Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Cannibalism: The Ancient Taboo in Modern Times

Aggression Cannibalism

Most acts of cannibalism are, to a degree, motivated by a desire to express power or control over the victim. Cannibalism is the ultimate expression of dominance over another person. Aggression cannibalism includes acts of cannibalism that are motivated by feelings of hostility and/or fear, creating an overriding need to exert power, revenge or control over the victim by murdering and then consuming him.

Aggression cannibalism is one of the more common forms of cannibalism and often overlaps with other types of anthropophagy, especially spiritual, ritualistic and sexual cannibalism. Some forms of aggression cannibalism have recently gained worldwide media attention. The most recent cases include, Anna Zimmerman and Ed Kemper.

In 1981 Anna Zimmerman, 26, a German mother of two, murdered her boyfriend out of anger and revenge and then dismembered his body. She froze his remains and over-time defrosted portions of his body and consumed them with her unsuspecting children. She represents one of the few known cases of female criminal cannibals.

Edmund Kemper
Edmund Kemper
  
Edmund Kemper was found guilty of the murders of six young women, his two grandparents, his mother and mothers friend. Kempers killing spree and cannibalism was believed to be the result of his disdain for his mother and an unhappy childhood. According to Kemper, his mother psychologically abused him and at one point forced him to sleep in the cold and dark basement when he was a child. While in the basement, his hate for his mother began to fester. In order to release the pent up anger he would often entertain murderous fantasies.

Many of the murders Kemper committed had a large sexual component to them: he raped some of his victims, killed them and then sexually molested the corpses. However, it is believed that the murders were primarily motivated by his feelings of anger and revenge, directly and indirectly towards his mother. In fact, Kemper claimed that the unpleasant relationship with his mother was what influenced him to act out his violent fantasies, which included cannibalism.

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