers, executed criminals, and deceased hospital patients were harvested, stuffed with bitumen and dried in the sun before being powderized and sold.
The most expensive medicine was made from young men who had been executed, preferably virgins. Females, on the other hand, had an advantage as they did not always need to die in order to be turned into medicine. Menstrual blood was sometimes harvested for use as medicine, but the donor had to be a virgin for her blood to fetch a good price.
Typical Europeans were then, as today, suitably shocked to learn of Cannibalism practiced elsewhere, but this hypocrisy was never a problem because powderized Mummy is, of course, just as beneficial for shock.
Placentophagy is the practice of eating a woman’s placenta after giving birth. This presumably originated because many animals eat their own placenta after giving birth, which intelligent people everywhere were quick to guess might have wonderful medical benefits, such as:
* higher breast milk supply
* reduced postpartum depression
* reduced postpartum hemorrhage
* improved nutrition
* a quicker return to health after birth
* a decreased likelihood of iron deficiency
* a decreased likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders
Some midwives and doctors use the placenta medicinally because they claim it is high in progesterone and has some oxytocin which slows bleeding and cleans the uterus. Occasionally women eat the placenta raw, but a wide variety of recipes are available for cooking it. For the more timid a service is available to take dehydrated placenta in capsules. And for the chef in the family, there are a ton of human placenta recipes out there just begging to be made. Placenta soup anyone?
Large numbers of South Africans are murdered for their body parts every year. An estimated 80 percent of South Africans use traditional medicines or muti and the most potent medicine is allegedly made from the limbs or sexual parts of children. These are sometimes harvested directly from live victims because their screams are believed to enhance the power of the medicines.
A victim is carefully chosen. For example. A penis must be from a man with several healthy children to prove the human penis medicine will cure infertility. Unlike human sacrifice rituals where murder is the aim, muti murders do not purposely kill the victim. Death is an unfortunate side effect because it is preferred that the victim is alive while sexual or internal organs are removed, in order to enhance the power of the medicine. In one high profile case, Freddy Azwitamisi Tshikhudo was arrested for killing his girlfriend. He had cut off her arm and private parts and removed her eyes, apparently while she was still alive. Her remains were later airlifted from dense bushes by a police helicopter.
7. Chinese Stamina Pills
In South Korea, it is against the law to make medicine from corpses, but demand is satisfied via illegal smuggled goods from northeast China. One common medication confiscated by South Korean customs officials is made from dead babies, which are chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder and packed into capsules. When done on a larger scale, the baby corpses are dried in medical microwave ovens before being ground and turned into pills. It is believed that this powder can cure various diseases and improve stamina.
A South Korean TV documentary team did a major expose of how Chinese pharmaceutical companies produce the dead baby medicine on a large scale after purchasing the baby corpses from hospitals.
6. Harvesting Albinos
50-year-old Nyerere Rutahiro was recently sitting down to dinner with his family when four thugs burst in and began hacking off his arms and legs. The reason? Ruthahiro was an albino. In Tanzania, it is well known to the witch doctor fraternity that consuming a potion made from an albino’s legs, hands, genitals, eyes, or blood can make a person wealthy. An albino hand, for example, sells for over $1000 US. Roughly 25 albinos are killed in Tanzania each year, to be turned into wealth-medicine and eaten.
Other than eating flesh of an albino, miners for gold, rubies and tanzanite also pay very well for juju (magic) amulets made from albino body parts, which are worn around their necks or strapped to their arms for good luck to bring wealth. Some miners bury bones of albinos in the ground where they hope to find gold or rubies.
As far as Nyerere Rutahiro went, his body (what was left of it anyway) was laid to rest in a cement-sealed grave, so that grave-robbers could not exhume his corpse in order to make more money.
5. Eating the Executed
Physicians, scholars and noblemen generally believed in the healing power of death. It was assumed that all organisms had a predetermined lifespan. Even someone who had been executed obviously had some life that should have been left over, so demand for the life-blood and body of the executed was quite high.
For example: when criminals lost their heads to the ax, it was a popular spectacle. Everybody came to watch. Small children were lifted high to see better and the very young sat on their parents’ shoulders for a better view. At the very front were the epileptics who, as everybody knows, had the most to benefit from drinking human blood. Paying the executioner for a bowl of “red” would calm their seizures.
The practice of harvesting life from the prematurely executed was not always a great success, however. In 1492, when Roman Catholic Pope Innocent VIII lay on his deathbed, his physicians decided to take three young boys and collect their blood to be used in the first blood transfusion procedure on record. Putting such young blood inside the Pope’s body should logically have revitalizing power, and the Pope should bounce back with renewed teenage vigor. For whatever reason, this did not happen; all three boys quickly died, and the Pope followed shortly thereafter.
4. Droplets Made from Powderized Human Skull
Charles II of England had a keen interest in chemistry, even purchasing the rights to a remedy for £6,000 from a famous surgeon, Jonathan Goddard. Goddard’s drops then became the King’s Drops, which Charles II personally mixed and sold. His secret ingredients? Human skulls and opium.
Unbelievably, he had competition. Another medicine manufacturer, Thomas Willis, believed that chocolate mixed with powdered human skull was an effective treatment for apoplexy. The public was thus free to choose between two quality medicines, both derived from nutritious and delicious human corpses.
3. Sweat of a Dying Man
Once a human body was harvested for medicine, no part went to waste. They even harvested sweat from the skin, which was believed to treat hemorrhoids and other skin ailments. A dead man’s (presumably sweaty) hand could also be wiped over affected skin to cure cysts and warts. After executions in the 19th century, people would sometimes rub the hanged person’s hand on their cysts, because it’s not like the condemned was going to use it again anytime soon.
2. Human Fat Ointment
Human fat was made into ointments to ease joint and bone pain, as well as muscle cramps and nerve damage. This was sometimes done on a large scale, and processing labs were built to mass produce the ointments from executed criminals and slain enemies. Oftentimes, human fat was mixed with animal fat, marrow, blood, and beer, because without a variety of seasonings, a dish just gets boring after awhile.
1. Grow Moss on Skulls and Sell the Whole Thing
In much of Europe, after criminals were hung, the hangman often had still more work to do and more money to make. One surefire way to do this was by preparing human skulls for sale. Powdered human skull was regarded as medically viable for convulsions, dysentery, and just about any disease of the head.
But it was not only the skull which was highly prized. If left exposed to the air long enough, a kind of moss would grow on it. This was valuable medicine believed to help prevent bleeding so, for a nose bleed, powdered skull and moss would be stuffed into the nostrils.
Because of the big profits involved, fraud was a regular problem, so richer clients probably preferred to purchase an entire skull instead of bits and pieces. That way, they knew that they had the genuine article.