• B & W

Episode 7: A Taste of Cannibalism

In Episode 7, Brittany and Tyler take a chomp out of the topic of cannibalism.

Wine Pick: 2016 Avalon Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Blended grapes from Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and Lodi.

Its aromas of blueberry jam, strawberry tart and boysenberries lead the way to rich black cherries, red raspberries and plums.

Theme: Cannibalism



  • The act of eating some or all of the same species as food

  • Happens in over 1,500 species

  • Human cannibalism is well documents in ancient and recent times

  • Some scholars have argued, however, that no firm evidence exists that cannibalism has ever been a socially acceptable practice anywhere in the world, at any time in history.

  • The Island Carib people of the Lesser Antilles, from whom the word cannibalism is derived, acquired a long-standing reputation as cannibals following the recording of their legends in the 17th century. Some controversy exists over the accuracy of these legends and the prevalence of actual cannibalism in the culture.

  • Cannibalism was widespread in the past among humans in many parts of the world, continuing into the 19th century in some isolated South Pacific cultures, and to the present day in parts of Tropical Africa. Cannibalism was practiced in New Guinea and in parts of the Solomon Islands, and flesh markets existed in some parts of Melanesia. Fiji was once known as the "Cannibal Isles". Cannibalism has been well documented around the world, from Fiji to the Amazon Basin to the Congo to the Māori people of New Zealand. Neanderthals are believed to have practiced cannibalism, and Neanderthals may have been eaten by anatomically modern humans. Cannibalism was also practiced in the past in Egypt during ancient Egypt, Roman Egypt and during famines such as the great famine in the year 1201.

  • Cannibalism has recently been both practiced and fiercely condemned in several wars, especially in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was still practiced in Papua New Guinea as of 2012, for cultic reasons and in ritual and in war in various Melanesian tribes. Cannibalism has been said to test the bounds of cultural relativism because it challenges anthropologists "to define what is or is not beyond the pale of acceptable human behavior".

  • Cannibalism has occasionally been practiced as a last resort by people suffering from famine, even in modern times. Famous examples include the ill-fated Westward expedition of the Donner Party (1846–47) and, more recently, the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 (1972), after which some survivors ate the bodies of dead passengers. Also, some mentally ill people obsess about eating others and actually do so, such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish. There is resistance to formally labeling cannibalism a mental disorder.

  • And if you wondered what type of meat most resembles human meat, it’s pork

Brittany's Issei Sagawa Notes:



Vice Article “Who’s Hungry?”


Sagawa was born in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, to wealthy parents. He was born prematurely, reportedly small enough to fit in the palm of his father's hand, and immediately developed enteritis, a disease of the small intestine. He quickly recovered after treatment.

Sagawa first experienced cannibalistic desires while in the first grade, after seeing a male's thigh. I was physically weak from the moment I was born. My legs were so skinny they looked like pencils. It was in the first grade of elementary school when I saw the quivering meat on a male classmate's thighs and I suddenly thought, "Mmm, that looks delicious." But I'm not homosexual, so from around the time I entered junior high school I became obsessed with the Western actress Grace Kelly—an obsession that lasted right through high school. That was the beginning of my infatuation with Occidental people.

Before I knew it, tall, healthy-looking Western women became the trigger for my cannibalistic fantasies. I guess my infatuation with such women stemmed from the fact that I was short, ugly, and had an inferiority complex and therefore sought people who were the exact opposite of myself. Eventually, I began feeling a strong desire to bite into them—not to kill them or eat them per se, but merely to gnaw on their flesh. It was purely a form of sexual desire. It wasn't like I felt like eating someone every time I was hungry. But you know how you tend to feel a stronger sexual desire when you've eaten a full meal? That's when I would start feeling the urge to eat a girl. It's absurd, right? In essence, it's different from the type of hunger that people experience for food. This cannibalistic urge, where I'm going, "I want to eat human meat," is a sort of sexual appetite, so if I don't make sure that I ejaculate frequently enough, the desire only gets stronger and stronger.

At 23, in Tokyo, Sagawa followed a tall German woman home, then broke into her apartment while she was sleeping with intent to cannibalize her by tearing and walking away with a small part of her flesh. She awoke and, Sagawa claims, pushed him to the ground. He was captured by police and charged with attempted rape. He did not confess his true intentions to authorities.

In 1977, at the age of 27, Sagawa emigrated to France to pursue a Ph.D. in literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. He claims that while residing in Paris, "Almost every night I would bring a prostitute home and then try to shoot them, but for some reason my fingers froze up and I couldn't pull the trigger."


Some time after that, I spotted the girl who would later become my victim in one of my classes at university. All of the French women I had met before then were beautiful, but were stuck-up and totally out of my league. In contrast, this girl was so friendly and warm. I found out after the murder that she was Jewish, which is probably why a Japanese guy like me felt an affinity with her. In any case, we became friends. Then one day, we decided to have a sukiyaki [hot pot] party—just the two of us—at my house. The moment I saw her wash her hands in the bathroom, the image overlapped with the prostitutes washing themselves at the bidet in my mind, and inevitably she became another candidate for my "ritual."

From that point on, every time I invited her up to my room, I found myself pointing a gun at her from behind. Still, I just couldn't shoot. Then one day, one of the employees from my father's company came to Paris and took me to a Japanese restaurant. I had a bit of a fever that day, which might have made me delusional, because the whole time I was thinking about how she was coming over the next day, and how if I got food poisoning from the raw fish that I ate there, I wouldn't be able to finally realize the fantasy that I'd been obsessing about for 32 years.

On June 11, 1981, Sagawa, then 32, invited his Sorbonne classmate Renée Hartevelt to dinner at his apartment under the pretext of translating poetry for a school assignment. He planned to kill and eat her, having selected her for her health and beauty; characteristics he believed he lacked.

After she arrived, she began reading poetry at a desk with her back to him. He shot her in the neck with a rifle. Sagawa said he fainted after the shock of shooting her, but awoke with the realization that he had to carry out his plan. The girl died instantly without feeling any pain. The autopsy showed that the gun wasn't powerful enough to send the bullet through her skull, so it just kept spinning round and round in her head. For a split second I thought about calling an ambulance, but then I thought, "Hang on, don't be stupid. You've been dreaming about this for 32 years and now it's actually happening!" He raped her corpse but was unable to bite into her skin, so he left the apartment and purchased a butcher knife.

The first thing I did was cut into her buttock. No matter how deep I cut, all I saw was the fat beneath the skin. It looked like corn, and it took awhile to actually reach the red meat. The moment I saw the meat, I tore a chunk off with my fingers and threw it into my mouth. It was truly a historical moment for me. That said, it wasn't like I was lusting over the fact that I was cutting up her dead body, so it's difficult for me to revisit the incident and talk about it, even now...

For two days, Sagawa ate various parts of her body, saving other parts in his refrigerator. In the Vice article I read, it got insanely graphic, down to the smell of human flesh — odorless apparently. The best part was when Tomokazu Kosuga, who interviewed Issei said ‘I'm just going to plod ahead with these questions so I can get the fuck out of here.’ SAME.

After placing Renee Hartevelt's body parts into two suitcases, Issei Sagawa called a cab, and the taxi driver helped him place the two heavy pieces of luggage in the vehicle. Surprised by the weight of the suitcases, the cabbie even jokingly asked Sagawa if the bags contained a dead body before driving the diminutive man to a nearby park. Sagawa dumped the suitcases containing Hartevelt's body in the Bois de Boulogne, a public park in Paris, where they were promptly discovered by two joggers. After finding Hartevelt's remains inside the luggage, the police were called, and members of law enforcement were able to connect the suitcases to Sagawa with the help of the cab driver who drove him to the park.He then attempted to dump her body in a lake in the Bois de Boulogne, but was seen in the act and arrested by French police. When he was caught, he was carrying two suitcases. Those suitcases contained the dismembered body parts of Renée Hartevelt.

Sagawa's wealthy father provided a lawyer for his defense, and after being held for two years awaiting trial Sagawa was found legally insane and unfit to stand trial by the French judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, who ordered him held indefinitely in a mental institution. After a visit by the author Inuhiko Yomota, Sagawa's account of his kill was published in Japan under the title In the Fog. Sagawa's subsequent publicity and macabre celebrity likely contributed to the French authorities' decision to deport him to Japan, where he was immediately committed to Matsuzawa hospital. Examining Psychologists there all declared him sane and found sexual perversion was his sole motivation for murder. Because charges in France had been dropped, the French court documents were sealed and were not released to Japanese authorities; consequently Sagawa could not legally be detained in Japan. He checked himself out of the hospital on August 12, 1986, and remained free. Sagawa's continued freedom has been widely criticized.

