Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Terrain Training Tuesday: Cannibalism

Hmmm...well, I may finally be over my training montage faze (I don’t think anyone truly gets over it but I will try to stop boring the world with it) and have decided to approach a rather disturbing topic which was broached earlier in the ship wrecked series: Cannibalism. I don’t mean the old put an ad in the paper and get some poor sucker wasted and proceed to eat bits of him like some weirdo Germans do, but survival cannibalism. The thing about survival cannibalism is that it appears to be innate in human nature, and in certain situations seems to be quite forgivable. As terrible as the thought is, it kinda makes sense. I think this topic has a similar debate as the urine drinking discussed much earlier.

Now, it appears that survival cannibalism had happened enough that by the 19th century it was an unspoken fact of life in the event of a shipwreck. This, as a custom of the sea, included general guidelines. Drawing straws was the traditional method of deciding who would be killed and eaten and who would carry out the killing. Usually, the person with the shortest straw died and the person with the next shortest straw was the one who did the dirty deed.

A 20th Century example is four men on a yacht named the Mignonette sailing from England to Australia were stranded in a lifeboat after the yacht sank in the Atlantic. They remained adrift for more than two months and exhausted the meat of a sea turtle they'd captured. One of the men -- a sailor named Richard Parker -- drank seawater out of desperate thirst. As his health declined, his shipmates opted to kill and eat him rather than wait for the young man to die naturally. A twist of irony is, a sailor named Richard Parker was eaten by his fellow castaways after they'd eaten a tortoise in a 1838 Edgar Allen Poe short story, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym".

THEN, in 1972, a group of 16 people, including members of a Uruguayan rugby team, faced a similar situation when a plane crash stranded them in the Andes Mountains in Chile. During their 70 days in the mountains, the surviving members of the team ate the flesh of others who died in the plane crash. This was made into a Hollywood film with Ethan Hawke playing one of the leads and everyone is a hero. Go figure.

Survival cannibalism is a LAST resort (at least that’s what you tell the authorities if you get caught), anything even remotely resembling food was first eaten. Dogs, candles, leather, shoes and blankets are all consumed first before cannibalism but remember people THIS IS survival. I'd go for the most annoying person to be honest and work my way back. And if you want to stay mysterious, people DO meet with 'accidents'.... (and hope that you are not stranded with Hercule Poirot).

Just remember to pack the salt and pepper.

No comments:

Post a Comment