Places where modern day cannibalism still exists

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Is Cannibalism a Natural Human Behavior?

Every so often we hear horrifying stories of modern day cannibalism. In 2012, a naked man attacked and ate the face of a homeless man in Miami. That same year, a Brazilian trio killed a woman and sold empanadas made from her flesh.

We generally hear of one-off instances fueled by mental illness or drugs, but there are tribes around the world that reportedly still partake in cannibalism as part of their culture.

Although Fiji is typically thought of as a 'Cannibal Island,' the practice ended there in the mid-19th century when Christian missionaries gained influence. Today, tourists can get a taste of what the culture once was like by visiting the Naihehe Caves, the home of the last cannibal tribe.

Not too far away in the South Pacific, the Korowai tribe of Indonesian New Guinea allegedly still has a culture of cannibalism. There are thought to be an estimated 4,000 tribesmen living in the rainforest.

According to Paul Raffaele, one of the few explorers to make contact with the tribesmen recently, eating men is 'part of their revenge based justice system.' Instead of understanding that disease and germs lead to death, tribesmen believe that a 'khakhua,' or witch man, mysteriously kills their people and they must consume him in the body of the deceased to get revenge.

The tribe is located 100 miles away from where Michael Rockefeller, a son of then-New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared in 1961. He is thought to be a victim of an another Papuan tribe.

Photos of cannibals around the world:

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Modern Cannibal tribes
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Modern Cannibal tribes
384787 07: An Aghori Sadhu attends the Kumbh Mela Festival January 14, 2001 in Allahabad, India. Aghoris are a venerated but fear-inspiring Hindu sect of ascetics who defy norms of civilized life, living only on cremated remains of others and cooking over funeral pyres. They use human skulls as vessels for eating and drinking. (Photo by Mario Magnani/ Liaison)
Aghori with skull and bone
India, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad. A sadhu (or Hindu ascetic) from the extreme Aghori sect with a skull begging bowl around his neck at the Kumbh Mela festival which is held here every twelve years
India, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad. A sadhu, or Hindu ascetic, from the extreme Aghori sect at the Kumbh Mela festival which is held every twelve years in Allahabad.
Cannibal oven in Naihehe Cave used by Fiji's last cannibal tribe in Sigatoka Valley, Viti Levu island. Fiji.
Traditional Koroway house perched on a tree above the ground, Western Papua, former Irian-jaya, Indonesia
Sendek, West Papua, Indonesia, South-East Asia, Asia
Dawhuin, West Papua, Indonesia, South-East Asia, Asia
Dawhuin, West Papua, Indonesia, South-East Asia, Asia
A member of the Koroway tribe stands on a ladder leading to his house at a forest near Merauke city in Indonesia's Papua province in this May 18, 2010 handout. A tribe of hunter gatherers living in trees in the remote forests of Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua has been discovered officially for the first time by the country's census, an official said in June. The nomadic tribe, called Koroway, numbers about 3,000 people speaking their own language and living off forest animals and plants, census officials found during the country's 2010 census survey. Picture taken on May 18, 2010. REUTERS/Suntono-Indonesia statistic agency/Handout (INDONESIA - Tags: SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY ENVIRONMENT) QUALITY FROM SOURCE
** FILE ** Joshua Milton Blahyi, a former Liberian factional fighter known as "General Butt Naked", threatens a fellow combatant with a knife during an arguement outside the Barclay Training Center army barracks in Monrovia, Liberia during fighting in the city in this May 15, 1996 file photo. Blahyi, who now lives in Ghana, returned this week to acknowledge before the country's truth and reconciliation commission that his men killed 20,000 Liberians. An estimated 250,000 people were killed in Liberia's on-and-off 14-year civil war, which ended in 2003. Its truth and reconciliation commission, modeled after the one in post-apartheid South Africa, has been airing the worst of the abuses in a war characterized by the eating of human hearts, the use of child soldiers and the colored wigs and costumes worn by intoxicated rebels. Blahyi, who is now an evangelist and a church pastor, earned his nom de guerre from his practice of storming into battle without a stitch of clothing, a move intended to terrify the enemy. He appeared before the truth commission this week and confessed to the killings because he felt that asking for forgiveness could help heal the wounds of the past, he told The Associated Press in an interview on Saturday. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder/file)
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In India, exiled Aghori monks of Varanasi drink from human skulls and eat human flesh as part of their rituals to find spiritual enlightenment. The Daily Mail claims there are 20 members of the cult, but there used to be hundreds in the 19th century.

Cannibalism also exists today in some African militias. Joshua Milton Blahyi, or General Butt Naked as he was once known, was a former warlord in Liberia during the mid '90s. He has since converted to Christianity and preaches peace, but admitted to using 'human sacrifice and cannibalism to gain magical powers.'

Former captives of a militant group in Congo known as 'Mai Mai Morgan' disclosed that the followers engaged in cannibalism.

Although none of these places are tourism hotspots, it is still good to be wary that these practices still exist and you could be at risk, like this couple who narrowly escaped the Korowai tribe.

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