Cannibal Stories

Dec 30th, 2007, in Society, by

Cannibalism in Sumatra and Papua.

It’s close to midnight
and something evil’s lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
but terror takes the sound before you make it.
You start to freeze
as horror looks you right between the eyes,

Stories of Cannibals

It was in 1965 when I first heard about cannibals. Back then, I was a student at a school run by the Missionaries in Singapore.

The class teacher, a Canadian missionary later opted to work in Papua New Guinea. He was short and plump man and in his mid thirties. On his first vacation, he gathered some of his old pupils and related his experiences, assisted with many slide transparencies.

We listened and watched in awe. He returned with many pictures of the tribe people decked in grass, their bare bodies coarsely painted with pigment, headgear and a weapon held by one hand. They had a grim countenance.

One picture remains vivid till today. It was a man’s hand. He had three fingers severed. Someone in the group asked if the man lost his fingers from past violent encounters. The Missionary explained that even though the tribe lived in comparatively stone age conditions, they had laws of their own.

He went on to say that this man had three fingers severed for being guilty in committing adultery. The penalty in that particular tribe is one finger for each act of adultery.

It is now several decades later and I found amazing readings on the Internet.

Incidentally, I do not know what became of that Canadian missionary because I never heard anything about him since.

Another story, from

The last cases of cannibalism were only recently recorded. In 1968 two missionaries (Australian Stan Dole and American Phil Masters) were chopped and eaten. During Christmas 1974, four Dutch families were killed and eaten by aborigines in the Jayawijaya Mountains. The last known case was a killing of a priest and his twelve companions. It allegedly happened because they tried to ban the aborigines from hunting for skulls and they burnt their fetishes. This tragic event happened in 1976 almost in the end of the twentieth century. This is a very recent history of the New Guinea Island.

A Report on Cannibalism

Witnesses reported cannibalism by some of the rioters. “I saw a body being burned by mobs. It was then divided up and eaten,” said one resident of the town of Singkawang.


John Walsh, from Shinawatra University, April 2007 reports how cannibalism continued until the early twentieth century in parts of Indonesia. In Sumatra, Malacca and elsewhere, religion, punishment and hunger led people to eat others.


Cannibal Tours

We offer you a special with our new adventure & expeditions into deepest jungle of Papua. We fly into the misty highlands of the remote Kopkaka area where we trek along swampy area by crossing 3-4 wild rivers. We trek between tree houses perched far above our heads and cultivated lands. they are so friendly like you but keep watching because cannibals is close to you.


Cannibal Love

A movie, “Love and Cannibalism“, will be shot in Java and Sumatra in summer 2007, with completion scheduled for early 2008. It will screen in theaters in Indonesia, Malaysia, the U.S. and in international film festivals, and will be released on DVD. It’s the first feature film to portray the “wildly beautiful” land of Sumatra and the Batak people, Rony says. She hopes it will offer a new perspective on the region and its indigenous inhabitants.


Further Reading on Cannibals

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller

23 Comments on “Cannibal Stories”

  1. Finally Woken says:

    At least they eat flesh because it’s part of their culture, or other basic reason (hunger??).

    I saw a TV programme a few months a go in UK about a German guy eating men to fulfill his fantasy (read more here and here.

    The guy, Armin Meiwes, posted an ad on the internet, looking for a victim. Another guy answered and Armin Meiwes ended up killing him softly and eat his body parts, slowly. I remember I couldn’t finish watching the programme, although it actually did not show any blood nor violence, but seeing the house he lived in, the cage where he kept his victim is too gruesome….

  2. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    You missed out on the Headhunter of Borneo. Back then in the late 70s (I am not as old as you), you hardly come across a Dayak longhouse without human skulls hanging from their front porchs. The Dayaks take good care of them, diligently polishing them daily as if they were part of their home decor. Have you heard of Monsopiad?

  3. iamisaid says:

    Hi Finally Awoken,

    I saw a TV programme a few months a go in UK about a German guy eating men to fulfill his fantasy

    Yes, I recall that incident. I only read about it in our dailies and a heavily censored clipping on the TV News.

    Amazing just how both guys went through the entire ritual. What happened to the Germam guy? Was he convicted of murder on a lesser charge?

    Happy New Year to you.

  4. iamisaid says:

    Hi Anak Aluang Bayang,

    Have you heard of Monsopiad?

    No, I haven’t. I did come across a few readings about the Dayaks. Funny thing, now that I recall, in my school days that lived in long houses built on stilts. But nothing about their other preoccupation that you have related.

    Macabre! I can’t even think of having a plastic skull placed anywhere in my house as a decorative item.

    Happy New Year to you too !

  5. tomaculum says:

    What happened to the Germam guy?
    He was sentenced to life imprisonment for homicide and breaching of the peace of the dead. He appeals currently on the the degree of the penalty to the Federal Constitutional Court.

  6. iamisaid says:

    He was sentenced to life imprisonment for homicide and breaching of the peace of the dead.

    Wow ! thanks for the information.

    I like the second charge.

    He’d probably make a tidy sum some time with a book and film rights on his story.

    Happy New Year to you !

  7. Kat says:

    So I’m guessing none of you have ever seen Faces of Death or Cannibal Holocaust huh?
    You want gruesome watch FOD…Cannibal Holocaust never really happened, but its really freaky, especially after hearing about why the cannibals killed the priest…The movie almost makes you believe he deserved it…

  8. Farah says:

    John Walsh, from Shinawatra University, April 2007 reports how cannibalism continued until the early twentieth century in parts of Indonesia. In Sumatra, Malacca and elsewhere, religion, punishment and hunger led people to eat others.

