In the history of every nation, there are tales about vampires or cannibals who attacked lonely travelers and drank their blood or cooked dinner from their meat. They will frighten few people now.
Much more disturbing are the cases where people under certain circumstances drink their own blood and eat their own flesh. Such cases, fortunately, were quite rare.
In the historical chronicles, there are few cases of drinking one's own blood and eating one's own flesh. Some of them can be attributed to the allegory of retribution: “And I will feed thy oppressors with their own flesh, and they will be drunk with their own blood, like young wine” (Isaiah 49: 26), although usually the enemy is forced to drink the blood of relatives, and not their own.
The French prince Henry (since 1574 King of France under the name of Henry III), elected king of Poland, to his horror, saw how one of the Polish horsemen who met him really drank his own blood. The Pole pulled out his saber, pricked his hand, collected the blood in his palm and drank it with the words: “Sovereign, woe to that of us who is not ready to shed all the blood that is in his veins, in your service, so I don’t want to waste not a single drop of mine."
According to some reports, in the 16th century, the famous bloody Countess Bathory forced some of her servants to eat her own flesh and, although there is no confirmation of this, such cases could have taken place, because the idea of feeding commoners with their own meat was quite in the spirit of a crazy countess.
In Europe, voluntary cases of eating themselves were also recorded. Do you have any idea who these unfortunates were? Buried alive!
According to the legend set forth in the "Church Annals" (XVI century) of Caesar Baronius, a similar incident occurred with the Emperor Flavius Zeno. After an epileptic seizure, the emperor was considered dead and buried. Tormented by hunger in the crypt, he devoured his hands to blood. John Duns Scotus (according to the official version, died of a stroke in 1308), being buried in the Cologne church, gnawed his hands, which the witnesses who opened his coffin did not fail to make sure (Kalmet's story).
Georg Landmann, in his work De Animantibus subterraneis (1637), lists several cases of premature burials that took place in various areas of the German Empire during the 14th-16th centuries. People who woke up in the graves gnawed their own flesh and swallowed the shroud.
In Moravia, a man buried alive managed to get to the corpse of a woman lying in a nearby grave and half ate it.
Benard, a master of surgery in Paris, to whom Calmet refers, having visited a church cemetery, saw how the body of a monk, three or four days earlier, was taken out of the coffin. The monk gnawed at his hands and died the very moment he breathed in air.
In 1679, Philip Pop made an attempt to explain the phenomenon of the "chewing in the grave" of the dead by the fact that the body of the deceased was possessed by the devil. Later, his book provoked heated discussions, most of whose participants accused the author of adherence to inventions.
I meant the following widespread belief in Germany and Poland: if a person who wakes up in a coffin gnaws at his hands and feet, a metamorphosis occurs with him.
Such a person turns into a nachzerer (German Nachzehrer; from nach - "after" and zehren - "to exhaust"), a creature that occupies an intermediate position between a vampire and a zombie.
Nakhtserers included not only victims of lethargy, but also suicides, drowned people who died in an accident - in general, traditional candidates for evil. True, the nakhcerer was not accused of cannibalism, but only in the ability to infect people with deadly diseases at a distance and deprive them of their vitality.
Since burial alive was a reason for belief in vampires, information about such burials was carefully collected in the 18th and 19th centuries. Dr. Johann Ellisen, who published in 1801 in St. Petersburg the book "Medical News of the Premature Burial of the Dead", offered the reader's attention "the most reliable news about 52 people who were buried alive; about three who were buried alive and swallowed part of the veil; about 16 who scratched and gnawed their hands and fingers in their coffin; about five who broke their heads, and others who tore out their hair and scratched their face and chest."
In medicine, the Lesch-Nychen Syndrome is known - a genetic disease caused by a defective gene in the X chromosome, in connection with which a person literally eats himself.
People with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome bite their lips, tongue, nails, fingers, and sometimes this behavior turns into more horrific forms - eating the forearms (up to self-amputation) and letting go of blood. That is why this disease is also called "self-cannibalism" or "autosarcophagia".
Doctors still cannot understand what caused this behavior. The simplest explanation for this phenomenon is that uric acid irritates cells, and just as some people scratch a mosquito bite until it bleeds, patients bite the most sensitive tissues, thereby causing themselves pain.
According to another theory, the effect of uric acid on brain development causes a lack of a special substance called dopamine. Some scientists consider Lesch-Nyhan syndrome to be the exact opposite of Parkinson's disease. For example, people with Parkinson's are limited in many activities they can think of.
People with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, on the other hand, cannot bring themselves to stop doing what they think about. If they think of biting themselves, they will certainly do it, even if they do not want to harm themselves.
Nowadays, there are several recorded cases when people tried (or tried to taste) their flesh for shocking. So in March 2016, TV presenter Greg Foot (Greg Foot) on a program on the BBC tried to answer the question of what human meat tastes like.
He turned to doctors for help. A small fragment of muscle was removed from the journalist's leg using a special tool. However, he could not taste it. In the course of the experiment, it turned out that it was illegal to taste human meat, even your own.
In 2011, on the Dutch TV show Proefkonijnen (Guinea pigs), hosts Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno dined on each other's meat live on BNN.
Before the transmission began, both underwent minor surgery: Storm had a small piece of flesh removed from his buttocks, and Zeno's from his stomach. After that, the chef fried the pieces of meat in oil, without seasoning them with any spices, because the essence of this experiment was that both could feel the real taste of a human being.
As a result, Storm and Zeno tasted each other right in the studio. The tasting process took place at a set table with candles. After swallowing the meat, both declared that there was nothing special about human flesh and that they did not regret their trick. However, they declined to describe the taste of the meat eaten.
And in January 2007, the Chilean artist Marco Evaristti gathered his closest friends for dinner. The key treat was agnolotti pasta with meatballs made from the artist's own fat, which he removed through liposuction.
“Ladies and gentlemen, bon appetit, and God bless you!”, The outrageous lover announced the beginning of the meal.
“The question of whether it is worth eating human flesh is more important than the answer to it,” Evaristti commented on the meaning of this artistic action. “Absorbing art is not a cannibal,” added the artist.
A total of 48 meatballs were prepared from the flesh of the Chilean …