In 1985, crime scene photos from Renee Hartevelt's murder and dismemberment were leaked to the press, and they were published by a popular French magazine. The images showed the young woman's nude body, which had been mutilated and cut into pieces, and the publication of the pictures deeply disturbed the people of France and Hartevelt's family and friends.

Fame After

Between 1986 and 1997 he was frequently invited to be a guest speaker and commentator.

Issei Sagawa has also written restaurant reviews for a Japanese magazine, and he's even appeared on cooking shows where he's eaten raw meat, an obvious nod to the murder and cannibalism of Renee Hartevelt. Sagawa has also been a guest on a number of Japanese talk shows, although his popularity has declined in recent years, largely because he is trying to avoid work that capitalizes on his status as a famous cannibal and murderer. He also sold a number of paintings, many of them featuring nude women, to support himself.

Back in the summer of 1989, a serial killer called Tsutomu Miyazaki murdered some young girls, and the mass media suddenly flocked to my house asking for my opinion on the case. That sort of media exposure eventually led to my essays being published in various magazines. Since then, I've published one or two books per year. I recently published my 20th book. It's entitled Gokushiteki Bijyogenso [Extremely Intimate Fantasies of Beautiful Girls]. It portrays my feelings toward women without necessarily focusing on cannibalism, through pictures and words. I hope that people who read it will at least stop thinking of me as a monster.

In 1992, he appeared in Hisayasu Sato's exploitation film Unfaithful Wife: Shameful Torture as a sado-sexual voyeur. Sagawa has written books about his kill, as well as Shonen A, a book on the 1997 Kobe child murders. He has also written restaurant reviews for the Japanese magazine Spa. Sagawa can no longer find publishers for his writing and he has struggled to find employment. He was nearly accepted by a French-language school because the manager was impressed by his courage in using his real name, but employees protested and he was rejected. In 2005 Sagawa's parents died. He was prevented from attending their funeral, but repaid their creditors and moved into public housing. He received welfare benefits for a time. In an interview with Vice magazine in 2011, he said that being forced to make a living while being known as a murderer and cannibal was a terrible punishment.

Tyler's Killing of Tim McLean Notes:


The Telegraph

The National Post


CTV News

The Crime

The incident took place near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, during a trip from Edmonton to McLean's hometown of Winnipeg. At 12:01 p.m. on July 30, 2008, Tim McLean, a carnival barker, was returning home to Manitoba after working at a fair in Alberta. He departed Edmonton on board Greyhound bus 1170 to Winnipeg. He sat at the rear just ahead of the toilet.

At 6:55 p.m., the bus departed from a stop in Erickson, Manitoba, with a new passenger, Vince Weiguang Li. Li, described as a tall man in his 40s, with a shaved head and sunglasses, originally sat near the front of the bus, but moved to sit next to McLean following a scheduled rest stop. McLean "barely acknowledged" Li, then fell asleep against the window pane, headphones covering his ears.

According to witnesses, McLean was sleeping with his headphones on when the man sitting next to him suddenly produced a large knife and began stabbing McLean in the neck and chest. The bus driver pulled to the side of the road so that he and all the other passengers could exit the vehicle. The attacker then decapitated McLean and displayed his severed head to other passengers standing outside. The driver and two other men had attempted to rescue McLean but were chased away by Li, who slashed at them from behind the locked bus doors. Li then went back to McLean's body and began severing other parts and consuming some of his victim's flesh.

At 8:30 p.m., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Portage la Prairie received a report of a stabbing on a Greyhound bus west of the city. They arrived to find the suspect still on board the bus, being prevented from escaping by another passenger, the bus driver, and a truck driver who had provided a crowbar and a hammer as weapons. The other passengers were huddled at the roadside, some of them crying and vomiting. As the suspect had earlier attempted to escape by driving the bus away, the driver had engaged the emergency immobilizer system, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Witnesses had observed the suspect stabbing and cutting McLean's body, and carrying McLean's severed head.

On July 31, 2008, at 1:30 a.m., the suspect attempted to escape from the bus by breaking through a window. The RCMP arrested Li soon afterward. He was shot with a Taser twice, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Parts of the victim's body, placed in plastic bags, were retrieved from the bus, while his ear, nose and tongue were found in Li's pockets. The victim's eyes and a part of his heart were never recovered and are presumed to have been eaten by Li.


Vincent Weiguang Li, commonly known as Vince Li, was born in Dandong, Liaoning, China, on April 30, 1968. In 1992, Li graduated from University of Wuhan Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in computers. From 1994–1998, Li worked in Beijing as a computer software engineer. Li immigrated to Canada from China on June 11, 2001 (though some newspapers mistakenly reported 2004) becoming a Canadian citizen on November 7, 2006. The psychiatrist Stanley Yaren, who later examined Li, said Li was hospitalized in 2003 or 2004 after an incident with the Ontario Provincial Police.

He worked in Winnipeg at menial jobs at Grant Memorial Church for six months to support his wife, Anna. Pastor Tom Castor, who employed Li, said he seemed happy to have a job and was committed to doing it well, despite a language barrier with other congregation members.

"I think he would occasionally feel frustrated with not being able to communicate or understand," Castor told CTV Winnipeg. "But we have a very patient staff and he seemed to respond well." Castor also said Li did not show any signs of anger issues or any other trouble before he quit in the spring of 2005. He worked as a forklift operator in Winnipeg while his wife worked as a waitress. Li first moved to Edmonton in 2006, abruptly leaving his wife alone in Winnipeg until she joined him later. His jobs included service at a Wal-Mart, at a fast-food restaurant, and newspaper delivery. His delivery boss, Vincent Augert, described Li as reliable, hard-working and not showing any signs of trouble. Four weeks before the killing, he was fired from Wal-Mart following a "disagreement" with other employees. Shortly before the incident, Li asked for time off from his delivery job to go to Winnipeg for a job interview.

At 12:05 p.m. July 28 in Edmonton, Li boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Winnipeg. On July 29, around 6 p.m., Li got off the bus in Erickson, Manitoba, with at least three pieces of luggage, and stayed the night on a bench next to a grocery store. According to one witness, he was seen at 3 a.m. sitting bolt upright with eyes wide open. On the morning of July 30, still at the bench, he sold his new laptop computer to a 15-year-old boy, Darren Beatty, for $60.

Witness Garnet Caton said the attacker seemed oblivious to others when the stabbing occurred, adding he was struck by how calm the man was. "There was no rage or anything. He was like a robot, stabbing the guy," he said. When he appeared in a Portage la Prairie courthouse on charges of second-degree murder, the only words Li reportedly uttered were pleas for someone to kill him.

The Trial

Li's trial commenced on March 3, 2009, with Li pleading not criminally responsible. This means that he accepted that the offense occurred but he claimed that he was unable to form the necessary mental element or mens rea. The psychiatrist said that Li performed the attack because God's voice told him McLean was a force of evil and was about to execute him. The presiding judge, John Scurfield, accepted the diagnosis, and ruled that Li was not criminally responsible for the killing. Li was remanded to the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

On June 3, 2010, Li was granted supervised outdoor walks within his mental health facility as voted by the provincial review board. On May 17, 2012, the National Post reported that Li had been granted temporary passes that would allow him out of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre for visits to the town of Selkirk, supervised by a nurse and peace officer. In an interview, Li spoke for the first time, saying that he began hearing "the voice of God" in 2004 and that he wanted to save the people from an alien attack.

On February 27, 2014, the CBC reported that on March 6, Li would be allowed to have unsupervised visits to Selkirk, starting at 30 minutes and expanding to full-day trips.

On July 17, 2014, the Toronto Sun reported that one of the first officers on the scene, Corporal Ken Barker of the RCMP, had committed suicide. The family stated in his obituary that he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

On February 27, 2015, CBC News reported that Li was given unsupervised day passes to visit Winnipeg so long as he carried a functioning cellular telephone while using them. On May 8, 2015, CTV News reported that Li would be granted passes to group homes in the community. In February 2016, it was reported that Li had legally changed his name and was seeking to leave his group home to live independently. He won the right to live alone in February 26 upon the recommendation of the Criminal Code Review Board. On February 10, 2017, the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board ordered Li be discharged. Li was granted an absolute discharge. There will be no legal obligations or restrictions pertaining to Li's independent living.

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