    I ever studied primitive tribe in deep jungle of Sumatra called “Suku Anak Dalam”. I don’t think they were canibals, or ever be a canibals as i also learn about their cultures and live with them for a while (but it was back at December 2005).
    Yes, i know there’s several primitive tribe in Sumatra. But this reports seemed to generate all primitive tribe in Sumatra.
    Have to be certain which primitive tribe here.

  9. keli says:

    Those people deserve that. You don touch their sacred stuff. That no good. that their sacred thing, you cannot joke, that their land an their life.

  10. Josephine Shaffer says:

    I don’t know anyone personally who became a cannibal if someone brave enough to sacrifice themselves to be eatin’ wow imagine this it could of been me or someone i know that makes a chills go down my spine but scared.

  11. Josephine Shaffer says:

    Everytime go on the internet i always look up cannibalism people either boiled alive, cooked, baked, or barbaqued alive until death, and then eatin’wow but i do like to learn about it i like reading about it a lot, it’s exciting, and fun.

  12. timdog says:

    The Dayaks apparantly ate quite a few Madurese during their little neighbourly dispute in Kalimantan…
    There are reports of institutionalised communal eating of traitors to the communist cause in remote areas of China during the cultural revolution where whole villages seemingly willingly cooked and ate people.
    Canabalism as a sybolic act of triumph in war crops up in times of conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Congo…

    It seems that somewhere deep in our subconcious canabalism is a universal human trait, one that only emerges in severe circumstances, be they the traditonal tribalism of “primative” societies, or the chaos and moral collapse of conflict and warfare…
    I reckon if you put all of the Indonesia Matters posters together in a room and let them have their arguments face to face someone would probably end up getting eaten…

  13. Sam says:

    The story of the German guy who ate the other man, he was sentenced to jail for life. He is now a vegetarian. His name was Armin Meiwes and I believe the other guy’s last name was Brandes. It’s a twisted love story if you think about it. I have a lot of info on that story. There’s even a movie about it that was made in ’07. If you wish to learn the whole storie, just message me. My E-mail is

  14. sarrr! says:

    Has anyone ever seen “The Corn Team?” It is based on cannibalism. Its a good movie, if you like a little bit of surprise, and occasional goose-bumps.

  15. bertie says:

    Being a new subscriber to IM I was most interested in the Cannibal Stories. Having travelled on business to South East Asia, which included Indonesia during the 1970’s I do recall it being reported about the two dutch couples who were actually on vacation in the Jawawijaya mountains during Christmas 1974, and were cooked and eaten by cannibals. By the way it was not four dutch families as you reported.

    Having always been interested in the subject of cannibalism, I always regetted not having the opportunity to visit this area during my travels at that time. It was also interesting to read the letter from Josephine Shaffer who expressed her interest in cannibalism

  16. David Perks says:

    If you are lucky enough to survive longer than the majority of the stranded people. Everyone knows how hungry you get after just one day.Your brain in response to death after 15 days and on will turn human flesh into an expensive mouth watering once in a lifetime meal.I believe 99% of humans will build a fire and cook it up the way they eat their steak.

  17. Georgia says:

    cannibals are gross , but i guess if you were stanranded you would have to, but cook it on a fire like steak like david perks says. i was in deep peru with a group and we saw a tribe feasting on a raw body they didnt even look up so we just ran. but there was also bodys tied up cover in blood with half a face. there faces were deadly coverd in blood. there was also children feasting to. OMG IT WAS SO SCARY THO I FREAKED WHEN I SAW THEM!

  18. malilebu says:

    I am a Dayak. A hundred years back we were renown for our headhunting ways…we take human heads (mostly enemies) as trophies, skin the head and smoke it drey.the brains would be taken out and eaten. After the skull has dried, it would be hung outside verandahs to be displayed as a sign of courage and bravery.

    Back then, if a young man desires a wife, he would be required to furnished his manly credentials, by showing off the number of heads he has in his possession…a man without those would not be able to marry…its a pre-requisite for one to get married…We are not cannibals in the strict sense, just trophy hunters for the fun of it, a culture. We dont eat human flesh just to satisfy our hunger..far from it…but nowadays we are mostly Christians…but human skulls still adorned our ruais(verandahs) , a reminder of our grim past..It is a common sight for us dayaks so much so that the sight of those hanging skulls is like looking at, say, a piece of furniture in the house for us.

  19. Miss Priss says:

    Look cannibals are sick twisted people that eat eachother but it’s in there religion which is okay because it’s just the circle of life….. It’s just like how lions eat gazelle or wolves eat deer….so cannibalism is okay!

  20. frankmann says:

    I enjoy movies and literature about cannibalism. Whether fairytales, with handsome youths entrapped and kept until their ripe for the oven, then eaten. Are boys pretending to be other boys next meal. They are scary and erotic at the same time. It brings the kid out of grown men for some reason.

  21. stevo says:

    You are a profoundly disturbing [disturbed] individual Mr frankmann, even by the demanding standards of IM.

  22. bill says:

    the thought of a women kidnapping a man then teasing him about how she is gonna eat him, gets me sexually excited.

  23. Daphne says:

    Does anyone think this still happens?

Comment on “Cannibal Stories”.

RSS feed

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-2023
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact